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Atmospheric science

Care about climate change? Learn more this fall with CLIM 101

Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. This course provides a survey of weather and climate processes, and the global and regional impacts of human-induced changes in concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The course will focus on the phenomena of climate variability and change, both observed in the past and projected for the next century, that have impacts on human society and natural ecosystems. The course provides sufficient scientific background to enable students to critically examine arguments about climate change and possible solutions being discussed by policymakers and the public at large.

This Mason Core course satisfying the Natural Science requirement will also review the roles of science, politics, international negotiations and the media in the current debate on what to do about climate change. The classes will consist of lectures, guest lectures, movies, in-class discussion and student debates. Lectures will include opportunities for interaction, including instant polls, question and answer sessions in which students are asked questions or may ask questions to the instructors. Students will have an opportunity to survey recent literature on the impacts of climate change in Virginia and beyond, the risks and strategies for adaptation, and the various policy alternatives and technical solutions for mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. Students also will have an opportunity to formally debate whether humans are really causing Earth’s climate to change and whether reducing greenhouse gas emissions will save the planet or kill jobs.

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