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#### English

Subtitles: English

#### 100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

#### English

Subtitles: English

### Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
1 hour to complete

## Overview

What you will find in this class.

...
1 video (Total 4 min), 4 readings
1 video
Resources10m
Debriefing Quizzes10m
Explainer Assignments10m
A Supplemental Class to This One10m
Week
2
3 hours to complete

## Heat, Light, and Energy

A primer on how to use units to describe numbers when describing temperature, energy, and light. Even if you don't plan on doing calculations yourself, understanding how units work will help to follow the rest of the lectures in the class. If you are interested in practicing your analysis skills, using units to guide calculations, there are some exercises in the Part II of this class.

...
6 videos (Total 28 min), 3 quizzes
6 videos
Units of Energy5m
Heat4m
Units of Light3m
Light5m
2 practice exercises
Optional Problems: How Much Coal to Run a Light Bulb4m
Optional Problems: Comparing Energy Prices16m
Week
3
1 hour to complete

## First Climate Model

The balance of energy flow, as incoming sunlight and outgoing infrared, allow us to create our first simple climate model, including a simple greenhouse effect. There are two extended exercises in Part II of this class, one an analytical (algebraic) model of the equilibrium temperature of a planet, the other a numerical model of how that temperature might evolve through time.

...
2 videos (Total 18 min), 4 quizzes
2 videos
The Greenhouse Effect 9m
4 practice exercises
Optional Layer Model Problem: How Hot is the Moon?4m
Optional Layer Model Problem 2: A Stronger Greenhouse Effect22m
Optional Layer Model Problem 3: Nuclear Winter2m
Quiz 122m
Week
4
1 hour to complete

## Greenhouse Gases and the Atmosphere

The Layer Model above assumes that the pane of glass representing the atmosphere absorbs all of the infrared radiation that hits it and that it radiates at all infrared wavelengths. In other words, the layer model atmosphere is an infrared blackbody, but transparent in the visible. In reality, greenhouse gases are not "black" at all; they are very choosy about which frequencies of light they absorb and emit. This selective absorption of infrared light by greenhouse gases leads to the band saturation effect, which makes rare, trace gases like methane disproportionally powerful relative to higher-concentration gases like CO₂.

...
2 videos (Total 20 min), 1 quiz
2 videos
The Band Saturation Effect12m
1 practice exercise
Model Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere12m
Week
5
1 hour to complete

## The Structure of the Atmosphere

The greenhouse effect works because the air in the upper atmosphere is colder than the ground, so that absorption and re-emission of IR by greenhouse gases decreases the amount of energy leaving the planet to space. Here we explore the physics responsible for keeping the upper atmosphere cold.

...
4 videos (Total 30 min), 1 quiz
4 videos
Pressure in a Standing Fluid10m
Water Vapor and Latent Heat8m
Moist Convection2m
1 practice exercise
Model the Lapse Rate and Greenhouse Effect10m
Week
6
1 hour to complete

## Weather and Climate

Another property of the real world, missing in our model so far, is that the real world is not everywhere the same temperature, and the heat fluxes to and from space do not necessarily balance at any given time or location. This is because the winds in the atmosphere and the currents in the ocean carry heat around, in general from the hot tropics up to the cold high latitudes.

...
4 videos (Total 18 min), 1 quiz
4 videos
Coriolis Acceleration5m
Geostrophic Motion5m
1 practice exercise
Quiz 224m
Week
7
4 hours to complete

## Feedbacks

Feedbacks are loops of cause-and-effect that can either stabilize Earth's climate or amplify future climate changes. There is an exercise in Part II of this class where you solve for a planet's temperature by iteration, and in the process demonstrate a runaway ice albedo feedback that might have led to the Snowball Earth climate state 700 million years ago.

...
6 videos (Total 34 min), 8 quizzes
6 videos
Ice Albedo Feedback2m
Water Vapor Feedback7m
Clouds9m
Aerosols5m
Climate Sensitivity4m
7 practice exercises
Model Sunlight, Albedo, and Climate12m
Extract the Water Vapor Feedback from Climate Model Results6m
Model Clouds 1: IR6m
Model Clouds 2: Full-spectrum10m
Model Aerosols and Climate8m
Calculate the Climate Sensitivity24m
Quiz 326m
Week
8
2 hours to complete

## The Carbon Cycle

Now we shift gears in a major way — away from climate physics (you now have seen its main ingredients) to the emergent miracle that is the carbon cycle on Earth. Not only is carbon the chemical element of life, it is also the means of storing life's energy. We will look at how carbon cycles through the land, the oceans, and the deep earth, going in and out of the atmosphere -- and how that stabilizes the earth's climate.

...
9 videos (Total 48 min), 4 quizzes
9 videos
The Goldilocks Planets3m
The Oceans in the Carbon Cycle5m
The Land Biosphere in the Carbon Cycle5m
The Battery of the Biosphere5m
Oxidation and Reduction of Carbon6m
Coal4m
Oil6m
Natural Gas2m
4 practice exercises
Model the Global Carbon Cycle22m
Model Ocean/Land CO₂ Uptake with ISAM12m
Model Intended vs. Greenhouse Yields6m
Quiz 422m
Week
9
6 hours to complete

## The Perturbed Carbon Cycle

On the carbon locked up in fossil fuels and what happens when we burn those fuels. In Part II of this class, you can create a simple but somewhat realistic model of Earth's temperature evolution in the coming decades, in response to the release of CO2 (or in the sudden stop of emissions in a scenario called "The world without us").

...
7 videos (Total 37 min), 7 quizzes
7 videos
Where Our Carbon Is Going3m
Ocean Buffer Chemistry6m
The Perturbed Carbon Cycle2m
Methane as a Greenhouse Gas8m
The Long CO₂ Tail5m
Why the CO₂ Tail Matters6m
5 practice exercises
Model Hubbert's Peak8m
Model Kaya Identity20m
Model Methane and Slugulator18m
Model the Long Tail12m
Quiz 516m
Week
10
3 hours to complete

## Looking for a Human Impact on Climate

You have now seen the ideas behind the forecast for a human impact on Earth's climate. The next question is: Do we see it happening today? It turns out that the "smoking gun" for a human impact on climate is the global average temperature record since about the 1970's. In order to interpret that temperature change, we need to consider it within the context of natural climate changes in Earth's geologic past.

...
10 videos (Total 45 min), 7 quizzes
10 videos
Sea Surface Temperature Records3m
Satellite Temperature Records2m
The Smoking Gun: Warming Since the 1970s6m
Paleoclimate and Proxy Measurements3m
Tree Rings4m
Borehole Temperatures2m
Oxygen Isotopes4m
Solar Intensity and the Hockey Stick6m
Glacial - Interglacial Cycles6m
6 practice exercises
Make Maps of Climate Models Warming4m
Look for the Smoking Gun10m
Browse the Global Glacier Length Data4m
Model Borehole Temperatures4m
Analyze Recent Solar Intensity Changes8m
Quiz 612m
Week
11
4 hours to complete

## Potential Impacts

This unit we focus on the potential impacts of continued business-as-usual CO2 emissions. This is also the topic of the Working Group 2 volume of the IPCC reports (the Working Group 1 report is on the scientific basis, which is what we've been studying so far this course). You may find this material distressing, but hang on, because next week we'll go over "Mitigation", which is what it takes to avoid climate change (treated in the Working Group 3 report). Remember that most of the carbon we're worried about is still in the ground, so these impacts are inevitable only if we continue to decide to make them so. In Part II of this class, you can create a simple ice sheet model of your own.

...
12 videos (Total 30 min), 10 quizzes
12 videos
Monsoons2m
Vegetation2m
Impacts of Sea Level2m
Antarctic Ice Sheet2m
Greenland Ice Sheet3m
Paleo Sea Level Changes2m
Water Vapor and Storminess1m
Hurricanes3m
Extreme Weather1m
Ecosystem Impacts2m
Human Impacts1m
9 practice exercises
Water Stress in Climate Model Results6m
Model Permafrost6m
Model Changes in Sea Level10m
Play with an Ice Sheet Model, ISM12m
Short vs Long Term Sea Level Change12m
Find the Increase in Low-Level Humidity in Models4m
Extract AR5 Model Lapse Rates6m
Model Hurricanes12m
Quiz 720m
Week
12
6 hours to complete

## Mitigation

The last unit of the class finds us considering the options for avoiding, or "mitigating," a human impact on Earth's climate. Bottom line: I think it would be a challenge that humankind could beat if we decided to. If there hypothetically were no more coal on Earth, our potential to alter the climate would be much less. Finding energy sources in that world would not be an existential threat would just be a business opportunity. The hard part, in my opinion, is making that decision.

...
8 videos (Total 38 min), 1 reading, 10 quizzes
8 videos
Temperature Targets1m
Slug Theory5m
Geoengineering: CO₂ Capture and Sequestration6m
Economics of Climate Change8m
Mitigation: Short-Term4m
Mitigation: Long-Term3m
Survey on Attitudes toward MOOC technology10m
8 practice exercises
Model Stabilization Scenarios2m
Model Temperature Targets2m
How well does Slugulator do at Slug Theory?12m
Model CO2 Sequestration2m
Model SRM Geoengineering4m
How Many Wedges?2m
How Much Carbon-Free Energy by 2100?2m
Quiz 828m
4.6
77 Reviews

## 14%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

### Top reviews from Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change

By SLOct 6th 2016

A great introductory course into Global Warming as well as modelling which gives you a better insight into what is actually happening with our planet. Started another course and it all fits in.

By SKMay 27th 2019

It's a very comprehensive and extremely tough course to negotiate. Some of the quiz answers are still a mystery. It has arisen the appetite of Climate Change within me, like never before.

## Instructor

### David Archer

Professor
Geophysical Sciences

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