Description


Global Warming Science: A quantitative introduction to the science of climate change and its consequences, meant to assist students to process issues that often appear in the news and public debates. Topics include: the greenhouse effect and consequences of the rise of greenhouse gasses, including sea level rise, ocean acidification, heat waves, droughts, glacier melting, forest fires, expected changes to hurricanes and more. The scientific basis for each subject will be covered, and every class will involve a hands-on analysis of observations, climate models, and climate feedbacks, using python Jupyter notebooks. Throughout, an ability to critically evaluate observations, predictions and risk will be developed. 

Course modules

Slides and code for workshops for each module are provided at the links below; a pdf copy of all class workshops is available here.

The basics

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Greenhouse

Energy balance, natural and anthropogenic greenhouse effect, how greenhouse gasses work.

Slides  Code   
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Temperature

Climate sensitivity, delayed warming due to ocean heat capacity, polar amplification, hiatus perios, stratospheric cooling.

Slides  Code
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Sea level

Global vs regional sea level rise, ocean water warming and land ice melting, wind, atmospheric pressure and gravitational effects.

Slides  Code

Oceans

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Acidification

The ocean carbonate system, CO2 and acidification, effects on ocean biology.

Slides Code
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Ocean circulation

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, ocean temperature, salinity, density, tipping points and surprises.

Slides  Code

Atmosphere

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Clouds

Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty: cloud types, radiative effects, atmospheric convection, microphysics, cloud feedbacks.

Slides Code
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Hurricanes

Sea surface temperature and wind shear, analyzing observed changes, hurricane energetics and a possible future intensification.

Slides  Code

Cryosphere

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Arctic sea ice 

Observed changes to Arctic ice extent, area, volume & age, stagnation of Antarctic sea ice, sea-ice feedbacks, detection of anthropogenic change.

Slides Code
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Greenland and Antarctica 

Surface mass balance, ablation vs accumulation, positive degree days, calving, marine ice sheet instability, basal processes, ice streams acceleration, Moulins, ice ages.

Slides  Code
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Mountain glaciers

Observed retreat over past 150 years, acceleration in recent decades, equilibrium line, ice cores and glacier length records, little ice age vs anthropogenic climate change.

Slides  Code

Warming consequences

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Droughts and precipitation

Precipitation, evaporation and soil moisture, forcing of drought events by remote SST, El NiƱo, past droughts from tree rings, future projections case studies: Sahel & South-West US, understanding global-scale precipitation projections, extreme precipitation events.

Slides  Code   
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Heat waves

Heat waves as weather events, roles of high pressure aloft, subsidence, surface winds, clear sky & dry soil, heat stress & human health, understanding projected shift in heat wave statistics.

Slides  Code
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Forest fires

Fuel aridity & fire weather indices, non-climate human influences, climate variability vs climate change, test cases: west US and Australia, global perspective.

Slides  Code

More

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Introduction lecture

Motivation, introduction to python Jupyter notebooks.

Slides  Code   
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Critically reading popular press

A guided example.

Readings  
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Science and policy

Analyzing a specific climate-related legistlation.

Readings  

Also

Image credits  • Lecture outline, prerequisites, requirements  • Textbook