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Course Details

Fall 2013-2014
* GEO 361 / ENV 361 / CEE 360 (STN)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Physics of Earth, the Habitable Planet

Samuel G. Philander

The habitability of our planet depends critically on the motion of the oceans and atmosphere, which determines our weather and climate. Associated phenomena include hurricanes, tornadoes, the Jet Streams, the Gulf Stream, El Nino, La Nina, and the recurrent Ice Ages of the past million years. The course includes the use of an idealized computer model (which runs on a laptop) to study how these phenomena depend on the Earth's rotation and sphericity, and to explore the predictability of weather, and of long-term changes in climate, including future global warming.

Sample reading list:
M.J. Wallace & P. Hobbs, Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey
Dennis L. Hartmann, Global Physical Climatology
Geoff Vallis, Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics
J. Marshall & R.A. Plumb, Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics

Reading/Writing assignments:
Readings from texts and journals. Bi-weekly problem sets

Mid Term Exam - 20%
Take Home Final Exam - 40%
Papers - 40%

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
MAT 201, PHY 104 or equivalent.

Other information:
The main goal of the course is to demonstrate how interplay between measurements and a hierarchy of models (that starts with the highly idealized and gradually becomes more elaborate) can lead to an understanding of very complex phenomena such as weather and climate.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20184 L01 01:30:00 pm - 02:50:00 pm T Th   Guyot Hall   154   Enrolled:5 Limit:20