MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction
Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Global Environmental Change
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This module discusses the records and mechanisms of climate change on a global scale, at timescales ranging from the Precambrian Snowball Earth, through late Cenozoic cooling and the onset of the Ice Ages, to evidence for current global warming.
To become familiar with:
- the complexity of the global environmental system
- the geological records of climate change
- the magnitudes and timescales of climate change, and
- the natural and anthropogenic processes that can cause this change.
On successful completion of the course, students will:
- Be able to discuss the main components of the global environmental system and their sensitivities to different feedback or forcing mechanisms;
- Have developed numerical skills to critically assess the veracity of different geological records of global system change;
- Have developed a quantitative understanding of the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic control on global change.
10 3-hour sessions combining lectures, practical work and seminar-style paper discussions
Introduction: The global environmental system and its records
How climate works I: Atmospheric circulation, temperature and precipitation
How climate works II: Ice sheets, sea level history and seawater chemistry
How climate works II: Tectonics, orbital forcing and other feedback mechanisms
Dating geological material
Ice Core Records
Marine Sediments and Corals, Non-marine Records
Natural hazards, natural environmental change and human evolution
Anthropogenic change and global warming – fact or fiction?
Assessment: Project report (25%), Debate (25%), 1.5 hour exam (50%)
Feedback on the project report will be given during lecture 9 and on the debate via Blackboard.
Answers will be provided for practical exercises, and practicals and seminars will allow for discussion with the lecturers.
Bradley 1999, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing climates of the Quaternary, Academic Press
Williams et al. 1993, Quaternary Environments, Edward Arnold
Alley 2000, The two-mile time machine: Ice cores, abrupt climate change and our future, Princeton University Press
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Practical classes & workshops||20|
|Independent study hours|