Anyone following current events cannot help but be aware of the growing number of reports about changes taking place on our Earth, for example related to atmospheric temperatures, forest decline, hurricanes, wildfires, glaciers and ice sheets, mineral and water resources, etc. Global Change Science is a rapidly developing multidisciplinary field that addresses
- (a) the natural operation of Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere,
- (b) the natural and human-induced ("anthropogenic") mechanisms by which these systems may be altered, and
- (c) the nature of the changes.
The consequences of such changes, whether natural or anthropogenic, could clearly be important to climate, agriculture, commerce, and human health on our planet.
This course takes an “Earth System” (rather than a strict “climate change”) approach to looking at our planet and the changes that have occurred and are occurring. Students will learn physical and chemical characteristics of Earth systems advanced in this class as a prelude to a more complete and thoughtful analysis of major global change issues. In addition to learning
- the principles and jargon of global change science, and
- our limitations in understanding of the Earth System,
the course will promote improved writing skills and critical thinking in writing exercises, lectures, and group activities.