EAPS 129: Earth Systems Dynamics Online Fall 2018 (Free Elective)

Need a geoscience course? Need to fulfill the Science (SCI) AND/OR Science, Technology, & Society (STS) curricula learning outcomes?

How about taking it online? You can get all of these by signing up to EAPS 12900 Earth System Dynamics, CRN 22177.

Formerly listed as EAPS10900Y (Online) in Fall 2016-17, the course provides the foundational knowledge and thinking skills to engage concerned citizens in the pursuits of answers to the Earth’s changing climate and its impacts. It begins with an introduction to what science is and the scientific methods. Then, it introduces how the components of the Earth system—atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biota—interact with each other in response to various forcings that impact the Earth’s climate. Within this context, short-term and long-term climate changes within and between these components and the resulting feedbacks are examined.

The online lectures, reading assignments, and the reinforcing virtual laboratories are designed by the instructor to explicitly deliver four layers of understanding:

  1. Earth as a physical system; therefore, geoscience processes are introduced, such as Sun’s radiation to the Earth, ocean currents, the formation of severe storms and hurricanes, El Niño mechanisms, and volcanism.
  2. Earth as a system supporting life; therefore, the history of life on Earth, water cycle, carbon cycle, nutrient cycle, natural resources, and sustainability are introduced.
  3. Earth as a system organized by humans; therefore, land use, agriculture, energy, transportation, and socio-economics are discussed.
  4. Earth as a system at risk; therefore, global change, biodiversity, water, food security, epidemics, and extreme events are emphasized throughout.

Built upon these layers, Earth’s climate change and the natural and human dimensions in the changes are examined repeatedly.

Expected Learning Outcomes

After participating and completing the reading assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, homework and laboratory activities, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the various sub-systems inside the Earth system and conceptualize how they interact.
  2. Apply facts and concepts about geospatial-temporal phenomena when relevant events arise in real life.
  3. Develop the ability to analyze the Earth system from personal, community to global scales.
  4. Connect available evidence in real life to climate change impacts for decision- and policy-making.


Please feel free to contact the instructor Prof. Wen-wen Tung ( shall there be any questions!

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