• Length:
    9 Weeks
  • Effort:
    4–6 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD

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  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time


Learners should be familiar with basic algebra, chemistry and geometry (U.S. high school level or higher)

About this course

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This course will examine future climate change in the context of Earth history, and then consider various strategies for what might be done to deal with it. The likely impact of continued greenhouse gas emissions will be explored, emphasizing the scientific uncertainties associated with various predictions, and how this can be understood in the context of risk.

What you'll learn

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  • Explore how scientists measure ancient temperature and carbon dioxide levels
  • Investigate the basic physics and chemistry that control climate
  • Review the scientific basis for climate change predictions
  • Identify impacts of climate change on human societies and natural ecosystems
  • Week 0: Introduction
  • Week 1: Earth's Radiation Budget
  • Week 2: The Great Anthropogenic Experiment
  • Week 3: The Past is Key to the Future I
  • Week 4: The Past is Key to the Future II
  • Week 5: Deeper Back in Time I
  • Week 6: Deeper Back in Time II
  • Week 7: Natural Variability and Predicting the Future I
  • Week 8: Natural Variability and Predicting the Future II
  • Week 9: Introduction to Our Energy System and Energy Scenarios

Meet your instructors

Daniel P. Schrag
Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology
Harvard University

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