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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cecilia Bitz
ATM S 211
Seattle Campus

Climate and Climate Change

The nature of the global climate system. Factors influencing climate including interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, solid earth, and biosphere. Stability and sensitivity of climate system. Global warming, ozone depletion, and other human influences. Intended for nonmajors. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This is an introductory course for nonscience majors on climate and climate change. The first part of the class will cover the processes controlling the climate, including the interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans, the solid earth, and the biosphere. Next the course will focus on the climate history of the past. Finally, the course study will include a number of issues related to global change including global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, and global air pollution.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures M-Th from the instructor and a review session on Fridays with the teaching assistant. There will be frequent in-class activities and discussions. More information is on the course web site is

Recommended preparation

The course covers material in the textbook: Lee Kump, James Kasting, and Robert Crane (2004) "The Earth System" (2ND EDITION). Reading the first two chapters gives an indication of a student's background understanding that is assumed.

Class assignments and grading

Homework problems require short answer and essay writing. Physical concepts are emphasized with little math required. Quizzes are drawn from the homework and reading. A research project is required, with a 3 page written report and a poster presentation at an in-class symposium.

Tentative plan Research Project and Poster Symposium 20% Midterms 25% Comprehensive Final Exam 20% Quizzes and Inclass Assignments 20% Homework Assignments 15%

The two midterms follow the first two major topics (modern climate and past climate and climate change). The final follows the third major topic and it is comprehensive.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Cecilia Bitz
Date: 12/30/2005