Climate Science

2019-2020

Course Objective

The general aim of this course is to provide the student with a base
level of knowledge of the meteorological and climatological concepts and
processes that enables her/him to study scientific literature and
understand present and past climates and their spatial and temporal
variation. More specifically, after following the course, you will be
able to:
• Describe the physical processes and mechanisms acting in the
atmosphere.
• Explain how the present climate is related to ocean currents and heat
transport.
• Understand how we can use natural archives in ice and sediment to
understand and describe past climate variations.
. understand the key interactions of biogeochemical cycles with climate
• Formulate and discuss key scientific climate problem in a two page
essay for a wider (not scientific) audience
• Know the important forcing mechanisms of climate over longer time-
scales (1-100 kyr).

Course Content

The land, oceans and atmosphere form a coupled system that interact to
produce a certain climate and type of weather. This course focuses on
the interactions between the land, atmosphere and the oceans and
integrates knowledge from past, present and future climate.
It provides:
• an introduction to meteorology and current climate and weather
systems,
• a discussion of the thermodynamics, energy and momentum transport in
the atmosphere
• atmospheric and oceanic processes and mechanisms that influence
functioning of the current climate system (ENSO, Arctic oscillation),
. the interaction of the biogeochemical cycles and climate, C, N and P,
Fe
• variability of the climate system in the past and the use of natural
archives (e.g. ice, marine and terrestrial sediments) to explore past
variability,
• forcing mechanisms of climate variation such as insolation changes
(Milankovitch cycles)
• a description of (paleo-) climate modelling

Teaching Methods

The course has a study value of 6 ECTS and has a study load of about 168
hours. The number of hours spent on the 12 lectures totals about 30
hours. The remainder of the time (138 hours) is available to the student
to study the course documents, lecture notes and scientific papers and
to make assignments. Lecture notes and scientific papers will be made
available during the lectures and through the Canvas digital learning
environment.

Although presence at the lectures is not mandatory, you are strongly
encouraged to attend them as the lecture notes and handouts need to be
studied for the examination. Presence at the workshops is
mandatory.

Climate science is a scientific subject that receives a lot of attention
in media, popular press. To understand this phenomenon more deeply you
are requested to write a semi-popular essay on a key issue in climate
science.

The essay needs to be written in a language understandable for general
(interested) public, while presenting the key scientific facts in a
clear and consistent manner.!

Method of Assessment

The mode of assessment consists of a closed-book written exam – with
open questions at the end of the course. As calculations may be part of
the examination you should not forget to bring your calculator. The exam
counts for 75%. The essay assignment counts for 15% and presence at the
workshops for another 10%

Entry Requirements

There are no required subjects for this course but we asssume that
students are familiar with the physical, chemical and mathematical
principles as taught in the first year courses ‘Fysica voor
aardwetenschappers (450064)’, ‘Geochemie voor aardwetenschappers
(450068)’, ‘Wiskunde en computergebruik (450063)’ and ’Global Change
(450007). Additionally, Isotopen Geochemie (AB_450141) will provide
background on the application of stable isotopes.

Literature

We will use a book "BiogeochemicalCycles and Climate" by A.J. Dolman,
Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 978–0–19–877930–8 DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198779308.001.0001.

Target Audience

3rd year BSc students Earth Science, Earth & Economy, Future Planet
studies (UvA), or other upper level BSc students with a natural science
background.

Recommended background knowledge

There are no required subjects for this course but we asssume that
students are familiar with the physical, chemical and mathematical
principles as taught in the first year courses ‘Fysica voor
aardwetenschappers (450064)’, ‘Geochemie voor aardwetenschappers
(450068)’, ‘Wiskunde en computergebruik (450063)’ and ’Global Change
(450007). Additionally, Isotopen Geochemie (AB_450141) will provide
background on the application of stable isotopes.

General Information

Course Code AB_1102
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. A.J. Dolman
Examiner prof. dr. A.J. Dolman
Teaching Staff prof. dr. A.J. Dolman
dr. C.J. Beets

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture