The Contemporary Earth System

Module code: GY1432

What is the large scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation? How is it generated? How are the land surface and soils shaped? Are ecosystems determined by the chemo-physical system?

This module develops a "big picture" perspective of how the climate system of planet Earth works, and how that climate system shapes the landscape and biosphere, while placing a particular emphasis on the operation of contemporary climate systems. 

You'll be exploring the large scale view of the Earth system, which began in the previous semester in GY1431. This will involve more specific climatological and surface processes, as well as biogeographic patterns in the contemporary system from the large-scale perspective. For example, the global atmospheric circulation, landscape change and sediment transport processes, and ecosystem composition.

Topics covered

  • Greenhouse effect
  • Energy balance of Earth
  • Generation of the global atmospheric and oceanic circulations
  • Ecosystem and biome distribution
  • Landscape development
  • Sediment transport processes
  • Soil development
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