12.842 | Fall 2008 | Graduate

Climate Physics and Chemistry


Examples of Course Projects

Each graduate student taking this class for credit should decide on a term-project. We ask for a 10-page written report (maximum length), and a 20 minute oral presentation to the class before the end of term. Undergraduates do not have to give an oral report (but may, if they wish) and a six-page paper is acceptable. Projects can expand on something covered in class, or be some climate-relevant project not touched upon. In the past, most such projects have been reviews of some interesting topics. A few students have succeeded in doing an original piece of work, but this is certainly not a requirement.

Previous topics include:

  • Orography, tectonic uplift, and climate
  • The history and implications of Dansgaard-Oeschger events
  • The closure of the Panama Gateway and its effect on climate
  • A box model approach to the coupled system
  • Ocean abyssal circulation and mixing: a historical development
  • Source contributions to fine aerosol mass as determined from receptor modeling
  • The Indian summer monsoon and the effects of the Tibetan Plateau
  • Possible microphysical impacts of aerosols on the climate of the last glacial maximum
  • Energy balance model for long term climate study
  • Predicting regional climate change
  • The evolution of climate on venus and its relation to earth
  • Investigating thermohaline circulation rearrangements with a simple climate box model
  • The North Atlantic oscillation and dependence upon atmospheric sensitivity to SST anomalies
  • Sub-Saharan drought
  • Climate change and its influence on babylonian civilization

Other Possibilities (Not Intended to Restrict Your Choice)

  • Is ethanol an energy source or sink?
  • History of solar radiation
  • Chemistry of the early atmosphere
  • Carbon dioxide and climate
  • Evidence of glacial cycles over earth history
  • Relation of continental configuration to inferred climate state
  • Long-term (102-104 yr) variability of ENSO
  • Global heat budget
  • Climate change under a cometary impact (Nuclear Winter, etc.)
  • The snowball earth hypothesis and problems
  • Glacier dynamics, mountain and continental
  • History of sea level: modern and over geological time
  • Mechanics and chemistry of air-sea exchange of properties
  • Human evolution and climate change
  • Impact of the younger Dryas on human settlements
  • The 100KY climate time scale
  • Methane hydrates and abrupt climate change
  • The Indonesian Throughflow and climate impacts
  • Was the little ice age global?
  • Tropical temperatures during the last glacial maximum
  • How does one initiate an ice age?
  • Heinrich events: cause and effect
  • Interpreting abrupt climate change in the paleo record
  • Evolving climate chronologies: how well do we know paleoclimate age estimates and how does the uncertainty affect our interpretation of climate mechanisms?
  • The global temperature history since 1000 BCE

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes