This course examines past, present, and future global climate change, focusing on its impacts on natural resource availability and quality. More specifically, we will look at current and future climatic impacts on the Earth’s major biomes (polar regions, deserts, forests, grasslands, etc.) and their resources, as well as changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, soil, freshwater, and much more. We will focus on the spatial patterns of these changes and examine why these patterns appear as they do.
Knowledge and Skills Developed:
- To understand how the Earth’s climate system works and its record of past (long-term) climate change.
- To demonstrate knowledge of the impact of past climate change on Earth’s biogeography (patterns of life) and biodiversity.
- To describe recent changes in Earth’s global climate (both natural and man-made).
- To understand what global climate models (GCMs) are and how they are used in validating past climate change and projecting future climate change.
- To be able to describe future climate projections (temperature/precipitation change) and their impacts (sea-level rise, ice melt, ocean acidification, etc.).
- To understand how climate change is currently affecting (and is projected to affect in the future) such things as global biomes (distribution and function), disturbances and natural disasters (fires, hurricanes, severe weather), and global biodiversity (invasions and extinctions).