Climate and Climate Change - ATMS 211



Lecture Slides

Seminars/Extra Credit

Winter 2011


Lecture: MTWTh 11:30-12:20, PAA A118
Quiz Section AA: Fri 11:30-12:20, MGH 389
Quiz Seciton AB: Fri 12:30-1:20, MGH 231


Stephen Warren
phone: 206-543-7230
office: ATG 524
office hours: Mon & Wed 12:30-1:30


Naomi Goldenson
office: ATG 420
office hours: Tue & Thur 10:00-11:00am, or by appointment

Course Description:

A pdf of the syllabus and course description may be downloaded here. The weekly readings, handouts, and labs may be found as part of the course Calendar page.


The primary objective is to develop student understanding of how the climate system works, how climate has changed in the past, and how it is now being changed by human activity. The course also emphasizes skills needed to analyze and critically evaluate public discussions of climate issues.

This is a course for students of all backgrounds. A working knowledge of high school algebra and high school physical sciences is assumed. This is a Natural World (NW) course.

Course Structure:

Lectures will be held in the Physics-Astronomy Auditorium building, PAA A118, Monday-Thursday at 11:30 am. The Friday class, led by Goldenson, will be used for quizzes, questions about the lectures, and discussions about homework problems and exam questions. There may be some guest lectures. We will also watch some slideshows illustrating climatic principles.

There will be homework assignments and two exams. Exams will require short answers and short essays. If you have a good reason why you cannot take an examination on the date specified, please inform the instructor well in advance of the date. There will be no makeup exams except in case of serious illness or death in the family. You must be excused in advance, by phone or email if necessary.

Students are expected to do their own work on quizzes and exams, without consulting notes or other resources. Students may consult with one another and with the instructor or the TA on homework, but each student is expected to write up his or her answers independently.

Your lowest grade, relative to the class average, will be replaced by the class average for that assignment. This will be applied to one problem set, or one quiz, or one problem on the midterm or final, whichever will give you the most benefit. (If you score above the class average on every assignment, no change will be made.)


  • Homework and Quizzes 35%

  • Mid-Term Exam (Monday Feb 7) 30%

  • Final Exam (Wednesday March 16) 35%

Required Text

The Earth System by Kump, L. R., J. F. Kasting, and R. G. Crane, Prentice Hall, 3rd ed., 2010.

The textbook will be supplemented with handouts.