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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Climate Interactive - World Energy Roleplay Exercise

The World Energy exercise enables people to try out and explore the policies and investment scenarios that will enable them to reach their goals on climate change. With a focus on the mix of solutions that will lead to a more stable climate this simulation can inspire hope that is grounded in our best understanding of the dynamics of the energy and climate system.

What policies would you choose to enable a future that:

  • stabilizes at 2 degrees C temperature rise?
  • supports economic health?
  • provides for equity?
  • minimizes environmental damages?
  • is viable if human civilization is at its best?

Participants are divided into teams that represent different sectors and negotiate with each other to come up with a global energy scenario that could lead to a safe and equitable clean energy future. Each team controls a handful of levers that are related to their sector and can be adjusted in the computer simulation En-ROADS. For example, the group focusing on energy supply has control over the levers that drive investment in renewable, gas, nuclear, and coal energy. Groups then present their plans and it is compiled and analyzed in real-time with En-ROADS.

This exercise has been piloted at Stanford, MIT, and other universities as we prepare to launch it at a much larger scale. The video below summarizes the Stanford event. You can also download some of the materials for World Energy and a learning assignment to accompany World Energy and En-ROADS.

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Climate Interactive - C-ROADS

C-ROADS is an award-winning computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It allows for the rapid summation of national greenhouse gas reduction pledges in order to show the long-term impact on our climate.


  • Translates climate mitigation scenarios into emissions, concentrations, temperature, and per-capita emissions outcomes
  • Offers ability to quickly run real-time policy analysis on a laptop or desktop computer
  • A graphical user interface that non-modelers can use to test “what if scenarios”
  • Ability to analyze up to 15 different nations or negotiating blocs simultaneously.
  • Backed by a scientific review committee of renowned climate and systems dynamics experts
  • Outputs are consistent with the larger, more disaggregated models used in the IPCC’s AR4
  • Model assumptions, inputs, and methodology are made transparent and in many cases can be easily adjusted to suit the user
  • Video tutorials are available online to guide use

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Climate Interactive - World Climate

World Climate enables participants to experience the dynamics that emerge as nations negotiate a global agreement on climate change and to develop a deeper understanding of how to address climate change. The exercise is framed by current climate change science, through the interactive C-ROADS computer simulation, enabling participants to find out how their decisions impact the global climate system in real-time.

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Center for Climate and Energy Solutions - Climate Change 101

To inform the climate change dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has produced a series of brief reports entitled Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change, Updated January 2011.

These reports provide a reliable and understandable introduction to climate change. They cover climate science and impacts, climate adaptation, technological solutions, business solutions, international action, federal action, recent action in the U.S. states, and action taken by local governments. The overview serves as a summary and introduction to the series.

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MetEd - Coastal Climate Change

As climate changes, dynamic coastal regions are experiencing a wide range of impacts. Sea levels, ocean acidification, sea surface temperatures, ocean heat, and ocean circulation have all been changing in ways unseen for thousands of years. Arctic sea ice melted significantly more during summers in the last 30 years, and storms are intensifying. Coastal ecosystems stand to be damaged, and coasts will likely erode from rising sea levels, intensified storm surges, and flooding that climate change may amplify. Coastal communities will need to prepare adaptation strategies to cope, and many who live or work in coastal regions are wondering what climate change might mean for them. This module provides an overview of the impacts coastal regions are experiencing and may continue to experience as a result of Earth’s changing climate. A video series within the module demonstrates effective strategies for communicating climate science.

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MetEd - Weather and the Built Environment

This short course provides broadcast meteorologists, educators, and the public with an overview of the evolution of our modern urban environment with a focus on impacts on the urban watershed, air quality, and climate. This course complements the course Watersheds: Connecting Weather to the Environment and both are part of the Earth Gauge™ environmental curriculum for weathercasters and educators. This curriculum is being developed by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). [See] Unit 1, Where We Live, takes a look at past and current U.S. growth patterns and the way our urban areas have evolved from compact population centers to automobile-dependent sprawl. Unit 2, Impacts on the Watershed, explores how the built environment affects the water that moves through an urban watershed. Unit 3, Impacts on the Atmosphere, highlights the way our urban landscape and industrial activities impact the air we breathe and the local climate. Each unit includes information on ways to reduce our impact on our water and air with ideas ranging from simple changes in our commuting and housekeeping habits to changes in how we build houses and roads.

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NOVA - Megastorm Aftermath

In October 2012, Megastorm Sandy cut a path of devastation across the Caribbean and the East Coast, killing hundreds and doing tens of billions of dollars in damage. To many, it was a wake-up call. Now, one year after Sandy's deadly strike, NOVA follows up on the 2012 film "Inside the Megastorm" with a fresh investigation of the critical questions raised by this historic storm: Was Megastorm Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a changing climate? What can we do to prepare ourselves for the next Sandy, and what progress has been made toward making our urban infrastructure more resilient? Much of Sandy's wrecking power was due to an extreme storm surge that left large swaths of New York and New Jersey underwater. And with sea levels on the rise, flooding will only become more frequent. NOVA examines the role of climate change in driving these rising seas, and looks at some of the latest extraordinary engineering employed in other areas, as well as what it may take to make cities like New York more resilient in the future.


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MetEd - The Amazon Rain Forest and Climate Change

This module discusses global climate change that is occurring largely because of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities, and in particular the impact that tropical deforestation plays in the climate system. It also covers signs of climate change, the current thinking on future changes, and international agreements that are attempting to minimize the effects of climate change. The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD Programme) is also discussed.

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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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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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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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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 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 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 - 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 - 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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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 - 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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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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