Geography 370

Weather and Climate

Spring 2009

Mondays and Wednesdays 10 to 11:50 a.m., Stevenson 3036

 COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Climate and Climate Change is increasingly one of the biggest issues of the 21st Century. It is important in terms of the politics and economics of dealing with climate change, but also in terms of understanding the dynamic interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, and land surfaces that are resulting in dramatic and rapid changes in our climate system regionally and globally. This course focuses on the scientific aspects of climate, including the impact of human activities on the climate of our world.

Climatology is the study of the distribution of climate from place to place, and how and why it varies spatially and temporally. The climate of a place is influenced by a number of factors, including general atmospheric circulation patterns, latitude, location relative to land and water, elevation, topography, vegetation and other surface covers, etc. Beginning with the basics of the forces that drive the weather engine, this course focuses on the causes of climate differences from the tropics to the poles, and from the oceans to the continental centers. A major theme throughout the semester is global climate change and controls on climate variation through time, particularly regarding global warming. We'll look at climatic differences on a range of spatial scales, from your back yard to the entire globe, and on a range of time scales, from a few years to many millions. Some of the other topics we'll touch on include El Niño (and La Niña), ozone depletion, and severe weather. Prerequisite: Geog 204 Global Environmental Systems, or consent of instructor.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Dorothy Freidel, Professor, Geography and Global Studies, 3056 Stevenson, (707) 664-2314, email: freidel@sonoma.edu

OFFICE HOURS: Monday and Wednesday 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., or by appointment.

TEXTBOOK: 
Required: Edward Aguado and James E. Burt, (2007). Understanding Weather and Climate, 4th edition, Pearson/Prentice Hall.  Used copies available at North Light Books in the Oliver’s shopping mall, (550 E. Cotati Avenue, 792-4300, call for price); new and used at the SSU Bookstore ($110 new, $83 used at SSU Bookstore). May also be ordered on line for a lower price but in this case allow a couple of weeks for delivery.
Highly Recommended:  Michael Manning and Lee R. Kump, (2009). Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming. Prentice-Hall ($16.50 on Amazon). This is a very accessible illustrated summary of the 2007 IPCC Report on Global Warming, 150 pp.

CLASS EMAIL LIST: To be established first week of class. You will need to check your SSU email at least once a day to avoid missing important class announcements.

CLASS WEBSITE: http://www.sonoma.edu/people/F/freidel/climate/

All course materials including syllabus, assignments, study guides, web resources, and announcements are posted on this course web page.

GRADING:

Your final course grade will be based on your total course score, which has a maximum possible value of 100%. Your total course score is the sum of

 

Two Midterms

 

15% each

 

Final Exam

 

25%

 

Weekly Readings questions, etc.

 

15%

 

Homework Assignments (~4)

 

20%

 

Research project

 

10%

 

Total

 

100%

The final exam is half comprehensive, half on the last one third of the course. 65 percent of your grade is based on lecture notes, participation, and reading. The other 35% is on your labs and research project.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO SUCCEED:
CLASS ATTENDANCE IS ESSENTIAL. Never miss class, and don't arrive late. If absent, get notes from a fellow student. Read text assignments before the lecture. Ask questions; participate in class. Use the text CD to help with difficult concepts. Homework assignments will include use of computers and the Internet, so be sure you have regular internet access. Turn in homework on time. Homework scores will be dropped 10% per day late. If you must miss class please contact Prof. Freidel by email or phone ahead of the class time. There are no exam make-ups planned. If you are too ill to come, or have a serious family emergency, please include a doctor's note or other documentation with your request for a make-up and notify Dr. Freidel Ahead of the Exam! If you're having difficulties with the course, seek help early -- don't wait until right before the midterm! There is ZERO TOLERANCE for plaigarism or cheating on an exam; severest penalties will be applied.

If you are a student with a disability and think you may need accommodations in this course, you must contact the Disabled Students Services located in Stevenson 1038 (664-2677).

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE
Read the assignments in order, not by date. If we skip a topic I will let you know.

Date

 

Lecture Topic

Readings

M 1/26

 

Introduction: The science of Climatology

1-24

W 1/28

 

Atmospheric Composition, Structure, Ozone depletion

1-27

M 2/2

 

Energy, Radiation, Radiation laws

31-42

W 2/4

 

Seasons, Energy in the Atmosphere

42-53

M 2/9

 

Energy in the Atmosphere, cont (Exercise 1)

55-69 

W 2/11

 

Temperature, Controls on Temperature

69-91

M 2/16

 

President’s Day

 

W 2/18

 

Atmospheric Pressure, Gradients, Wind

93-103

M 2/23

 

Pressure Gradients, Wind (Exercise 1 due)

103-119

W 2/25

 

Atmospheric Moisture, Water Vapor, Humidity

123-142

M 3/2

 

First Midterm

 

W 3/4

 

Adiabatic Processes, fog, dew (Prep for Ex 2)

134-155

M 3/9

 

Uplift, Stable & Unstable Air, Clouds (Begin Ex 2)

155-168

W 3/11

 

Precipitation  Processes

188-206

M 3/16

 

General Atmospheric Circulation, Winds

212-243

W 3/18

 

Air Masses, Fronts,  Midlatitude Cyclones

254-284

M 3/23

 

Video, Cracking the Ice (Freidel at conference)

 

W 3/25

 

Work on Term project, library & web resources

 

M 3/30

 

Midlatitude Cyclones, con’t (Ex. 2 due, begin Ex. 3)

284-292

W 4/1

 

Severe Weather, Tornadoes

306-348

M 4/6

 

Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, review (Ex. 3 due)

353-383

W 4/8

 

Second Midterm

 

4/13-17

 

SPRING BREAK

 

M 4/20

 

Global Climate, Classifications (Begin Ex. 4)

452-460

W 4/22

 

Tropical Climates and Deserts

on-line

M 4/27

 

Midlatitude, High Latitude, and Highland Climates

on-line

W 4/29

 

California Geographical Society conference (Geog 314)

 

M 5/4

 

Natural Climate Variability, Climate Change (Ex. 4 due)

474-494

W 5/6

 

Global Warming

Manning

M 5/11

 

Impacts of Global Warming

Manning

W 5/13

 

Presentations, discussion (paper due)

 

M 5/18

 

Final Exam, 11a.m.-12:50 p.m., STV 3036

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated 1/16/09

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