Climate Studies

Climate Studies Student Package cover

AMS Climate Studies is an introductory college-level course developed by the American Meteorological Society for implementation at undergraduate institutions nationwide.

Prepared by meteorologists and climatologists nationally recognized in atmospheric science education, AMS Climate Studies places students in a dynamic educational environment where they investigate the many elements of Earth's climate system using real-world environmental data. Development for this course was supported, in part, by NASA.

The components of Earth’s climate system emerge as interactive, defined through dynamic Earth processes and the principles that underlie how climate works, such as radiation and thermodynamic principals, planetary circulation and basic physical forces, and the world ocean. Climate change is explored with proxy records from the past, observations in the present, and with climate models into the future, looking at both natural and human influence. The course explores how human energy use and policy affect climate change, as well as how we are affected by it and how society views climate change.

Collegial assistance from AMS staff and other course users is available to new instructors.


How can the course be implemented?

  • As a NEW institutional course offering
  • To REVISE an existing course at your institution
  • To EXPAND an existing course by adding a laboratory component
  • As the FOCUS of an online course or as individual directed study

Who can offer the course?

AMS Climate Studies can be offered by experienced science faculty or those new to teaching climatology. 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 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.

When are the real-time course components delivered?

The real-world case studies in the Investigations Manual allow the combination of Manual and Textbook to function as a full course. Many institutions offering the course during fall and spring semesters use the Current Climate Studies on the RealTime Climate Portal to expand on important concepts.

Current Climate Studies are posted by 9 am Eastern Time on Mondays. During fall and spring semesters, Current Climate Studies accumulate in the Archive of the RealTime Climate Portal as the semester progresses.To further assist with aligning college and AMS delivery schedules, Current Climate Studies 1–3 will be posted on 15 August. CCS answer keys and Respondus-compatible files will be posted to the faculty website on the same schedule.

View the real-time course delivery schedule.

What are the course components?


The 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.


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.

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.

Current Climate Studies

Challenging lab activities with real-time excitement! Course investigations are self-contained in the Investigations Manual or expanded on with Current Climate Studies delivered on the course website. Current Climate Studies investigations discuss on important concepts using current or recent climate data and are delivered on a weekly schedule.

Faculty Resources

Available on the faculty website, the Faculty Resources include the faculty guide, PowerPoints, textbook images, and manual questions, textbook chapter questions, as well as chapter progress and test bank keys, all compatible with learning management systems.

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

The questions and answers can be ported into your learning management system for automated scoring and immediate student feedback. This feature allows for full integration into an e-learning environment. We provide learning management system-compatible files in Respondus format, software for which many campuses are licensed.

Visit Learning Management System Integration to learn about the 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 textbook, manual, and instructor access to the RealTime Weather Portal and Faculty Website, submit a Course License to the AMS Education Program. The Course License fee (from 15 August to 14 August) is $149 per institution, regardless of number of sections or number of students.

Visit Licensing to learn more.

What are the benefits of licensing AMS Climate Studies?

  • AMS Climate Studies full course use for academic year
  • Textbook, Manual, and RealTime Climate Portal
  • AMS Climate Studies Faculty Website and Faculty Resource Material
  • Files compatible with Learning Management Systems

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected] or 1-800-824-0405.