Physics 428 Climate Physics
Spring Semester 2018



The official text for the course has been changed to Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics by John Marshall and R. Alan Plumb.
  The accompanying website describing the weather in a tank experiments is
  Another reference for a more conceptual framework is Climate Change and Climate Modeling by J. David Neelin.
  and of course, the text you used last semester: Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate by Murray Salby.
  Spring 2018 Syllabus From Marshall & Plumb, we-ll cover Chapters 6-12


Homework assignments will be given weekly and you will have approximately 1 week to complete them. Working together is fine, but all work must be shown for problems involving calculations. Qualitative problems which involve discussion should be well thought out and should have complete sentences. As there are no exams, this will constitute 50% of your grade.



Weather in a Tank experiments

Understanding the dynamics of the atmosphere is nicely complimented by demonstrations of a fluid that can generate motions that are observed in the atmosphere. The weather in a tank apparatus is an excellent tool. When a demonstration aligns with what we are covering in class, I'll request students to work with the weather in a tank to gain experience in using, demonstrating, and explaining the demonstration. I'd like to do at least 5 through the semester. Students may work individually or as a group, so that on average there is one experiment per student (i.e., if you work in pairs then you'll work on two).

Research paper & presentation

Effective communication skills are essential for any scientific career; indeed they will likely be important for any career, scientific or not. For this reason, there will also be a research component of any topic related to climate physics. The research will be presented both as a paper and oral presentation at the end of the semester. Here are some basic metrics:
  Choose a climate topic of your choice for a 10-15 page paper (not including references, but including figures, double spaced is fine). This will be an opportunity to work on your writing skills. Components of the paper are:
  1. abstract proposal
  2. literature notes
  3. mind map planning the content
  4. paper draft
  5. peer review
  6. final draft
In addition to a paper, you will also give a 12-15 minute presentation on the subject.