Discovery module overview
Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing mankind today.
In this module, you will discover the fundamental natural processes driving the Earth's climate system from orbital forcing, biosphere-climate interactions to El Nino. You will also learn about the human influence on current and future climate, and the science behind the attribution of climate change to human activities.
The module examines previous changes in climate from historical and climate proxy data, and puts them into context with the current changes being faced. You will also investigate the science behind 'geo-engineering', future climate predictions and regional and global impacts of predicted climate change.
Assessment is in the form of a written review exercise and an exam.
- 1. Basic understanding of the complexity of the climate system and links with the Earth system.
- 2. Basic understanding of climate science.
- 3. Understanding of why climate has changed in the past and the use and limitations of climate proxies.
- 4. An understanding of the natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate system over various time-scales.
- 5. Knowledge of current modelling techniques used to understand and predict Earth's climate.
- 6. Understanding of the potential and predicted impacts of future climate change on the environment and society.
- 7. Development of key skills in critical thinking, objective analysis, data interpretation.
- - Observed climate variability and change: Recent centuries; climate reconstruction; the last 100 Myears.
- - Climate science: Energy balance; heat fluxes; the carbon cycle, physical climate interactions; natural modes and coupled systems; climate sensitivity; climate system feedbacks.
- - Chemistry, biogeochemistry- and biosphere-climate interactions.
- - Human perturbation of climate: Climate forcing agents; GHG and aerosol forcing of climate.
- - Climate change detection and attribution; climate models and modelling present climate.
- - Future climate: Future emission projections; future climate predictions; Geo-engineering; non-linear responses & 'tipping points'.
- - Global and regional impacts of climate change: extreme weather, cryosphere, water cycle, crop yields, ocean acidification.
- - Objective analysis and critical thinking in climate change science.
Key skills in research: literature searching and review techniques, objective analysis, interpretation, critical thinking, and written composition.
Assessment and teaching
|Assesment type||Notes||% of formal assesment|
|Report||Written Report 500 words||40|
|Total percentages (Assessment Coursework)||40|
|Exam type||Exam duration||% of formal assessment|
|Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)||1 hr 0 mins||60|
|Total Percentage (Assesment Exams)||60|
- - 12 hours: preparing report
- - 25 hours: preparing for exam
- - 44 hours: independent background reading.
Detailed summative and formative feedback on written reports before the end of term and prior to exam.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private Study Hours||81|
|Total Contact Hours||19|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||100|