From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming

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Welcome to METEO 469!

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Quick Facts about METEO 469

Picture of the cover of the book Dire Predictions (2nd Edition) by Michael Mann and Lee R. Kump
  • Instructor - Brian Gaudet
  • Course Author - Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology (with a joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences) and Director, Earth System Science Center
  • Overview - METEO 469 is a required course for the Bachelor of Arts in Energy Sustainability and Policy online degree program, geared towards students who are able to study only part-time and at a distance. This course provides an introduction to global warming and climate change, covering the basic science, projected impacts, and approaches to mitigation. Watch this introduction video by the course author, Michael Mann:
Click here for a transcript

PRESENTER: I think that this course fits into the major, energy and sustainability of policy, in a very vital way. I mean, climate change, in a sense, is sort of the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to the future energy policy. We need to take into account the fact that there are impacts, and there will continue to be impacts, that will grow in magnitude if we continue on our course of deriving energy from fossil fuel burning.

Decision-making ultimately relies upon taking both costs and benefits into account, and with climate change, there are costs, and many of those costs lie in our future. And in order to make appropriate decisions about how we balance the benefits of the energy that we can get today relatively cheaply from burning fossil fuels with the cost to society and to our environment of our continued reliance on fossil fuel burning, to really take on that big question, we need to understand the basics of climate change.

What is it about? What's causing it? What are the impacts, and what are the likely costs of future climate change? And how do we take into account these costs and benefits in making actual decisions about our energy future? So, hopefully, by the time this course is done, we will have brought all of those things together in a way that students can now think about this problem in a way that they wouldn't have been able to before they took the course.

  • Learning Environment - This website provides the primary instructional materials for the course. The Resources menu links to important supporting materials, while the Course Outline menu links to the course lessons. Canvas, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course as well, as it provides the primary communications and submission tools for the course.
  • Topics of Study - The content of this course is divided into 12 lessons. Each lesson will be completed in approximately 1 week. Lesson learning activities take the form of discussions, quizzes, and online climate simulations.
    • Lesson 1: Introduction to Climate and Climate Change
    • Lesson 2: Climate Observations, Part 1
    • Lesson 3: Climate Observations, Part 2
    • Lesson 4: Modeling of the Climate System
    • Lesson 5: Modeling of the Climate System (cont.); Comparing Models and Observations
    • Lesson 6: Carbon Emission Scenarios
    • Lesson 7: Projected Climate Changes, Part 1
    • Lesson 8: Projected Climate Changes, Part 2
    • Lesson 9: Climate Change Impacts
    • Lesson 10: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change
    • Lesson 11: Geoengineering
    • Lesson 12: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions


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