Arctic landscape with mountains

The Arctic region plays a key role in regulating global climate and is in the midst of rapid change, with impacts on physical, biological and human systems both within and beyond the region. 

This comprehensive assessment of the Arctic climate system begins with an overview of the Arctic's basic physical characteristics and climatic features. 

Attention then turns to the atmospheric energy budget, the atmospheric circulation, the surface energy budget, the hydrologic cycle, and the fascinating interactions between the atmosphere, Arctic Ocean and its sea ice cover.  Following an overview of numerical modeling of the Arctic system, we explore Arctic climate history over the past two million years. The final segment of the course explores the future of Arctic climate and potential impacts on society, including issues such as increased access to oil, gas and mineral wealth at the bottom of the ocean, commercial shipping and conflict between stakeholders.