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NCAR GV taking off from Guam airport, 19 Jan 2014, for Research Flight 4 of the NSF CONTRAST field campaign

I have developed three courses at the University of Maryland:

HONR 229: The Science, Economics, and Governance of Climate Change

AOSC 433/633 & CHEM 433/633: Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate

AOSC 652: Numerical Methods in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

HONR 229L examines issues related to the science, economics, and governance of climate change from the perspective of a social scientist: i.e., this class is heavy on reading and writing and hardly uses any equations.  The class is part of the UMd Honors College program and has also been selected as an I-series course.  Students interested in enrolling are encouraged to read the description for HONR 229L on the Honors College webpage and speak to other students who have taken the class, via networking in the Honors College.

A hallmark of HONR 299L is at the end of the semester, the class breaks into three groups and completes an interactive project, with every student assuming a role that mimics a real-life counterpart. During the first year, the students negotiated a Global Climate Agreement: at the same time the meeting that lead to the Paris Climate Accord was being held!  During the second year, students negotiated how the goal of the Paris Climate Accord, which is to limit global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial, would be met: at the same time the COP 22 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco was held.  During Years 1 and 2, we were able to provide an amazing course enrichment because the person assisting with the teaching of the class, Walt Tribett and Brian Bennett, actually attended the meetings in Paris and Marrakech and posted regular updates for the class.

HONRS 229L 2016.  Students pictured along with the instructor (yours truly), Tim Canty, Akua Asa-Awuku, and Safa Motesharrei who judged the final project that was won by Team China, Brian Bennett and Walt Tribett who helped with various aspects of the class, and Susan Dwyer, Executive Director of the Honors College, during the final public presentation that was attended by about 40 members of the community.

Julianna is pictured being presented the grand prize, a wooden carving of a camel brought back from Marrakech, Morocco by Brian Bennett, who had attended the COP22 meeting.  Julianna was the negotiator for Team China, whose presentation was selected "best" by our panel of judges.  I had asked each team to give me a sealed envelope with the name of one person who would get the wooden camel, should their team's presentation for achievement of the Paris INDC be deemed best by the panel of judges.  Julianna was genuinely surprised because Team China had placed her name in the envelope when she was outside of the room, participating in a negotiating session.  Appreciate the "signs of approval" from Team USA. Despite being obscured in the photo, the camel carving actually has exquisite detail. Having an announced "prize" led to an element of competition among the three teams regarding who would arrive at the best plan for reducing future emissions of greenhouse gases.

I hope to provide an equally fulfilling class project for Year 3.


AOSC 433/633 & CHEM 433/633 focuses on global warming, the carbon cycle, air pollution, and the ozone layer. Fundamentals of atmospheric chemistry are related to the modern understanding of these topics based on resources such as satellite missions, field campaigns, and scientific assessments published by international agencies. We also examine how society’s energy needs could be met, in the future, in a manner with less impact on atmospheric composition than the present heavy reliance on combustion of fossil fuels. This class is typically taught in the Spring, in a class room that seats about 40 students.  The material is taught at a level appropriate for upperclass undergraduate chemistry or physical science majors and first year graduate students: i.e., this class relies on equations, has numerous problem sets, etc.  Undergraduates are encouraged to enroll in the appropriate 400-level offering unless there is a compelling reason to place a 600-level class on your transcript; students enrolled at the 600-level have extra, more challenging questions on the problem sets and take more difficult exams.  Undergrads must obtain instructor permission to enroll in the 600-level offering.


AOSC 652 is a numerical methods course taught in a computer lab featuring modern Linux work stations.  This class is designed for incoming graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have limited or no prior computational experience in a Unix or Linux environment.  We cover numerical techniques often used in modern atmospheric and oceanic science via many hands-on exercises involving FORTRAN, MATLAB, and IDL, the tools of our trade.  These exercises involve use of real data of widespread interest, such as the Vostok ice core record and the modern global mean temperature anomaly.  A new addition to the class is the use of the Python programming language.  This class is typically taught in the Fall, in a computer lab that has about 25 seats.  AOSC 652 has been taught for many years by Ross Salawitch with help from Tim Canty.  During Fall 2017, the class will be taught for the first time by Jeff Henrikson, the AOSC IT manager.

Please contact me if you have questions about any of these courses.

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science                                           College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry                                                                                  The University of Maryland Newsdesk

Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center                                                                                             The University of Maryland

This page last updated on Monday, 31 July 2017