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Tomsk State University

The Changing Arctic

Tomsk State University via Coursera

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What will I learn?
After taking this course you will have an understanding of Arctic landscapes, how they were formed and how they are changing. You will also learn how scientists from countries around the North are working together to understand how these changes will affect the People of the North and the global community. You will experience a range of scientific topics, up-to-date-methods for understanding our environment, and the current consensus views on the future of the Arctic environment.

Do I need prior knowledge?
No prior knowledge is needed for this course; participants should only come equipped with natural curiosity and a willingness to invest time in understanding an environmental issue of global concern. The terms and concepts are targeted at an educated public, not specialists, but resources will be provided so those who are motivated can explore some issues in more depth.


  • Welcome to the Сourse
    • This module represents the course content and its author as well as contains the additional materials to the course
  • What is the Arctic, where is it and why should we be interested in it?
    • This module will introduce the INTERACT basis of the course and brief description as well as give different definitions of the Arctic, characteristics of the Arctic, peoples of the Arctic, Ecosystem Services and global connections.
  • Changing landforms: the legacy of glaciers and permafrost
    • In this module we will talk about glacial erosion, moraines, ice dams and tsunamis.
  • Permafrost and its effects
    • In this module you will learn about permafrost characteristics, changes and effects on landscapes, hydrology and infrastructure.
  • Snow and ice
    • This module will introduce changing snow conditions, snow as an insulator, pollutants in snow, life in snow, melting ice, glacier dynamics and effects.
  • Land-atmosphere linkages
    • This module represents examples of biogeochemical and biogeophysical feedbacks to climate and what a feedback is. In this module we discuss carbon dioxide, methane, volatile organic compounds, albedo, energy exchange.
  • Life on cold lands
    • This module is dedicated to the arctic life zone, arctic plants and animals, population cycles, species interactions, the “greening” of the Arctic.
  • Life in cold waters
    • In this module we will talk about high latitude lakes as indicators of environmental change past and present, changes in lake ice; the importance of water colour; wet surfaces and microbes, water plants and animals.
  • The People of the Arctic
    • In this module you will learn about what changes in the Arctic mean do for the People of the Arctic and how they can work with scientists.
  • The global Community affected by the changing Arctic
    • This module is dedicated to challenges and opportunities of Arctic change; winners and losers; widening inequalities.
  • What can we do to understand the changes and their consequences?
    • In this module you will learn about INTERACT’s role in arctic collaboration, global and region initiatives, public involvement.

Taught by

Terry V. Callaghan


3.3 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

Start your review of The Changing Arctic

  • Hailey Meinen
    Quizzes kept requiring information that was oddly specific (needing an exact decimal number without multiple choice options), which would have been okay except that it was not covered in the lectures. Ended up dropping course because there is no way to get through the quizzes if the information is not covered.
  • I really liked this course because it was an introduction I was looking for - an easy overview, but with alarming warnings and educational quality. It is accompanied by a free Interact book, which is a wonderful study resource. However, it should be emphasized that it's needed to pass the quizzes, and there are some quiz errors, which make the experience a little less perfect. The instructor was great, and the way of presenting was nice. I'd recommend this course to anyone who'd like to spend a cozy afternoon learning about Arctic, since the lessons aren't too long, and yet have a powerful impact.
  • Captaink
    Fine course! Some questions was not easy, but soluable if read provided sources carefully.

    Fine teacher professor Callahan!

    I recomended. Igor Yasakov.

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