EARS 2: Evolution of Earth and Life

The 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 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.

EARS 3: Elementary Oceanography, The Blue Planet

Oceanography 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.

EARS 14: Meteorology

This 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. View syllabus.

EARS 46: “STRETCH” Field Methods in Banff National Park

Erich and Professor Bob Hawley 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.

EARS 78: Climate Dynamics

This 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 use primary literature to delve into these phenomena, their forcing mechanisms, and their impacts on regional weather and climate. We also use simple climate models to gain a better understanding of the underlying physics of these phenomena. View syllabus.