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Causes and Consequences of Climate Change

Language

English

Course format On-site
Date 2020-08-17 - 2020-11-23

Objectives and Content

Objectives

The course aims at giving an introduction to the science of climate change. It provides the basis for understanding the underlying physical processes and feedbacks governing climate variations on different timescales. How different anthropogenic emissions influences climate and what are the main factors driving the changes in emissions. In addition, different types of climate changes impacts and risks will be presented along with an outline of international frameworks for climate assessment, adaptions and mitigation. The course will introduce some of the consequences of climate change; geohazards, sea level, societal impact. The course will give the student the perspective to discuss the UN's Societal Development Goals in the context of the ongoing changes in climate.

Content

The course focuses on explaining the main external forcing mechanisms such as the sun, volcanoes, and changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols, which can contribute to changing the global energy budget and initiate climate changes. Through this course, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the climate system, and be able to compare the observed, man-made changes in climate over the last century to past natural changes.

The course includes an introduction to different types of climate impacts and risks, including examples of physical, biological and economical risks.

The course answers to the UNs Societal Development Goals (in particular SDG13) by strengthening our knowledge of climate and climate-related hazards and will make the student conscious of the consequences of political and strategic choices made at a local, national and global level.

In addition to class room lectures, group work and colloquia, the course consists of video lectures as well as independent reading and exercises provided on an interactive online platform. The course is followed by term projects and presentation of project results.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

Knowledge

The student can

  • explain the fundamental physical mechanisms behind large scale climate variability
  • understand the basic external forcing mechanisms that initiate climate variations
  • explain and quantify the main feedback mechanisms in the climate system
  • provide an overview of different anthropogenic emissions sources
  • explain the main underlying drivers of changes in anthropogenic emissions
  • explain the possible impact of climate change on different types of risks
  • understand the main consequences of climate change for society
  • explain the main international frameworks for climate change assessment, adaption and mitigation
  • put UN's Societal Development Goal 13 in perspective with other SDG goals

Skills

The student can

  • use basic climate change terminology and expressions
  • perform calculations of the earth´s sensitivity to external forcings such as the Sun, volcanoes and changes in greenhouse gases
  • assess the consequences of climate changes and evaluate their impact on society through a risk framework demonstrate their verbal and written scientific communication skills and ability to present scientific information to fellow students and others
  • demonstrate the ability to provide constructive reviews to fellow students
  • reflect on the linkages and interactions between th UN's Societal Development Goals

General competence

The student can

  • demonstrate the ability for critical thinking and physically based reasoning
  • show cross-disciplinary awareness through discussions on the interaction between humans and nature in the Earth system
  • summarize the link between environmental, socio-economic, demographic and social relationships through investigation into the effect of future man-made greenhouse gas emissions

Prerequisites

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Basic knowledge in mathematics, physics or geoscience is an advantage

It is an advantage to have studied at least one year at University level.

Files/Documents

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management