“Our Energy Future: Technology, Economics and Climate Change”
Session 1 - Energy Introduction Session 2 - Climate Science Session 3 - Fossil Fuels Session 4.- The Electricity Grid Electricity pricing (Brian Foulds) Session 5. Renewable Energy - Hydro and Wind Session 6. Renewable Energy - Solar and Storage Session 7. Nuclear Energy - Fission and Fusion Session 8. Wrap-up: Renewables vs Base-load Options, and Policy Solar Array and Thermal Plant Comparison (Michael Rudd) Carbon Policy Options (Gilbert Metcalf)
“Earth Science and Climate Change”
Preliminary Course Outline – Fall 2014
- What is climate vs weather?
- A little data to whet the appetite
- Scientific theories and uncertainty.
- Bias vs healthy skepticism
2) The Earth – An introduction
- General features of the earth and its climate
- Size and position in the solar system, seasons
- The atmosphere, ocean, landmasses, and biosphere
3) Physics concepts:
- Energy – a conserved quantity
- Potential, kinetic and chemical energy
- Heat transfer: conduction, radiation, convection and evaporation
4) The Atmosphere and its Chemistry
- Chemistry concepts: periodic table, molecular theory and the gas law.
- Temperature of the atmosphere with height
- Winds and large-scale currents and clouds
- Synthetic chemicals and the Ozone hole
5) Radiation: what heats and cools the earth
- How much does a warm body radiate, and what frequencies?
- Spectrum of solar and terrestrial radiation
- Concept of thermal equilibrium – when radiated = absorbed
- The Greenhouse effect (how the trace gasses keep us warm)
6) Climate Forcings and Feedbacks
- Concept of feedback, positive or negative
- Discuss IPCC summary of net forcings and their uncertainties
- The carbon cycle, temperature regulation of the planet
7) The Ocean and its role in the climate
- The currents and what drives them
- The very long time scales for deep ocean currents
- The heat capacity – where might that heat be going
- Ocean CO2 uptake
8) Paleoclimate – what can we learn from the past?
- The geologic thermostat regulating atmospheric CO2 and temperature
- Proxy measurements: how are they made
- Data from different time spans in the past
- The Milancovic cycles and ice ages
9) Climate modeling – how to predict the future development of the climate
- Climate modeling – how it works
- Results of climate models
- How well can we trust what comes out of the models
10) What the future will bring?
- How much does it matter what we emit?
- Time scales for recovery
- Solutions for getting back on track