GEOG 510 Seminar in Physical Geography: Human Impacts on Climate
- Semester: Spring 2021
- Instructor: Andrew Carleton
- Office: 307 Walker Building
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office hours: Wednesday, noon – 1:00 p.m., Friday 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., and by appointment
- Class time: Meeting is one 3-hour session (with break) typically on Wednesday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in 319 Walker Building
This graduate seminar examines the many ways in which human activities influence recent and contemporary climate, via changes to the energy and moisture budgets on local through regional to hemispheric/global scales. It is geared not only to physical geographers but to all those students with an interest in how the climatic background state is changing, and the role of humans. The human activities studied include the following: Changes in the atmosphere’s gaseous composition (CO2, methane, chlorofluoro-carbons: CFCs, ozone) and particulate loading (soot and sulfate aerosols from industry and biomass burning); changes in land surface conditions (e.g., irrigation, deforestation/reforestation in the tropics and middle latitudes, agriculture, urbanization); intentional and inadvertent enhancement of cloud-cover and precipitation from urbanization, industry, jet air traffic, and shipping. A topic closely connected with identifying the anthropogenic climate signal in the recent observational record involves understanding how and in what ways the physical climate processes (energy, moisture, wind/ momentum) are perturbed, and their scale dependencies. This often requires evaluating the value and limitations of climate models of varying complexity (e.g., Energy Balance Models, Mesoscale Meteorological Models, Regional Climate Models, General Circulation Models). Through combinations of short lectures, 3 weekly readings that are discussed in class time, and each student’s writing of a term paper in his/her area of interest, we gain deep understanding of topics central to the impacts of humans on recent climate, and its possible future changes.
Recommended Textbook: W.R. Cotton and R.A. Pielke Sr. 2007. Human Impacts on Weather and Climate (2nd ediction). Cambridge University Press (paperback). 308pp. plus plates.