Fall 2017 HC 441H: Climate Change and the Need for Data Driven Policy

Fall Term, 2017-2018

Professor: Greg Bothun

4 credits

  • CRN 17269: Thursday, 14:00 – 16:50 @ TBD

Sensible management of the now inevitable climate change is the defining environmental challenge facing our planet, yet there is considerable uncertainty regarding the overall social impact due to the limited capabilities of existing physics-based models of the Earth system. As a result of this uncertainly, climate change policy remains largely in a state of paralysis which enables business as usual to continue thus accelerating the potential impact. Therefore important questions relating to food security, water resources, biodiversity, and other socioeconomic issues remain unresolved.

Data driven approaches that have been highly successful in other scientific disciplines hold significant potential for application in climate change impacts that can then help determine sensible policy. This course will provide an interactive forum for students to engage in data exercises designed to inform various policy aspects. The overall goal is to better inform the student of the complex nature of the Earth system and the mechanisms contributing to the potential adverse consequences of climate change as well as identifying, from the data, whether or not any of these adverse consequences is now emerging consequently creating a pressing need for improved policy and adaptation steps.