2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
10 x 1-hour tutorials per semester
12 x 7-hour independent studies per semester
10 x 1-hour on-line exercises per semester
Enrolment not permitted
1 of EASC8702, WARM8702 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
Such as found in EASC1101 or EASC1102
Topic description
This topic covers the definition of climate, climate variability and climate change within a geological, historical, and current time frame. It presents the link between climate and extreme events - tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, and solar system forcing via Milankovich cycles. The physical principles that establish the Earth's climate as a dynamic equilibrium between opposing processes and the forces involved are offered in a descriptive and quantitative approach. Previous states of atmosphere, land and ocean and the resulting climate during the Earth's evolution to its present state are discussed (palaeo-climatology). The evolution of atmosphere, land and ocean since pre-industrial times to the present as described in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, and anthropogenic factors driving the changes are reviewed in a scientific and socio-economic approach. The topic gives inside into the role of atmosphere, land and ocean in contemporary climate variability and climate change, and discusses oscillation patterns such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation. Future climate projections and the role of science and scientific ethics in human influences on climate variability and climate change are discussed.
Educational aims
This topic aims to develop:

  1. An understanding of processes that establish climate globally, regionally, and locally
  2. An appreciation of the factors that modify climate, including extreme events triggered by geological processes and by climate itself
  3. An understanding of the context of modern climates in relation to past ones
  4. A capacity to understand the contemporary debate about anthropogenic effects in climate change in the context of scientific evidence
  5. Skills in the retrieval and presentation of scientific information to support scientific audiences, with regard to a controversial topic
  6. Proficiency in critical analysis of information
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of this topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a solid scientific understanding of all issues relating to past and contemporary climate and climate change
  2. Evaluate arguments about climate change through reference to earlier climate events in the history of the earth and comment in an informed and scientific way of the effects of human activity on climate
  3. Use models of global and regional climate for assessing the effects of changes to principal driving factors
  4. Recognise climate measuring facilities and equipment, and quality assurance protocols
  5. Discuss the interaction between science and the society that supports it