Geography 430/530
The Climate System
Spring 2013

Climate Presentations and Papers - Undergraduate students


Project Teams and Topics: February 6                                                                                                  

Project Contracts: February 20 (see details below)

Class Presentations: March 27, April 8, or April 10 (order determined by topic)

Final Papers: April 17, 2013 by 5pm (no late papers will be accepted)


For your regional climate project, you will work in pairs to write a short paper based on a regional climate topic from the list below.  Teams (2 people, 3 with special permission)  will present a 10 minute talk in class summarizing the content of the short paper.  

1. Contract: Each team will submit a contract specifying a division of effort for the project and a paper.  The project contract must be signed by all team members.  The contract will be used as part of the project grading process for team members.  Contracts must be turned in no later than February 20.

2. Paper:The paper should be 5-6 pages, fully referenced, containing least 5 references from books, journal articles, and no more than 3 online resources.  I can help you find references - let me know if you need help. All reference materials used must be property cited in your paper body as well as listed at the end, in the reference section.  

Your paper must  include these components:

All papers must be typed, 1 1/2 line spacing, 12 pt font, 1" margins on all edges and pages numbered.  Figures and tables are good to include but if you take them from other sources, make sure they are properly cited.  Figures and tables should have titles (tables) or captions (figures).


3. In-class presentation:  Your paper presentation will be short, ~10 minutes.  You won't be able to include everything that is in your paper, so pick the main points and highlights to show in no more than 10 PowerPoint slides.  State your topic.  Give a key point or two about the importance of this topic. Show the spatial or temporal features, and illustrate main controls or mechanisms.  Summarize with a bulleted list of take-home points.


A separate grade will be given for the written work and the presentation.  Grades will be based on content (clarity, conciseness, organization), quality of work, and understanding of climate topic. Team members will share the same grade for each part of the project unless it is quite evident to the instructor that the majority of the work has been done by one member.  In that case, I reserve the right to discuss project efforts with  team members to determine the most equitable grading for the project.  The paper is worth 10% and the presentation is worth 10% of your semester grade.


Contract and Final paper may be submitted in hard copy format or to me by e-mail ( Materials must be received by the me on/before the due date. Students are solely responsible for confirming that I have received material on time. Be sure to save a copy of all of your work!

Finally, please remember that the project must reflect the work of both people. All of the written work  must be your own. Graphics obtained from other sources must be cited. University policies regarding plagiarism will be enforced and projects may be subject to additional review if plagiarism is suspected. Refer to the syllabus for University resources regarding plagiarism.


Extratropical Climates topics:

Tornadoes in the Central U.S.

California’s Santa Ana winds

Great Lake Effects

The Gulf Stream and Nor'easters

The North Atlantic Oscillation and its Influence on European Climate

Recent Heat Waves in Europe; Causes, Consequences,
Future Projections under Climate Change.

The Asian Monsoon

The Climate of the Himalayas, Hindu Kush, and the Tibetan Plateau: types, characteristics, controls on climate, and impacts of climate change on this region

Recent Droughts in the Southeastern US; Causes and Consequences

Recent Droughts in the Western US; Causes, Consequences, and Future Projections under Climate Change.

World-Wide Mediterranean Climates: what defines this climate type; where are Mediterranean climates located; what controls where they are located, and how is climate change projected to impact these regions?

Recent Flood Events in the Upper Missouri and/or Upper Mississippi River Regions: Causes, Consequences and Future Projections under Climate Change

Insect Infestation, Forest Die-off, and Links to Climate and Climate Change in the Northwestern U.S and northern Canada

Subtropical and Tropical Climates topics:

Easterly waves

Tropical Cyclones and Hurricanes

Madden Julian Oscillation

The El Nino/Southern Oscillation, How it Works, and its Impact on Tropical Regions

Climate of Australia, characteristics, what controls climate, and project impacts from climate change

Climate of the Amazon, characteristics, what controls climate, and project impacts from climate change

The Climate of the Sahel Region in Africa; characteristics, causes of climate, anthropogenic land cover change and its relationship to climate

The Great Deserts of the World: the Sahara, the Kalahari, and Atacama, and the Great Sandy;  causes and climatic controls, similarities and differences.

Polar and Highland Climates topics:

The Andes Mountains: characteristics, what controls climate, why this range is important (in terms of resources), and how climate change may impact these regions

Mountain Snowpack in Western North America; locations, characteristics, and changes over the 20th and 21st century with global warming

The Arctic Region of North America, location, characteristics, what controls climate, and how climate change is impacting human and natural ecosystems in this area

Climate of Antarctica, characteristics and controls, and  changes in sea ice and glaciers over recent decades