Alaska RISA Team Members to Lead Arctic Climate Change Course

  • 24 August 2021

Starting on October 5th, a pair of team members with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP), a CPO RISA team, are set to lead a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aiming to educate participants about what climate change looks like in the Arctic. Richard Thoman, the Alaska Climate Specialist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center (IARC), and John Walsh, the Chief Scientist at IARC, will collaborate with other IARC and partner researchers and staff from a variety of disciplines to deliver the course.

Titled “Climate Change in Arctic Environments,” the introductory course will cover modern climate science and the impacts of climate change across atmospheric, marine, terrestrial, and human systems. By introducing a variety of areas of expertise, from atmospheric science to traditional knowledge on subsistence calendars, the instructors will equip participants to understand these complex systems and the knowledge-holders who examine them in detail. Some key concepts will be explained with practical Arctic-focused examples including Arctic climate modeling, climate policy, physical properties of the ocean, and more.

Specific course objectives include:

  • Developing an understanding of climate and Arctic terminology.
  • Comparing the four featured systems in the Arctic: atmospheric, terrestrial, marine, and human.
  • Demonstrating the connected nature of Arctic systems.
  • Analyzing how those systems interact and affect one another.
  • Interpreting climate science reports such as the Arctic Report Card, Alaska’s Changing Environment, and others.

Participants will learN to trace impacts through those complex systems from physical science, through the biodiversity of flora and fauna, and on to the societies that depend on those resources. Key texts to understanding environmental change will be made available to participants with guidance, giving them the skills to understand reports and policies impacting the region.

The course has paid and free options, and enrollment is now open.

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.