Methods and Modelling in Palaeoclimatology

Module code: GL4111

The Earth, its weather and its climate has been on a 4 billion year journey of climate change, which you'll explore during this module. 

You'll look at the co-evolution of Earth’s climate, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere and the geological record of these these patterns. You'll examine how the climate changed back in the deep past, and evaluate the chemical, sedimentological and fossil markers of this change. Plus, you'll integrate geological data with numerical climate models to examine past and future climate change.

At the end of this module, you will understand the drivers of climate change and be able to engage in discussions about human-induced global warming.

Topics covered

  • The boundary conditions that control climate on planet Earth 
  • Greenhouse and icehouse climate states
  • Climate tipping points and how to assess them
  • Major chemical and fossil proxies for reconstructing deep time climate
  • The use of General circulation models for climate prediction, past and future
  • Past warm Earth climate states as scenarios for near future climate change
  • Snowball Earth
  • Climate in the Proterozoic – Phanerozoic transition
  • The early Palaeozoic icehouse
  • Mesozoic and early Cenozoic greenhouse climates
  • The Cenozoic icehouse
  • The Pliocene world
  • Anthropogenic climate change

Learning

  • 18 hours of lectures
  • 3 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 129 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Exam, 2 hours (60%)
  • Coursework (40%)