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FALL 2015 - 2016


CHM 333/ENV 333/GEO 333Oil to Ozone: Chemistry of the Environment(STN)The chemical background of environmental issues. Topics include energy and fuels, global change, ozone, air pollution, chemistry of natural waters, pesticides, and heavy metals.François MorelAnne M. Morel-Kraepiel
ENE 308/MAE 308/GEO 308Engineering the Climate: Technical & Policy ChallengesThis seminar focuses on the science, engineering, policy and ethics of climate engineering -- the deliberate human intervention in the world climate in order to reduce global warming. Climate/ocean models and control theory are introduced. The technology, economics, and climate response for the most favorable climate engineering methods (carbon dioxide removal, solar radiation management) are reviewed. Policy and ethics challenges are discussed.Egemen Kolemen
GEO 103Natural Disasters(STL)An introduction to natural (and some society-induced) hazards and the importance of public understanding of the issues related to them. Emphasis is on the geological processes that underlie the hazards, with discussion of relevant policy issues tied to reading recent newspaper/popular science articles. Principal topics: Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunami, hurricanes, floods, meteorite impacts, global warming. Intended primarily for non-science majors.Laurel P. GoodellAllan M. Rubin
GEO 202Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate(STL)An introduction to the ocean, atmosphere, and climate from the perspective of oceanography. Covers coastal processes including waves, beaches, tides and ecosystems; open ocean processes including atmospheric circulation and its impact on the surface ocean, the wind driven circulation, and surface ocean ecosystems; and the abyssal ocean including circulation, the cycling of chemicals, and ocean sediments and what they tell us about the climate history of the earth. The final part of the course will cover humans and the earth system, including a discussion of ocean resources and climate change.Danielle M. SchmittAlison R. Gray
GEO 299/ENV 299El Niño: Blessing or Curse?The natives of Peru originally welcomed El Niño as a blessing but today everyone regards him as a global environmental disaster. What caused this remarkable change in perceptions even though the phenomenon has not changed? This course addresses questions concerning this product of coupling between air and sea from two perspectives. One is scientific and explores interactions between the ocean and atmosphere. The other deals with the social and political issues that influence the science, from famines in India to the ruin of fisheries in Peru, and floods in California.Samuel G. Philander
GEO 362/ENV 362Earth's Climate History(STN)This course examines the nature and causes of major events in Earth's 4-billion year climate history, ranging from Snowball Earth to the "equable" climates, lasting hundreds of millions of years, when Earth was far warmer than today. We discuss the evidence for each event, and examine its cause by analyzing interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere. The course integrates fundamental topics in paleoclimate, including biogeochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry. Three lectures.Michael L. Bender
GEO 366/ENV 339/WWS 451/ENE 366Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, Policy(STN)An exploration of the potential consequences of human-induced climate change and their implications for policy responses, focusing on risks to people, societies, and ecosystems. As one example: we examine the risk to coastal cities from sea level rise, and measures being planned and implemented to enable adaptation. In addition, we explore local, national and international policy initiatives to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The course assumes students have a basic background in the causes of human-induced climate change and the physical science of the climate system.Michael Oppenheimer
GEO 370/ENV 370/CEE 370Sedimentology(STL)This course presents a treatment of the physical and chemical processes that shape Earth's surface, such as solar radiation, deformation of the solid Earth, and the flow of water (vapor, liquid, and solid) under the influence of gravity. In particular,the generation, transport, and preservation of sediment in response to these processes is studied in order to better read stories of Earth history in the geologic record and to better understand processes involved in modern and ancient environmental change.Adam C. Maloof
GEO 419/PHY 419Physics and Chemistry of Earth's InteriorThe Earth is a system whose past and present state can be studied within the framework of fundamental physics and chemistry. Topics include current concepts of geophysics and the physics and chemistry of Earth materials; origin and evolution of the Earth; and nature of dynamic processes in its interior. One emphasis is to relate geologic processes on a macroscopic scale to the fundamental materials properties of minerals and rocks.Thomas S. Duffy
GEO 428Biological OceanographyFundamentals of Biological Oceanography, with an emphasis on the ecosystem level. We will consider the organisms in the context of their chemical and physical environment; the properties of seawater, atmosphere and ocean dynamics that affect life in the ocean; primary production and marine food webs; global cycles of carbon and other elements; current research approaches. In addition to lectures by the professors, the course will delve deeply into the current and classic literature of oceanography and students will be expected to participate in seminar type presentations and discussions.Bess Ward
GEO 430Climate and the Terrestrial BiosphereEarth's climate is tightly coupled to the terrestrial biosphere. In this course, we will explore the key mechanisms that link climate (e.g., cloudiness, rainfall, and temperature) with the terrestrial biosphere, and how these mechanisms are altered by humans. We will review land-atmosphere exchanges of energy, water and carbon dioxide. We will then analyze the processes controlling the land carbon sink, with a strong focus on seasonality. We will investigate the potential impacts of climate change on vegetation seasonality and the land carbon sink. Assignments will include analysis of observational datasets and climate model simulations.David M. Medvigy
GEO 441/APC 441Computational GeophysicsAn introduction to weak numerical methods, in particular finite-element and spectral-element methods, used in computational geophysics. Basic surface & volume elements, representation of fields, quadrature, assembly, local versus global meshes, domain decomposition, time marching & stability, parallel implementation & message-passing, and load-balancing. In the context of parameter estimation and 'imaging', will explore data assimilation techniques and related adjoint methods. The course offers hands-on lab experience in meshing complicated surfaces & volumes as well as numerically solving partial differential equations relevant to geophysicsJeroen Tromp
GEO 464Radiogenic IsotopesTheory and methodology of radiogenic isotope geochemistry, as applied to topics in the geosciences, including the formation and differentiation of the Earth and solar system, thermal and temporal evolution of orogenic belts, and the rates and timing of important geochemical, biotic, and climatic events in earth history.Blair Schoene
GEO 470/CHM 470Environmental Chemistry of SoilsFocuses on the inorganic and organic constituents of aqueous, solid, and gaseous phases of soils, and fundamental chemical principles and processes governing the reactions between different constituents. The role of soil chemical processes in the major and trace element cycles, and the biogeochemical transformation of different soil contaminants will be discussed in the later parts of the course.Satish C. Myneni

Undergraduates are able to take graduate courses (500+) with permission from course professor.

Graduate Studies

GEO 503/AOS 503Responsible Conduct of Research in Geosciences (Half-Term)Course educates Geosciences and AOS students in the responsible conduct of research using case studies appropriate to these disciplines. This discussion-based course focuses on issues related to the use of scientific data, publication practices and responsible authorship, peer review, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, the role of mentors & mentees, issues encountered in collaborative research and the role of scientists in society. Successful completion is based on attendance, reading, and active participation in class discussions. Course satisfies University requirement for RCR training.Tullis C. OnstottStephan A. Fueglistaler
GEO 505Fundamentals of the GeosciencesA survey of fundamental papers in the Geosciences. Topics include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes, igneous petrology, mantle structure, sedimentology, seismicity and polar environmental and geological processes, including glaciology.Tullis C. Onstott
GEO 520Stable Isotope Geochemistry With An Environmental FocusExamines the use of stable isotope measurements to investigate important biogeochemical, environmental, and geologic processes, today and over Earth history. Introduction to terminology, basic underlying principles, measurement techniques, commonly used analytical and computational approaches for analyzing data, followed by a review of typical applications of the isotope systems of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements. Lectures by the instructor, problem sets, numerical modeling assignments, student presentations and a final student paper based on readings from the scientific literature.Daniel M. Sigman
GEO 534Geological Constraints on the Global Carbon CycleThis course explores global geochemical cycles through the use of simple numerical models. Topics covered range from box models of the geologic carbon and oxygen cycles, planetary thermostats, and atmospheric oxygenation, to box models of Cenozoic seawater chemistry (Mg and Ca), to 1D diffusion-reaction modes of the dynamics of carbon and oxygen in sedimentary systems. Previous coursework in differential equations and MATLAB are highly desirable but not absolutely necessary.John A. Higgins
GEO 539Topics in Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology, and Paleoceanography: Mass ExtinctionsThis course investigates biological and environmental effects of Deccan volcanism 66 m.y. ago in India that led to the KT mass extinction and delayed biotic recovery. Investigations include climate and environmental changes, weathering, ocean acidification and its effects on calcareous marine microplankton and the observed high-stress marine assemblages. The timing of major volcanic eruptions and the time elapsed between individual lava flows will be investigated based on red bole layers.Gerta Keller
GEO 552Global SeismologyThe Deep Earth - which constitutes the majority of our planet - controls many processes which have shaped our world. But the challenges of understanding the large scale features and fine details of the mantle and core, as well as Earth's crust, are immense. In this course, we explore a variety of seismological techniques, and examine both fundamental and new papers from seismology and other related branches of the geosciences, to illuminate different aspects of the Deep Earth through global seismology.Jessica C. Irving
GEO 570SedimentologyThis course presents a treatment of the physical and chemical processes that shape Earth's surface, such as solar radiation, deformation of the solid Earth, and the flow of water (vapor, liquid, and solid) under the influence of gravity. In particular, the generation, transport, and preservation of sediment in response to these processes is studied in order to better read stories of Earth history in the geologic record and to better understand processes involved in modern and ancient environmental change. Taught in parallel with GEO 370.Adam C. Maloof