ARMQCC-Quaternary Climate Change

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: ARMIQC Introduction to Quaternary Climate Change
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Stuart Black


Summary module description:
Understanding past climates is critical to our understanding of how the current climate system operates and how it might evolve in the future. This module focuses on climate change through the Quaternary Period (the past 2.6 million years), what evidence can be used to reconstruct these climates and the causes for climate change.

The aim of this module is to review the evidence for climate change over the past 2.6 million years and the causes of that climate change

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students should understand the components of the climate system and the interactions between them. The causes of climate change, including radiative and non-radiative forcing, external and internal forcing; feedback mechanisms; timescales of climate change; climate changes in the northern versus southern hemispheres; proxy data for climate change including ice cores, isotopes, sediments and fossil data; Pleistocene climates, Holocene climates; current climate and possible future changes.

Additional outcomes:
Students' observational and recording skills will be enhanced. Their critical skills will be honed and they will learn how to develop their interpretative skills through accurately observing and recording data. They will broaden their minds by learning how to think for themselves.

Outline content:
Lecture content includes: the climate system; proxy data for climate change – marine and non-marine micro and macrofossils, sediments, isotopes and ice cores; timescales of climate change; causes of climate change – forcing mechanisms, feedback; Pleistocene and Holocene climates in the northern and southern hemispheres. Practical sessions will illustrate and develop the lecture themes.

Global context:
The insights that palaeoclimates provide for the debates on current climate change are of global importance. Lecture and practical examples are drawn from the UK, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Antarctica.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be one lecture and a two hour practical each week. This is a 20 credit module, which means that it is intended to occupy you for 200 hours of work: background reading, coursework preparation, seminars and critiques. With that in mind the kind of workload you should expect might be as follows:

30 hours: Contact hours in formal teaching sessions
10 hours: Seminars to undertake critiques of key papers.
45 hours: Engaged in reading and note taking from ‘key papers’ for seminar preparation.
75 hours: Completion of coursework assignments including detailed reading and research for the long essay.
40 hours: Writing up practical assignments.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study 160
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Practical skills assessment 40
Set exercise 20

Other information on summative assessment:
There will be a series of practical sessions which will be assessed in the form of practical write ups and will contribute 40% of the module marks. There will be one other piece of coursework (an essay of up to 5000 words) worth 40% of the module marks. There will also be a critique of a paper set as part of one of the seminars to be written up worth 20% of the module marks.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:

Where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark;

Where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

(Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

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:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
Resit opportunities are available in August/September

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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