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Climate Change Mechanisms and Tipping Points

Language

English

Course format On-site
Date 2021-02-08 - 2021-04-18
Entry level Bachelor

The course aims at providing an up-to-date introduction to fundamental physical and bio-geo-chemical mechanisms defining the climate and climate variations on Earth. The following topics are covered:

  • Blackbody radiation, the planetary energy balance, and the greenhouse effect.
  • Recent global warming and future climate scenarios.
  • The concepts of radiative forcing, feedbacks, and climate sensitivity.
  • The major atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns.
  • The role of the cryosphere in the climate system and changes in sea level.
  • Plate tectonics and its impact on Earth’s climate.
  • The major components and mechanisms of the organic and inorganic carbon cycles.
  • Quaternary climate variability on orbital, millennial, and annual time scales.
  • Past, present, and future abrupt climate change and tipping elements of the climate system.

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide an overview of the physical and bio-geo-chemical climate system, to put recent global warming into a paleo-climatic context, and to qualify the student to discuss and assess future climate scenarios.

Knowledge

  • Basic physical understanding of the major elements of the Earth climate system and their interaction.
  • Mechanisms of Quaternary climate and climate variability on various time scales.
  • Understanding of the causes for recent global warming and knowledge of future climate scenarios

Skills

  • Ability to put recent global warming into a paleo-climatic context.
  • Distinguish between gradual and abrupt climate change and impacts of climate change.
  • Present a topic on climate change in a well-structured, logical, and scientifically correct form.

Competences

  • Provide qualified contributions to discussions on climate change mechanisms.
  • Ability to critically read and understand recent physical science literature on climate change.
  • Form an opinion of the need for actions to limit the impacts of future climate change.

Prerequisites

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Files/Documents

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management
Physical and chemical oceanography