Courses



The Arctic in the Anthropocene (GEOG 119)
This undergraduate course focuses on the interfaces of systems in the Arctic, including land-atmosphere-ocean-ice-human interactions. Topics include arctic hydrology, climatology, biogeochemical cycling, permafrost, glacier/ice sheet dynamics, terrestrial and marine ecology, sea ice, physical oceanography, and human-environment interactions. The course also gives students a perspective on arctic climate variability over past, present, and predicted future time scales.


The Climate System and Global Environmental Change (GEOG 263/363)
Serving both upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, this course utilizes an Earth systems approach towards climate science. To this end, this course provides students an understanding of the climate system’s overall response to both external and internal forcings, rather than simply cataloging the Earth’s history of climate change. Earth’s climate history is examined at a range of time scales covering the entire 4.55 billion year period, with particular emphasis on major climate events and changes occurring on a global scale. The first portion of the course focuses on processes controlling natural variability of the Earth’s climate system, while the latter portion of the course is geared towards anthropogenic climate change. In order to understand, contextualize, and predict the Earth’s current and future climate, it is imperative to know the forces that can drive both these natural and anthropogenic climate changes.


Introduction to GIScience (GEOG 190/310)
Geographic Information Science (GISci) has revolutionized the way we store, query, and analyze spatial data. In this course, students gain both a working knowledge of the theory and applications of raster and vector based GISci. Class meetings are a combination of both lecture material and laboratory exercises, making extensive use of the Idrisi software developed by Clark Labs and the ArcGIS software developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). Weekly laboratory exercises and a final independent project provide intensive hands-on exposure to GISci software. At the conclusion of this course, students have the ability to independently develop, manage, and complete a GISci project.


The Polaris Project Field Experience for Undergraduates
Although not an official Clark University course on record, the NSF-funded Polaris Project (taught and led by several scientists, including Frey) has taken undergraduates from multiple institutions across the country to the Northeast Science Station in Cherskiy, East Siberia over the past several summers since 2008. During the annual month-long field expedition to the Siberian Arctic, undergraduate students conduct cutting-edge investigations that advance scientific understanding of the changing Arctic. In particular, students focus on field measurements and laboratory analyses that further understanding of the transport and transformation of carbon and nutrients as they move with water from terrestrial uplands to the Arctic Ocean. Students develop independent field- and laboratory-based projects that they further develop alongside their advisors over subsequent semesters once at home institutions (typically as B.A. honors theses and M.S. theses).


Applications of Radar Remote Sensing (GEOG 322)
This graduate-level seminar focuses on the applications of satellite-based radar remote sensing to a full suite of Earth Science related fields. Radar remote sensing offers fundamentally different potential applications compared to optical remote sensing owing to its sensitivity to wetness and surface roughness as well as its independence from sunlight and cloud conditions. As such, radar remote sensing lends itself to a variety of fields, including the investigation of forest ecology, land cover/land use, soil moisture, snow and ice, hydrology, geomorphology, oceanography, and urban spaces. This seminar introduces students to both seminal and recent, cutting-edge research in the field of radar remote sensing. Students will additionally focus on independent research projects that will allow them to analyze and apply radar data within their particular fields of interest.


Emerging Issues in Climate Change Science (GEOG 378)
This graduate-level seminar examines emerging issues surrounding global climate change and Earth System Science. Climate Change Science is inherently interdisciplinary and processes within this field involve significant interactions between land, atmosphere, ocean, ice, and humans. Specific topics discussed in this seminar include abrupt climate change, biogeochemical cycling, biocomplexity, oscillatory climate phenomena, trace gas exchange, glacier/ice sheet dynamics, sea ice variability, sea level rise, paleoclimate, extreme weather events, and human-induced environmental change. Readings will be focused on the most recent climate literature, including the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports. This seminar not only introduces students to recent, cutting-edge research, but given the sometimes controversial nature of these issues also gives students insight into the process of critically evaluating Climate Change Science studies.


Polar Environmental Change Research (GEOG 396)
Earth’s polar regions are particularly vulnerable to observed and projected shifts in climate and act as harbingers of global change, as these regions are poised to warm more than any other region over the next century. This graduate-level seminar focuses on recent advances in polar environmental change research, providing a system-science approach to understanding land-ocean-atmosphere-ice-human interactions at high latitudes. Students also focus on independent research projects that can be contextualized within existing primary and cutting-edge polar science literature.