A survey of the Earth's climate system, its drivers, processes and forcing agents, its present behavior, past states, and future prospects.


Main topics include:

The Earth System, its components, physical processes and interactions. What is climate, how it is driven by solar energy, and how it is determined by processes in the atmosphere, the oceans, the solid Earth, and the biosphere. The present day climate, its geographic distribution, mean values, variability, and extremes. Interactions between climate and the biosphere, and climate impacts on human activities and welfare. Past climates, how do we know about them, and what they tell us about the future of the Earth's climate. Current issues on the uture of the Earth's climate: natural and man-made climate change, ozone depletion, ice ages, global warming, the IPCC reports, climate adaption and remediation.

The emphasis is on understanding the climate concepts and phenomena, not on mathematical developments. Quantitative aspects rely on basic high-school Math ideas, and involve direct application of formulas using a calculator, the analysis of data presented on graphs and maps, etc.