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
EASC1101 Earth and Environmental Sciences or EASC1102 Marine Sciences.
Assignment(s), Exercises, Quiz
Topic description

This topic covers the definition of climate, climate variability and climate change within geological, historical, and future time frames. It introduces students to climatic classifications, the composition and structure of the atmosphere, radiation balances and the Greenhouse effect, surface heat fluxes, the general circulation of the atmosphere, the hydrological cycle, carbon cycles, the role of the ocean in the climate system, inter-annual climate variability (e.g. El Nino events), extreme events, sea level rise, climate feedback mechanisms, climate proxies and dating, climate models and climate projections for the future.

Educational aims

This topic aims to develop:

  • An understanding of processes that establish climate globally, regionally, and locally
  • An appreciation of the factors that modify climate, including extreme events triggered by geological processes and by climate itself
  • An understanding of the context of modern climates in relation to past ones
  • A capacity to understand the contemporary debate about anthropogenic effects in climate change in the context of scientific evidence
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be 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

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.