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Unit information: Future Climates in 2020/21

Unit name Future Climates
Unit code GEOG30016
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Valdes
Open unit status Not open

GEOG20003 The Earth System



School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit provides an introduction to the science and impacts of climate change. It will review the basic science of climate change, and the methodologies used to make predictions of the future. It will also discuss the impact of these changes on all aspects of society and the resulting adaptation and mitigation challenges. Throughout the course, there will be emphasis on understanding the certainties and uncertainties. The interaction between climate scientists and policy and the media will also be discussed. There will also be an opportunity to analyse climate model outputs to better understand the processes and methods involved.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this Unit students should be able to:

  1. Analyse the results from climate model simulations;
  2. Give a reasoned account of the causes and uncertainties in future climate change predictions;
  3. Identify robust aspects of climate change science and policy and critically analyse science and policy issues.
  4. Describe the key components of the global Earth System and their interactions.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a blended combination of online and, if possible, in-person teaching, including

  • online resources
  • synchronous group workshops, seminars, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous individual activities and guided reading for students to work through at their own pace
  • practicals; students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete practical work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Details

2000 word essay (67%)

Practical report - approx 4 sides of A4 (33%)

Both assessments test all of the ILOs.

Reading and References

Recommended reading:

1. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007 Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

2. The Economics of Climate Change The Stern Review. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

There are also numerous books which provide summaries of the above for different backgrounds.