Course Description

This is a course about how physical processes create global climate.  ``Dynamics'' implies forces and change, so most problems of interest are looking at a forcing (such as changing atmospheric composition) and trying to figure out what change it will cause, or looking at a known change (such as Cenozoic ice sheet volume changes) and trying to determine what caused them. 


Many interesting problems exceed the scope of instrumented climate data, so numerical models of varying dimension and complexity are the primary tool for figuring things out in climate dynamics.  Most of the reading for this course will be about climate modeling.  These will include descriptions of models, descriptions of model parameterizations, and examples of applying models of various types to climate problems.  We will also survey the techniques involved in climate modeling by building simple climate models and using a complicated one.  These three threads---problems, models, and techniques---will be intermingled throughout the course.  


 

Geog 657 Climate Dynamics

Spring 2009

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15. Pearson Hall 216E (Mather conference room)


Office Hours


Text and readings: Washington & Parkinson, An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling (2nd ed.) (University Science Books, 2005.) supplemented extensively by readings of recently published papers.


Projects: Two short model programming exercises, one longer project to build a zonal energy balance model from scratch, and an individualized experiment with a global atmospheric general circulation model (CAM3).


Test: one take-home essay exam


Course syllabus


Reading Lists (PDFs)

1. introduction and zonal models

2. atmospheric GCMs

3. ocean and coupled models

4. modeling the greenhouse

5. vegetation, land surface

6. glaciation, LGM


Projects

1. two-box transient model

2. exploring Fourier series

3. zonal energy balance model

4. general circulation model


Handouts, notes, models

Energy Balance Spreadsheet

Lecture figures: Intro and zonal

Fourier Series, Legendre Polynomials

Spectral model development

Lecture figures: atmospheric GCM

Lecture figures: oceans, coupling

Lecture figures: greenhouse

Lecture figures: ice ages