Clouds and Climate

The Romps Group at the University of California, Berkeley

EPS 7, Introduction to Climate Change, Fall 2017
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This course covers the physical processes that determine Earth's past, present, and future climate, with a particular focus on the essentially irreversible climate change (a.k.a., global warming) caused by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. Topics will also include the estimation of future warming and impacts, the Earth resources that can be used to combat climate change, and the policies being used to shift towards the use of those resources.

M W F, 2:00-3:00
245 Li Ka Shing
Required text
Readings will be posted online.
Homework 30% (due weekly or biweekly)
Midterm I 20% (September 27, in class)
Midterm II 20% (November 3, in class)
Final 30% (December 12, 11:30-2:30, 245 Li Ka Shing)
XX (XX McCone Hall,
XX (XX McCone Hall,
Reader office hours
Romps office hours
Monday 3:00-4:00 (377 McCone Hall,

Syllabus (subject to change)

08/23, Joules and Watts: A tale of two Jameses
08/25, Energy on the move: How it gets from A to B
08/28, Fun with units: Meters and thermometers
08/30, Wien's law: The color of light
09/1, Stefan-Boltzmann law: You are glowing, literally
09/6, Mercury or Mars: To roast or to freeze?
09/8, Water, water, everywhere: The atmosphere as a dehumidifier
09/11, Forcing and feedbacks: Who leads and who follows
09/13, Cloud taxonomy: Name that cloud
09/15, Venus: What went wrong here?
09/18, Carbon sinks: Where does the CO2 go?
09/20, Coring for history: Ancient records of climate
09/22, Weathering: The Earth's thermostat
09/25, Paleoclimate: The past as guide to the future
09/27, Midterm I
09/29, The industrial revolution: Fossil fuels and their uses
10/2, CO2 rising: Isotopes finger the culprit
10/4, Evidence of warming: Is it getting hot in here?
10/6, Future CO2 levels: Simple math paints the picture
10/9, Climate models: Supercomputers to the rescue
10/11, The IPCC: How to win a Nobel Prize
10/13, Warming on land: The problem is much bigger than you think
10/16, Warming in deep future: The problem is much longer than you think
10/18, Droughts and floods: The revenge of Clausius-Clapeyron
10/20, California drought and fire: What is the forecast?
10/23, Ice and sea level: Where not to invest in property
10/25, Ocean acidification: The crisis below the waves
10/27, Hydro power: What is left to harness?
10/30, Nuclear power: Necessary or too costly and dangerous?
11/1, Wind power: Mining the sky for energy
11/3, Midterm II
11/6, Solar power: Is the technology ready to save the day?
11/8, Biomass: Is there room for both food and fuel?
11/13, Coal to gas: The fracking revolution and its impact on climate
11/15, Wedges: Pick your own scenario for saving the planet
11/17, Financial incentives: ITC, PTC, and other fun acronyms you should know
11/20, Who obstructs action on climate change, and why: Follow the money
11/27, International agreements: Rio, Kyoto, and Paris
11/29, Domestic regulations: CAFE, RPS, CPP, and more acronyms


  1. Due Friday, September 1: Homework 1
  2. Due Friday, September 8: Homework 2
  3. Due Friday, September 15: Homework 3
  4. Due Friday, September 22: Homework 4
  5. Due Friday, September 29: Homework 5
  6. Due Friday, October 6: Homework 6
  7. Due Friday, October 13: Homework 7
  8. Due Friday, October 20: Homework 8
  9. Due Friday, October 27: Homework 9
  10. Due Friday, November 3: Homework 10
  11. Due Wednesday, November 8: Homework 11
  12. Due Friday, November 17: Homework 12
  13. Due Monday, November 27: Homework 13
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Courses  EPS 290, Topics in Atmospheric Dynamics, Fall 2017