APMA90-Climate change and food systems

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Gillian Rose

Email: g.rose@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module will consider how human-induced climate change may impact on global food systems. It aims to combine knowledge of the global climate system with the response of ecosystems and agricultural productivity to climate variability and change in order to provide a basis for assessing the impacts of climate change on food production within the Earth system.

Assessable learning outcomes:
- Achieve a broad understanding of human-induced climate change, and be able to identify aspects of climate that are important for food systems.
- Examine the climate signal in historical, observed changes in natural and managed ecosystems, and question whether or not past trends in ecosystems can be attributed to climate change.
- Critically analyse methods for predicting the impacts of climate change on the productivity of agricultural systems.
- Evaluate the challenges of climate change for food systems interact with global issues such as sustainable development, international trade, population increase and the intensification of agricultural systems.

Additional outcomes:

  • Be able to critically review how issues of climate change and food are conveyed in the media.

Outline content:
- Introduction to climate change - the climate system; observations of climate change; causes of climate change; the greenhouse effect; the IPCC; projections of future climate change on global and regional scales; sources of uncertainty (two lectures).
- Climate and the biosphere - climate variability and historical, observed changes in natural and managed ecosystems; the phenology network; the climate signal in trends of crop yields over time; attribution of past ecosystem changes to climate change.
- Climate and food systems in the mass media: the politics of communication around climate change; public understanding of the scientific debates and evidence; media treatments of food security issues.
- Assessing the impacts of climate change on crops - use of climate model output; temporal and spatial scale of crop simulations; downscaling climate information; uncertainties in predictions; global and regional crop productivity under climate change; the IPCC.
- Adaptation of global food systems to climate change - adaptation strategies at crop, farm, regional and global scales; the Stern Review on the economics of climate change 2006; sustainable development, trade and climate change.
- A Warming Meal? - a guided discussion on climate change and food systems, exploring and integrating all the issues covered in the module, and others raised by participants.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This modules will use a range of methods including lectures, team work, in-class discussions, and supportive material on Blackboard.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Class test administered by School 80

Other information on summative assessment:
A critical assessment of an article drawn from recent media coverage. (20%)
An in-class test (50%)
Multiple choice tests (30%)

Formative assessment methods:
Media assignment

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
Attainment of 50% mark overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Reassessment by coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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