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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 310W Introduction to Global Climatic Systems (3) Introduction to global atmospheric circulation, including tropical, midlatitude and polar subsystems; ocean, land, cryospheric and urban climatic systems and interactions.


GEOG 310W Introduction to Global Climatic Systems (3)

Geography 310W is an advanced undergraduate course in Climatology that emphasizes study of the patterns of interannual climate variability (climate fluctuations) and the physical processes responsible for those variations (climate dynamics). Interannual climate variations include regional- to large-scale anomalies of temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, etc., that become manifest as drought, floods, heat and cold waves, etc. The physical processes associated with climate fluctuations include the following: interactions among the climate-system components (atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere); external forcing (e.g., solar variations, volcanic activity); and long-distance interactions involving the coupled atmospheric-ocean circulations, or teleconnections (El Ni´┐Żo Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Arctic Oscillation (AO), and the Pacific-North America (PNA) pattern). Climatic teleconnections manifest shifts in the atmospheric pressure “centers of action”, storm tracks, jet stream positions, etc. In addition to the study of these climate patterns and processes, the course examines the role of human activities in climate, particularly “global warming”, desertification, deforestation and afforestation, urbanization, irrigation for agriculture, and aviation impacts. In this regard, a key issue that is addressed is the potential role of human activities on the frequency and intensity of teleconnections, such as ENSO, and of severe storms (thunderstorms, tornadoes) and hurricanes; possibly the result of modifications to the oceanic Thermo-Haline Circulation. Students write a term paper, as well as critiques of a number of published articles relating to the above topics in climate dynamics. There is a mid-term (essay) exam but no final exam.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2007
Prerequisite: GEOG 010 orMETEO 003

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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