Courses

EARTH 102 Freshman Writing Seminar: Sustainability & Social Justice

The challenge of sustainability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” has continued to evolve since its initial formulation by the Brundtland Commission in 1987. This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of sustainability, consider the application of these concepts in diverse societal, economic, and cultural settings, and explore the potential of sustainable development to act as a force for social justice. The core concepts of sustainability – economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social equity – will anchor course content, frame discussions with guest speakers, inform case study reviews, and guide development of student research. Upon completion of the course students will have gained a greater understanding for the principles behind, challenges of attaining, and potential outcomes of a sustainable society.

EARTH 340 Physics of Weather & Climate

Introduction to the physics that govern atmospheric processes and circulation, and their relation to Earth’s weather and climate. Topics include atmospheric composition and structure, radiative transfer, thermodynamics, convection, precipitation, and the general circulation of the three-dimensional atmosphere. Conceptual lectures will be supplemented with hands on laboratory demonstrations of physical concepts, data analysis projects, and discussion of primary literature. When possible, this class will engage with contemporaneous atmospheric conditions to provide a better understanding of our meteorological and climatic environment.

EARTH 343 Earth System Modeling

An introduction to the art and science of reducing Earth’s complex systems into simple numerical models. This course will survey core Earth system science topics, introduce numerical modeling concepts, and facilitate the construction of dynamical models in a hands-on computational laboratory environment. Core topics reviewed and modeled include the Earth’s radiative balance, the global carbon cycle, and the cryosphere. The lecture portion of the course will highlight/review Earth science concepts, while the modeling component of the course will focus on the design, construction, and use of models to test hypotheses, and increase understanding of the forces and processes that shape the global environment. Ultimately, this course is designed to empower students with introductory modeling skills that can be used to build a better understanding of how Earth’s various components interact and evolve.

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