12.301 / 12.842 Climate Physics and Chemistry

Fall 2006

Climate system.
Schematic view of the components of the climate system, their processes and interactions. (Image courtesy of IPCC.)

Course Description

This course introduces students to climate studies, including beginnings of the solar system, time scales, and climate in human history; methods for detecting climate change, including proxies, ice cores, instrumental records, and time series analysis; physical and chemical processes in climate, including primordial atmosphere, ozone chemistry, carbon and oxygen cycles, and heat and water budgets; internal feedback mechanisms, including ice, aerosols, water vapor, clouds, and ocean circulation; climate forcing, including orbital variations, volcanism, plate tectonics, and solar variability; climate models and mechanisms of variability, including energy balance, coupled models, and global ocean and atmosphere models; and outstanding problems.
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Prof. Edward Boyle
Prof. Kerry Emanuel
Prof. Carl Wunsch

Course Meeting Times

Three sessions / week
1 hour / session


Undergraduate / Graduate

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