MT38B-Climate Change

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: MT24A Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics MT24B Atmospheric Physics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Bill Collins


Summary module description:
Climate change over the past century and coming century, and its likely causes.

This module aims to develop an understanding of the fundamental physics of climate change, an understanding of observations of changes in atmospheric composition and climate change in the recent past, to quantify the extent to which these changes are understood, examine the degree to which these changes are due to human activity and natural variations, and to investigate predictions of future climate change.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, a student should be able to:

• Explain how the Earth’s climate has changed in the recent past;

• Explain how human activity has caused a change in atmospheric composition, and the sources of uncertainty in our understanding;

• Describe the contribution of atmospheric chemistry and the carbon cycle to climate change;

• Describe the hierarchy of climate models and their limitation;

• Demonstrate how these are used to understand the observed changes and the degree to which past changes can be attributed to human and natural causes;

• Calculate temperature changes using simple climate models;

• Demonstrate knowledge of predictions of future climate and the causes of uncertainty in these predictions.

Additional outcomes:
The computer practical will develop skills in using simple models to compare to measurement data.

Outline content:

• Observations of recent climate change;

• Observations of recent changes in atmospheric composition;

• An elementary introduction to atmospheric chemistry;

• Radiative forcing and simple models of climate change Sophisticated climate models;

• Key uncertainties in climate models, with a special focus on cloud feedbacks;

• Detection and attribution of past climate change;

• Prediction of future climate change including brief discussion of impacts.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Two 50-minute sessions per week, which will include conventional lectures and computer based practicals. Students will be encouraged to attend regular seminars from the Department's internal and external seminar programmes (typically four in the spring term).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • 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 for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    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.

    Length of examination:

    One 1.5 hour University examination. Students are asked to answer 2 out of 3 questions.

    Requirements for a pass:

    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resit examination paper only 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: 31 March 2017

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