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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2515 Climate of the past

10 creditsClass Size: 5

Module manager: Dr Roel Brienen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG2090Climate Systems

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Over the last 20 years, climate change has become one of the most pressing concerns for society. This module explores the Earth's atmosphere and the dynamics of the climate system. It considers anthropogenic and natural changes to the atmosphere and oceans that lead to climate change over a range of timescales from inter-annual to millions of years.


After taking this module students will be able to
-Appreciate the patterns and scale of natural variations in the climate over a variety of timescales from millions of years to sub-decadal.
- Have a detailed understanding of the causes and nature of recent (last ~100 years) climate change.

Learning outcomes
Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities.
The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts.

Skills outcomes
Cognitive skills
Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments
Solving problems and making reasoned decisions

Practical/professional skills
Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data

Key skills
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
Manage time and organise work effectively


This module may include the following topics:

Evolution of the climate system; Climate change over geological timescales; Milankovitch-scale climate change; Glacials and Interglacials; Sub-Milankovitch climate change; Climate forcing over different timescales; The Last Termination; Holocene climate change; Historical climate change; Looking to the future from a palaeoclimatological perspective.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment11.001.00
Independent online learning hours4.00
Private study hours82.00
Total Contact hours14.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Lectures and practicals will be accompanied by reading lists (textbooks and journal articles), with an expectation of around three hours reading in support of each lecture. Further private study time will be spent in preparing coursework and revising for the exam.

An informal formative ‘quiz’ will be set on VLE (independent online learning).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Coursework will provide formal opportunities for feedback between staff and students.

Informal class tests will be used allow students to obtain individual feedback and also allow us to monitor the engagement of individual students with the module.

An informal formative 'quiz' will be set on VLE (independent online learning).

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

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: 29/04/2022 15:32:19


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