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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joel A. Thornton
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 course surveys the science of Earth's climate, current, past, and future. We describe, at a general (non-major) level, the physics, chemistry, and biology that determine and drive changes in the climate, including those attributable to human activities.

Student learning goals

Students will be able to succinctly describe the definition of climate

Students will know how to apply a physically accurate and yet simple model that explains the average temperature of Earth's surface and the factors which give rise to its changes.

Students will know which gases are greenhouse gases, and how to rank them in terms of importance.

Students will be able to explain similarities and differences between large climate shifts that occurred in the past (e.g. ice ages) with those changes expected in the future.

Students will learn how to critically assess and contribute to descriptions of climate science in the popular media.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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.
Last Update by Joel A. Thornton
Date: 09/27/2011