GEOG3839/5839: Introduction to Dendrochronology
Dendrochronology is much more than just counting tree rings.
The annual growth rings from trees provide us with an incredibly powerful and adaptable tool to study Earth’s history. The rings tell us much more than just the age of tree. They also provide clues that help us understand how our environment has changed in the past, and provide insights into how key processes in atmosphere, biosphere and geological systems operate over long timescales.
    This course will teach students the fundamental principles of dendrochronology through a combination of formal lectures, class discussion and laboratory exercises. Students will work in the University of Minnesota’s Center for Dendrochronology, where they will learn how to collect, prepare and date tree-ring specimens. By the end of the course, they will be able to explain both the key concepts underlying dendrochronology and discuss how evidence from tree rings is used to address contemporary issues in natural history, resource management and Earth Systems Science.


GEOG5426: Climate Variations
How has our climate changed in the past? What caused those changes, and can understanding the Earth’s climate history help us better predict the future? Does the past really matter?
In this seminar course, we will examine these questions through the lens of paleoclimatology, which uses physical and cultural evidence to make inferences about climates of the past. We will review the processes that govern our modern climate and explore what paleoclimate records tell us about how these systems respond to (and express) climate change. In the process, we will learn how insights drawn from the past can help inform discussions of contemporary issues linked to climate change, hazards and the management of natural resources. Case studies will be selected to focus on the Holocene (the last 10 ka) and, to a lesser degree, the climate of North America.

Course blog: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/stgeorge/geog5426/