Science of Global Climate Change [CRN 31304]

Discipline: Atmospheric Science
Instructor: Wenig
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0930
End: 1050
Field Work: Day 6 | February 5, 2019 | China
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Global Climate Change is one of the most pressing issues in modern times, posing a potential risk to human health and the balance of the ecosystem. This course covers the basic physics of radiation and energy as it applies to incoming solar and outgoing longwave radiation that determines the energy budget of the Earth and the forcing of climate change (greenhouse effect). Human perturbations to this balance will be considered, especially the emission of greenhouse gases by combustion of fossil fuels. The fate of anthropogenic emissions will be explored.

The students will learn about different measurement techniques (satellite remote sensing, monitoring networks, etc.) that produce those data modern assessments of global changes are based on. They will be taught how measurement uncertainties affect those assessments. Climate feedback processes and climate sensitivity to Radiative forcing will be explained. Numerical climate prediction models will be explained qualitatively, and the projections of future global change will be put in the context of past climate change. Climate impacts on ecosystems and economic systems will be considered, and options for mitigation and adaptation will be explored. We will look at the problems caused by global climate change to the different countries which we will visit during the voyage and their mitigation strategies.

Field Work

Country: China
Day: 6
Date: February 5, 2019

We will visit the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) and learn about its history and current research for weather forecasting. The HKO has a long history of providing meteorological and geophysical services to the public and the shipping, aviation, industrial and engineering sectors. The scientists at the HKO conduct scientific studies to further improve their prediction models, often in collaboration with local universities. After our tour at the HKO we visit one of those universities, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU).  The students will get an overview presentation of the weather and climate related research at CityU, as well as a lab tour. The students will have the opportunity to ask questions about the subjects presented and to get in contact with local students. Learning Objectives:

  1. learn about the development of the Hong Kong Observatory and University Research
  2. observe how weather forecasts and urban climate simulations are made
  3. understand the importance of weather prediction, e.g. for air traffic
  4. gain understanding of the factors influencing weather and climate