Quantitative treatment of ocean basin to global scale ocean circulation systems and their interaction with climate variability. Prerequisite: PHYS 123; MATH 125; recommended: OCEAN 210.
In this class, we will ask the question: what do we need to understand about the ocean in order to predict future climate change? We will focus on ocean storage and transport of heat and freshwater. We will first develop basic understanding of how the ocean is set into motion and how it stores and transports temperature and fresh water. Through readings of contemporary papers and excepts of the recent IPCC report we will then answer the following questions:
Should we worry about global warming leading to the next ice-age? What ocean measurements should be made to monitor climate change? What is causing regional changes in the ocean? Is sea-ice extent change tied to ocean circulation?
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures, in class exercises, presentations and discussions
Prerequisite: PHYS 123; MATH 125; recommended: OCEAN 210
Class assignments and grading
5 graded homework assignments involving calculations Preparation of summary of a research topic and presentation
Grades will be based on five written assignments (45%). You will prepare a brief summary (1-2 pages) and a presentation on a topic related to the role of the oceans in climate change (40%). All of the other students on your day of presentation will read one short paper on the topic and prepare two questions based on what they read and participate in the discussion on these topics (15%). There will be no midterm or final exam.