2017 2017: New course addresses significance of climate change

2017 2017: New course addresses significance of climate change
New course addresses significance of climate change

Introduction to Climate course offered this spring will equip undergraduates with an understanding of the effects of climate change.

UMass Dartmouth will offer a new undergraduate course on climate change, Introduction to Climate (MAR 115). Dr. Avijit Gangopadhyay, Professor of Oceanography at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST), will teach the introductory course this spring (2018). Gangopadhyay’s research focuses on the effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream, and in turn, how climate change affects the weather in the United States and Europe.

As part of the course, students will explore a variety of topics, including the effects of acid rain, the greenhouse effect as related to carbon footprint (e.g., the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels based on human activity), how warmer air and surface temperatures brought on by climate change impact corals and alter coral reef environments and how global sea level rise might affect our coastal megacities. This spring, students will have the opportunity to investigate the set-up of extreme force hurricanes of 2017 including Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, their increasingly devastating power, current mitigation efforts and future preparedness for such events in the background of a changing climate.

In addition to lectures, textbook readings, and lab studies, the course will include a guest lecture from a local climate expert. Students will also tour of SMAST’s new facilities in New Bedford where SMAST scientists and graduate students conduct research and perform lab work on the impacts of climate change and effects on marine ecosystems.

The three-credit course is ideal for undergraduate biology, business, liberal arts, and STEM-studies majors, as well as students interested in climate change. The course satisfies Cluster Requirement 2B, Science in the Engaged Community (proficiency in thinking and understanding policy information related to climate).

Prerequisites are not required to enroll in and successfully complete the course.


Headquartered in New Bedford, MA, UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) is a nationally and internationally renowned institution for research and graduate education in marine sciences, fisheries, and ocean technology. The interdisciplinary marine program advances basic and applied research and education in fisheries, ecosystems, and ocean observation, modeling, and prediction. SMAST’s new 64,000-square-foot facility, opened fall of 2017. The expanded facility augments the original 35,000-square-foot facility on Clark’s Cove in New Bedford. Between the two facilities, more than 150 faculty, students, and staff engage in education, research, and policy activity related to the marine environment.