The Unexpectedly Strange Story of Earth's Climate Through Time

Discover how an ancient enormous collision, our very large moon, the tilt of our Earth, our oceans, continents, and life itself all contribute to a climate that has swung to wild extremes and converged to a stable point, now slipping away.

Class experience

Students will gain an eye-opening and thought-provoking big-picture mental map of the Earth's conditions throughout its history, an appreciation of the rich complexity and sensitivity of the multivariable nonlinear systems and factors which shape the climate of the Earth. Students will come away with a deep understanding of the special conditions of the last 12,000 years, and what to expect now that we are risking pushing the climate out of this stable point with the current episode of climate change -- which is hopefully empowering to live our lives deliberately and meaningfully on a planetary scale.
Qualifications to teach this class: I studied geology, Earth Sciences, ecology, physics as a secondary course of study from AP classes in high school through college, and from 2012-2020 I was involved in climate awareness organizations in an educational programming capacity. In that role, I gave numerous presentations and led discussions at the high school and college level on the forcing factors of Earth's climate system, theories of tipping points in the paleo-climate, explanations of, and comparisons with, the PETM event. In 2021, I also taught Intro to Meteorology as an adjunct teacher at an independent high school in western Wisconsin. For my own amerateur interests, I have read and studied both first-hand climate studies from the Nature suite of journals, publications of the Royal Society, etc, as well as in popular science journals and textbooks, as well as studying astro-geologic and biological theories for the expected long-timeframe events and outcomes of planet Earth.

I provide a balanced view of current anthropogenic climate change in that I scale it appropriately to past and future hypothesized climate events, both in terms of magnitude of climate excursion and in terms of rate of change -- a medium excursion at an extraordinary rate. I also emphasize the uncertainties in quantitative modeling of the climate, such as the numerical figure of Climate Sensitivity, and I contextualize current industrial/agricultural/civilizational CO2 forcing in terms of Earth's current position within other cyclical and responsive amplifying and dampening climate forcing factors, such as Milankovitch cycles, the glacial-interglacial oscillation, ocean conveyor currents, Coriolis Effects and air mass temperature differentials modifying Rossby wave excursions beyond the polar convection boundary, buildup of oceanic and permafrost clathrates, etc.
This class will draw current climate information from the published work climate scientists James Hansen, Michael Mann, Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, Stuart Ostrom, IPCC reports and others. Paleoclimate information will draw from David Archer, multiple research papers on the causes and sequence of End Permian-Triassic Extinction, the Paleogene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Milankovitch Cycles contribution to the glacial-interglacial periods of the Pleistocene/Holocene. Snowball and Slushball Earth theories will be considered from multiple viewpoints and mechanisms. 

Meet the teacher

I am a 45-year-old dad of three. I teach classes in creative fictional and non-fictional writing, playwriting, theatrical design and acting, audio theater and production, music theory and composition, improvisation, and video editing. I also teach... 
Group Class


per class
Meets once
175 min

Live video meetings
Ages 10-15
3-15 learners per class

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