À propos de ce cours
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Approx. 53 heures pour terminer


Sous-titres : Anglais

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Approx. 53 heures pour terminer


Sous-titres : Anglais

Programme du cours : ce que vous apprendrez dans ce cours

1 heure pour terminer


What you will find in this class.

1 vidéo (Total 4 min), 4 lectures
1 vidéo
4 lectures
Resources10 min
Debriefing Quizzes10 min
Explainer Assignments10 min
A Supplemental Class to This One10 min
3 heures pour terminer

Heat, Light, and Energy

A primer on how to use units to describe numbers when describing temperature, energy, and light. Even if you don't plan on doing calculations yourself, understanding how units work will help to follow the rest of the lectures in the class. If you are interested in practicing your analysis skills, using units to guide calculations, there are some exercises in the Part II of this class.

6 vidéos (Total 28 min), 3 quiz
6 vidéos
Units of Energy5 min
Heat4 min
Units of Light3 min
Light5 min
Blackbody Radiation6 min
2 exercices pour s'entraîner
Optional Problems: How Much Coal to Run a Light Bulb4 min
Optional Problems: Comparing Energy Prices16 min
1 heure pour terminer

First Climate Model

The balance of energy flow, as incoming sunlight and outgoing infrared, allow us to create our first simple climate model, including a simple greenhouse effect. There are two extended exercises in Part II of this class, one an analytical (algebraic) model of the equilibrium temperature of a planet, the other a numerical model of how that temperature might evolve through time.

2 vidéos (Total 18 min), 4 quiz
2 vidéos
The Greenhouse Effect 9 min
4 exercices pour s'entraîner
Optional Layer Model Problem: How Hot is the Moon?4 min
Optional Layer Model Problem 2: A Stronger Greenhouse Effect22 min
Optional Layer Model Problem 3: Nuclear Winter2 min
Quiz 122 min
1 heure pour terminer

Greenhouse Gases and the Atmosphere

The Layer Model above assumes that the pane of glass representing the atmosphere absorbs all of the infrared radiation that hits it and that it radiates at all infrared wavelengths. In other words, the layer model atmosphere is an infrared blackbody, but transparent in the visible. In reality, greenhouse gases are not "black" at all; they are very choosy about which frequencies of light they absorb and emit. This selective absorption of infrared light by greenhouse gases leads to the band saturation effect, which makes rare, trace gases like methane disproportionally powerful relative to higher-concentration gases like CO₂.

2 vidéos (Total 20 min), 1 quiz
2 vidéos
The Band Saturation Effect12 min
1 exercice pour s'entraîner
Model Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere12 min
1 heure pour terminer

The Structure of the Atmosphere

The greenhouse effect works because the air in the upper atmosphere is colder than the ground, so that absorption and re-emission of IR by greenhouse gases decreases the amount of energy leaving the planet to space. Here we explore the physics responsible for keeping the upper atmosphere cold.

4 vidéos (Total 30 min), 1 quiz
4 vidéos
Pressure in a Standing Fluid10 min
Water Vapor and Latent Heat8 min
Moist Convection2 min
1 exercice pour s'entraîner
Model the Lapse Rate and Greenhouse Effect10 min
1 heure pour terminer

Weather and Climate

Another property of the real world, missing in our model so far, is that the real world is not everywhere the same temperature, and the heat fluxes to and from space do not necessarily balance at any given time or location. This is because the winds in the atmosphere and the currents in the ocean carry heat around, in general from the hot tropics up to the cold high latitudes.

4 vidéos (Total 18 min), 1 quiz
4 vidéos
Coriolis Acceleration5 min
Geostrophic Motion5 min
The Turbulent Cascade3 min
1 exercice pour s'entraîner
Quiz 224 min
4 heures pour terminer


Feedbacks are loops of cause-and-effect that can either stabilize Earth's climate or amplify future climate changes. There is an exercise in Part II of this class where you solve for a planet's temperature by iteration, and in the process demonstrate a runaway ice albedo feedback that might have led to the Snowball Earth climate state 700 million years ago.

6 vidéos (Total 34 min), 8 quiz
6 vidéos
Ice Albedo Feedback2 min
Water Vapor Feedback7 min
Clouds9 min
Aerosols5 min
Climate Sensitivity4 min
7 exercices pour s'entraîner
Model Sunlight, Albedo, and Climate12 min
Extract the Water Vapor Feedback from Climate Model Results6 min
Model Clouds 1: IR6 min
Model Clouds 2: Full-spectrum10 min
Model Aerosols and Climate8 min
Calculate the Climate Sensitivity24 min
Quiz 326 min
2 heures pour terminer

The Carbon Cycle

Now we shift gears in a major way — away from climate physics (you now have seen its main ingredients) to the emergent miracle that is the carbon cycle on Earth. Not only is carbon the chemical element of life, it is also the means of storing life's energy. We will look at how carbon cycles through the land, the oceans, and the deep earth, going in and out of the atmosphere -- and how that stabilizes the earth's climate.

9 vidéos (Total 48 min), 4 quiz
9 vidéos
The Goldilocks Planets3 min
The Oceans in the Carbon Cycle5 min
The Land Biosphere in the Carbon Cycle5 min
The Battery of the Biosphere5 min
Oxidation and Reduction of Carbon6 min
Coal4 min
Oil6 min
Natural Gas2 min
4 exercices pour s'entraîner
Model the Global Carbon Cycle22 min
Model Ocean/Land CO₂ Uptake with ISAM12 min
Model Intended vs. Greenhouse Yields6 min
Quiz 422 min
6 heures pour terminer

The Perturbed Carbon Cycle

On the carbon locked up in fossil fuels and what happens when we burn those fuels. In Part II of this class, you can create a simple but somewhat realistic model of Earth's temperature evolution in the coming decades, in response to the release of CO2 (or in the sudden stop of emissions in a scenario called "The world without us").

7 vidéos (Total 37 min), 7 quiz
7 vidéos
Where Our Carbon Is Going3 min
Ocean Buffer Chemistry6 min
The Perturbed Carbon Cycle2 min
Methane as a Greenhouse Gas8 min
The Long CO₂ Tail5 min
Why the CO₂ Tail Matters6 min
5 exercices pour s'entraîner
Model Hubbert's Peak8 min
Model Kaya Identity20 min
Model Methane and Slugulator18 min
Model the Long Tail12 min
Quiz 516 min
3 heures pour terminer

Looking for a Human Impact on Climate

You have now seen the ideas behind the forecast for a human impact on Earth's climate. The next question is: Do we see it happening today? It turns out that the "smoking gun" for a human impact on climate is the global average temperature record since about the 1970's. In order to interpret that temperature change, we need to consider it within the context of natural climate changes in Earth's geologic past.

10 vidéos (Total 45 min), 7 quiz
10 vidéos
Sea Surface Temperature Records3 min
Satellite Temperature Records2 min
The Smoking Gun: Warming Since the 1970s6 min
Paleoclimate and Proxy Measurements3 min
Tree Rings4 min
Borehole Temperatures2 min
Oxygen Isotopes4 min
Solar Intensity and the Hockey Stick6 min
Glacial - Interglacial Cycles6 min
6 exercices pour s'entraîner
Make Maps of Climate Models Warming4 min
Look for the Smoking Gun10 min
Browse the Global Glacier Length Data4 min
Model Borehole Temperatures4 min
Analyze Recent Solar Intensity Changes8 min
Quiz 612 min
4 heures pour terminer

Potential Impacts

This unit we focus on the potential impacts of continued business-as-usual CO2 emissions. This is also the topic of the Working Group 2 volume of the IPCC reports (the Working Group 1 report is on the scientific basis, which is what we've been studying so far this course). You may find this material distressing, but hang on, because next week we'll go over "Mitigation", which is what it takes to avoid climate change (treated in the Working Group 3 report). Remember that most of the carbon we're worried about is still in the ground, so these impacts are inevitable only if we continue to decide to make them so. In Part II of this class, you can create a simple ice sheet model of your own.

12 vidéos (Total 30 min), 10 quiz
12 vidéos
Monsoons2 min
Vegetation2 min
Impacts of Sea Level2 min
Antarctic Ice Sheet2 min
Greenland Ice Sheet3 min
Paleo Sea Level Changes2 min
Water Vapor and Storminess1 min
Hurricanes3 min
Extreme Weather1 min
Ecosystem Impacts2 min
Human Impacts1 min
9 exercices pour s'entraîner
Water Stress in Climate Model Results6 min
Model Permafrost6 min
Model Changes in Sea Level10 min
Play with an Ice Sheet Model, ISM12 min
Short vs Long Term Sea Level Change12 min
Find the Increase in Low-Level Humidity in Models4 min
Extract AR5 Model Lapse Rates6 min
Model Hurricanes12 min
Quiz 720 min
6 heures pour terminer


The last unit of the class finds us considering the options for avoiding, or "mitigating," a human impact on Earth's climate. Bottom line: I think it would be a challenge that humankind could beat if we decided to. If there hypothetically were no more coal on Earth, our potential to alter the climate would be much less. Finding energy sources in that world would not be an existential threat would just be a business opportunity. The hard part, in my opinion, is making that decision.

8 vidéos (Total 38 min), 1 lecture, 10 quiz
8 vidéos
Temperature Targets1 min
Slug Theory5 min
Geoengineering: CO₂ Capture and Sequestration6 min
Geoengineering: Solar Radiation Management3 min
Economics of Climate Change8 min
Mitigation: Short-Term4 min
Mitigation: Long-Term3 min
1 lecture
Survey on Attitudes toward MOOC technology10 min
8 exercices pour s'entraîner
Model Stabilization Scenarios2 min
Model Temperature Targets2 min
How well does Slugulator do at Slug Theory?12 min
Model CO2 Sequestration2 min
Model SRM Geoengineering4 min
How Many Wedges?2 min
How Much Carbon-Free Energy by 2100?2 min
Quiz 828 min
77 avisChevron Right


a bénéficié d'un avantage concret dans sa carrière grâce à ce cours

Principaux examens pour Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change

par SLOct 6th 2016

A great introductory course into Global Warming as well as modelling which gives you a better insight into what is actually happening with our planet. Started another course and it all fits in.

par SKMay 27th 2019

It's a very comprehensive and extremely tough course to negotiate. Some of the quiz answers are still a mystery. It has arisen the appetite of Climate Change within me, like never before.



David Archer

Geophysical Sciences

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Foire Aux Questions

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  • Lorsque vous achetez un Certificat, vous bénéficiez d'un accès à tout le contenu du cours, y compris les devoirs notés. Lorsque vous avez terminé et réussi le cours, votre Certificat électronique est ajouté à votre page Accomplissements. À partir de cette page, vous pouvez imprimer votre Certificat ou l'ajouter à votre profil LinkedIn. Si vous souhaitez seulement lire et visualiser le contenu du cours, vous pouvez accéder gratuitement au cours en tant qu'auditeur libre.

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