Global Environmental Change

A number of GGG faculty and graduate students do research on global environmental change, as linked to paleoclimates, contemporary global warming, changes in ocean-atmosphere circulations, air quality, sea-level rise, biological response to climate change, and ecosystem-level impacts on watersheds, estuaries, the nearshore ocean, agriculture and urban areas. The faculty span all four of our areas of specialization in geography (environmental sciences, methods, models and GIS, nature and society, and people, place and region).

Studies in Global Environmental Change have their conceptual center in physical geography and the affiliated disciplines of atmospheric science, ecology, geology, hydrology, and their associated environmental subdisciplines. With the great strength of the UC Davis campus in the agricultural sciences, biological sciences, ecology, engineering, law, physical sciences, and veterinary medicine, opportunities abound to build a program of course work that builds the foundation for each individual student’s training to best address their interests. Faculty and students associated with Global Environmental Change courses are primarily in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science and Policy, Geology, Land, Air and Water Resources, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design, Plant Sciences, and Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. They are also affiliated with campus research units, institutes and centers such as the John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Center for Watershed Sciences, the Information Center on the Environment, the Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing, and the Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Courses in Global Environmental Change Concentration prepare students to (1) teach and conduct research in academic programs in geography and the environmental sciences at the university level (2) serve as researchers in public (e.g., National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, UCAR, California Resources Agency, U.S. Geological Survey), private (e.g., environmental consulting organizations, research organizations), and non-governmental organizations (e.g., The Nature Conservancy); and (3) assume leadership positions in agencies engaged in issues of global change at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Global Environmental Change Courses

Students interested in developing expertise in Global Environmental Change should consider the courses listed below.

GEO 210 Topics in Biogeography
GEO 211 Advanced Physical Geography
ATM 241 Climate Dynamics

Methods courses:
HYD 286 Selected Topics in Environmental Remote Sensing
HYD 275 Analysis of Spatial Processes
HYD 273 Introduction to Geostatistics
LDA 280 Landscape Conservation

ATM 215 Advanced Hydroclimatology
ATM 221 Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics
ATM 240 General Circulation of the Atmosphere
ECI 267 Water Resources Management
ECL 201 Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology
ECL 216 Agroecology
ECL 219 Ecosystem Biochemistry
EVE 220 Species and Speciation

It is important for students to have an understanding of climatology and the mechanisms of global climate change, to go along with the linked ecological, geographical, and geological changes in our environment. If the student has not taken undergraduate courses in climatology/climate change and physical geography/environmental change, they should expect to take one upper-division courses in climatology and one in physical geography to fulfill these deficiencies. Suggested courses include:

HYD 141 or 143
ATM 115, 116 or 133; 150, 160
ERS 120, 131, or 186;
GEL 150A.

Physical geography:
ECI 123;
ERS 100, 121
ESP 151;
EVE 115, 117, 147 or 149;
GEL 107, 108, 116, 136, 139, 144
PLS 130, or 162;
WFC 155, 156 or 157;