The Changing Arctic Ocean (OCN 497/506E)

OCEAN 497/506E

3 credits



Location: OTB 205

Schedule: MW 11:00-12:20

Department: Oceanography

Quarter: Spring

Recent years show unprecedented change in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. What is currently known about the complex Arctic Ice-Ocean system and the ecosystems it supports? What will be the impacts of continuing change within and beyond the Arctic?

In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore the interacting physical, chemical and biological components of the Arctic System, including:
-- riddles of Arctic Ocean circulation
-- defining roles of the sea-ice cover
-- likely shifts in nutrient regimes and ecosystems
-- and recent explorations of the seafloor, and consider the impacts of Arctic Change on global climate, native communities, and future exploitation of an ice-free summer ocean.

The aims of the course are to develop:
-- an understanding of how the Arctic ocean system works
-- an understanding of observed and potential changes in the Arctic and impacts of these changes in the Arctic and beyond
-- an appreciation of why we should care about Arctic Change.

Skill development: To thrive in research (and other careers) needs skills beyond scientific data analysis, for example:
-- discerning inquiry
-- coherent communication (written and oral)
-- competence in more than one discipline.

Homework and class assignments will be aimed at developing these skills, and the art/science of productive scientific debate.