Understand the laws of thermodynamics – and how they govern how we use and lose energy everyday – in this free online course.
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.
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.