20518 Modern Problems in Atmospheric Science

Credits: 3 advanced seminar credits in Meteorology or in Physics

Prerequisites: 36 credits in the Sciences, including Introduction to Meteorology, and Fundamentals of Physics (or Fundamentals of Physics I + Fundamentals of Physics II, or three courses: Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism and Modern Physics). Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Required: Differential and Integral Calculus I (or Infinitesimal Calculus I)

Recommended: Thermodynamics, Oceanography

The course is based on a reader edited by Yoav Yair, Baruch Ziv and Yoram Kirsh.

The course addresses central topics in atmospheric science described briefly in Introduction to Meteorology (20291) that relate to climate and to human-caused effects on the atmosphere. It acquaints students with the complex global climate system and with the various physical processes that take place in the atmosphere, in the oceans and on land, and the interrelationship between them. The interdisciplinary approach to global climate change is demonstrated in such topics as atmospheric heating, climate prediction, analysis of past climates. The course includes three episodes from a British series of films, “Climate and Man,” that examines climatic global change and the interaction of climate and human development.

Structure: In the first stage, all students study topics including a description of the Earth’s climate, analysis of various physical processes affecting climate, the greenhouse effect and global climate change. In the second stage, students write a seminar paper on issues chosen from a list of topics, for example: The effect of volcanoes on Earth’s climate; the phenomena of tornadoes and hurricanes; ice age cycles; the “nuclear winter” theory; the El-Niño phenomenon. The project is based on articles in professional journals and is written under the supervision of an advisor. Students are required to discuss various aspects of the topic chosen as well as to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the material as well as original thinking. Students are referred to Internet sites and learn to find meteorological and climatic information related to their seminar paper topic.