"Mathematics Freshman Seminar Course - A Climate of Uncertainty" 28 posts Sort by created date Sort by defined ordering View as a grid View as a list

Class Assignments, Schedule, Syllabus, and Final

This class was developed to work in a "flipped classroom" format, in which there are few traditional lectures, and class time is spent for the most part with interactive learning activities and group work.  

A syllabus, schedule, the final project guidelines, and an example final project provided by my students are attached here.

The attached lists of assignments is included as a reference for some of the interactive learning activities used in this course.  These assignments follow some special formats described here:

  • Read and Share: These are assignments based around forming groups of students to read the assigned article, discuss questions in small groups, and then hold a wider group discussion at the end of the class period including all smaller groups.  Each group will focus on a specific component of the wider reading assignment, and students are to become experts in this component and share that perspective in the wider group discussion.
  • Read and Report: These are assignments based around forming groups of students like Read and Share, but with the small groups required to collaboratively develop a slideshow presentation on their reading to present to the whole class at the end of the period.  Students are encouraged to ask the presenters questions.
  • Discussion Readings: These are longer reading assignments assigned as homework, but class time can be spent in either Read and Share or Read and Report format when students can meet in their assigned groups to discuss their reading homework.
  • In Class Modeling Assignments: These assignments utilize the conceptual climate model C-ROADS, linked in this collection, and the resolved physics student climate model, EdGCM.  

I have also included some modifications to the Stabilization Wedges Game, included in this collection, in which I assigned stakeholder roles.  Students are meant to examine the Stabilization Wedges game from their stakeholder perspective and roleplay this group in the design of their solution.  Students are to discuss how their solution was shaped by their negotiation and their stakeholder interests.

The final assignment

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MetEd - Introduction to Climatology

This module provides an overview of climatology, the study of climate. The module begins by examining the drivers that combine to create the climate regions of the world—from those at the mesoscale (local) level to those at the synoptic-scale (continental) and global-scale levels. Examples include locally dominant winds, air masses, fronts, ocean currents, Earth’s rotation around the sun, and latitude. Each discussion of a climate driver has an ‘example/exploration’ segment, where the information is applied to several cities. The module also examines a scheme for classifying the world’s climate zones, the sources and uses of climate information, and some of its limitations. The module is intended for a wide range of users, from forecasters and scientists to those in business and government as well as the general public—in short, anyone interested in learning about climatology. Some familiarity with basic meteorology is useful although not required.

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MetEd - Monitoring the Climate System with Satellites

The international science community has identified a set of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) that should be monitored for measuring the climate system, how it is changing, and its likely impact on future climate. Environmental satellites play an important role in this effort. They are uniquely positioned to provide broad, spatially consistent, and continuous global sampling of many of the ECVs.

This module explores the benefits of monitoring the climate system with satellites. We begin by reviewing how satellites observe key atmospheric elements and features that are found in a variety of climate cycles and are important for studying long-term climate trends. From there, we explore events at the different scales (from seasonal to long-term) and the contributions that satellites make to improving our understanding, monitoring, and prediction of them. Finally, we discuss the challenges involved in monitoring climate with satellites. Among these is the need for continuous, stable, high-resolution, and validated measurements that are coordinated with the world’s satellite operators.

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MetEd - Jason-2: Using Satellite Altimetry to Monitor the Ocean

Altimeters onboard satellites such as Jason-2 measure sea surface height and other characteristics of the ocean surface. These characteristics are linked to underlying processes and structures, making altimetry data useful for understanding the full depth of the global ocean. This 75-minute module explores major discoveries made possible by altimetry data in oceanography, marine meteorology, the marine geosciences, climate studies, the cryosphere, and hydrology. For example, altimeters have played a vital role in detecting and monitoring sea level rise and its relation to climate change. The module also describes many of the practical applications of altimetry data, for example, in hurricane forecasting and monitoring climate events such as ENSO. Finally, the module describes Jason-2, which was launched in 2008, its products and services, and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), of which it is a part. OSTM is a collaboration between EUMETSAT and CNES (Europe) and NOAA and NASA (United States).

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MetEd - Remote Sensing Using Satellites, 2nd Edition

The second edition of the popular "Remote Sensing Using Satellites" module updates imagery of recent hurricanes as well as other phenomena from more recent satellites. The suggested audience for this module is high school and undergraduate students.

Learn about remote sensing in general and then more specifically about how it is done from satellites. We will focus on the visible and infrared channels, those commonly seen on television broadcasts. Come explore the view of Earth from space and see what we see.

In the second chapter, we will focus even more on hurricanes and specifically Hurricanes Jimena (2009), Ike (2008), and Irene (2011).

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The Klamath Basin Water Crisis

In this case study, students examine global water shortage problems in the context of the current Klamath Basin water crisis. Two main perspectives are addressed, agriculture and the environment, along with multiple other perspectives including Native Americans, hydroelectric dams, and the fishing industry. Students learn about and discuss competing interests for water and analyze and critique scientific data, maps, and graphs. The case was developed for a social sciences track environmental studies course. It could be used in an environmental science, ethics, or policy course as well as in water management or agriculture classes.

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Understanding the Hydrologic Cycle: International Edition

This module helps students gain a basic understanding of the elements of the hydrologic cycle. The hydrologic cycle is the continuous movement and phase change of liquid water, ice, and water vapor above, on, under and through the earth's surface. This module examines the basic concepts of the hydrologic cycle including water distribution, atmospheric water, surface water, groundwater, and snowpack/snowmelt.

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MetEd - Sea Ice and Products and Services of the National Ice Center

This two-hour module examines sea ice, icebergs, and the products and services of the National Ice Center and the North American Ice Service. Topics include climatology and current trends in sea ice extent and thickness; the development, classification, and drift of sea ice and icebergs; fractures, leads and polynyas; and the satellite detection of sea ice using visible, infrared, and microwave sensors.

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MetEd - Volcanic Ash: Introduction

Provides a concise introduction to volcanic ash through the examples of the Mt. Pinatubo and Eyjafjallajökull eruptions. This is the introduction to a four-part series on Volcanic Ash.

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MetEd - Volcanic Ash: Volcanism

This module is the second in the four-part Volcanic Ash series. It provides information about the geological, and geophysical processes related to volcanic activity and volcanic ash in the atmosphere and on the ground. It discusses four types of volcanic eruptions and describes six major volcanic hazards:

  • Tephra
  • Pyroclastic flow
  • Lahar
  • Lava flow
  • Volcanic gas
  • Tsunami

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MetEd - The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Cycle

This Webcast, is an expert lecture by Dr. Vernon Kousky of NOAA/CPC, entitled "The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Cycle". The presentation covers the identification and global weather impacts associated with both phases of ENSO. This version of the presentation has enhanced graphics and has been modified to include an introduction to the newly established “Operational Niño Index” (ONI). A forecaster who attended the original classroom presentation on The ENSO Cycle had the following to say... “[This lecture was the] best presentation of the workshop! Very comprehensive, from the basics to the more complex issues, easy to follow, and great use of graphics. The presenter did an excellent job of relating the presentation topics to forecasters.”

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NOVA - Earth From Space

"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.


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MetEd - Space Weather Basics, 2nd Edition

This module presents an overview of space weather processes, their impacts on Earth and human activities, and the technologies used for forecasting space weather events. The module goal is to provide NWS forecasters a basic understanding of space weather and the operations of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). It will be of interest to a general audience as well.

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MetEd - Climate Change: Fitting the Pieces Together

This module discusses climate change, particularly as it is currently being affected by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities. It also covers signs of climate change, how scientists study climate, the current thinking on future changes, and what can be done to minimize the effects. Updated in 2012.

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MetEd - Introduction to Climate Models

This module explains how climate models work. Because the modeling of both weather and climate share many similarities, the content throughout this module draws frequent comparisons and highlights the differences. We explain not only how, but why climate models differ from weather models. To do so, we explore the difference between weather and climate, then show how models are built to simulate climate and generate the statistics that describe it. We conclude with a discussion of models are tuned and tested.

Understanding how climate responds to changes in atmospheric composition and other factors drives climate research. Climate models provide a tool to understand how processes work and interact with each other.

Our intended audience is the weather forecasting community: those who are already familiar with NWP models. Non-forecasters with an interest in weather and climate should also find the module useful. The content is not overly technical and the goal of this module is not to train people to develop climate models but to highlight the similarities and differences between weather and climate models.

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MetEd - Introduction to Statistics for Climatology

The effective use of climate data and products requires an understanding of what the statistical parameters mean and which parameters best summarize the data for particular climate variables. This module addresses both concerns, taking a two-pronged approach: 1) focusing on the statistical parameters (mean, median, mode, extreme values, percent frequency of occurrence and time, range, standard deviation, and data anomalies), defining what they mean and how they are calculated using climate data as examples, and 2) focusing on weather and climate variables, identifying the statistical parameters that best represent each one. The module concludes with a discussion of data quality and its impact on weather and climate products. The module is intended for forecasters and others interested in improving their understanding of the basic statistics used in climate products so they can make better use of climatology products for planning and operational purposes. Basic knowledge of meteorology is beneficial although not required. This module is part of COMET’s Climatology for Forecasters series.

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MetEd - Introduction to Ocean Models

Oceans cover over 70% of the surface of the earth, yet many details of their workings are not fully understood. To better understand and forecast the state of the ocean, we rely on numerical ocean models. Ocean models combine observations and physics to predict the ocean temperature, salinity, and currents at any time and any place across the ocean basins. This module will discuss what goes into numerical ocean models, including model physics, coordinate systems, parameterization, initialization, and boundary conditions.

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MetEd - Introduction to Ocean Tides

Ocean tides profoundly impact coastal maritime operations. This module provides an introduction to the origin, characteristics, and prediction of tides. After introducing common terminology, the module examines the mechanisms that cause and modify tides, including both astronomical and meteorological effects. A discussion of tide prediction techniques and products concludes the module. This module includes rich graphics, audio narration, embedded interactions, and a companion print version.

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Carbon Mitigation Initiative - Stabilization Wedges Game

To get on track to avoiding dramatic climate change, the world must avoid emitting about 200 billion tons of carbon, or eight 25 billion ton wedges, over the next 50 years.

This is the heart of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative's (CMI) Stabilization Wedges concept, a simple framework for understanding both the carbon emissions cuts needed to avoid dramatic climate change and the tools already available to do so.

Since the wedges concept is becoming a paradigm in the field of carbon mitigation, CMI has developed this website both as an educational resource and as an archive of resources for those who'd like to incorporate the wedges into their own presentations and workshops. Our graphics and other materials may be used freely for non-commercial purposes; we just ask that you credit the "Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton University."

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The Deforestation of the Amazon A Case Study in Understanding Ecosystems and Their Value

In this case study, students examine tropical deforestation in the Amazon from the perspective of three dominant stakeholders in the region: a peasant farmer, logger, and environmentalist. As part of the exercise, students perform a cost-benefit analysis of clearing a plot of tropical forest in the Amazon from the perspective of one of these stakeholder groups. Developed for a course in global change biology, this case could also be used in courses in general ecology, environmental science, environmental ethics, environmental policy, and environmental/ecological economics.

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