The objective of this course is to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the scientific foundation behind anthropogenic climate change, its impacts on the Earth, and strategies to address it. The course introduces the fundamental physical processes that shape climate, focusing on the drivers of past, present, and future climate change.
Impacts of climate change on the environment and human societies will be highlighted, including effects on temperature, precipitation, ocean acidity, sea level, severe storms, agriculture, biodiversity, and air quality. Mitigation approaches and adaptation strategies, including technology development, will be introduced, discussed, and critiqued. The course will conclude with an overview of policy and governance considerations in a changing climate. Non-lecture activities will comprise 25% of the course, and will address the contemporary science of climate measurements, models of climate change and impacts, and climate change policy and negotiations.
It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.
Takeaways from this course include:
- Understanding and explaining the factors that control the earth’s climate, including both natural and anthropogenic influences, and their relative importance.
- Synthesizing and interpreting evidence for climate change impacts on the environment and on human activities.
- Evaluating technologies and formulating management strategies designed to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- Understanding, designing, and appraising collaborative policy solutions to address greenhouse gas emissions.
Who Should Attend:
This course is targeted to environmental scientists, engineers, and consultants who seek a deeper understanding of the science of climate change. Professionals in the energy, finance, insurance/risk mitigation, and food/beverage sectors as well as those working in government, NGOs, and education will also have an interest in this topic.
Laptops or tablets with Excel are required for this course.
This course consists of 17 units, each between 1 and 1.5 hours in length.
Scientific Basis (Learning Objective 1)
- The science of climate change: An introduction (M)
- Climate change through history: A paleoclimate perspective (M)
- Activity #1: Measurements of climate change (M)
- Climate change models and future projections (M)
Impacts (Learning Objective 2)
- Temperature, precipitation (T)
- Ocean effects: Acidity and sea level rise (T)
- Activity #2: Air quality and health (T)
- Agriculture and infrastructure (T)
- Severe storms (W)
Adaptation, Mitigation and Technology (Learning Objective 3)
- Risk and uncertainty: How much change is needed? (W)
- Adaptation strategies. Costal zones (W)
- Activity #3: Costal zone planning (W)
- Geoengineering: Reasonable concepts or science fiction? (Th)
- Technology and management solutions: Concepts and approaches (Th)
- Activity #4: Energy planning and investment (Th)
Policy Responses (Learning Objective 4)
- Policy and Regulation (F)
- Activity #5: Climate negotiation simulation (F)
View 2016 schedule (pdf)
This course runs 9:00 am - 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday and 9:00 am - noon on Friday.
Noelle Selin is Associate Professor in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT. Her research focuses on air pollution in the context of climate change. She uses atmospheric modeling to inform decision-making on air pollution, climate change and hazardous substances such as mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). She received her PhD from Harvard University in Earth and Planetary Sciences. In addition to her scientific work, she has published articles and book chapters on the interactions between science and policy in international environmental negotiations, in particular focusing on global efforts to regulate hazardous substances..
Daniel Cziczo is an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. The major focus of his research is the interrelationship of particulate matter and cloud formation. His research utilizes laboratory and field studies to elucidate how small particles interact with water vapor to form droplets and ice crystals which are important players in the Earth’s climate system. Experiments include using small cloud chambers in the laboratory to mimic atmospheric conditions that lead to cloud formation and observing clouds in situ from remote mountaintop sites or through the use of research aircraft.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.
|Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (50%)||50|
|Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (30%)||30|
|Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (20%)||20|
|Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (50%)||50|
|Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (25%)||25|
|Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (25%)||25|
|Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (85%)||85|
|Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (10%)||10|
|Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (5%)||5|