
Seminar Topic 
Notes and Readings 
Week 1: Wed Sept 16 
Introduction

Notes:
 The slides I used this week
 My presentation on the history of climate modeling. I only used part of this (on the 19th Century history), but feel free to explore the rest.
 We did a memory game exercise, to demonstrate how easily our minds spot patterns, and how we can then fall into the trap of extending the pattern to see things that aren't actually there. We'll watch out for this trap when we look at climate data.
 We briefly explored the results of the Six Americas study, which explored attitudes to climate change among the US general public. I don't know of any similar survey of Canadians  let me know if you find one!
Homework (read these for next week):
 Steve's draft chapter on the first climate model (see email for link)

Week 2: Wed Sept 23 
The first climate model

Notes:
 The slides I used this week
 We began with an exercise called "Frames", to explore different ways of looking at the world, and why examining the frame we choose to look through is important.
 We explored the first ever climate model, developed by Svante Arrhenius in 1895, and what it tells us about how the greenhouse effect works.
 We did an exercise called "living loops" to help us understand how feedback loops work.
 We explored some of the major feedback loops in the climate system. (Here are the diagrams I showed)
Homework (read this for next seminar in two weeks time):
 Ed Lorenz, Our Chaotic Weather (Chapter 3 from his book "The Essence of Chaos")

Week 3 Wed Sept 30 
No Class!

Notes:
 No class this week, as Steve is away.

Week 4 Wed Oct 7 
(Un)predictability: Weather forecasting and chaos theory

Notes:
 The slides I used this week.
 We talked about Vilhelm Bjerknes, one of the first scientists to figure out the "primitive equations" for calculating the weather. Here's a longer article about his work.
 We talked about Lewis Fry Richardson and his attempt to compute a weather forecast during the First World War. Here's a longer article describing his work.
 We talked about the very first computer weather forecast on ENIAC. If you want to read more about this, take a look at this neat paper by Peter Lynch.
 During the break, I showed this simulation of a year's worth of climate.
 We then talked about chaos theory. Here's a brief guide to the terminology.
 We played the chaos game, and discovered the pattern it created. Here's the program that draws it automatically. You can also play with the two spreadsheets I used: Lorenz's example for x'=x^{2}c and The logistic equation x'=rx(1x)
 If you're still not sure what chaos theory is all about, try this introduction.
Homework (read these for next week):
 Pick any two posts from the Climate Central Blog and read them. They should give you ideas for both content and style for your first assignment.
 Don't forget to submit your draft assignment 1 by midday next Wednesday.

Week 5 Wed Oct 14 
Chaos Theory and Climate

Notes:
 Here are the slides I used this week.
 We began with a brief discussion of the upcoming election. Here's an overview of how each of the parties stand on climate change.
 We explored techniques for editing your work. Here's the handout on editing tips, and the worksheet we used for the peer review exercise.
 To explore predictability of weather and climate, we began with a video of a flooded river in Melbourne, from 2011, and talked about what aspects might be predictable (e.g. maximum height of the river, timing of the peak flow) and what would might not be (e.g. order and timing of each car floating away)
 We explored the Lorenz Attractor, as an example of a (fairly!) simple set of equations that shows sensitivity to initial conditions, and watched this video of three very close starting states eventually diverging.
Homework (read these for next week):
 Read this essay on Climate Models and Modelling

Week 6 Wed Oct 21 
Developing and Using Models 
Notes:
 We explored the kinds of questions that can be answered by science (either by collecting data or building models) versus the kinds that need to be answered by society, because they involve value judgments.
 We then explored the kinds of experiments and data that climate scientists work with
 We watched and critiqued some videos of demonstrations/experiments:
Homework (read this for next week):
 Chris Martenson, The Crash Course, chapter 5, Dangerous Exponentials.

Week 7 Wed Oct 28 
Exponentials

Notes:
 Here are my slides from this week.
 We began by revisiting the ENIAC forecasts from week 2.
 We then explored Moore's Law, and the impact it has on scientific computing, and looked at where the fastest computers in the world are.
 We took a look at the grid resolution in climate models, and the impact of faster computers on improving resolution
 We did a paper folding exercise, to get us thinking about how well we understand exponential growth.
 We looked at exponential growth in many different aspects of human impact on the planet.
 Finally, we explored the idea of planetary boundaries.
Homework (read these for next week):
 Take a look at the Skeptical Science website's list of climate change myths. Pick a few and read the rebuttals. Are they effective? Who are they written for?
 Don't forget to submit your draft assignment 2 by midday next Wednesday.

Week 8 Wed Nov 4 
Modeling the Climate

Notes:
 Here are my slides from this week
 We spent some time exploring past trends three related measurements:
 greenhouse gas emissions
 Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere
 Surface temperatures
 Then we looked at some simple models of the planet's energy balance. Chapter 4 of Dessler's book has more details.
Homework (read this for next week):
 Chapter 8 of Dessler's book, on predicting future climate change

Week 9 Wed Nov 11 
DecisionMaking and Uncertainty

Notes:
 Here are my slides from this week
 We began by examining the idea of radiative forcing.
 We looked at how you add time into a model, so that it can simulate the rate at which the warming occurs when a radiative forcing is applied. We explored a very simple model in an excel spreadsheet that includes the thermal capacity of the oceans.
 We then did an exercise to explore why it's so hard to understand accumulation. The exercise is taken from this paper by Cronin et al.
 We looked out how you develop emissions scenarios as inputs to a climate model for future climate change projections. Here's an explanation of how the current IPCC scenarios (the socalled RCPs) were chosen.
Homework (read this for next week):
 Chapter 6 of Weaver's book, on Investing in the Future

Week 10 Wed Nov 18 
Climate Solutions

Notes:
 We played some games outside in the abnormally warm fall weather, including one called "Triangles", which explore high and low leverage points.
 Incidentally, if you want to know why it's so warm this fall, here's an explanation: it's El Nino added to global warming.
 Here are my slides from this week
 We began with a review of what scientists do with models, and how the models can be used to answer various scientific questions
 We also explored the idea setting a limit for a "safe" amount of warming, including the idea of +2°C of warming, and the more ambitious target of +1.5°C advocated by lowlying island nations.
 We explored where emissions come from.
 We used the idea of Stabilization Wedges to explore climate solutions
Homework (read this for next week):
 Chapter 3 of Garvey's book, The Ethics of Climate Change

Week 11 Wed Nov 25 
Alternatives

Notes:
 We'll explore the range of options we have for mitigating and adapting to climate change, as well as the idea of geoengineering to avoid the worst effects
Homework (read these for next week):
 TBD

Week 12 Wed Dec 2

Figuring out what will work

Notes:
 We'll explore how we assess the likely effectiveness of different climate solutions.
