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Unit information: Climate Change: Science and Impacts in 2021/22

Unit name Climate Change: Science and Impacts
Unit code GEOGM1405
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. James
Open unit status Not open




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 evidence about past climate change and its causes, explore how climate change is currently influencing natural and human systems, and examine the impacts that climate change is expected to have in future. The unit will consider how the challenges posed by climate change can be addressed, including strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and to adapt to changing climate systems. Throughout the course, there will be emphasis on understanding the methodologies which generate information about climate change, and identifying certainties and uncertainties. The unit will also discuss the role of science and scientists in policy and the media. Students will have the opportunity to analyse climate data, to learn how to draw conclusions in the context of uncertainty, and to synthesise scientific evidence to generate policy-relevant messages.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

Be familiar with key principles and methods of climate science including research into change in the recent past, and research into future change;
Identify robust aspects of climate science and climate change impacts;
Critically analyse science and policy issues, including challenges associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation;
Interpret analysis of climate data;
Synthesise evidence about climate change and draw out key messages.

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
  • computer practical work; 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

  1. One 1500 word practical report describing results from an analysis of climate model data, completed towards the middle of the unit. (30%)
  2. One policy report on climate change, no longer than 6 sides of A4, completed towards the end of the unit. (70%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. GEOGM1405).