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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2160 Climate Change: Science and Impacts

10 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Ken Carslaw

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

SOEE2150 (50%)

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing mankind today.In this module, you will discover the fundamental natural processes driving the Earth's climate system from orbital forcing, biosphere-climate interactions to El Nino. You will also learn about the human influence on current and future climate, and the science behind the attribution of climate change to human activities. The module examines previous changes in climate from historical and climate proxy data, and puts them into context with the current changes being faced. You will also investigate the science behind 'geo-engineering', future climate predictions and regional and global impacts of predicted climate change.Assessment is in the form of a written review exercise and an exam.


1. Basic understanding of the complexity of the climate system and links with the Earth system.
2. Basic understanding of climate science.
3. Understanding of why climate has changed in the past and the use and limitations of climate proxies.
4. An understanding of the natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate system over various time-scales.
5. Knowledge of current modelling techniques used to understand and predict Earth's climate.
6. Understanding of the potential and predicted impacts of future climate change on the environment and society.
7. Development of key skills in critical thinking, objective analysis, data interpretation.

Skills outcomes
Key skills in research: literature searching and review techniques, objective analysis, interpretation, critical thinking, and written composition.


- Observed climate variability and change: Recent centuries; climate reconstruction; the last 100 Myears.
- Climate science: Energy balance; heat fluxes; the carbon cycle, physical climate interactions; natural modes and coupled systems; climate sensitivity; climate system feedbacks.
- Chemistry, biogeochemistry- and biosphere-climate interactions.
- Human perturbation of climate: Climate forcing agents; GHG and aerosol forcing of climate.
- Climate change detection and attribution; climate models and modelling present climate.
- Future climate: Future emission projections; future climate predictions; Geo-engineering; non-linear responses & 'tipping points'.
- Global and regional impacts of climate change: extreme weather, cryosphere, water cycle, crop yields, ocean acidification.
- Objective analysis and critical thinking in climate change science.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- 12 hours: preparing report
- 25 hours: preparing for exam
- 43 hours: independent background reading.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback in preparation for the coursework assignment and exam will be provided throughout the module in the group activity lectures. Detailed summative and formative feedback will be provided on the written report at the end of term and prior to exam.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportWritten Report 1200 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

Re-sit is by written examination

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

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: 29/04/2024 16:20:31


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