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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3410 Atmosphere and Ocean Climate Change Processes

10 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Prof Ian Brooks
Email: i.m.brooks@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Students will be taught about the physical coupling and feedback of significant atmospheric and ocean processes currently thought responsible for the observed rapid changes in the Earths climate. For students taking this module, a basic understanding of meteorology and climate change is recommended.Through lecture series that encompasses: Atmosphere radiative transfer through high and low level clouds and the physical implications of aerosols on climate; atmospheric circulation, surface ocean/terrestrial/biosphere exchange processes, greenhouse gas fluxes; implications of sea ice extent and sea level change, deep convection and mixed layer dynamics on ocean heat budgets and the breakdown of the thermohaline circulation. Throughout the module, the links and feedbacks between different parts of the climate system are emphasised. This module is taught through lectures and tutorial supported self study that utilises a simple climate model through a web interface to investigate the efffects of different processes.This module is taught in semester 1 and is assessed by an assignment and two hour examination.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should be able to understand:

1. The coupling and feedback systems between the atmosphere and ocean that is driving energy transfer and climate change.
2. Concepts of surface exchange of heat fluxes and greenhouse gas transfer between atmosphere/land/ocean/biosphere.
3. The role of clouds in the climate system, including their effect on radiation and energy transfer.
4. How clouds are parametrised in climate models and the very large uncertainties in their effect on climate change.
5. The response of the upper oceans mixed layer and water mass formation to air-sea fluxes in a changing atmospheric/ocean system and its effect on the thermohaline circulation.
6. The scientific aspects, predictions and consequences of the recession of sea ice on global sea levels.

Students will learn how these complex processes are simplified in order to represent/parameterise them in global climate models run over centennial timescales and appreciate what limits the reliability of the models.

Syllabus

Students will be taught about the physical coupling and feedback of significant atmospheric and ocean processes currently thought responsible for the observed rapid changes in the Earth's climate. For students taking this module, a basic understanding of meteorology and climate change is recommended.

Through a lecture series that encompasses: Atmosphere radiative transfer through high and low level clouds and the physical implications of aerosols on climate; Atmospheric circulation, surface ocean/terrestrial/biosphere exchange processes, greenhouse gas fluxes; Implications of sea ice (sea levels), deep convection and mixed layer dynamics on ocean heat budgets and the breakdown of the thermohaline circulation.

During the current circumstances this module will be taught through a series of pre-recorded lectures and supplementary videos, supported by both live online discussions and a text-based discussion board. An assessed online exercise using a simple climate model with a web-based interface provides a means to explore some of the ideas from the lectures. This exercise is also supported by live tutorial and the bulletin board.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning17.007.00
Revision Class12.002.00
Tutorials111.0011.00
Lecture151.0015.00
Private study hours65.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Reading: 40 hours;
- Revision: 40 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Assignment: Case studies and problems solving based on class material and use of numerical model.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentExercises and 1,000 word report40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Climate Modelling: For MEnv students taking this module as part of SOEE5685M and for students on the MRes Climate and Atmospheric Science programme there is an extended version of this exercise.


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:25:48

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