GG 421 Geological Record of Climate Change
09:00-10:15, Tuesday-Thursday, POST 703

Instructor: Brian N. Popp (POST 720, 956-6206,
Text: W. F. Ruddiman, Earth’s Climate Past and Future, W. H. Freeman and Company, 2001, 465 p.
& W. F. Ruddiman and J. C. Huntoon, Long-Term Climate Change, W. H. Freeman and Company, 2003, 12 p.
Course web page:

Jan 13
Overview of the climate system
Chapter 1
Select an Introductory Oceanography text and read sections on a) properties of water, b) atmospheric structure and c) circulation and ocean currents
Jan 15
Radiation and the atmosphere
Chapter 2
Jan 20
Heat transfer in the atmosphere and oceans Chapter 8, 2001, Aguardo E., and J.E. Burt, Understanding weather and Climate, 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall, 505 p. 
Jan 22
Deep water, ice and vegetation  
Jan 27
Climate archives (1) (2)Climate Models
Chapter 3
Climate Model Primer
Jan 29
Faint young Sun
Chapter 4
1989, Berner, R.A., and A.C. Lasaga, Modeling the geochemical carbon cycle, Sci. Amer. 260(3):74-81, 1999, Berner, R.A., A new look at the long-term carbon cycle, GSA Today 9(11):1-6, 1988, Kasting, J.F., Toon, O.B. and Pollack J.B., How climate evolved on the terrestrial planets, Sci Amer. 258(2):90-97. 
Feb 3
The BLAG theory: CO2 input
Chapter 5
Feb 5
The uplift weathering theory: CO2 removal
Topic of research due!
2003, Shaviv, N.J., and J. Veizer, Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate, GSA Today 13(7):4-10.  See also Rahmstorf et al., Cosmic rays, carbon dioxide and climate, EOS, 85(4) 38-41. Royer et al., CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate, Geology Today, 14(3) 4-10.
Feb 10
Climate on the supercontinent Pangaea
Feb 12
The Cretaceous greenhouse climate
Chapter 6
1995, Larson, R.L., The mid-Cretaceous superplume episode, Sci. Amer. 272(2):82-86., 2000, Kring, D.A. Impact events and their effect on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life. GSA Today 10(8):1-7.
Feb 17
Tectonic-scale changes in sea level  
Feb 19
Oxygen isotopes
Chapter 7
Feb 24
Causes of cooling during the last 55 million years  
Feb 26
EXAM I (100 points)  
Mar 2
Orbital variations and changes in insolation received on Earth
Chapter 8
Mar 4
Orbital changes in monsoons
Chapter 9
Mar 9
Orbital changes in ice sheets
Chapter 10
1997, Petit, R.J. et al., Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature, 399:429-436.
Mar 11
Ice core records: CO2, CH4, dust
 Chapter 11
Mar 16
Carbon isotopes and orbital changes in the climate system  Optional Reading: 2004, Sigman et. al., Polar ocean stratification in a cold climate, Nature, 428:59-63; 2004, Francois, Cool stratification, Nature, 428:31-32.
Mar 18
Orbital-scale forcing and response (continued)
Chapter 12 
Mar 23
HOLIDAY: Spring Break  
Mar 25
HOLIDAY: Spring Break  
Mar 30
The last glacial maximum
 Chapter 13
1995 Broecker, W.S., Chaotic Climate, Sci. Amer. 273(5):62-68.
Apr 1
Exam II (100 points)
Apr 6
The last deglaciation
Chapter 14
Apr  8
Millennial scale oscillations
Chapter 15
Apr 13
Historical changes in climate
Chapter 16
1999, Broecker, W.S., What if the conveyor were to shut down? Reflections on a possible outcome of the great global experiment. GSA Today, 9: 1-7.
Apr 15
Historical changes in climate (continued)
Research paper due (100 points)
Earthinquiry problem set due (100 points)
Final exam handed out.  This take home exam is due Thursday May 14 before noon.
Apr 20
Humans and climate change (Richard Wallsgrove)
Chapter 17
Apr 22
No Class  
Apr 27
Coral reefs and climate (Donovan Steutel)  
Apr 29
Climate in the 20th century (Marian Westley)
Chapter 18
May  4
Future climate and policy (Marian Westley)
Chapter 19

Thursday May 13, 2004 9:45-11:45 Final exam (200 points) & revised research paper due.


                Earthinquiry long-term climate problem set – 100 points
                Exams – two exams each worth 100 points
                Final comprehensive take-home exam – worth 200 points
                Research paper – ~15 page paper worth 100 points

Research Paper:

This course requires an in-depth library/web-based research paper on some aspect of global climate change.  Some examples might include an update of the “cool-tropics paradox”, the causes and consequences of the late Paleocene thermal maximum, or the role of the Southern Ocean in regulating glacial-interglacial variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.  Alternatively, the paper may instead be focused on current climate trends such as the role of sulfate aerosols on greenhouse warming or of how CFC concentrations in the atmosphere are influencing stratospheric ozone levels.  I expect the papers to be approximately 15 pages in length (single spaced), well written and fully referenced.  Diagrams, figures and tables are encouraged.  The topic of the paper is due on February 5, 2004.  I expect a brief 1-paragraph summary of the topic that you expect to research.  The 1-paragraph summary is worth 10 of the 100 points.

If the paper is not turned in on February 5, you will lose 10 points.  I will exercise the option to approve or not approve/modify the topic.