• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences

Changes in Earth's temperature cause changes in the size of the polar ice caps, with corresponding changes in global sea levels as water moves between the oceans and the continental ice sheets. Sea levels are currently rising as a result of present-day increases in global mean temperature and some claim that West Antarctica and Greenland glaciers are melting rapidly.  But how are changes in ice and ocean volumes estimated?

Observations of the motions of close-earth satellites and measurements from these satellites to the surface of the Earth enable these changes to be measured and they provide important constraints on the physical properties of the planet and on the physical processes occurring on and within it. Students will learn about several Earth-observing satellite missions and how to derive and interpret results in terms of physical changes on Earth. 

Undergraduate students attend joint classes with graduate students but will be assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand the Earth's gravity field and the geophysical interpretation of temporal gravity changes;

2. Explain the measurement of sea level variations from tide gauges and satellite altimetry;

3. Compute mass balance estimates of polar regions;

4. Relate the theory and observation of the motion of satellites to the determination of positions on the Earth from satellite tracking data; and

5. Communicate efficiently to a general and expert audience about the science of sea level change

 

PG Requirements,

1. Understand the Earth's gravity field and the geophysical interpretation of temporal gravity changes;

2. Explain the measurement of sea level variations from tide gauges and satellite altimetry;

3. Compute mass balance estimates of polar regions;

4. Relate the theory and observation of the motion of satellites to the determination of positions on the Earth from satellite tracking data;

5. Communicate efficiently to a general and expert audience about the science of sea level change; and

6. Evaluate gravimetric datasets systematically and interpret results in the context of trends related to regional and global climate change


Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on theory exams and practicals.

• Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at a negotiated time before the mid-semester break (30% LO 1-4).

• Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at the end of the semester  (30% LO 1-4).

• One computer-based assignment involving data analysis (30% LO 1-4).

• One oral presentation to provide a critique of a scientific journal article (10% LO 1-5).

 

PG Assessment will be based on theory exams and practicals.

• Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at a negotiated time before the mid-semester break (30% LO 1-4).

• Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at the end of the semester  (30% LO 1-4).

• One computer-based assignment involving data analysis (30% LO 1-4).

• One oral presentation to provide a critique of a scientific journal article (10% LO 1-5).

Additional/different tasks will be included in graduate assignments and examinations, thus distinguishing the undergraduate and graduate assessment.


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Workload

A maximum of 39 hours of lectures and 26 hours of laboratory classes including tutorials


Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed MATH1013 or MATH1115 or PHYS1101.

Fees

Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $1650
2004 $2160
2005 $2520
2006 $2520
2007 $2520
2008 $2916
2009 $2916
2010 $2916
2011 $2946
2012 $2946
2013 $2946
2014 $2946
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3606
2004 $3618
2005 $3618
2006 $3618
2007 $3618
2008 $3618
2009 $3618
2010 $3750
2011 $3756
2012 $3756
2013 $3756
2014 $3762
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3232 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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