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Climate & Climate Change: Scientific, Societal, and Global Implications

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

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Course Description

What is climate change? How do humans interact with the climate system? How can science inform action? This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of the climate system on Earth, interactions between climate and human society, and how climate science is communicated and interpreted from various perspectives.

Topics include:

  • An introduction to the greenhouse effect
  • The structure, composition, and role of the atmosphere and oceans in the climate system
  • Impacts of climate change on human health, ecosystems, water resources, and other domains
  • Social, economic, and political dimensions of climate change
  • Innovative solutions for addressing climate change, including both the costs and benefits
  • Challenges and opportunities in scientific communication

In this course, you will explore the scientific basis of global climate change and connect this phenomenon to local impacts in your hometown. You will gain a critical eye for the interpretation of science in the public sphere by analyzing data and considering the many perspectives to these complex issues. We will explore course topics through a series of modules designed to introduce you to basic concepts, develop your critical thinking skills, engage you in a variety of multimedia material from both physical and social science literature, and challenge you to investigate and apply your gained understanding to local, solution-based actions.

Course Requirements:

Time commitment: The first week of your online course serves as the course orientation, during which you will get to know Canvas (Brown's learning management system), review course expectations and strategies for your success, learn about your instructor, and help us to learn a bit about you. These activities should take you just a few hours to complete.

The following week you will begin working with your instructor and classmates on the course itself. To be successful in this course, you must have reliable internet access, and will be expected to participate multiple times each week. Plan to spend approximately 10 hours per week on coursework.


  • Computer with reliable, high-speed internet connection
  • Up-to-date Internet browser supported by Canvas, Brown's learning management system
  • Headphones, earbuds or speakers
  • Webcam and microphone
  • Adobe Flash Player browser plugin (Course elements may require Flash and will not work on an iPad.)
  • Word Processing application to save and open Microsoft Office formats (.doc,.docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx)
  • Courses can also be accessed on tablets and mobile devices. These devices can be used as supplemental access points in order to complete most coursework.

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