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Courses I Regularly Teach at Dartmouth:

EARS 2: Evolution of Earth and Life (Winter Terms)

EARS 2: Evolution of Earth and LifeThe presence of life on Earth potentially makes it unique in this solar system. The reasons that life emerged, persisted, and evolved on Earth are tied to Earth’s geochemical and geophysical processes, such as the rock cycle and carbon cycle, which have been active on Earth since its formation 4.5 billion years ago. This course examines how the evolution of the continents, oceans and atmosphere has strongly influenced the evolution of life, and vice-versa, for most of Earth’s history, including today. In this context we will discuss the origin of the Earth, Moon, oceans, continents, atmosphere, biosphere, and the importance of catastrophic events in the destruction and evolution of species. View syllabus. W11, W12, W13, W14, W15, W16, W17.

EARS 3: Elementary Oceanography, The Blue Planet (Spring Terms)

oceanographyOceanography is the study of the marine environment and represents one of the original 'environmental sciences' in that it draws upon the collaborative expertise of chemists, biologists, physicists and geologists alike. In this course, we introduce this multidisciplinary approach to learn about interactions between the physical, biological, and geological processes in the sea, and understand the complexity of the sea as a natural system. We learn about the sea’s resources, its contribution to global climate, its significance as a recording of Earth’s environmental history, and its importance as the likely setting for life’s beginnings. View syllabus. Sp11, Sp13, Sp15, Sp17 (Xiahong Feng teaches this course in even-year springs).

EARS 14: Meteorology

EARS14 MeteorologyThis course introduces students to the science of weather and the atmosphere, focusing on understanding weather on a day-to-day basis through observations, and on the collection and analysis of meteorological data. We begin with first principles of atmospheric composition, the Earth’s heat engine, and fundamental atmospheric properties like temperature and moisture. These topics lead to more in-depth discussions of atmospheric circulation, weather patterns, weather forecasting, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes, and how weather is related to Earth’s changing climate. Vew syllabus. Sp10, Sp12, Sp14.

EARS 37: Marine Geology

EARS37 Marine GeologyThis intermediate-level course investigates the geology, processes, and paleoarchives hidden beneath the world’s oceans. Major topics include the morphology and history of the sea floor (plate tectonics), marine geology field and remote sensing techniques, the origin and evolution of ocean crust and sediments, hydrothermal vents and ecosystems, coastal processes including catastrophic events (hurricanes, tsunamis), and marine records of climate change and sea level changes. The highlight of the course is a weekend research cruise in the Middlebury College research vessel on Lake Champlain collecting sub-bottom seismic data, multibeam bathymetry data, and sediment cores that we analyze as part of a term-long class project. View Syllabus W08, W10, F13, F14.

EARS 46: "STRETCH" Field Methods in Banff National Park

Professor Bob Hawley and I lead a 2-week field course section to teach undergraduate majors about polar and alpine glacier-related research in Banff (Alberta, Canada) and Glacier (Montana, USA) National Parks. We spend several days on the Athabasca Glacier, along with several other stops, covering topics including glaciology, glacier travel and safety, ice coring, glacial geology, remote sensing, glacial sedimentology, and climate change. This section is just the first part of the STRETCH, which spans the American West from Yellowstone to the Sierras over a period of 3 months, with Dartmouth professors taking turns teaching sections related to their research. Check out some pictures from 2008 from our section! F08, F09, F10, F11, F17.

EARS 78: Climate Dynamics

Climate DynamicsThis upper level undergraduate and graduate course investigates the dynamics of Earth's climate on timescales ranging from hours to millennia, including interactions with the oceans and cryosphere. We focus in particular on coupled ocean-atmosphere modes of variability including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. We will use primary literature to delve into these phenomena, their forcing mechanisms, and their impacts on regional weather and climate. We will also use simple climate models to gain a better understanding of the underlying physics of these phenomena. F15, Sp18.

Courses I Have Previously Taught at Dartmouth:

EARS 18: Environmental Geology

EARS 18 Environmental GeologyThis course takes an interdisciplinary approach toward understanding Earth’s terrestrial, marine, atmospheric, and biological environments. We learn about the dynamic natural processes that are important in each  environment, as well as the impact of past and present human activities. Students gain skills in collecting, interpreting, and reporting scientific data through field trips and laboratory sessions. Environmental issues such as ozone depletion, acid rain, climate change, and air and water pollution are key topics of focus. Selected case studies will allow students to gain appreciation of the complexity of scientific, social, cultural and political interactions that surround many environmental issues. View syllabus. F10. Xiahong Feng regularly teaches this course each fall.

EARS 33: Earth's Surface Processes and Landforms

EARS 33 GeomorphologyThe primary objective of the course is to explore the processes occurring on the surface of the Earth that shape the landscape. This is an interesting topic because the landscape is the part of geology that is most readily accessible to the public; the geology that most people see every day. Students never look at a landscape the same way again! A major part of this course is the lab exercises, where we learn some geology/geography field techniques and work with data to understand various surface processes. The highlight is a weekend field trip to Cape Cod to investigate glacial and coastal processes, landforms, and interactions. View syllabus. F09. Frank Magilligan, Dartmouth Geography, regularly teaches this course.

EARS 86: Earth's Past, Present and Future Climate

Climate CourseThis upper level undergraduate and graduate course investigates the characteristics and causes of short- (1 yr) to long-term (>1 million yrs) climate change over the past ~400 million years and ~1000 years into the future. In order to make informed predictions about Earth’s climate and informed decisions about our society’s response, it is essential to understand how and why Earth’s climate has changed in the past. We see that the climate has always been changing due to processes such as plate tectonics, variations in the energy balance, and complex interactions and feedbacks between the ocean, atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere. We then use this understanding to make reasonable predictions of future climate under various scenarios. View Syllabus W09. Meredith Kelly regularly teaches an undergraduate version of this course with an amazing lab in the winter: EARS 15 "Earth Climate - Past, Present and Future"

Teaching Modules

As graduate students, Leigh Stearns and I developed a website on using "Flubber" to model the flow of the Malaspina Glacier. Check out our website here.

Leigh has incorporated this into a site on Glacier Education complete with K-12 lesson plans here.