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MIT Course Catalog 2014-2015

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Center for Global Change Science

The MIT Center for Global Change Science (CGCS) seeks to better understand the natural mechanisms in ocean, atmosphere, and land systems that together control the Earth's climate, and to apply improved knowledge to problems of predicting climate changes. The center utilizes theory, observations, and numerical models of the Earth's basic physical and biogeochemical processes to investigate climate phenomena, the linkages among them, and their potential feedbacks in a changing climate.

CGCS was founded in 1990 to foster cooperative effort among faculty, students, and research scientists in meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, atmospheric sciences, climate physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, and satellite remote sensing. Participants are drawn primarily from the departments of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Biology; and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The major research initiatives in CGCS are the MIT Climate Modeling Initiative (CMI), the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), and the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change (described later in this chapter). Through the latter, CGCS sustains substantial collaborative effort with faculty, students, and researchers in Economics, Political Science, Urban Studies and Planning, the Sloan School of Management, Engineering Systems, and the MIT Energy Initiative.

CMI is an open-source collaborative that has developed the MIT General Circulation Model (MITcgm) which is applied to a wide range of modeling challenges in: atmospheres, oceans, the cryosphere, biogeochemical cycles, ocean ecology and the coupling together of all these processes.

AGAGE measures greenhouse gases globally and infers their sources and sinks using inverse methods. It is distinguished by its capability to measure over the globe at high frequency almost all of the important gas species in the Montreal Protocol (e.g., CFCs, HCFCs) to protect the ozone layer and almost all of the significant non-CO2 gases in the Kyoto Protocol (e.g., HFCs, methane, and nitrous oxide) to mitigate climate change.

Professor Ronald Prinn is the CGCS director. For more information, contact CGCS at Room 54-1312, 617-253-4902,


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