Unknown, Unknown, Kerry Emanuel, Dan Cziczo, David McGee, Kerry Emanuel, Dan Cziczo, David McGee
12.340x introduces the basic science underpinning our knowledge of the climate system, how climate has changed in the past, and how it may change in the future. The course focuses on the fundamental energy balance in the climate system, between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation, and how this balance is affected by greenhouse gases. We will also discuss physical processes that shape the climate, such as atmospheric and oceanic convection and large-scale circulation, solar variability, orbital mechanics, and aerosols, as well as the evidence for past and present climate change. We will discuss climate models of varying degrees of complexity, and you will be able to run a model of a single column of the Earth's atmosphere, which includes many of the important elements of simulating climate change. Together, this range of topics forms the scientific basis for our understanding of anthropogenic (human-influenced) climate change.
We will not cover issues regarding policy responses to climate change. Rather, Global Warming Science is designed to be a strictly scientific introduction to this important topic.
12.340x is geared toward students with some mathematical and scientific background, but does not require any prior knowledge of climate or atmospheric science. See the prerequisites section for more details.
The course will be divided into weekly sections which will be released sequentially. Each section will include a set of lecture videos and practice exercises that students will be expected to work through. Additional background readings may be assigned, all of which will be sourced from material freely available online. The course will be graded based on weekly online problem sets, as well as an online final exam.