ATM S 211: Winter 2006
Climate and Climate Change
SeaWiFS Antactic ozone hole 2000 The blue marble Ice shelf North Pacific Low
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Lectures of potential interest (see extra credit)

  • March 9, 2006, 7-8:30pm  Climate Change: Is Our Health at Stake? Town Hall cost is $15  find out more
  • Friday, Mar 10, 3:30 - "The Uncoordinated Giant:  Why U.S. Weather Research and Prediction Are Not Achieving Their Potential" Cliff Mass, Prof UW atmos sci, Room 75 Johnson Hall
  • .Friday, Mar 10, 3:30-4:30 Debbie Kelley Oceanography
    "Life in One of the Most Extreme Environments on Earth: The Newly
    Discovered Lost City Hydrothermal Field" Physics/ Astronomy Building, Room A-102,

Class Meeting Times and Location: Monday-Thursday from 10:30 to 11:20 am  in Johnson 075. Plus Section on Friday from 10:30 to 11:20 or 11:30 to 12:20 in Anderson 008.

Instructor: Dr. Cecilia Bitz
Office: room 726 in the Atmospheric Sciences & Geophysics Building
Office hours: Tuesdays 12:30-1:30, or by appointment
e-mail: (emails will be answered within 48 hrs)

Teaching Assistant
: Clark Kirkman IV
Office: room 511 in the Atmospheric Sciences & Geophysics Building
Office hours: Monday 11:30-12:20
Class Description

An introductory course for nonscience majors on climate and climate change.  The class will be divided in three parts:

  • Climate of the present.  We will examine the nature of the global climate system and the main processes controlling climate.  Topics covered will include the global energy balance, atmospheric circulation, the role of oceans and ice in climate, the carbon cycle, atmospheric composition.
  • Climate of the past.   In this part of the class we will discuss how climate changed in the past on timescales ranging from billions of years to thousands of years. 
  • Climate of the future. Is the Earth getting warmer?  Why? How will climate change over the next 100 years? Should we be concerned? These are some of the current major environmental concerns which we will discuss in class.

Course Goals

(1) Learn about the climate system from modern instrumentation and theory.
(2) Learn about Earth's past climates and the evolution of life, environment, and atmospheric composition as a context for understanding modern climate change.
(3)  Learn the science necessary to understand modern environmental problems, especially from increasing greenhouse gases and ozone depleting chemicals. Empower students to participate in the debate over how to respond to global warming.

See the syllabus for a more detailed description.