Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This class examines tools, data, and ideas related to past climate changes as seen in marine, ice core, and continental records. The most recent climate changes (mainly the past 500,000 years, ranging up to about 2 million years ago) will be emphasized. Quantitative tools for the examination of paleoceanographic data will be introduced (statistics, factor analysis, time series analysis, simple climatology).


  1. 2-3 problem sets throughout the term.
  2. Lec #8: a 3-5 page term paper "proposal" due. The goal of the paper is to discuss and perhaps even answer a paleoceanographic question.
  3. Lec #11: first draft of the paper. This deadline is firm; the papers will be given to one of your classmates (selected at random) for a written review.
  4. Lec #13: a review of someone else's draft paper. This deadline is firm; the review is used by the author for final revisions. At this point, I will assign a grade to the student who does the review but not to the writer of the draft paper.
  5. Lec #15: a final term paper (10-15 pages) due.


Grades will be based on these assignments, roughly weighted for the amount of time devoted to each task:

Problem sets 30%
First draft of paper turned in on due date (using grade assigned to final paper) 10%
Review 15%
Term paper 45%