GV3CC-Climate Change

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Maria Shahgedanova

Email: m.shahgedanova@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This course examines natural and human-induced climate change with reference to examples from different parts of the world. By the end of the module, students will gain knowledge about forcings driving climate change (e.g. greenhouse gases, solar variability, volcanic eruptions, desert dust and black carbon aerosol), impacts of climate change on natural and managed systems, methods of climate change assessment and projection, and adaptation to climate change. The course combines the science of climate change (e.g. climatic variability with emphasis on El Nino Souther Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation, conceptual understanding of climate modelling) with its application (e.g. investigation of impacts of climate change on glaciated environments, water resources, urban areas). It addresses interactions between climatic changes and conditions of economies and communities focusing on vulnerabilities to climate change, development of adaptation strategies and techniques, and assessments of barriers to adaptation. 

To examine the nature of climate change, its impacts, and methods of adaptation with respect to various parts of the world and different environments and communities.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module the students are expected to give a reasoned account of forcings driving climate change including solar, volcanic, and greenhouse gas forcings and various feedbacks in the climate system; Give a detailed and reasoned account of evidence of the historical and recent past climate change; Demonstrate knowledge concerning detection and attribution of climate change; Demonstrate knowledge concerning projection of climate change; Demonstrate knowledge concerning vulnerabilities to climate change, adaptation and barriers to adaptation; Acquire an awareness of direct and indirect impacts generated by major environmental disruptions such as global warming and to demonstrate an ability to predict and analyse potential impacts.

Additional outcomes:
The module aims to encourage data collection and analysis, oral communication skills and essay writing. These skills will be developed largely through the seminars and the practical sessions. Students will also develop their IT skills through accessing and analysing data using the Internet and interactive data analysis web pages. It is envisaged that the guest lectures will alert students to new career prospects and further education (MSc).

Outline content:
The course will introduce students to the changes in global and regional climates that occurred in the last 1000 years with emphasis on the recent (150 years) past. The course will examine natural and anthropogenic factors driving climate change such as changes in solar activity, aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere with emphasis on volcanic aerosol, and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations as well as feedbacks amplifying climate change. Considerable attention will be given to the short-term natural climatic variability forced by ENSO and North Atlantic Oscillation, anomalous weather and extreme weather events caused by it, and differentiation between natural climatic variability and the signals of climate change. The course will discuss methods of climate change detection, attribution and projection, and associated uncertainties. Numerous examples of impacts of climate change - direct and indirect – on natural and managed systems and components of the environment will be discussed. This will include impacts of climate change on glaciers, water availability, urban environments, and many other. Vulnerabilities to climate change will be examined with reference to both magnitude of climate change and socio-economic conditions of countries, regions, and communities. Different approaches to and methods of adaptation to climate change and potential barriers to adaptation will be examined with reference to examples from both developed and developing world. In addition to lectures given by the module convenor, there will be a number of guest lectures focusing on case studies providing the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art knowledge.

Global context:
Climate change is a global issue and the module utilises many global case studies. Both core and guest lectures give global and overseas perspective providing examples from Africa, northern, central and south-eastern Asia, and the Polar regions.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

One three-hour session per week between Weeks 1 and 11 of the Spring Term. The sessions include lectures followed by a guest lecture (delivered by researchers reporting their latest work and practitioners), a seminar or a discussion session. One session is usually dedicated to a visit to the RISC roof-top garden to become familiar with practical aspects of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change (subject to availability). 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17
Seminars 10
Project Supervision 20
External visits 3
Guided independent study 150
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 40
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Two hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Students will write one 3000 word essay and give a group seminar presentation.
Relative percentage of coursework : 50% (essay 40%; seminar presentation 10%).

Formative assessment methods:
All students will have opportunity to discuss their course work with module convenor and get advise on structuring their essays and presentations, suggestions on how these can be improved, and feedback at every stage of their work. The consultations will be normally conducted once a week outside the module hours.

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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guideUG.aspx)

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
Resitting of exam or resubmission of coursework 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: 20 April 2018


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