- Class Number 3955
- Term Code 3030
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- AsPr Geoffrey Cary
- Dr Joelle Gergis
- AsPr Geoffrey Cary
- Dr Joelle Gergis
- Dr Luigi Renzullo
- Simon Walker
- Zak Baillie
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 24/02/2020
- Class End Date 05/06/2020
- Census Date 08/05/2020
- Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
Australia is a country defined by dramatic extremes – our highly variable climate influences virtually every aspect of our lives. So what makes Australia the ‘land of drought and flooding rains’? What are the factors that influenced major bushfires, floods and droughts that have shaped Australian society? How is climate change influencing Australian climate variability and extremes? In this course we provide a foundation for understanding Australian weather, climate and bushfire science. It is designed to lead students into advanced third year courses in climatology, climate change, bushfire science, water resource management and climate change policy. It is also provides a multidisciplinary understanding of climate and bushfire science for students pursuing ecology, environmental science, natural resource management, or sustainability studies.
This course is co-taught with the undergraduate version but is assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Interpret, describe and explain the physical processes that drive weather, climate and bushfire in Australia
- Explain and analyse real-world data to characterise bushfire, flood and drought conditions
- Proficiency in analysing how weather, climate and bushfires vary in location, scale and complexity
- Reflect upon and explain how weather, climate and bushfire extremes are considered in decision making
- Apply multidisciplinary thinking to course topics to understand contemporary challenges
- Reflect upon, synthesise and explain learning outcomes 1-5 from a broad scale, to specific topics/events
A laptop is required for each Practical class. Please see the course convenors prior to Week 2 if this will be an issue.
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc
ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
- Attend each lecture or catch up on missed lectures via Wattle
- Submit all assessable work via PDF on Wattle by the deadline
- Comply with ANU and Fenner School requirements regarding referencing, academic honesty and other standards for academic work
- Complete the required reading for each lecture
- Attend the practicals and complete each assessment
- Study for and complete course tests/exams
This level of participation will amount to approximately 11 hours of work per week in total
Your thoughts and opinions matter. Here’s how you can provide feedback on the course:
- Send email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact your class representatives, who will pass on any feedback from members of the class. There will be a meeting of all class reps with the Fenner School Associate Director (Education) in Week 4 of semester.
- The Convener will be in continual informal discussions with course reps throughout the semester
- Use the Comments & Suggestions tool on Wattle to submit anonymous feedback
- Complete the SELT surveys at the end of the course; we do value your feedback and try and respond to your suggestions.
Stuck? Confused? Falling behind? Don’t wait! Contact us ASAP. We are here to help.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Lectures 1.1 Course introduction and Overview (JG, GC, LR) 1.2 Atmospheric Science I (LR) 1.3 Atmospheric Science II (LR) Practical No practical this week||Required Reading: Please refer to course Wattle site for the weekly schedule of readings. Readings are selected specifically to support lectures Reading should be completed before each lecture Content from the readings will be assessed in the test, practicals and exam. Practicals: You must attend the practicals to complete the practical assessment and exam. A laptop is required for each class, please see course convenors if this will be an issue.|
|2||Lectures 2.1 General Circulation (LR) 2.2 Atmospheric Dynamics (LR) 2.3 Synoptic Weather Patterns (LR) Practical Weather lab|
|3||Lectures 3.1 Key Climate drivers I – seasonal cycle and climate modes (JG) 3.2 Key Climate drivers II – seasonal cycle and climate modes (JG) 3.3 Key Climate drivers III – seasonal cycle and climate modes (JG) Practical Australian climate drivers|
|4||Lectures 4.1 Floods I – mechanisms and key events (JG) 4.2 Floods I – mechanisms and key events (JG) 4.3 Floods I – mechanisms and key events (JG) Practical Floods|
|5||Lectures 5.1 Floods II – societal impacts and climate change (JG) 5.2 Floods II – societal impacts and climate change (JG) 5.3 Floods II – societal impacts and climate change (JG) Practical Essay writing workshop|
|6||Lectures 6.1 Droughts I – mechanisms and key events (JG) 6.2 Droughts I – drivers and key events (JG) 6.3 Droughts I – drivers and key events (JG) Practical Drought||Assessment task: Climate variability and change essay (1500 words) 30% (via Wattle Submission)|
|7||Lectures 7.1 Droughts II – societal impacts and climate change (JG) 7.2 Droughts II – societal impacts and climate change (JG) 7.3 Droughts II – societal impacts and climate change (JG) Practical Assessment task 2 will be completed in-class||Assessment task: Practical review quiz (covering Weeks 2–6), Multiple choice 10% (Online Wattle Quiz)|
|8||Lectures 8.1 Concept and importance of the fire regime (GC) 8.2 Describing fire behaviour (GC) 8.3 Factors affecting fire - Wind and fuel moisture content (GC) Practical Bushfire weather forecasting|
|9||Lectures 9.1 Factors affecting fire - Atmospheric stability & drought (GC) 9.2 Factors affecting fire – Synoptic phenomena (GC) 9.3 Factors affecting fire – Climate fluctuations (GC) Practical Bushfire behaviour prediction|
|10||Lectures 10.1 Factors affecting fire – Fuel dynamics (GC) 10.2 Factors affecting fire – Terrain (GC) 10.3 Fire Danger rating (GC) Practical Drop-in session for Bushfire Behaviour Prediction Report||Assessment task: Bushfire behaviour prediction report (1500 words) 30% (via Wattle Submission)|
|11||Lectures 11.1 Predicting fire behaviour (GC) 11.2 Bushfire ignitions (GC) 11.3 Bushfire suppression (GC) Practical Self-study for Bushfire Behaviour Prediction Report|
|12||Lectures 12.1 Fire regime synthesis (GC) 12.2 Course Review & Exam Preparation (JG, GC) 12.3 Drop-in Q&A (JG, GC) Practical Course revision and oral presentations||Assessment task: Graduate research student oral presentation 30%|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Climate variability and change essay||30 %||03/04/2020||17/04/2020||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|Practical review quiz||10 %||24/04/2020||01/05/2020||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|Bushfire behaviour prediction report (1500 words)||30 %||22/05/2020||01/06/2020||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|Graduate research student oral presentation||30 %||29/05/2020||01/06/2020||1,2,3,4,5,6|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.
Moderation of Assessment
Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Climate variability and change essay
Word limit: 1500 words
Students will select one essay question from a list of weather and climate topics covered in weeks 1–7 provided by the lecturer. These include issues related to weather processes, climate dynamics, drivers of Australian climate, and the hydrological extremes of floods and droughts. Students will be expected to use the Harvard referencing style to cite all sources referenced in the essay. A complete list of the references directly cited in the essay should be provided at the end of document. Only sources published in the academic literature (e.g. books and journal articles) or reputable web resources from government or research institutions like the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, NASA, NOAA, university websites etc should be used. All figures and tables included in the essay should clearly labelled with a title and a source. Only include figures and tables if they are directly referred to in the text. Overall, graduate students are expected to submit reports with a level of insight and writing consistent with their enrolment level i.e. higher than is the case for undergraduate students.
Estimated return date: Approximately two weeks after initial submission (14 April 2020)
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Practical review quiz
Practical quiz will formally assess content covered in practical classes in Weeks 2-6. This includes topics including weather processes, Australian climate drivers, floods and droughts, and essay writing skills. Assessment will be conducted as multiple choice questions.
Estimated return date: Approximately one week after initial submission (1 May 2020)
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Bushfire behaviour prediction report (1500 words)
Word limit: 1500 words
Students will submit a scientific report written according to instructions detailed in the 'Bushfire Behavior Prediction Practical' handout. This assessment item reports on a comparison between observed and predicted fire behaviour for the Deans Marsh bushfire that burned on 'Ash Wednesday' in 1983. The report should contain the following, presented in separate sections: introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. Details on expected report content is outlined in the practical handout, which includes assignment marking sheet. Regarding referencing, only sources published in the academic literature (e.g. books and journal articles) or reputable web resources from government or research institutions should be used. Students will be expected to use the Harvard referencing style to cite all sources referenced in the report. All figures and tables included in the report should be clearly labelled with a figure caption, or table heading, and a source. Only include figures and tables if they are directly referred to in the text. Overall, graduate students are expected to submit reports with a level of insight and writing consistent with their enrolment level i.e. higher than is the case for undergraduate students.
Estimated return date: Approximately two weeks after initial submission (9 June 2020).
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Graduate research student oral presentation
Students are required to develop a Powerpoint presentation to be delivered during the practical class in Week 12. If this poses an issue for any reason, please see lecturers to discuss at the start of the semester.
The aim of this assignment is to help students develop the professional skill of clearly distilling complex scientific information into a format suitable for scientific conferences, graduate research milestones, stakeholder meetings, and public talks.
Graduate students will select a topic from material covered in Weeks 1–12 and develop and deliver a 10 minute oral presentation using Powerpoint software in Week 12. The talk must include:
- Brief justification for the selection of the topic to provide context for a broad audience
- Scientific explanation of the selected topic e.g. key mechanism(s) that drive flooding/drought/bushfire risk in Australia
- Discussion of the diverse impacts associated with the selected topic e.g. physical, economic, ecological and human
- Identification of the key scientific and management challenges associated with the topic e.g. current and future climate change
Student talks will be assessed based on:
- Quality and readability of slides
- Accuracy of scientific explanation of the topic
- Appropriate use of technical graphs and other imagery to explain key concepts
- Suitable speaking pace and clarity of delivery suitable for a professional scientific presentation
Oral presentations will be marked as the student delivers their talk, with feedback returned at the end of the practical class (or no later than 1 June 2020).
Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.
The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.
The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.
You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.
For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.
Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
Assignments will be returned via Wattle and/or during practical classes.
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
Resubmission of Assignments
Resubmission of assignment tasks is not permitted.
Distribution of grades policy
Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.
Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
Support for students
The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
AsPr Geoffrey Cary
climate variability and extremes, climate change, bushfire science
Dr Joelle Gergis
AsPr Geoffrey Cary
Dr Joelle Gergis
Dr Luigi Renzullo