Our Energetic Earth - University of Toronto



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Learn how our world’s energy forces – from wind and waves to storms and currents – animate the Earth’s surface and allow our planet to support life.
With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

Important information

Requirements: None.


Where and when

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What you'll learn on the course

Planetary Science
Earth Sciences
Energetic Earth

Course programme

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We live on the surface of a dynamic and yet paradoxically stable planet that experiences a remarkable range of energetic phenomena, from waves and currents in the ocean to wind and thunderstorms in the atmosphere. This course traces how the remarkable concept called energy is the natural way of describing, understanding and unifying these diverse phenomena. The course traces the cascade of energy from sunlight to its final destination in a thermal form, considering differential surface heating, the role of convection and buoyancy and the formation of the Earth’s circulation system, and the links to the ocean circulation system. We consider the curvature and rotation of the Earth as key constraints on a system driven by sunlight and energy transformations.

What you'll learn

  • How energy is transformed in its movement around the earth
  • How energetic earth systems come to be dispersed or concentrated
  • How the earth’s energy systems are connected/related to each other

Additional information

Bryan W. Karney Bryan W. Karney graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Bio-Resource Engineering in 1980 and completed his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, also for UBC, in 1984. He is currently a professor of Civil Engineering and the Associate Dean of Cross Disciplinary Programs at the University of Toronto. Bryan has spoken and written widely on subjects related to water resource systems, energy issues, hydrology, climate change, engineering education and ethics. He was Associate Editor for the ASCE’s Journal of Hydraulic Engineering from 1993 to 2005.