Clouds and Climate

The Romps Group at the University of California, Berkeley

EPS 7, Introduction to Climate Change, Fall 2017
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Overview

This course covers the physical processes that determine Earth's past, present, and future climate, with a particular focus on the essentially irreversible climate change (a.k.a., global warming) caused by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. Topics will also include the estimation of future warming and impacts, the Earth resources that can be used to combat climate change, and the policies being used to shift towards the use of those resources.

Time
M W F, 2:00-3:00
Location
245 Li Ka Shing
Required text
TBD
Either a textbook will be assigned or weekly readings will be posted online. This should be decided by the end of the May 2017.
Prerequisites
None
Grading
Homework (due weekly or biweekly) 30%, Midterm I 20% (September 27, in class), Midterm II 20% (November 3, in class), Final 30% (December 12, 11:30-2:30, 245 Li Ka Shing)
Readers
XX (XX McCone Hall, XX@berkeley.edu)
XX (XX McCone Hall, XX@berkeley.edu)
Reader office hours
XX
Romps office hours
Monday 3:00-4:00 (377 McCone Hall, romps@berkeley.edu)

Syllabus (subject to change)

Fast Climate Controls (1 to 1,000 years)

8/23, Visible and invisible light: What you cannot see matters!
  • Reading: XX
8/25, Mercury or Mars: To roast or to freeze?
  • Reading: XX
8/28, Atmospheric convection: What goes up must come down
  • Reading: XX
8/30, Water, water, everywhere: The atmosphere as a dehumidifier
  • Reading: XX
9/1, Infrared radiation: The Earth glows, but from where?
  • Reading: XX
9/6, Forcing and feedbacks: Who leads and who follows?
  • Reading: XX
9/8, The biggest source of uncertainty: What will clouds do?
  • Reading: XX
9/11, Cloud taxonomy: Name that cloud
  • Reading: XX
9/13, Ocean circulation: Where does the heat go?
  • Reading: XX
9/15, Venus: What went wrong here?
  • Reading: XX
9/18, Carbon sinks: Where does the CO2 go?
  • Reading: XX

Slow Climate Controls (1,000 to 1,000,000 years)

9/20, Coring for history: Ancient records of climate
  • Reading: XX
9/22, Weathering: The Earth's thermostat
  • Reading: XX
9/25, Paleoclimate: The past as guide to the future
  • Reading: XX
9/27, Midterm I covering Fast Climate Controls

Current Warming (1750 to 2017)

9/29, The industrial revolution: Fossil fuels and their uses
  • Reading: XX
10/2, CO2 rising: Isotopes finger the culprit
  • Reading: XX
10/4, Evidence of warming: Is it getting hot in here?
  • Reading: XX

Future warming (2017 to 102017)

10/6, Future CO2 levels: Simple math paints the picture
  • Reading: XX
10/9, Climate models: Supercomputers to the rescue
  • Reading: XX
10/11, The IPCC: How to win a Nobel Prize
  • Reading: XX
10/13, Warming on land: The problem is much bigger than you think
  • Reading: XX
10/16, Warming in the deep future: The problem is much longer than you think
  • Reading: XX

Impacts

10/18, Droughts and floods: The revenge of Clausius-Clapeyron
  • Reading: XX
10/20, California drought and fire: What is the forecast?
  • Reading: XX
10/23, Ice and sea level: Where not to invest in property
  • Reading: XX
10/25, Ocean acidification: The crisis below the waves
  • Reading: XX

Engineering Solutions

10/27, Hydro power: What is left to harness?
  • Reading: XX
10/30, Nuclear power: Necessary or too costly and dangerous?
  • Reading: XX
11/1, Wind power: Mining the sky for energy
  • Reading: XX
11/3, Midterm II covering Slow Climate Controls, Current Warming, Future Warming, and Impacts
11/6, Solar power: Is the technology ready to save the day?
  • Reading: XX
11/8, Biomass: Is there room for both food and fuel?
  • Reading: XX
11/13, Coal to gas: The fracking revolution and its impact on climate
  • Reading: XX
11/15, Wedges: Pick your own scenario for saving the planet
  • Reading: XX

Political Solutions

11/17, Financial incentives: ITC, PTC, and other fun acronyms you should know
  • Reading: XX
11/20, Who obstructs action on climate change, and why: Follow the money
  • Reading: XX
11/27, International agreements: Rio, Kyoto, and Paris
  • Reading: XX
11/29, Domestic regulations: CAFE, RPS, CPP, and more important acronyms
  • Reading: XX
12/1, Carbon tax: The solution to climate change that we could adopt today
  • Reading: XX
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Courses  EPS 290, Topics in Atmospheric Dynamics, Fall 2017