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Course Offerings

Course Details

Fall 2013-2014
GEO 430  

Climate and the Terrestrial Biosphere

David M. Medvigy

Earth's climate is inextricably intertwined with 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 (e.g., ecosystem composition, structure, and functioning), and how these mechanisms are altered by humans. We will review basic aspects of climate, surface energy balances, and terrestrial plant ecology, and then investigate feedbacks and forcings arising from biophysical properties of the land surface, biogeographical properties of ecosystems, deforestation, fires, increases in atmospheric CO2, and other factors.

Sample reading list:
Bonan, Gordon, Ecological Climatology
Bonan, G.B., Forests & climate change
Cochrane, M.A., Fire science for rainforests
Feddema, J.J. et al., The importance land-cover change
Trouet, V. et al., Fire-climate intractins forest.
Westerling, A.L. et al., Warming & earlier spring increase
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Readings will include chapters from the Bonan text as well as journal articles. Six writing assignments will be assigned over the course of the semester. There will be a final project.

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Papers - 40%
Oral Presentation(s) - 30%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
GEO 202 or equivalent.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20171 L01 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm M W   Guyot Hall   220   Enrolled:17 Limit:30