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Climate Change: The Scientific Basis

Course Numbers: CZMT - 0790 and MEVS - 5100

Understanding the physical basis of the climate system is necessary in order to make sound predictions about future climate variability and its potential impacts on society. This course,which is one of the two required (core) courses for the Graduate Certificate in Marine andCoastal Climate Change, will examine climate change from the scientific side. Students will learn how the climate system works, how climate has changed throughout Earth's history, and how this information is used to predict the response of climate to both natural and anthropogenic forcing in the future. The course will be placed in the context of the marine and coastal environment.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • relate human population size to natural resources and resource consumptionExplain the carbon, hydrologic, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus cycles
  • describe ecological succession, population ecology, and carrying capacity
  • summarize the effects of air pollution on human health and natural systemsDescribe causes and effects of global climate change
  • discuss sustainable freshwater use and management practicesSummarize types of water pollution and methods for improving water quality
  • identify human activities that contribute to marine pollution and impact marine ecosystems
  • summarize soil and land resource conservation effortsDiscuss human causes of species endangerment and extinction
  • describe the types of solid and hazardous wastes and how they are managed
  • summarize the pros and cons associated with various energy sources
  • write a report, develop a lesson plan or create an interpretive guide based on an Environmental Science topic


Henson, R. (2011). The Rough Guide to Climate Change. 2nd Ed. Rough Guides, Ltd.ISBN 1‐8582‐8105‐9

Ruddiman, W. (2008). Earth's Climate: Past and Future. Freeman, W.H. & Company. ISBN 0‐7167‐3741‐8

Fall 2013 Syllabus

Oceanography Library Course Guide

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