The Critical Zone

Lesson 4 Introduction


We will now turn our attention toward the evolution of Earth's atmosphere and ocean system through geologic time, specifically focusing on our understanding of paleoclimatology (ancient climates). We will consider potential lessons from this knowledge of ancient climate under so-called greenhouse and icehouse conditions. In particular, I will ask you to consider how this knowledge can aid our predictions of, and planning for, future climate change.

What will we learn about in Lesson 4?

  • Paleoclimatology—climate variability and change
  • Evolution of atmosphere and ocean system
  • Abrupt climate change

What is due for Lesson 4?

Lesson 4 will take us one week to complete. As you work your way through these online materials for Lesson 3, you will encounter additional reading assignments and hands-on exercises and activities. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for Lesson 4. For assignment details, refer to the lesson page noted.

Please refer to the Calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates.

Lesson 4 assignments
Short (2–3 page) paper on "Exploring the links between paleoclimatology, the Critical Zone, and modern society" page 4 Post to the Lesson 4 - Paleoclimatology Activity dropbox in Canvas


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum (not e-mail), located under the Discussions tab in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.