The current Holocene epoch is considered to be a time period of relatively stable climate compared to earlier geological periods. Still, some significant changes in temperature and sea level did occur. These climatic fluctuations include the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, and more recently global warming. Temperature data for the 20th century shows a strong warming from about 1970 to the present day, typically associated with anthropogenic forcing including greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions. Volcanic eruptions also caused slight variations in the climate during the 20th century (e.g. Pinatubo in 1991). Aerosols released during a volcanic eruption are quickly distributed around the globe and act to increase the atmospheric albedo and block solar radiation. Therefore volcanic eruption signatures in climate data appear as short term decreases in temperature. General circulation models have been used to simulate the climate of the 20th century using both natural and anthropogenic climate forcings. These models indicate that anthropogenic forcings are likely responsible for the most recent rise in temperature.
This course explores the physical processes that control Earth's atmosphere, ocean, and climate. Quantitative methods for constructing mass and energy budgets. Topics include clouds, rain, severe storms, regional climate, the ozone layer, air pollution, ocean currents and productivity, the seasons, El Niño, the history of Earth's climate, global warming, energy, and water resources.
As one of the world's great universities, Yale traces its roots back to the early 1640s when colonial clergyman sought to establish a school in order to continue the tradition of European education within the Americas. Yale has now grown to educate over 11,000 students from over 100 countries on a 310-acre campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Within the school's 260 buildings are over 2,000 undergraduate programs in 65 departments taught by a distinguished faculty. As Academic Earth's first partner school, Yale has been a leader within the space of OpenCourseWare by consistently delivering on its esteemed mission to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.