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This course will first focus on how results drawn from the major disciplines in Earth Sciences enable us to reconstruct the paleoenvironments and paleoclimates of the Earth. We then investigate the interactions, in the past and the present, between the climate and the large surface formations of the Earth, as well as the feedbacks between them. These interactions will be illustrated by constructing a simple climate model. Our knowledge of the past climatic events will be used to assess the current and future climate on Earth.


Part of the course will be devoted to what is known about the past and present Earth climates. This will include a survey of climates on a geological time scale, and then go more deeply into the question of the origin and consequences of Quaternary climate oscillations. The characteristics of the Holocene climatic variations will be discussed. Finally, recent climate change and its implications for the oceans, the cryosphere, and the biosphere will be specifically addressed, as well as the climate projections for the end of the 21st century.

Another part of the course will address modeling approaches to the terrestrial climate system: a synthesis of the mechanisms of heating of the earth's surface will be presented and the concepts underlying the energy balance of this surface will be explored. Some applications will be proposed.




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