Cool class for next quarter – OCEAN 450


Course Content: Climate Extremes

Oceanography 450 and Honors 221C

Winter Quarter 2015

To better understand the key factors that control the present earth’s climate, this course examines episodes in the earth’s past when extreme climate conditions existed. Dramatic changes in the earth’s climate have resulted from natural variations in solar insolation, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, rates and pathways of ocean circulation, plate tectonics, and the evolution of vascular plants and, in modern times, the burning of fossil fuels. The impact of these factors on climate through interactions between the atmosphere, oceans and land will be evaluated. The processes that produced past climate changes will be discussed as a framework to evaluate modern and future climate change resulting from human activity.

The class will utilize lectures, in-class problem solving, discussion of scientific papers and weekly homeworks to learn the material on both a qualitative and quantitative level. Students are expected to have had enough science-based coursework to feel comfortable solving quantitative in-class and homework problems using basic algebra and, in some cases, using the spreadsheet program Excel. Honors students will work as multi-student teams on a project to quantify the impact of human CO2 emissions on atmospheric CO2 levels in Seattle.

Climatic Extremes

Oceanography 450: Winter Quarter, 2014 SLN: 17901

4 credits M, W, Th, F at 11:30 to 12:20

also Honors 221C: 5 credits SLN: 21247

Room 425 Ocean Teaching Building

Class Web Page:

Instructors: Paul Johnson (johnson): Paul Quay (pdquay)