The science of the climate system combines fluid dynamics, chemistry, radiation physics, geology, biology, and mathematical modeling and analysis skills. Practicing climate scientists and educators are continually needing to learn enough about this range of topics to keep abreast of the leading problems of climate science, such as whether the Amazon may turn into grassland, Greenland might melt, or coral reefs may dissolve in a greenhouse-warmed climate, or what are the critical feedbacks that produce natural glacial-interglacial cycles.
The Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) was created to provide an interdisciplinary training in methods, research issues, and communication of climate science that enhances the scientific breadth and professional employability of GCeCS awardees. The certificate combines the PCC courses, specifically designed to address the cross-linkages in the earth system that disciplinary curricula are not able to do, with a capstone in Climate Science Communication.
Prerequisites include current enrollment in a UW graduate program.
1) One of the University of Washington graduate programs in Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences or Oceanography
2) Any UW graduate program and have at least at least one quarter of undergraduate chemistry with a total of at least six quarters (four semesters) of undergraduate coursework in geophysical science, chemistry, biology or physics, all with an average grade of B (3.0) or above. Courses taken during non-matriculated status may be applied to the GCeCS. Submit an undergraduate transcript with your application that highlights science courses that meet these requirements.
Suggested: Experience with a programming language such as python or matlab. One semester of calculus.
Students pursuing the GCeCS complete a minimum of 17 credits, including 3 graded courses, 1 seminar/reading course and a capstone project that includes a communication seminar or course.
Required Coursework (11-12 credits)
Fundamentals of Climate Change (ATM S/ESS/OCN 587, 3 cr, offered Au)
Advanced Physical Climatology (ATMS 571, 3 cr) (offered alt yrs, requires differential equations and permission of instructor)
NEW OPTION Climate Dynamics offered as OCN 569/ESS 590/ATMS 591 for Winter 2017 (3 cr) Alternate yrs, planned for Winter 2019.
Climate and Biogeochemistry
The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate (ATMS/ESS/OCN 588, 3 cr, generally offered Winter Quarter)
Applications of Climate Science
Choose one of:
- Paleoclimatology- Data, Modeling and Theory (ATMS/ESS/OCN 589, 3 cr, alt yrs)
- Paleoclimate Proxies (ATMS/ESS/OCN 554, 3 cr, alt years)
- Climate Modeling (ATMS/ESS 559 and OCEAN 558, 4 cr, Sp, alt yrs)
- Governmental Responses to Climate Change (SMEA 521, 3 cr, Au, alt yrs)
- The Changing Arctic Ocean (OCN 497/508, 3 cr, Sp).
- Ice and Climate (ATMS 514/ESS 535, 3 cr)
- Planetary Atmospheres (ATMS 555/ESS 581, 3 cr)
- Others possible, just ask
Seminar: Current Research in Climate Change (ATMS/ESS/OCN 586, 2 cr, will next be offered Winter 2019)
Also note that courses taken for the certificate can count as electives to fulfill degree requirements.
Required Capstone Experience
The core courses provide an holistic appreciation of the earth system, and an appreciation of uncertainties. The capstone experience provides training into better ways to communicate new climate science findings to other scientists and professionals, policy-makers and advocates, the public and to students of all levels.
Through the capstone project students should
- Demonstrate mastery of multidisciplinary climate science through the creation of material that communicates some aspect of the physical climate system, climate impacts and/or adaptation.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of that communication (you are encouraged to consult with Angela Davis-Unger in UW Office of Educational Assessment, email@example.com)
- Reflect on what was learned from the capstone experience, as well as impact on the audience, through a blog post.
Communications Training or Seminar
- Perspectives in Communicating Climate Science Seminar (ATMS/ESS/OCN 593, 1 cr, alt yrs)
- C ENV 500 ENGAGE: The Science Speaker Series and Seminar-teaches emerging scientists to effectively communicate through development of a seminar on their own research for a general audience. (3 cr; Winter quarter; http://www.engage-science.com/seminar-resources/)
- Trainings offered by the Pacific Science Center
Visit UW Environment science communication courses list, departmental offerings and new, sometimes one-time offerings (subscribe to the pccgrads mailman listserve for opportunities); many can be used to fulfill this requirement.
Climate Science Communication Capstone (ATMS/ESS/OCN 596, total of 5 cr)
Credits and effort can be split over multiple quarters if appropriate.
Your first challenge is to come up with a project that 1) is of strong interest to you 2) communicates some aspect of climate to a non-specialist audience and 3) can be evaluated for effectiveness. You are encouraged to brainstorm ideas with the PCC academic adviser then design the project in collaboration with a UW mentor, generally a faculty member with expertise in the content of the communication, and perhaps also a non-UW mentor working in the field. The UW mentor is responsible for oversight of the content of the communication. All proposals and final projects must gain initial approval from the PCC academic adviser and final approvals from all mentors and finally the PCC Director. Details on what to include in the proposal are here.
Sometimes projects ideas come from community outreach/speaker requests, other times students have an idea that can be developed into a capstone project. Some general areas: internships with local agencies/journalists, creation and use of K-12 outreach materials; organization of seminars/workshops.
Following university requirements, successful completion of the GCeCS will require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for courses required for the Certificate and a grade of 2.7 or higher for each course counted toward the Certificate.