Physics 595 CL: Mathematics and Physics of Climate Change
  Spring 2012

During the past decade, the study of global climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing and important scientific disciplines of the current era.  This interdisciplinary course for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in science, engineering and mathematics will provide an introduction to the scientific and mathematical foundations of global climate change.  The emphasis will be on atmospheric physics including the green house effect, atmospheric thermodynamics, radiative transfer, remote sensing, fluid dynamics, and a short introduction to atmospheric modeling.  Throughout the course physical principles and mathematical techniques will be carefully explained.

Meeting Times:      Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:15 p.m. SH 207

Instructors:            This course is jointly taught by Cristina Cadavid (Physics & Astronomy) and David Klein (Mathematics)

Offices:                   Cristina Cadavid: Live Oak (formerly Science 1) Room 1130
                               Phone: (818) 677- 2171

                               David Klein: Santa Susana Hall (formerly:Faculty Office Building) Room 127  
                               Phone: (818) 677-7792
                               web page:

Office hours:         Cadavid: Monday 6:15 to 7 p.m., Thursday 5 to 6 p.m. & by appointment
                              Klein: Monday, Wednesday, 4:20 to 4:50 p.m. & by appointment

Prerequisites:       For physics students: PHYS 365 (Matlab), PHYS 301, PHYS 311;
                             For math students: Math 280 or 351, Math 350, and Math 462;
                             Or permission from one of the instructors.

Grading:  There will be two midterm exams, each worth 20%, and a final exam worth 40% of the grade.  Homework will be collected and graded and will constitute 20% of the grade.  Plus grades  (+) and minus grades (–) will be assigned for this course.  The date of the midterms will be announced in class.

Textbook: The main textbook for the course is An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, Second Edition (2010) by David G. Andrews. The core of the course will be the first four chapters.

Power point from first lecture: Climate Science Overview

Other Books:

Elementary Climate Physics, by F.W. Taylor
Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, by M.L. Salby

An Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation Dynamics, by K.N. Liou

A course in mathematics for students of physics 2, by P. Bamberg & S. Sternberg
(for the Caratheodory-Born development of Thermodynamics)

Online Resources:

CSUN Climate Science Program:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Real Climate

Radiative Transfer in the Earth

The Discovery of Global Warming, by Spencer Weart, director of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics.

Differentiation under the integral sign, by H. Flanders, American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 80, 615-627, 1973

Exams and Homework Assignments

Assignment 1, due Feb 8
Assignment 2, due Feb 22
Assignment 3, due March 21
Assignment 4, due Friday, April 13, 5 p.m., in Professor Cadavid's department mailbox
Assignment 5, due April 30
Assignment 6, due Friday, May 11, noon, in Professor Klein's department mailbox

Exam 1: March 14
Exam 2: April 18

Final Exam: May 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Climate Fellowship Opportunities

CSUN Climate Science Program's JPL Summer Fellowships

Jobs in environmental science