Climate Foundations

Schedule: (VIRTUAL) March – April 2021, Tuesdays: 6:00pm – 8:00pm ET unless otherwise indicated

  1. Tuesday, March 9 (1 hour, 6:00pm - 7:00pm ET)
  2. Tuesday, March 16
  3. Tuesday, March 23
  4. Tuesday, March 30
  5. Tuesday, April 6
  6. Tuesday, April 13
  7. Tuesday, April 20
  8. Tuesday, April 27

Fee: $1,199.99


Weather and climate can vary in ways that affect society on timescales ranging from minutes to decades, and over distances from meters to thousands of kilometers. Most people are familiar with daily weather forecasts; many also know about, and may even use, information about future climate change. But what about everything in between? How do we understand the existence of an unusually cold winter in the midst of global warming? Does the climate affect the weather? And, what even IS the difference between weather and climate?

This workshop will allow learners to develop climate literacy. The workshop will introduce the terminology needed to navigate current climate events, debates, and scientific papers. It will provide a physical description of how our climate system works, why it varies, and what we know about its ever-changing state. Participants will become familiar with observational datasets used to understand past climate and monitor the present. Exercises will allow participants to explore broader concepts in the context of their specific geography of interest. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of climate models and how they are used to predict the future – from hours to decades in advance.

Workshop participants will become climate literate, develop awareness about the sources of information about climate, understand the limitations of such information, and comment and think critically about climate topics whether in the news or in personal interactions.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Increase knowledge of how the climate system works and why it varies
  • Develop an ability to view and interpret maps of weather and climate variables, like temperature, precipitation, pressure
  • Learn the differences between short-term weather or climate forecasts and long-term climate projections

Who is this training for? 

This training is for all learners who want to improve their climate literacy through foundational climate content. No prerequisites are required.

Learning Modalities

The course is offered via Zoom. It will feature a mixture of lecture and discussion with experts from the field.

    Instructor: Lisa Goddard and Simon Mason, International Research Institute for Climate and Society

    Lisa Goddard is a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and leads IRI’s research efforts on understanding and predicting climate change on the 10-20 year horizon. Dr. Goddard is a globally recognized expert on El Niño and La Niña, decadal prediction and near-term climate change.

    Simon Mason has been involved in seasonal climate forecasting research and operations since the early 1990s. He was a member of the drafting team for the High-Level Task Force on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and was an overall author for the GFCS Implementation Plan. He has been heavily involved in capacity building activities, including leading the development and support of the Climate Predictability Tool (CPT).