IS1806 Bottomdwellers in an Ocean of Air

Course Calendar

The course calendar will be adjusted  throughout the semester, so check back often, please.

Most of the information and documents will be deposited inside of a protected Moodle site.

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Homework due?



Getting to know the atmosphere

Drivers of weather and climate, Structure of the atmosphere, Climate Zones

How Climate Shaped Humanity (teaser)

State of the Climate 2011, abstract, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society



Focal Point 1: The Current Status of Climate and Civilization

Please bring the notes you took reading the two articles.


      article a

     article b


Focal Point 2: The Akkadian Empire


Please vote for next week's topic


 Kolbert, Climate of Man II

 Fagan, Droughts and Cities


Focal Point 3: Maya civilization – a detective game

“Land of the Maya”

Fact collection


Diamond chapter

Pringle Article

Petersen and Haug


Focal Point 3: still Maya civilization

Tying up the Maya fact collection

drought, overpopulation, deforestation, social unrest, war and conflict

Working on a recent PNAS article as a team

group questions, Envt Background, HumEnvtInteractions, EnvtStress, Beyond envt stress, recovery and conclusion


Dunning2012 article

Kerr2001 article


vote for next topic


Focal Point 4: Medieval Warm Period, Vikings

Formulating search questions

Using the tools of the library

assignment  answers

accompanying reading

Vote for next topic


Focal Point 4: Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age

Collective answers


Eugene Linden chapter

O'Hare chapter



research questions


Focal Point 5: Ancestral Pueblo in Arizona

Guest Speaker: Prof. Rebecca Dean, anthropologist


LIA assignment  answers

Bayman, The Hohokam of Southern North America (voluntary background reading)


Focal Point 6: Jet Streams and Climate change

LIA in North America

What is the deal with the jet stream and weather patterns?


missing farmers article

meanwhileInThe States article




Focal Point 7: Humans during the Pleistocene


"Before we ruled the Earth. Hunt or be hunted"

Human evolution, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons

No homework


Focal Point 8: Pleistocene and the beginning Holocene


Active figure in eccentricity, obliquity and precession

Focal Point 9: Superstorm Sandy



Chapter2 reading

Chapter3 reading


Pumps and Conveyor Belts answers


Focal point 9: Superstorm Sandy

Trying to understand the scope and implications


Project development



Focal Point 10: Palaeoclimatic proxies

Guest: Prof. Keith Brugger, geologist

Prepare for the project:

·         Gather and assemble information and images about the people, culture and climate

·         Begin to put together as a poster: one PowerPoint slide, size 16 by 20 inches (see instructions in project description)

·         Identify a possible location

·         Think of a question that could lead to next poster

·         Share on Google docs (instructions in project description)


Work on project


All posters have gone to Duplicating.

See them in Moodle.


Here are five movies that are relevant and interesting for the course. You can find all of them in Amazon. I have seen none of these (yet), so there  is a risk that one of them might turn out to be an animated children's comedy ...


Shattered Sky (Documentary)

Eerily reminiscent of today's climate-change crisis, Shattered Sky recounts the dramatic story of how America led the world to solve the biggest environmental crisis ever seen--a hole in the ozone layer the size of North America.

Tapped (Documentary)

TAPPED examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

Lost Kingdoms of Africa Season 1, Ep. 1 "Nubia" (Documentary)

Starting in the desert north of Khartoum in modern Sudan, Casely-Hayford journeys to the ancient sites of Kerma, Jebel Barkal, and Meroe to explore a long-lost kingdom that apparently fell victim to climate change.

Climate Refugees (Documentary)

CLIMATE REFUGEES is a documentary film that uncovers the unbelievable plight of people around the world displaced by climatically induced environmental disasters. The documentary illuminates for the first time the human face of climate change as civilizat….

Changing Climate, Changing Times (Drama)

Year 2099. Climate predictions made at the beginning of the 21st century have turned out to be dramatically true: global warming of the Earth's atmosphere now has serious consequences on the every day lives of our grandchildren.

Choose a movie


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Last updated 11/30/2012 1:22 PM

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