Purdue Courses

The PCCRC supports a learning environment that emphasizes interdisciplinary thinking, collaboration, and a sense of open possibility. We encourage students to see the larger implications and connections of their work, challenging them to dig deeper into issues, broaden their perspective and question assumptions. The center offers internship opportunities to undergraduates, a travel grant program for graduate students and maintains a database of climate-change related courses.

Undergraduate

AGRY 120 Water and Food Security

Offered in the spring and fall by Prof. Laura Bowling

This course serves as a general science introduction to global and regional water resources issues, especially with respect to food security.  It addresses the role of water in agriculture throughout the world and agriculture’s impact on water resources.  Climate change is an important driver of water and food insecurity.

AGRY 337 Environmental Hydrology

Offered in the spring by Prof. Laura Bowling

This course provides introductory students with both the basics of how water moves through the environment and current theories as to how hydrologic response is modified by environmental change at a variety of temporal and spatial scales.  Usually has one week is specifically focused on climate change & hydrologic impacts.

AGRY 335 Weather and Climate

Typically offered spring by Prof. Dev Niyogi

An introductory course in meteorology and climatology with applications to daily life. The study of fundamental physical principles behind weather and climate and how they apply to the homeowner and the world citizen. Emphasis is on how to interpret weather conditions and forecasts, what controls the wide range of climates in the world, and what the future may hold.

AGRY 399 Climate Change in Africa Course

Offered in spring (but not 2016) by Profs. Rich Grant and Cliff Johnston

The impacts of climate change are greatest where societies are the poorest in resources and least capable of adapting.  The effects of the changing climate on the arid regions of Africa have already been significant, threatening the very fabric of the society. This seminar will look at the changes in climate in West Africa and present and future impacts of the changes on availability of food and water.

ANTH 327 Environment and Culture

Offered in the fall, spring, or summer by Prof. Laura Zanotti

This course provides a general overview to the field of environmental anthropology, and surveys key methods, and theories that anthropologists use to interpret human-environment interactions. Topics include culture ecology, agroecology, ethnobiology, political ecology, and environmental justice.

EAPS 109-Y The Dynamic Earth (Distance Learning)

Offered in the spring by Prof. Wen-wen Tung

This new course studies the Earth with the system’s approach, introducing how the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biota interact in response to various internal and external forcings. Basic mechanisms for phenomena such as radiative transfer, greenhouse effect, winds, precipitation, storm formation (hurricanes and tornadoes), ocean currents, El Nino, carbon and nutrient cycles, etc., are discussed. Climate changes within and between the components in the Earth system and the resulting feedbacks are examined.

EAPS 129 Earthy System Dynamics

Offered in the spring and fall by Prof. Wen-wen Tung

Provides foundational knowledge and critical thinking skills to discuss the Earth’s changing climate and environment and their impacts.  Introduces how the components of the Earth system - atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biota – interact with each other in response to various forcings.  Course is designed to enhance learners’ geospatial-temporal thinking skills and geoscience literacy, as well as analyze some of the ‘what if’ scenarios using a ‘systems approach’.

EAPS 111 Physical Geology

Offered in the summer, fall, and spring by Prof. Nat Lifton

Geologic processes and the development of land forms. Laboratory covers the study of minerals and rocks, the interpretations of topographic and geologic maps, and field investigations.

EAPS 120 Introduction to Geography

Offered in the fall, spring, or summer by Prof. Jon Harbor

Introduction to the major themes of modern geography, designed to enhance your spatial thinking skills, geographic literacy, and to help you understand the relevance of geographic concepts and how they relate to our changing world. This course will expand your awareness of global issues and provide you with tools to understand how the world changes around you at local, regional, and global scales.

EAPS 221 / NRES 230 Survey of Atmospheric Science/Meteorology

Offered in the fall, spring, or summer by Prof. Harshvardhan

A general study of the atmosphere, basic meteorological principles, and weather systems. Relationships of the changing atmosphere to climate ozone depletion, and other contemporary issues.

EAPS 327 Climate, Science, and Society

Typically offered fall and spring by Prof. Lisa Welp 

The primary goal of this course is to teach Climate Science Literacy.  Climate change is one of the most complex societal problems of the day, spanning disciplines as far ranging as atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemistry, ecology, economics, ethics, and policy.  Students will gain an in-depth understanding of Earth’s climate system; how it works and how humans are changing it.  They will learn about potential problems such as sea level rise, trends in storm frequency and intensity, severity of droughts and the occurrence of extreme weather events.  This course will provide knowledge and skills necessary for informed citizenship by encouraging students to apply scientific information to evaluate public discussions and policy decisions related to climate change.

EAPS 364 Natural Hazards: Science and Society

Offered in the spring by Prof. Timothy Filley

The primary goal of this course is to teach Climate Science Literacy.  Climate change is one of the most complex societal problems of the day, spanning disciplines as far ranging as atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemistry, ecology, economics, ethics, and policy.  Students will gain an in-depth understanding of Earth’s climate system; how it works and how humans are changing it.  They will learn about potential problems such as sea level rise, trends in storm frequency and intensity, severity of droughts and the occurrence of extreme weather events.  This course will provide knowledge and skills necessary for informed citizenship by encouraging students to apply scientific information to evaluate public discussions and policy decisions related to climate change.

HSCI 202 Essentials of Environmental, Occupational, and Radiological Health Sciences

Offered in the fall only by Prof. Jennifer Freeman

The primary goal of this course is to teach Climate Science Literacy.  Climate change is one of the most complex societal problems of the day, spanning disciplines as far ranging as atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemistry, ecology, economics, ethics, and policy.  Students will gain an in-depth understanding of Earth’s climate system; how it works and how humans are changing it.  They will learn about potential problems such as sea level rise, trends in storm frequency and intensity, severity of droughts and the occurrence of extreme weather events.  This course will provide knowledge and skills necessary for informed citizenship by encouraging students to apply scientific information to evaluate public discussions and policy decisions related to climate change.

FNR 488 Global Environmental Issues

Offered in the fall of 2016 only by Prof. Linda Prokopy

Students who take this class will be able to explain the issues, facts and concepts central to a broad range of environmental issues, including climate change.  They will be able to apply scientific evidence to form ethically-grounded opinions on controversial environmental topics.  Students will be able to assess proposed solutions to environmental problems.  This course is highly engaging and uses a lot of active learning techniques.

POL 223 Introduction to Environmental Policy

Offered in the fall and spring by Prof. Tara Grillos

Study of decision making as modern societies attempt to cope with environmental and natural resources problems. Focuses on the American political system, with some attention to the international dimension. Current policies and issues will be examined. 

POL 323 Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy

Typically offered summer, fall, or spring by Prof. Mark Tilton

The course compares environmental politics and policy in different countries, with emphasis on Germany, Japan, the United States and China.  Particular attention is given to climate change and renewable energy.  The course explores why environmental politics and policy varies so much between countries, what factors are driving change, and how international negotiations over climate change affect domestic policies.

Graduate

AAE 523 Introduction to Remote Sensing

Offered this spring by Prof. James Garrison

This course will introduce students to key aspects of the design of satellite systems for Earth observation (EO). We will start by identifying the physical quantities that need to be measured in order to understand changes in the Earth's atmosphere, land surfaces and oceans. These parameters will be compared with the various phenomenologies that enable them to be measured remotely from space. Next, we will look at the design of instruments and satellite systems around these principles. Microwave instruments will be emphasized, although there will also be discussion of optical systems. This course is intended equally for students in Engineering or the Sciences.

ABE 651 Environmental Informatics

Offered in the spring by Prof. Keith Cherkauer

Data volumes in the environmental field are increasing with the advent of sensor networks, greater availability of high-resolution and multispectral remote sensing images, and the growing use of spatially distributed models. Students require new tools and techniques for working with data in a wide variety of formats.

AGEC 525 Environmental Policy Analysis

Offered in the spring by Prof. Juan Sesmero

This course deals with “the main aspects of economic theory concerning how the links between the economy and the environment operate, how markets allocated environmental resources and how this allocation can differ from what society views as optimal” (Hanley, Shogren, and White). This course involves studying the situations in which markets fail to allocate environmental resources efficiently. The relative merits of policies aiming at “correcting” inefficient allocation of resources will be analyzed. To support the evaluation of policy alternatives, the course will emphasize the construction, solution, and interpretation of mathematical models with particular emphasis on calculus-based optimization. As such, it requires knowledge and use of mathematics and economic principles.

AGEC 608 Benefit Cost Analysis

Offered in the spring by Prof. Wally Tyner

Principles and practice for analysis of the benefits and costs of public investments. Topics include measures of project worth, choice of the discount rate, analysis of projects with multiple objectives and purposes, identifying and quantifying benefits and costs, applications of consumer and producer surplus in project analysis, treatment of risk and uncertainty, and shadow pricing techniques for project evaluation in developing counties. Concurrent Prerequisite: AGEC 60400; a graduate course in microeconomic theory.

AGEC 622 Food System Organization and Policy

Offered in the spring semester by Prof. Joseph Balagtas

This course focuses on application of Industrial Organization concepts to evaluate agricultural and food markets. Topics include competition in agricultural markets, vertical coordination and integration, product differentiation, and innovation and property rights. While not explicitly a course on climate change, the socio-economic effects of climate change play out, in part, through agricultural and food markets. Thus, climate change offers particularly interesting applications of Industrial Organization models.

AGRY 598 Field Measurement of Greenhouse Gases

Offered in fall by Profs. Rich Grant and Cliff Johnston

An interdisciplinary field oriented graduate level course that which will present both the fundamental and applied principles of greenhouse gas measurements in agricultural landscapes. The course will include frequent labs at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education. Topics include gas sampling and analytics of closed and open path measurements including open path FTIR, laser based measurement techniques of NH3, N2O and CO2. Laboratories will include the measurement of gases and gas fluxes from both soil and plants: Flux methods will include chamber, eddy correlation, gradient, and backward Lagrangian methods.

EAPS 529 Modeling Ecosystems and Biogeochemical Cycles

Offered in the fall by Prof. Qianlai Zhuang                   

Process-based models are powerful tools for studying ecosystem dynamics and geochemical cycles in Earth System Sciences. In this course, we will explore how various components of ecosystems can be modeled following principles of biology, physics, and chemistry.  We will also examine techniques for using modeling to study: 1) responses of the structure and functioning of ecosystems to changing climate, atmospheric composition, environmental conditions, and human activities; and 2) exchanges of major greenhouse gases (e.g., CO2, CH4, and N2O) between the atmosphere and the biosphere.  During the course, we will go through the whole cycle of system modeling approach including model conceptualization, formulation, parameterization, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, verification, and application.

EAPS 591T/AGRY 598T Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Offered in the fall by Prof. Qianlai Zhuang

The objective of this course is to build a conceptual model of terrestrial ecosystems and to provide students with the state-of-the-art mechanisms by which terrestrial ecosystems work. Topics include ecosystem concept, Earth’s climate system, geology and soils, terrestrial water and energy balance, terrestrial production processes, terrestrial decomposition, terrestrial plant nutrient use and cycling, biogeochemical pathways, and ecosystem temporal and spatial dynamics.

We expect students to have a basic knowledge of Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, and Physics in order to master topics covered in the course. If a student lacks some of this basic knowledge, we will work with you to overcome those deficiencies with some additional reading prior to the lecture needing that material.

The course will be a combination of lecture, problem-solving and discussions based on current papers in the literature.  The course will have a mid-term exam. The course will also have you design a project and present it to the class and deliver a final project paper. 

FNR 535 Forest Regeneration

Offered in the fall, alternate years by Prof. Douglass Jacobs

An overview of the dynamics associated with the regeneration of forestlands in North America.  Topics include genetic considerations, seed collection and handling, forest tree nursery operations, seedling quality, managing for environmental stresses, planting operations, early stand management, and natural regeneration.  The course meets 150 min per week.  We use a lecture-based format but with the goal of at least one-third of the time being dedicated to discussion. Whenever logistically feasible, we will incorporate experiential learning through visits to field tours or laboratories.

HSCI 575 Introduction to Environmental Health

Offered in the spring only by Prof. Jennifer Freeman

This course covers the basic principles of environmental health needed for prevention of disease and promotion of public health.  Topics include basic methodologies for assessing the effect of environmental agents, including epidemiology, toxicology, exposure assessment and risk assessment.   The major biological, chemical and physical agents will be addressed with emphasis on physical characterization and exposure assessment, adverse health effects and their mechanisms, population exposures, dose-response relationships, effects on susceptible populations, applicable standards and regulations, and control of exposures.  The course addresses ethical and global issues involved with environmental health, including conflicts of interest in controlling environmental hazards, environmental justice, and global climate change.

POL 520 Policy Analysis Climate Change

Typically offered in the fall, spring and summer by Prof. David Johnson

This is a course focuses on a specific current public policy topic, chosen for its contemporary political relevance, which varies from semester to semester. In general, each topic will be examined in terms of its historical roots, past policy initiatives, present policy proposals, and its enduring political and social challenges.

POL 693 / CE597 Dynamics of Social, Ecological, and Technological Systems: Concepts and Tools

Offered in the fall, spring, and summer by Prof. David Yu

In a perfectly linear and predictable world, decision-making for sustainability is a matter of how to discount future and how to juggle between inter/intra-generational and inter-species concerns. The world we actually live in, however, is much more complex than that. More often than not, it is characterized by non-linearity, feedback loops, and inter-connectedness that lead to unexpected system dynamics such as regime shifts, critical thresholds, and “robust-yet-fragile” system performance. Public policy for sustainability in such a context requires an understanding of dynamic system-level concepts and tools and an interdisciplinary approach to study interactions among different subsystems (social, ecological, and technological subsystems) of our modern world. This course will help students understand systems thinking, an interdisciplinary approach of social, ecological, and technological systems, and quantitative skills to model and study the dynamics of such coupled systems. Students will gain precise mathematical understanding of resilience and regime shift through local stability analysis, learn evolutionary game dynamics to study how social norms or institutions change over time, and understand how to conduct ‘what-if’ policy analyses using dynamic models.

 

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