About this Course
4.7
234 ratings
77 reviews
Our Earth’s Future is about the science of climate change and how to talk about it. You will learn from scientists in the fields of climatology, oceanography, Earth science, and anthropology who study how climate change is affecting people, populations, and ways of life. Explore the multiple lines of evidence for the human-induced climate change that is happening today, and consider what that means for the future of our planet. At the end of this course you will be able to understand key scientific principles, identify and address misconceptions, and contribute confidently to conversations about climate change....
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100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Approx. 7 hours to complete

Suggested: 1-3 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English...
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Approx. 7 hours to complete

Suggested: 1-3 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Clock
2 hours to complete

Climate Change Is Happening: See It

Human-induced climate change is happening. But in order to explore the evidence for this claim, we must first ask two questions: “What is science?” and “What is climate?” Once we understand how science is done and the basic dynamics of the climate system, we’ll focus on how scientists study ice cores, and see how evidence of climate change in the past is fundamental to understanding what lies ahead. ...
Reading
4 videos (Total 49 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
What is science? What is climate?15m
Communicating Climate Change22m
Scientists at Work: Greenland Ice Core7m
Reading4 readings
Syllabus10m
Resources10m
Educator Resources10m
Energy Balance and the Greenhouse Effect10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week One: Check Your Climate Knowledge14m
Week
2
Clock
1 hour to complete

It All Comes Down to the Ocean

Both the ocean’s sheer size – it covers seventy percent of our planet’s surface – and the properties of water make the ocean a major player in Earth’s climate system. An enormous reservoir of heat, the ocean is an important mechanism of heat storage and exchange with the atmosphere, which has important implications for climate change. We’ll focus on one of the consequences of warming: melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. How might this melting lead to future sea level rise? Scientists are studying geological records of past warming, and associated sea level rise, to see what the future may bring....
Reading
4 videos (Total 28 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Melting Ice, Rising Seas7m
Oceanography 10115m
Arctic Sea Ice: The New Normal3m
Reading1 reading
The Role of the Ocean in Climate Change10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week Two: Check Your Climate Knowledge12m
Week
3
Clock
1 hour to complete

Climate Change is Happening: Model It

An important counterpart to observational evidence is computer modeling, an essential tool for investigating how the climate system works and how it will respond to continued greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere. How do we know that a model is accurate? One way is to consider a past event, enter the historic climate data, and see if the model successfully “hindcasts” the event in reasonable detail. Ever more detailed, today’s supercomputer models can even help identify the potential causes of climate events on a regional scale, as climatologist Dr. Michela Biasutti explains using her research on droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 32 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Climate Change: Understanding the Forecast21m
What are Feedback and Forcings?7m
Reading2 readings
Connecting Drought in Africa's Sahel to Climate Change10m
Climate Models10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week Three: Check Your Climate Knowledge18m
Week
4
Clock
1 hour to complete

Living with Climate Change

Climate change is often framed as a future phenomenon, but it’s clear that people are already experiencing the consequences. What are the effects? It depends to some extent on where, and how, you live. For example, in the Pacific Islands, where sea level rise is threatening entire ways of life, communities have come together to prepare. What happens when there’s no place to go? Coastal communities aren’t the only ones at risk; food insecurity may one day threaten us all. And of course, humans are not the only species affected, and some will be at even greater risk in the future. ...
Reading
5 videos (Total 31 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
Patterns11m
Climate Change: A View from the Pacific12m
Declining Sea Ice Affects Caribou2m
Protecting Wildlife in a Changing Climate3m
Reading2 readings
The Impact of Climate Change on Pacific Island Peoples10m
Consequences of Climate Change10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week Four: Check Your Climate Knowledge12m
4.7

Top Reviews

By OWMay 24th 2016

Lectures are interesting and understandable. It brought the role the ocean plays into sharp focus and told me things I had not heard before. Now if our politicians would just take the class!

By WJJun 10th 2017

Good general introduction to climate change. Does a good job of highlighting both the science behind climate change as well as its impact on human communities now and in the future.

Instructor

About American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.