Climate Change

MATH-GA 3011, Spring, 2021

Lectures: Thusday 9:00 - 10:50 am Eastern Time (New York) on Zoom.
Office Hours: By appointment

Course Description

According to NASA, 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year ever recorded; NOAA had it losing out to 2016 by 0.02 degrees C. The last 7 years (2014-2020) are the 7 warmest years in recorded history. It is likely the hottest the Earth has ever been since the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago.

The first predictions of human induced global warming were made over a century ago, but the topic remains controversial despite the fact that the world has warmed 1 degree Celsius over the intervening years. In this course, we will investigate observational evidence as well as the physical and mathematical foundations upon which forecasts of future climate are based. What are the key uncertainties in the predictions, and what steps are required to reduce them? We will find that it is not the science of global warming that is controversial, but rather, what to do about it.

By reading through a mixture of historic and current studies, investigating key processes that affect the sensitivity of our planet to greenhouse gases, and exploring a hierarchy of climate models, this course will get you up to speed on the science of climate change. Grades will be based on a course project using a climate model to predict the impact of anthropogenic forcing on the Earth’s climate. Particularly attention will be paid to establishing reproducible science and quantifying the uncertainty in your prediction.

For more details, please see the course syllabus.