The Western Arctic from the CBL 2002 cruise
Monday and Wednesday 11:30-12:20, Lectures
Friday 11:30-12:20, Question and Answer Session
Denny Hall, 216
- an interdisciplinary science-based look at what
everyone should know about the Arctic in our world today
-course structure and topics
-exams, grading and rules
- general schedule
- preliminary timetable
- lecture notes
- other links
14th May 2011 (AM or PM)
will investigate the
The course is offered at the 100 level, to interest both those considering a major in science and those who seek a topical course to fulfill an out-of-option requirement. It will provide a level of understanding suitable for those going onto a career in many non-science fields, including education, government advising, and Arctic-relevant industry. It will also provide a science introduction that may spark enthusiasm for a major in science.
By the end of the course, you should have:
- qualitative and quantitative fact-based interdisciplinary knowledge of the key aspects of the Arctic system, including how the components of the system interact, and the current challenges and possible future impacts of Arctic Change;
ability to critically,
qualitatively and quantitatively assess
information from various
sources (e.g., media, academic
research, internet), especially in issues
… and an enthusiasm for a realm that is at the forefront of science and exploration in our world today.
The course material is drawn from the cutting edge of current Arctic research, thus there is no text-book for the variety of material we will cover. The main instruction medium will be:
- two 50min lectures a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30-12:20, in Denny Hall, Rm 216
- a weekly TA session, Fridays 11:30-12:20, in Denny Hall, Rm 216, reviewing concepts introduced in the lectures
- readings from various UW-accessible sources,
- instructor office hours, (currently set at Thursday 2:30-4pm, Applied Physics Laboratory, Henderson Hall).
You are expected to attend the lectures and the weekly TA session and do the readings.
Topics (with approximate number of lectures)
Arctic Basics (1) – the “trivia” questions – how big, how far, how deep, how cold; a basic introduction to the system.
Arctic Atmosphere (1) – Polar Night; the Polar Vortex; implications of the Coriolis force; the “Arctic Oscillation” (i.e. getting a handle on climate variability).
Arctic Ocean Circulation (3) - what goes in, what comes out, and where and why? temperature and salinity as the accent of sea-water; circulation of waters from the Pacific and the Atlantic, and how (well) we trace them; the unforeseen advantage of nuclear reprocessing; Arctic-wide manifestation of molecular scale processes; the mysteries of “the Deeps”; what if the ice goes away?
Arctic Ice (2) – knowing what you can stand on; ice types, formation and decay; ice impacts on atmosphere and ocean; the ice-albedo feedback; tracking ice from space; ice as somewhere to live.
Exploration (1) – the
Fram (old and new); the race for the North
Arctic Science – how we do it (1) – ships; satellites; ice camps; moorings; autonomous monitoring; gliders under the ice; modeling; real life issues (costs, clearances, international logistics); weekend field trip to USCGC Healy.
(1) – oil
and gas resources; Law of the Sea; the Arctic
Landgrab; shipping and
Life on and under the ice (1) - the charismatic Megafauna – polar bears, whales, seals and more (guest lecture by Dr Sue Moore).
Life in the Ice (1) – the (not so charismatic?) Arctic microbes and ice and water biology (guest lecture by Professor Jody Deming).
Case study I – The Blame Game (1) – what caused the 2007 extreme Arctic Sea-ice retreat, and why didn’t we see it coming?
study II – Over 50% of the
role of the Arctic in the World (1)
– CO2 uptake,
Exams and Grading: Grades will be assigned on a combination of homeworks and written examinations, and will draw on material discussed in lectures or in assigned readings. The final exam is on all the course material. Homeworks and exams will be short answer questions, some verbal, some quantitative, some graphical. Homework deadlines and details are below. The relative contribution of components to the final grade is:
Homeworks - 50%
Written mid-term exam - 15%
Written final exam - 35%
make-up exams. There is no acceptance of
late homework (except in exceptional
circumstances, with prearrangement
the instructor). Student
students with other legitimate conflicts need to
contact the instructor
beginning of the quarter to make arrangements for
Student Athletes: The
Student Athlete Travel
Notification form (supplied by the
Department of Intercollegiate
Athletics) indicating which classes will be
missed must be turned in to
instructors at the start of the quarter. We
will discuss how you can
Lectures will be held Monday and Wednesday 11:30-12:20 in Denny Hall, 216.
A weekly TA-led question and answer session will be held Friday 11:30-12:20, at the same location.
Office hours (currently set at Thursday 2:30-4pm, Applied Physics Laboratory, Henderson Hall).
The tour (highly recommended, but optional) of the USCGC Healy, ported at the USCG base in downtown Seattle (~ 1-2 hr) is planned for 14th May 2011 (AM or PM).
Homework Timetable and details
Written homeworks make up 50% of the grade for this class. All homeworks carry equal weight, with the exception of the final homework (HW78), which is worth 2 normal homeworks. Details of homeworks will be available via links in the table below.
There is no acceptance of late homework (except in exceptional circumstances, with prearrangement with the instructor).
While you may discuss homeworks with your classmates and colleagues, homework assignments must be your own original effort.
In general, marked homeworks will be available for pickup at the Friday TA session after they are due, although there may be slight delays the cases of the longer written homeworks. Queries about returned homeworks should be made within a week of the available-for-pickup date.
As the class progresses, notes/handouts from lectures and reading links will be posted here.
Other useful links:
UIUC Cryosphere Today, images and movies from Chapman et al
NOAA Sea Ice Outlook (set of models predicting summer sea ice extent)
NOAA Arctic Change site - source for much basic information explaining aspects of Arctic change, with many links to useful sites. Good starting point to refresh your understanding of the basics, and get leads for areas of research. Written for the public rather than expert scientists.
NSIDC Education site - more general information about the Arctic
Other useful links
Meet the instructor and the teaching assistant
Associate Professor Rebecca Woodgate - UW physical oceanographer, specialising in the Arctic
TA Graduate Student Marcela Ewert Sarmiento - biological oceanographer, studying life in sea-ice
and guest lecturers
Professor Jody Deming - UW biological oceanographer, specialising in extreme cold environments
Dr Sue Moore, Director of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, NOAA, Seattle - biological oceanographer, specialising in marine mammals
Professor George Hunt - UW biological oceanographer, specialising in marine birds
Dr Nadine Fabbi, Associate Director of the UW Canadian Studies Center, Jackson School - specialising in the Canadian Arctic and Arctic peoples
Professor Vince Gallucci - UW fishery and aquatic sciences professor, with expertise in the Law of the Sea and its relation to the Arctic
How to find reliable information
One pillar of the world of science is the peer-reviewed literature. Here, after review by other experts in the field, scientists publish their findings in detail, so others can test their results. Those at UW can access this resource though the libraries and on-line search engines available here . (See search engines in box on right - Web of Science works quite well for the Arctic.) You can set these links up to work from outside UW using the UW Libraries off-campus Proxy service .
Keeping up to date with the Arctic
Google Alerts - allows you to get weekly, daily or as-it-happens notification of articles posted on the internet. Just add search terms.
Arctic Mailing list - ArcticInfo - an NSF-sponsored moderated mailing list for items of interest to Arctic researchers (usually reports or meetings, but sometimes jobs or cruise openings)
Email Rebecca Woodgate
OR Anonymous Feedback
Also: Nominate your outstanding Ocean 122A TA for the Dean A. McManus Excellence in Teaching Award
Each year the School of Oceanography presents the Dean A. McManus Excellence in Teaching Award to the School’s outstanding graduate student teaching assistant. The award is intended to encourage and recognize accomplishment in teaching by the School’s graduate students. Selection of the award recipient is based on two criteria: (1) nominations from students and/or instructors and (2) end-of-quarter student evaluations of TAs. If you wish to nominate your TA for the award, please click here and complete the nomination form.