AMS Climate Studies Course Overview

What is the course?

AMS Climate Studies is an introductory climate science course provided by the American Meteorological Society to undergraduate institutions for local offering. The course is prepared by meteorologists and climatologists nationally recognized in atmospheric science education. Development for this course was supported, in part, by NASA. Students are introduced to the many elements of Earth's climate system.

How can the course be implemented?

>>Go to the Options for Using Course Materials page to learn more.

Who can offer the course?

AMS Climate Studies can be offered by experienced science faculty or those new to teaching climatology. Collegial assistance is available to all new instructors.

We have large numbers of atmospheric scientists, geographers, geologists, and physicists successfully offering the course, as well as those from disciplines such as engineering and chemistry.

During course implementation and instruction, collegial assistance is available from faculty members who have already offered AMS Climate Studies. Also, AMS science educators will answer any questions on all aspects of course delivery and content. This course enables faculty members to expand and/or update their curriculum and join the ranks of colleagues teaching with the latest technology.

What are the course components?

eTextbook - The eBook formatted, 14-chapter Our Changing Climate: Introduction to Climate Science (© 2014) text covers the fundamental principles in understanding Earth's climate system as a whole. The primary author of the text is Dr. Chad M. Kauffman (California University of Pennsylvania). The textbook contains end-of-chapter Review and Critical Thinking Questions.

At the instructor's option, the eText may be used as part of the turnkey AMS Climate Studies course ePackage (including the eInvestigations Manual and RealTime Climate Portal), by itself, or in combination with the Portal to help facilitate current climate discussions.

>>Go to the Climate Studies eTextbook page to view the table of contents and a sample chapter.

eInvestigations Manual - A set of student learning investigations is coordinated with the text chapters. Investigations lead the student through analysis and interpretation of current climatological data. Weekly Current Climate Studies posted to the RealTime Climate Portal during fall and spring semesters may be used to reinforce Manual investigations using more current climate data and information.

The eInvestigations Manual is designed to function as a self-contained course for those wishing to have all course material in their hands before the course starts, those wanting to preload all course material into their institution's course management system at the beginning of each term and/or those whose academic calendars do not match the AMS Climate Studies delivery schedule.

The weekly investigations are prepared by Dr. Robert S. Weinbeck (State University of New York - Brockport and AMS Education Program), and Dr. Ira W. Geer (Senior Education Fellow, AMS Education Program). Both have extensive experience teaching introductory meteorology courses and conducting NSF- and NOAA-funded faculty and teacher professional development projects.

>>Go to the Climate Studies eInvestigations Manual page to to view the list of investigations and sample activities.

RealTime Climate Portal - The Portal delivers Weekly Climate News, current climate data, and Current Climate Studies in real time during the fall and spring semesters and as archived material throughout the year. To access the Portal, a Login ID and Password are required by all licensed students and faculty. A special site is available for all faculty considering this course offering, where the Portal and course delivery mechanisms may be previewed. Go to the RealTime Climate Portal site to view samples of website components.

Faculty Resource CD and Website- The CD contains the faculty manual, eInvestigations Manual answer forms compatible with course management systems, test bank questions, chapter progress questins, and textbook images. The faculty manual describes the course and its components and contains suggestions for course implementation in a variety of classroom settings. Included for each text chapter is an outline, summary, and learning objectives.

The CD eInvestigations Manual answer forms are files compatible with Respondus, test-generating software for which your institution may have a license. This program opens formatted files and converts them to various course management system files.

Test bank and chapter progress questions are available in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word, text, PDF, and Respondus-compatible files. The CD also contains eInvestigations Manual answer forms and keys in Word, text, and PDF formats, and the electronic versions of chapter Review and Critical Thinking Questions found in the eText.

A secure faculty website delivers answers to chapter Review and Critical Thinking, Investigations Manual, Current Climate Studies, and chapter progress questions. The website includes Respondus-formatted answer forms for Current Climate Studies.

When are the real-time course components delivered?

The real-world case studies in the eInvestigations Manual allow the combination of Manual and eTextbook to function as a full course. Many institutions offering the course during fall and spring semesters may choose to use Current Climate Studies on the RealTime Climate Portal to expand on important concepts using current or recent data.

Current Climate Studies are posted by about noon Eastern Time on Mondays. During fall and spring semesters, Current Climate Studies files accumulate in the "Archives" section of the RealTime Climate Portal as the semester progresses. To assist with aligning college and AMS delivery schedules, in Week 1 of the course schedule AMS posts Current Ocean Studies investigations for Chapters 1-3.Current Climate Studies answer keys and Respondus-compatible files will be posted to the faculty website on the same schedule.

How do I integrate this course with my Course Management System?

The eInvestigations Manual, Current Climate Studies learning investigations, chapter progress, and test banks can be ported into your system’s quizzing function for automated scoring and immediate student feedback. This feature allows for full integration into an e-learning environment. We provide course management system-compatible files in Respondus format, software for which many campuses are licensed.

>>Go to the Course Management System Integration page to learn about the easy three step process for porting our files into your system.

How do I host this course at my college?

If you would like to use the entire AMS Climate Studies course package, which includes the eTextbook, eInvestigations Manual, and access to the RealTime Climate Portal and Faculty Websites, your college will need to have an active Course License on file with the AMS Education Program. The Course License fee (from August 15th to August 14th) is $149 per institution, regardless of number of sections or number of students.

With an AMS Climate Studies license, your college receives:


If you have any additional questions or concerns, please visit our "Frequently Asked Questions" page or contact us at 1-800-824-0405.

To license the course:


  1. Call us at 202-737-1043 or toll free at 1-800-824-0405 (ask for the AMS Climate Studies Coordinator)
  2. Download the License Order Form and fax to us at 202-737-0445 or toll-free at 1-800-258-1176 or mail to us at
    AMS Climate Studies
    1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 500
    Washington, DC 20005
  3. Send us e-mail at onlineclimate@ametsoc.org