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Past Climates and Paleoclimate Proxies

Subject code


Course Number


Course Long Title

Past Climates and Paleoclimate Proxies


Understanding Earth’s climate history is imperative for predicting future environmental conditions as we are challenged by human-made climate change. By examining different climate case studies from the last ~800 million years, students identify the primary drivers of variation in Earth’s climate, and assess the advantages and limitations of the physical and geochemical proxies used to interpret paleoclimate conditions. Students build skills in interpreting primary scientific literature and synthesizing real-world datasets through a mixture of student-led discussions and presentations, lectures on the Earth’s climate system and paleoclimate tools, and the use of open-source databases to investigate paleoclimate questions.

Modes of Inquiry

Scientific Reasoning [SR]

Writing Credit

No writing designation

Class Restriction

Exclude First Years

Offering Frequency

One-time offering

Recommended Background

Prior coursework in general chemistry is recommended.