Climate change in the Earth System


Climate change is more than just an atmospheric phenomenon. The atmosphere is closely coupled with the land and ocean surface, exchanging fluxes of carbon, energy, water and trace substances. Climate change profoundly affects these fluxes, and these fluxes in turn can profoundly affect climate change. Further, human actions have, and continue to, greatly modify how the land surface interacts with the atmosphere, and thus climate. However, human actions are always taken in the context of the environment in which they live. To understand the response of any part of this system to a particular forcing, it is necessary to consider the interactions and feedbacks between all the other parts. This module will introduce the key aspects of this system, building an appreciation of the uncertainties and complexities in the projections of global climate and climate impacts. Students will directly analyse state-of-the-art environmental data such as that underling the latest IPCC assessment report. They will thus develop an appreciation of current modelling and measurement techniques used in research, along with the ability to manipulate and interpret environmental big data. 


  • 2,000-word report with appendix detailing data analysis (60%)
  • 700-word popular science article (20%)
  • 700-word project pitch (20%)