Syllabus: Introduction to Earth Sciences

Subject name

Introduction to Earth Sciences





Main language



The atmosphere and the hydrosphere of the earth as a physical climate system

Course Purpose and Description

Earth sciences cover the domain from space to the earth's interior. This course focuses on phenomena occurring in the climate system, including the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface, layers of several tens of kilometers around the earth's surface (sea surface and ground surface). The phenomena that occur in space and the earth's interior are considered as external factors that affect the climate system.

The mechanism that affects the global climate can be understood based on the principle of energy conservation. Important factors that change the energy balance of the atmosphere and hydrosphere are solar variation, greenhouse gases, and the fraction of sunlight the earth reflects. Change in the earthʼs climate in the past and near future will be studied from this perspective.

In addition to lectures, simple exercises will be assigned, including observation with some simple instruments and calculation and data visualization with personal computers.

Learning Objectives

To understand earth science using the concepts of physics and chemistry, focusing on the theme of climate change.


Instructional Methods

The lectures will be done remotely. Both non-interactive and interactive ways are used together. Materials for the class will be put, partially on the "ACE" and partially on the web site which is shown in the "URLs" section of this syllabus. Figures included in the book listed i the "Textbooks" section will also be used. The web site will be updated every week. Students are advised to proceed learning according to updates of the web site. Webex meeting sessoin will be held at the official time slot. It will include lecture (about 50 minute each time) and time for questions and answers. The contents are common betweenthe 3rd and 4th solt on Monday, so students can come to either session. If some students can attend neither session because of other classes etc., interactive Webex session will be held at some other time for them.

The time for exercise will be located in the latter half of the semester. Exercises will be done face-topface. It will include observation of some physical quantities in the real world related to climate (e.g. solar radiation), graph-making and statistical processing of data from observations, computer simulation based on laws of physics. Exercises on computers will make use of programming language R. The instructor will provide example programs, and the students will modify small parts of them and then run them.

Students are required to submit short reports nearly every week, mainly to become familiar with handling numerical values with the dimensions of physical quantities and units.

Self-study before/after classes

Teaching materials will be posted on the Web and updated after class with additional explanations not covered in the class. Students are advised to read them before the next class and proactively ask questions. A short report must be submitted, even if incomplete. The use of computers will be demonstrated, but there is no time to provide on-the-spot instruction. Students should master computer usage by working together with other students, based on the materials. No books other than the textbooks are assigned. Books may be introduced in the class; students are encouraged to read them.

Methods of Evaluation and Grading Criteria

Reports in place of final exam (60 %), short reports (40%; 10 reports 4 % each).


There are no prerequisites. However, knowledge of high school level mathematics, physics, and chemistry may be beneficial. Items of background knowledge to be used include basic statistics; exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; calculus; two- and three-dimensional coordinates; forces and motion; heat and temperature; ideal gas equations; etc. Information literacy may be required to read Web materials, handle data files, and write reports.


Hamajima Shoten, "Shin Chigaku Zuhyo (Earth Science Illustrations, New Edition)". ISBN 978-4-8343-4012-9. (This is a reference for high school students. It is used during the classes to look at diagrams and photos. Note that documentation of information sources in this book is insufficient for university-level learning. It is planned (though not decided yet) that students may be use this book during the examination as well.

Reference Materials

References and recommended books for those who hope to study more will be introduced on the class website.

Related Study Fields and Courses

“Introduction to Geosciences (Including Experiments)” (Masuda's class of that course covers broader scope than this course.)

URL (in Japanese)

MASUDA Kooiti (増田 耕一)
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