ATS 399H: Fall Quarter 2007




Assignments & Final Papers/Presentations

Lecture slides


ATS 399H: Fall Quarter 2007
Introduction to Climate Science

Weekly assignments

Please follow these guidelines:
  • Assignments should be 1 to 2 single-spaced pages.
  • Communication is an important aspect of scientific work. Therefore, if spelling and grammatical errors impede my ability to understand your paper, credit for the assignment will be decreased.
  • You are expected to complete these assignments by yourself. Feel free to use online resources to understand papers that you read, but you must write everything in your own words and credit any resources you use. Using someone else's text without citation or failing to credit someone else's ideas is plagiarism. If you are not sure you have properly cited someone else's work, please talk to me about it.
  • I don't care about the specific format of the citations, but try to be consistent. Citations should always include article title, authors, journal, volume, and page. Citations for web sites should include title, author, date (if available), and URL. If you use an online version of a paper document, provide the citation for the paper version. It should be easy for me to find any work you cite.
  • Unless other instruction are given, your papers should focus on some aspect of the previous meeting's topic that you found interesting. Summarize this aspect, including why it's important and what we don't know. Include material from additional sources (i.e., review or scientific articles). As the class progresses, you will be expected to include more and more outside information. We will discuss expectations for the next assignment each week.
  • I prefer to get electronic versions as PDF files. Normally you can convert documents to PDF using the "Export to PDF" command in the "File" menu in Word. This may depend on the version of Word that you have (which is one reason that I don't have Word on my computer).

Assignment 1: Due Oct. 2.

Radiative forcing of climate: Chapter 2 of IPCC report. Each student will summarize one type of radiative forcing: carbon dioxide, methane, Kyoto protocol gases, Montreal Protocol gases, ozone, stratospheric water vapor, sulfate aerosol, organic carbon, black carbon, biomass burning aerosol, mineral dust aerosol, land use, black carbon in snow and ice, solar variability, and volcanic activity. Aerosol reports should concentrate on Section 2.4.4. Specific assignments will be made during the first class to make sure we don't have any duplicates.

Reports should focus on the following questions:

  1. What is the mechanism by which the component impacts the radiation budget?
  2. How is the constituent impacted by human activities?
  3. How much of the present-day radiative forcing does it comprise?
  4. How is the forcing expected to change in the future?
  5. How well do we know the above?
Assignment 2: Due Oct. 9

This assignment will focus on Chapter 3 of the IPCC report: Observations of Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change.

Everyone should read the Executive Summary and Introduction (pages 237-241).

Students will work in teams of 2 (except for one student, who has a much shorter IPCC section to read). Teams can divide up the work any way they want. They can split the reading and each write a paper on half of the section. They can read the entire section and jointly write one longer (~2 pages) paper. They can both read the section and write their own papers. It doesn't matter to me, as long as least one person has read each subsection and I get at least 1 page per person. Individual topics are:

  • Section 3.2 Changes in Surface Climate: Temperature, pages 241-253
  • Section 3.3 Changes in Surface Climate: Precipitation, Drought, and Surface Hydrology, pages 254-265
  • Section 3.4 Changes in the Free Atmosphere, pages 265-280. Skip the section on clouds (3.4.5, pages 275-277)
  • Section 3.6 Patterns of Atmospheric Circulation Variability, pages 286-295
  • Section 3.7 Changes in the Tropics, Subtropics, and in the Monsoons, pages 295-299, one person
  • Section 3.8 Changes in Extreme Events, pages 299-316. Skip Box 3.6 (pages 310-312)
For this week, you do not need to read anything other than the IPCC report. Just write up what you've learned from the IPCC report. Some questions to think about while preparing your reports:
  • What data is available for these climate components (spatial and temporal coverage)?
  • How is this data obtained (e.g., satellites, surface weather stations, radiosondes)?
Assignment 7: Due Nov. 13

Each student will read and summarize one of the following assigned articles:

Final Papers

Final papers are due on the date of the final presentations. Papers should be 8-10 pages doubled spaced (5 single spaced), plus references. You should include about 8-10 references, with most coming from the primary literature. More instructions will be provided later in the course.

Final Presentations

You must prepare a presentation of the key points from your final report. The total amount of time per presentation will depend on the number of students in the course, and time will be set aside for one or two questions after each presentation. We will be on a tight schedule, so time limits will be strictly enforced.

Talks should be geared towards other students in the course. Explain, based on concepts discussed in class, why the topic is important and briefly summarize some recent research in the area, including questions still remaining.

Last modified Nov. 8, 2007.