Climate Change: Day 1

August 26, 2014

GEO 4930-06: Special Topics in Geography

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Bellamy Room 114

How do we know climate is changing. How do we know it is because of us?

Compelling Evidence

  • Seas are rising and becoming more acidic

  • Temperatures are increasing and glaciers are melting

  • Weather events are becoming more extreme (heat waves, hurricanes?, tornadoes?)

Chasing Storms

  • My passion is storms. If it spins, it wins. Frisbee.

  • Hurricanes and tornadoes: Are they becoming more severe as the climate warms. How do we know?

  • What will tomorrow be like? Decision making under uncertainty.

  • The beauty of it all. Adrift (4.5 min)

Contact Information

Professor James B. Elsner, Bellamy Room 310

Office Hours: TR 9 – 11 a.m., 2 - 3 p.m. (& by appointment)


Twitter: @hurricanejim, @FSU_Geography


My goal is to help you understand the science behind global warming.

I will focus on severe weather: hurricanes and tornadoes. How are they changing? Changes in extreme weather and climate events, such as heat waves and droughts, are the primary way that most people experience climate change.

I will teach you the basics of weather and climate and I will challenge you to think critically about how and why tornadoes and hurricanes are changing as the climate continues to warm.


I want you to know how scientists come to know climate is changing. I want you to know how to draw and interpret a trend line. Scholarship in practice.

I want you to know what evidence exists that climate is changing. I want you to know how to explain why these changes are linked to human factors.

I want you to be able to list and explain the ingredients for tornadoes & hurricanes. I want you to explain if and why hurricanes/tornadoes might be more numerous and stronger as the globe continues to warm.


Class participation and readings: 20%

Term project: 20%

Exams (Three + An Optional Final): 60%

Required Reading