- Code EMSC6027
- Unit Value 6 units
- 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
There has been a revolution in our understanding of changes in Earth's climate and their impacts on the evolution of life. This course examines how geoscientists study the climatic responses of Earth's major systems (the oceans, atmosphere, ice sheets, land surfaces, and vegetation) and how they evolved (sometimes rapidly) over the course of geologic time.
A thorough understanding of past climate change is essential to inform us about changes that will undoubtedly occur in the future, so the course covers key themes in the last several hundred million years of Earth's history, including: the relationship between plate tectonics, atmospheric CO2, the biosphere and greenhouse climates on billion-year to annual time scales; the causes of extreme climate change, including the so-called Snowball Earth events; the transition from greenhouse to ice-age climates over the last 50 million years; the causes of ice ages and abrupt climate change; and the factors that have influenced global warming over the last 125 years.
Students will learn how the geochemistry of natural palaeoclimate archives and numerical models are used to reconstruct the history of the climate system and identify the causes of climate change. The geochronological tools used to track climatic change through Earth's history will also be explained. A key outcome of this course will be a firm understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that control Earth's climate and how they may interact to modulate climate change in the future. In addition to textbooks, and research-based lectures and practicals, journal articles of greater conceptual difficulty will be made available for students who wish to explore their personal interests in climate change.
Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates (EMSC3027) but will be assessed separately.
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. Explain how the components of Earth's climate system (and carbon cycle) have evolved through geologic time.
2. Explain how palaeoclimate science has developed over the past century and how this has influenced climate science today
3. Analyse in detail the positive and negative feedbacks in the earth’s land-ocean-atmosphere system that control climate change on timescales ranging from millions to hundreds of years.
4. Quantitatively analyse past climate change using elemental and isotopic tracers, palaeoclimate archives, and state-of-the art geochronology.
5. Evaluate the likely causes and potential impacts of future climate change.
6. Inform peer students and the wider public how understanding past climate systems is important in the current debates about climate change.
Assessment will be based on:
• 3 exams at ~20% each (60%) LO 1-4
• Practicals (20%) LO 1-4
• Presentations (20%) LO 1, 2, 5, 6
Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates (EMSC3027) but will be given additional assessment which will be agreed upon in the first week of semester.
The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
A maximum of 39 hours of lectures/tutorials and 26 hours of practicals.
Requisite and Incompatibility
1. W.F. Ruddiman, Earth’s Climate: Past and Future (2008), Freeman and Company, New York.
2. E.T. Sundquist and K. Visser (2004), The Geologic History of the Carbon Cycle in Treatise on Geochemistry Vol. 8, Biogeochemistry (ed. W.H. Schlesinger), pp. 425-461, Elsevier – Pergamon, Oxford.
3 R.A. Houghton (2004), The Contemporary Carbon Cycle in Treatise on Geochemistry Vol. 8, Biogeochemistry (ed. W.H. Schlesinger), pp. 473-508, Elsevier – Pergamon, Oxford.
Bachelor degree including Chemistry and Earth Science/Geology content.
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:
- 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.
- Domestic fee paying students
- International fee paying students
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|8179||21 Jul 2014||08 Aug 2014||31 Aug 2014||30 Oct 2014||In Person||N/A|