One of the international exchange courses, Tokyo Metropolitan University
Academic year 2019, 1st semester (April-July 2019), Thursday 13:00-14:30, Minami-Osawa campus
Climate system, energy balance, greenhouse effect, natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change, adaptation to climate change, mitigation of climate change
Course Description / Theme
The subject of 2/3 of the course is natural science of climate change. The basic mechanism of global climate change is explained based on the physical principle of conservation of energy. Thinking about a century ahead, the outlook of "global warming" caused by emission of carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuel is robust, but still has a range of uncertainty.
The subject of the other 1/3 is climate change as a matter of global policymaking. Climate change is likely to have bad impacts to human society, and people need both to adapt to climate change and to reduce use of fossil fuel.
Knowledge & Abilities students can acquire through the class / Course objectives
Understanding of the relatively simple part of the mechanisms of global climate change. Experience of handling physical quantities relevant to climate change. Notion about complexity and uncertainty of climate. Understanding how climate change is framed in the agenda of global policymaking. Some thoughts about the relevance of climate change for the global human society.
Course Schedule, Contents
- Note: Correspondence between date and content may change during the course.
- 11 Apr: Three layers of the concept of climate. Overview of the climate system (atmosphere, ocean, ice and land surface combined; stock-and-flow of mass and energy; feedback system).
- 18 Apr: Global environmental issues as interaction between natural environment and human society.
- 25 Apr: How climate has changed during the history of the earth, and how we can know it?
- 2 May: Global warming was "discovered" while global mean surface temperature did not rise. The concept was a product of thinking from cause to effect.
- 9 May: Conservation of mass and of energy as basic physical principles, in a formulation relevant in open systems.
- 16 May: Components of the climate system. Mass of water (including ice and vapor) in the climate system: how much, where, and moving how fast?
- 23 May: Energy exchange of the climate system as a whole: solar radiation (visible light) and terrestrial radiation (infra-red).
- 30 May: Causes of global climate change: changing absorption of solar radiation or changing emission of terrestrial radiation. Relative difficulty of understanding and predicting regional climate change.
- 6 June: Natural and anthropogenic causes of global climate change. Observed rise of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.
- 13 June: A basic reasoning of global warming caused by increasing carbon dioxide concentration. Steady-state response vs. time-dependent response.
- 20 June: Anthropogenic climate change (or global warming) became an issue of global policymaking. IPCC and UNFCCC.
- 27 June: How projections (quasi-predictions) of future climate are made? How the water cycle will change according to them? How certain are they?
- 4 July: Likely impacts of climate change on ecosystems and human societies.
- 11 July: How people can cope with climate change? What are so-called "adaptation", "mitigation" and "geoengineering"?
- 18 July: Climate change in the perspectives of "Limits to Growth", inter-regional equity, inter-generational responsibility, etc.
Lecture, aided by materials which the lecturer has put on the web, and a textbook.
Short report assignments, mainly calculation of climate-relevant physical variables.
Learning Activities outside the Classroom
Textbooks and/or References
On-line materials will be placed at the lecturer's personal web site
http://macroscope.world.coocan.jp/ , to be updated weekly.
Textbook: Mark Maslin, 2014: Climate Change (A Very Short Introduction), 3 ed. Oxford University Press. (Note: This is a book different from "Climate" by the same author in the same series. The scope of the course is not fully covered by the book, and the lecturer will give additional references during the course. The textbook is not needed at the beginning of the course. It will be used from the fourth week.)
Grading Evaluation Policy
Responses to short report assignments, mainly calculation of climate-relevant physical variables, several times during the semester. 40%.
End-ofterm report, including some confirmation of acquired knowledge, some original thoughts, and some computation. 60%.
How to contact the instructor for questions
Make appointments just after lectures or by e-mail masudak @ tmu.ac.jp
Notice for Students
I am a natural scientist. The contents of the part of natural science will be robust knowledge shared by climate scientists, which may be rather classical than cutting-edge. The contents in the part of climate-society interactions will be an interpretation of the interdisciplinary subject from my viewpoint, which may be naive in the sense of social sciences or humanities.