ERSC204 Earth System History (3 semester hours)

Earth System History explores the amazing history of our planet. Many astonishing events of the geologic past, and the science behind how they came to be understood are examined. The Earth and its inhabitants have undergone continuous change during the last 4.56 billion years. These changes are investigated using an integrated approach that considers the inter- relationships between the solid Earth, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Thus, students learn how our planet became a place where life began and continued to flourish; how change has dominated Earth history; and how continuing changes to Earth’s subsystems may challenge us in the future. Prerequisite: SCIN138.

ERSC206 Weather and Climate (3 semester hours)

This course will provide an introduction to meteorology and climate for scientists. We will explore the basics of Earth system, atmospheric thermodynamics, atmospheric chemistry, cloud physics, atmospheric boundary layer and radiative transfer. The background from these topics will provide the foundations to discuss climate change and climate dynamics. We will examine current research on the areas of climate change research to learn about the current state of climate change. Prerequisites: SCIN234 or PHYS134, and MATH226.

ERSC301 Hydrology (3 semester hours)

Physical principles governing occurrence and movement of water, including precipitation, evaporation and transpiration, runoff, infiltration, soil water movement, and stream channel morphology. NOTE: This course requires the student to purchase additional materials that are not covered by the book grant. Please refer to the Course Materials section for additional details. (Prerequisite: GEOG103 or SCIN138)

ERSC302 Geomorphology (3 semester hours)

Description: Geomorphology is the study of the physical features of the Earth’s crust. The study of geomorphology helps us understand not only about the earth as it is today, but also as it may have been in the past. Climate change and global warming are hot issues in current events these days, but how do scientists determine the climate is actually changing? Through observation of what we see today, and comparison to what we “see” in the past. This allows us to determine if the climate of the earth has always been like it is today or whether it's changed over time. With that knowledge we can predict how the climate might change (or not) in the future. If global warming and cooling has happened before, then it might happen again. One way to determine past climatic conditions is to study the landscape. What types of landforms are associated with different climatic conditions? The Midwest used to be the bottom of a vast shallow sea; the northern part of our continent was sculpted by glaciers that no longer exist. Understanding geomorphology, gives us insight to the landforms we see today that are the result of processes no longer at work on the landscape. Prerequisite: SCIN138.

ERSC303 Conservation of Natural Resources (3 semester hours)

This course examines the ways in which modern economies use and conserve natural resources, and how the use of those resources impacts the environment. Resources are defined not just by their physical properties. They are, in part culturally defined. This necessitates investigating how cultures conceptualize resources, how economies value resources and what political and social institutions have been created to manage resource use. The extraction and use of resources has consequences for societies and their physical environment. This course explores these consequences through a survey of the major categories of resources and the issues associated with their extraction, use and conservation. It also examines the prospects for establishing more sustainable resource management. Prerequisite: GEOG103.

ERSC305 Ocean and Atmospheric Dynamics (3 semester hours)

This course will explore the fluid mechanical principles guiding the atmosphere and ocean on a global scale. We will examine the inherit variables in the equations of motion, hydrostatic equations, and balanced flow principles. An examination of the atmospheric general circulation will be discussed including vertical and horizontal structure of temperature, pressure and density as well as a discussion on the dynamics of convection. Ocean dynamics will be discussed including the air--ocean interaction, thermohaline circulation and ocean heat budget and transport. Prerequisite: ERSC206.

ERSC401 Natural Hazards and Society (3 semester hours)

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the complex relationships between the natural hazards of earth processes that have direct, and often sudden and violent impacts on human society. The course integrates principles of geology, hydrology, meteorology, climatology, oceanography, soil science, ecology and solar system astronomy. This class describes the earth processes that drive hazardous events in an understandable way, illustrates how these processes interact with our civilization, and describes how we can better adjust to their effects. Examples and case studies are taken from international and U.S. experiences, along with how societies adjust to natural hazards. Prerequisites: GEOG103, ERSC206, and ERSC302.