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)
David Romps (
Jake Seeley (
Ben Fildier (
Reader office hours
Last names A-L: Tuesdays, 1-2, 265 McCone Hall
Last names M-Z: Fridays, 11-12, 265 McCone Hall
Professor office hours
Mondays, 3-4, 377 McCone Hall

Syllabus (subject to change)

08/23, Joule and Watt: 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: Warm and toasty
09/8, Mars: A little chilly
09/11, Earth's atmosphere: What is it?
09/13, Clausius-Clapeyron: Water, water, everywhere
09/15, Lapse rate: It is cold up here!
09/18, Radiative transfer: Gases glow, too
09/20, Greenhouse gases: The Earth's clothing
09/22, Discovery of global warming: A short history
09/25, Forcing and feedback: Your best life now
09/27, Midterm I
    09/29, Earth's feedbacks: Calculating climate sensitivity
    10/2, Cloud taxonomy: Name that cloud
    10/4, Fossil fuels: Where did this stuff come from?
    10/6, Drill baby drill: How much have we burned?
    10/9, Evidence of warming: Is it getting hot in here?
    10/11, Ocean acidification: Where does the carbon go?
    10/13, Climate models: Supercomputers to the rescue
    10/16, The IPCC: How to win a Nobel Prize
    10/18, Other gases: Laughing gas and hairspray
    10/20, Scary feedbacks: Stuff that could burn
    10/23, Paleoclimate: The past as guide to the future
    10/25, Ice and sea level: Where to invest in property
      10/27, Superstorms: The revenge of Clausius-Clapeyron
        10/30, Future Earth: Spacesuits required
        11/1, Biomass power: Enough room for food and fuel?
        11/3, Midterm II
          11/6, Hydro power: What is left to harness?
          11/8, Nuclear power: Too costly and dangerous?
          11/13, Wind power: Mining the sky
          11/15, Solar power: Ready to save the day?
          11/17, Domestic policy: CPP, ITC, PTC, alphabet soup
          11/20, International agreements: Rio, Kyoto, and Paris
            11/27, Carbon tax: The simple policy solution
              11/29, Who obstructs action: Follow the money
              12/1, Climate rights movement: What will your role be?


              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. See bCourses for homework 5 and beyond
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              Courses  EPS 290, Topics in Atmospheric Dynamics, Fall 2017