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    Macalester College
   
 
  Dec 12, 2017
 
 
    
College Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENVI 140 - The Earth’s Climate System


The Earth’s climate system is complex and dynamic, and yet understanding this system is crucial in order to address concerns about anthropogenic influences on climate. In this course, we examine the basic physical and chemical processes that control the modern climate system, including the role of incoming solar radiation, the greenhouse effect, ocean and atmospheric circulation, and El Nino. We also look critically at the methods and archives used to reconstruct climate in the past, such as ice cores, marine and lake sediments, and cave deposits. We explore the possible effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on modern and future climate by critically examining the models used in climate prediction, and discuss the challenges of modeling such a complex system. Although this course is taught from a primarily scientific perspective, it includes frequent discussions of the roles policy and economics play in the current dialogue on global climate change. Fall semester. (4 Credits)