Current Research in Climate Change

Course Details

  • Acronym ATMS/ESS/OCN 475
  • Instructor(s) LuAnne Thompson
  • Quarter Winter 2019
  • Credits 3
  • Meeting Times Tu/Th 3:30-4:50pm
  • Location Ocean Sciences Building Room 425
  • Fullfills Climate Minor Capstone Requirement
  • Prerequisites Either ESS 201, ATM S 211, or ATM S 321.

Course Description

Winter 2018 Topic: Unanswered Questions in Climate Change Research

586/475 Seminar: Tuesdays 3:30-4:50 OCN 425

475 Discussion: Thursdays 3:30-4:50 OCN 425

Instructor: Kyle Armour (Oceanography, Atmospheric Sciences, Program on Climate Change) 

In this seminar series we will explore the major unanswered questions in climate change research. We’ll hear from a range of speakers working to answer questions such as: How much will Earth warm in the future? Is it possible to limit warming to below 2°C? How fast will sea levels rise this century? Why has the Antarctic sea ice cover been growing over recent decades? How will temperature and rainfall extremes change with global warming? How will climate change impact humans and ecosystems?

There will be weekly readings and invited seminars that will encourage students to view the challenges of climate change from multiple disciplinary perspectives.


This is the capstone seminar required for the climate minor, but open to all who have taken ESS 201 or ATMS 211 or ATMS 311.

Students in the climate change integrative seminar will: 

  • Read, evaluate, and synthesize information from primary literature in the field of climate science 
  • Integrate information from a range of methodological approaches to climate science 
  • Speculate on meanings of scientific data, possible future directions 
  • Communicate their ideas precisely in both oral and written format 
  • Translate those ideas for a general audience

This course is offered in conjunction with the OCEAN/ATM S/ESS 586 graduate seminar.  Both undergraduate and graduate students will attend presentations by UW and non-UW climate scientists in this co-listed course.   

Required Readings:

You will be given readings each week.  These readings will be chosen to supplement and to prepare you for the lectures and will be the source for our discussions with the speakers each week.  The readings will be available through Canvas.  You are expected to come to class having completed the readings. 

Individual Research Focus:

The focus on much of work that you will do in this class will be on a topic chosen by you that is related to an area of active climate change research.   This will include an annotated bibliography, a literature review paper, a blog post, a policy paper, and presentation.  You will decide on the focus of your work in the first few weeks in class.