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Arctic Climate, Environ. & Geographies of a Changing North

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera Specialization

Overview

This specialization starts with an in-depth look at the physical geography of the Arctic and its key climate features, including the ocean's floating sea ice cover, the Greenland Ice Sheet, and patterns of temperature, precipitation, snow cover and permafrost. We will then learn about the remarkable unfolding changes that are transforming the Arctic environment, how they are related to each other, and cascading impacts on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Attention then turns to the growing economic, strategic, and geopolitical importance of the Arctic in the context of observed environmental changes in the region.

Syllabus

Course 1: The Arctic as a System
- In this course you will first learn about the Arctic as a geographic region, the peoples the Arctic, and the long history of Arctic settlement and exploration. Attention then turns to key features of the Arctic environment – its climate and weather, features of the ocean, sea ice, lands and the Greenland Ice Sheet, and some of the rapid changes being observed. Learning Objectives: Appreciate the long history of the Arctic and its peoples. Recognize and recall the physical geography of the Arctic, including major features of the Arctic Ocean and Arctic lands. Describe the key climate and environmental elements of the Arctic, including its sea ice cover, patterns of temperature, precipitation, snow cover, land ice, permafrost and vegetation, the physical processes giving rise to these features, and how they are changing.

Course 2: The Changing Arctic: Present, Past, & Future
- This course takes a detailed look at the remarkable changes unfolding in the Arctic environment, including the shrinking Arctic sea ice cover, shrinking land ice, thawing permafrost and cascading impacts on Arctic ecosystems. After a review of Arctic climates of the past, attention turns to the possible future of the Arctic’s climate and environment.

Course 3: Arctic Change & the Nexus of Governance, Economics & Culture
- In this course, you will learn how the changing Arctic environment is tied to the growing economic and strategic importance of the North. After setting the stage through a review of the peoples of the Arctic and how they are dealing with change, Arctic governance, economies national defense, attention turns to marine use of the Arctic, oil and gas exploration, mining, fisheries and tourism. The course ends with a survey of recent Arctic events. Learning Objectives: Articulate the drivers of the growing economic and strategic importance of the Arctic in the context of the environmental changes unfolding in the region, governance, and geopolitics. Identify the impacts of the changing Arctic, both positive and negative, on the peoples of the North.

Courses

Taught by

Mark C. Serreze and Mistia Zuckerman

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