SOEE3410 Atmosphere and Ocean Climate Change Processes

Reading List

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

Students will be taught about the physical coupling and feedback of significant atmospheric and ocean processes currently thought responsible for the observed rapid changes in the Earths climate. For students taking this module, a basic understanding of meteorology and climate change is recommended.
Through lecture series that encompasses: Atmosphere radiative transfer through high and low level clouds and the physical implications of aerosols on climate; atmospheric circulation, surface ocean/terrestrial/biosphere exchange processes, greenhouse gas fluxes; implications of sea ice extent and sea level change, deep convection and mixed layer dynamics on ocean heat budgets and the breakdown of the thermohaline circulation.
This module is taught through lectures and tutorial supported self study that utilises a simple climate model through a web interface to investigate the efffects of different processes.
This module is taught in semester 1 and is assessed by an assignment and two hour examination.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should be able to understand:

  • 1. The coupling and feedback systems between the atmosphere and ocean that is driving energy transfer and climate change.
  • 2. Concepts of surface exchange of heat fluxes and greenhouse gas transfer between atmosphere/land/ocean/biosphere.
  • 3. The role of clouds in the climate system, including their effect on radiation and energy transfer.
  • 4. How clouds are parametrised in climate models and the very large uncertainties in their effect on climate change.
  • 5. The response of the upper oceans mixed layer and water mass formation to air-sea fluxes in a changing atmospheric/ocean system and its effect on the thermohaline circulation.
  • 6. The scientific aspects, predictions and consequences of the recession of sea ice on global sea levels.

Students will learn how these complex processes are simplified in order to represent/parameterise them in global climate models run over centennial timescales and appreciate what limits the reliability of the models.

Syllabus

Students will be taught about the physical coupling and feedback of significant atmospheric and ocean processes currently thought responsible for the observed rapid changes in the Earth's climate. For students taking this module, a basic understanding of meteorology and climate change is recommended.
Through a lecture series that encompasses: Atmosphere radiative transfer through high and low level clouds and the physical implications of aerosols on climate; Atmospheric circulation, surface ocean/terrestrial/biosphere exchange processes, greenhouse gas fluxes; Implications of sea ice (sea levels), deep convection and mixed layer dynamics on ocean heat budgets and the breakdown of the thermohaline circulation.
The module is taught through lecture series and tutorial supported self study that utilises online computer models.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching

Coursework

Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Assignment Exercises and 1,000 word report 40
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 40

Exams

Exam type Exam duration % of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) 2 hr 0 mins 60
Total Percentage (Assesment Exams) 60

Private Study

  • - Reading: 40 hours;
  • - Revision: 40 hours.

Progress Monitoring

Assignment: Case studies and problems solving based on class material and use of numerical model.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
On-line Learning 1 3 3
Revision Class 1 2 2
Lecture 15 1 15
Private Study Hours 80
Total Contact Hours 20
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 100

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