Climate School aims to provide in-depth technical information about the science of climate change to Caltech/JPL students, faculty, staff and affiliated networks. It is hoped that after attending, participants will be able to understand the connections between greenhouse gas emissions and changing climate conditions around the planet, and will be able to explain these ideas to others.
How to Change the Temperature of the Planet and What the Paleoclimate Record Can and Can't Tell us About What is Coming
This session addressed the basic concepts of energy balance, looking at the ways in which the planet's temperature and climate can change at the global scale, and what the interacting earth systems are that play a role in this process. The session also included a look at the historical climate record for clues about how these systems and processes have changed.
Climate Change and the Atmosphere
This session looked at the basic mechanisms that cause rising air temperatures and other changes in the atmosphere. We discussed Earth's energy balance and radiative transfer, how changes in the atmospheric composition affect it, and what feedbacks are at play in mediating the atmosphere's response to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.
Climate Change and the Oceans
This session provided further information about how ocean dynamics influence the ocean's response to rising atmospheric temperatures and CO2 levels. The session also highlighted how observations from ships, satellites and autonomous platforms have contributed to our understanding of recent oceanic changes.
Common Myths and Misconceptions About Climate Change
Armed with the basics and details of the science, this session focused on common misunderstandings the general public have about climate change, and how to address those questions based on the science without engaging in tribalism.
Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
How does energy usage connect to climate change? This session answered the question with an overview of energy sources, energy consumption, and the most common ways to produce electricity and to provide transportation. The session also examined the thermal efficiencies for these processes and the production of greenhouse gases from hydrocarbon fuels.