Climate and Society: Case Studies

Syllabus - Fall 2014

Updated September 3, 2014

 

Registration

You can register for this course online or by phone. The course consists of three credits and does not have a related lab section.

Prerequisites

There are no official prerequisite courses needed to take this class, although students are expected to use the basic science and quantitative skills that got them into Columbia in the first place. The course is designed for undergraduates with entry-level skills in physical sciences, mathematics, social studies, and economics. All of what you are expected to know and learn in this class can be derived from the lectures and readings.

Columbia Honor Code

Students are expected to do their own work on all tests and assignments for this class and act in accordance with the Faculty Statement on Academic Integrity and Honor Code established by the students of Columbia College and the School of General Studies. Because any academic integrity violation undermines our intellectual community, students found to have cheated, plagiarized, or committed any other act of academic dishonesty can expect to [specify academic sanction: fail the class/receive a zero for the work in question] and may be referred to the Dean's Discipline process.

It is students' responsibility to ensure their work maintains the standards expected and should you have any questions or concerns regarding your work, you can:
a) Talk with your TA
b) Ask the instructor
c) Refer to the Columbia University Undergraduate Guide to Academic Integrity.

Prerequisites

There are no official prerequisite courses needed to take this class, although students are expected to use the basic science and quantitative skills that got them into Columbia in the first place. The course is designed for undergraduates with entry-level skills in physical sciences, mathematics, social studies, and economics. All of what you are expected to know and learn in this class can be derived from the lectures and readings.

Overview

Lectures
Lectures meet from 1010-1125 AM, Monday and Wednesday in 603 Schermerhorn.

Homework
There will be six homework assignments for the semester. The highest five homework grades will be used to calculate your overall homework grade. Note that homework must be your own work always; evidence to the contrary will result in a zero entered for your entire semster homework grade

Textbook and readings
Most of the required readings are available as PDF files accessible direclty from this website.

Also, there are many recommended supplimentary readings available as PDFs, or in the Columbia Library reserve reading archive.

There is one required textbook, David Archer's

Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast , by David Archer (2011, 2nd Edition). N.B. Be sure you order the 2nd Edition as the 1st had many errors and omissions!!. If you purchase this book you want to be sure to get the 2011 printing as the original, first printing had quite a few typos. You can also purchase this from Amazon or other online sources.

Some key texts for the class and for your projects:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 5th Assessment Report (IPCC-AR5, 2013).

Summary for Policymakers (36 pp)

National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council: Abrupt Climate Change - Inevitable Surprises (NAS-NRC, 2003)

Front Matter, Summary, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Color Plates

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, by David MacKay

This is an excellent book that considers how a government (in this case the United Kingdom) might adopt a sustainable energy plan for the near future in an objective and easy-to-follow manner. The book, which is freely available on the internet, very succinctly outlines the technologies avaliable, their potential,and their trade-offs. In the end, a very sobering yet realisitc set of scenarios is presented for a 'sustainable' energy plan for one country.

Project
There will be a modest end-of-term project for each student that builds upon the ideas and calculations of Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, by David MacKay.

Tests
There will be a total of three exams, one after each of the three modules (ozone depletion, El Nino, and global warming). The final exam is cumulative but largely focuses on global warming content of the last half of the semester.


Grading

The final grade for the class is determined using the following weights:

Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 25%
Final Exam 35%
Quizes, attendance, participation 5%
Homework 15%
   

How did students do in previous years? Have a look..

Lead Professsor :

Prof. Peter B. deMenocal

Dept. of Earth and Environmental Science

peter@ldeo.columbia.edu

 
TAs and Support

Logan Brenner, TA

lbrenner@ldeo.columbia.edu

Office Hours


The TA and I are available for your questions. We will set up formal office hours in the beginning of the semester. We are also always available for questions by phone or by email.