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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geography (GEOG)

GEOG 110 (GN) Climates of the World (3) Introduction to climatology, including principal processes of the global climatic system and their variation over space and time.

GEOG 110

GEOG 110 Climates of the World (3:3:0)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Climates of the World examines the spatial patterns and physical processes associated with climate and its interannual variations and longer-term changes. Particular emphasis is placed on the integrative role of the different Climate System components (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere), and on the increasing impact of human activities- both inadvertent and intentional- on climate from local through regional to possibly global scales.

Climatology involves more than an understanding of basic principles of meteorology, although these are important. Similarly, climatology is more than the separate study of the other Climate System components represented in, for example, oceanography, glaciology, hydrology, and ecology. It is, instead, a fully integrative discipline that is focused on the climate at and very close to the Earth's surface. Students are introduced to the importance of energy and mass flows among the different Climate System components, the physical and chemical feedbacks involved in climate stability, the relationships between spatial and temporal scales in climate, and the physical processes associated with interannual climate variations. The last includes concepts such as cloud-radiative forcing, sea-air and ice-air interactions (e.g., in El Ni´┐Żo Southern Oscillation and other teleconnections), and the South Asian Monsoon as an example of a dynamical climate phenomenon affecting millions of people.

Like all geography, five recurring themes permeate Climates of the World: location, place, regions, movement, and human-environment relationships. Climatologists not only are interested in where different climates are located on Earth's surface, but also they want to know the answers to such questions as:

What is special about the physical climate processes that take place in a location?
How do the climate processes of a place relate to those of other places in the region?
How does energy and mass flow into and out of a region?
How do biophysical processes change as we move up and down spatial scales?
How do people influence climate processes? How do these processes influence people?

Other disciplines typically do not cover these spatial and nature-society themes systematically.

Climatologists have developed and adopted many tools to address these themes. Maps are obvious choices, but geographers also use a wide array of photographic and imaging technologies to study the distribution and changes in climate-forcing factors, such as land use/land cover, clouds and cloud systems, outgoing longwave radiation, and sea surface temperatures. They use geographic information systems and computer-based methods to manipulate, display, and analyze spatial data. Climates of the World acquaints students with many of these tools.

When the above points are taken together, climatology emerges as a field of science best suited to study by geographers. Climates of the World provides a learning experience that students can get in no other discipline--one that takes an integrated view that makes the "mystery" of climate and what makes it vary and change spatially and temporally, much more understandable.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Fall 2004

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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