As the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Assessment Report is released, it is a good time to find out more about the science behind it. Over the last few years we have developed two courses through climateeducation.net a project in conjunction with the Met Office Precis team and climate scientists here in Oxford, that aims to encourage the sharing of high quality information about climate science, modelling and the interpretation of climate change modelling experiments. This project has used online learning explicitly to target students in the developing world, aiming to reach areas where face to face training has not been able to make a widespread impact – although being online they are available to anyone anywhere so everyone can benefit.
To do this we developed a free course ‘An introduction to the science of climate and climate change‘ so far this has see just under 4000 students enrol, and this number is growing all the time. When last analysed we had students from 171 different countries and about 45% of these were from the developing world. This has been followed up by a second course ‘Constructing and Applying High Resolution Climate Scenarios‘ which enables small cohorts of fee paying students to learn more advanced content in small groups supported by a tutor. This again has achieved a truly global audience with students from Eritrea to Nepal, definitely reaching people who could never come to Oxford for a face to face course. With so much of the scientific understanding on climate based around modelling, understanding how this actually works is information everyone can benefit from – and with our second course due to run next on the 28th October, there is still time to sign up.