Paleoclimates and Climate Modelling

Module code: NS3019 

Module co-ordinator: Dr Jan Zalasiewicz

Module Outline

The Paleoclimate and Climate Modelling module examines our planet in terms of its major systems; the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere and the biosphere, all of which are constantly interacting. The module explores the topic of climate change throughout Earth’s history; climate change is not just a contemporary phenomenon, it has happened in the geological past at times abruptly and catastrophically.

In order to understand climate change it is important to understand its history. Ice cores hold key evidence for the Quaternary climate record, whilst isotope and rock records contain relatively less well preserved data for the pre-Quaternary climate. You will also develop an understanding of simple and complex climate models and how they are used to simulate the past and current climate as well as predicting future climatic change. 

Learning Objectives

  • Climate of the Earth System and the Early Earth
  • Cenozoic Climate
  • Long- and Short- Scale Climate Variation
  • Glaciation
  • Snowball Earth
  • Carboniferous Glaciation
  • Quaternary Climate Change and Climate Proxies
  • Greenhouse World
  • The Toarcian Event
  • The PETM
  • Palaeoclimate Proxies
  • The Holocene
  • The Anthropocene
  • Photosynthesis
  • Palaeobotany and Climate
  • The Carbon Cycle and Carbon Sequestration
  • Modelling Climate Change
  • Geological Record of Climate Change

Teaching and Learning Methods

Problem-based learning

Assessment Methods

  • Group Planning documentation
  • Short Answer exercise sets
  • Written Assignments
  • Video
  • Examination