- Class Number 9225
- Term Code 3060
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Joelle Gergis
- Prof Nerilie Abram
- Sarah Jackson
- Zak Baillie
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 27/07/2020
- Class End Date 30/10/2020
- Census Date 31/08/2020
- Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
Climate change is the largest scientific challenge facing humanity. In this course we will provide a multidisciplinary foundation for understanding climate variability and change from regional to global scales. Interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land in the Earth’s climate system are explored to understand past, present and future climate variability and change. Course material covers ice age cycles, abrupt change, global and regional climate variability of the past 1000 years, and anthropogenic factors contributing to contemporary and future climate change.
Students will work with data from proxy records (e.g. ice cores, tree rings, corals, sedimentary records and historical documents), observational records, and climate model output. The course also provides opportunities to develop skills in interpreting and communicating climate science for a range of audiences. The scientific basis for climate change is also applied to understanding observed impacts and its relevance for global policy contexts.
Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but have separate seminars and are assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Interpret, describe and explain the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land in the Earth’s climate system.
- Analyse and interpret climate data to evaluate past, present and future climate variability and change.
- Interpret, describe and explain the relationships between large-scale ocean-atmosphere processes and regional and global climates, using simple statistical techniques.
- Synthesise and explain their understanding of processes that influence climate variability and change, and their application to research and policy contexts.
- Apply critical thinking to develop a scientific understanding for evaluating the likely causes and potential impacts of climate variability and change, and demonstrate an ability to communicate this in a range of formats suitable for diverse audiences.
Additional Course Costs
Examination Material or equipment
A laptop is required for each Practical class. Please contact the course convenors before Week 1 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- 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 Week 1: Course overview and introduction: climate variability and change in the Earth’s past, present and future Causes of natural climate variability. Ice Ages over the past 2 million years (Quaternary period) Practical 1: Understanding Ice Ages|
|2||Lectures Week 2: Tools for reconstructing Quaternary climates: Use of foraminifera, oxygen isotopes in sedimentary records, ice cores etc Global climate during Last Glacial Maximum. Regional impacts e.g. sea level fluctuations Practical 2: Glacial–Inter-glacial cycles in ice cores|
|3||Lectures Week 3: Holocene climate variability of the last 10,000 years: Warming following Last Ice Age. Establishment of modern climate. Introduction of human activities Abrupt climate change: Younger Dryas, Dansgaard Oeschger events, Antarctic Cold Reversal, mass extinction events, recent trends Practical 3: Abrupt climate change|
|4||Lectures Week 4: Tools of high-resolution palaeoclimatology: How annually banded records like tree rings, corals, ice cores can extend instrumental climate records Australian climate history: pre-20th century documentary and early instrumental weather records climate records Practical 4: Introduction to tree ring analysis|
|5||Lectures Week 5: Observed climate variability and change: temperature Observed climate variability and change: oceans Practical 5: Australian modern climate data and review of BoM state of the climate report|
|6||Lectures Week 6: ENSO: past, present and future I ENSO: past, present and future II Practical 6: Correlation maps and critical reading exercise||Assessment: Wattle quiz I (multiple choice)|
|7||Mid semester break|
|8||Mid semester break|
|9||Lectures Week 7: IOD: past, present and future SAM: past, present and future Practical 7: Coral palaeoclimatology|
|10||Lectures Week 8: Climate change in Antarctica Basics of climate modelling (complexity of models, model ensembles, intercomparisons, detection and attribution) Practical 8: Feedback session for assessment piece|
|11||Lectures Week 9: Climate modelling I (basics of climate modelling, model parametrisations, limitations) ocean modelling Climate modelling II (basics of climate modelling, model parametrisations, limitations) land modelling Practical 9: Elements of climate system modelling|
|12||Lectures Week 10: Climate forcings across scales, including last millennium Future scenarios of climate change Practical 10: Transient climate model experiments||Assessment: Article for The Conversation and creative piece|
|13||Lectures Week 11: Climate change in Australia, including uncertainties, regional/seasonal patterns and sea level rise scenarios Why 1.5°C? (Context for the Paris Agreement) Practical 11: Modelling future climates||Assessment: Wattle quiz (multiple choice)|
|14||Lectures Week 12: Graduate student talks Graduate student talks Practical 12: Review and revision session||Graduate student talks|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Wattle Quiz I||15 %||04/09/2020||11/09/2020||1,2,3,4|
|The Conversation article and creative piece||40 %||16/10/2020||30/10/2020||1,2,3,4,5|
|Wattle Quiz II||15 %||23/10/2020||30/10/2020||1,2,3,4,5|
|Graduate student oral presentation||30 %||30/10/2020||06/11/2020||1,2,3,4,5|
* 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 Academic Integrity . 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.
As a student enrolled in this course you are expected to:
· Keep up to date with the Course Guide
· Attend each lecture and practical class
· 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
· Complete all practical exercises and every assessment task
· Study for and complete course tests and exams
Please note that ALL assessment tasks are required to be submitted to pass this course
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
Wattle Quiz I
Wattle quiz (covering Weeks 1–6), Multiple choice
Practical quiz will formally assess content covered in practical classes in Weeks 1-6.
Estimated return date: 2020-09-11
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
The Conversation article and creative piece
Article for The Conversation (1000 words) and accompanying creative piece (e.g. video, podcast, poster etc)
Estimated return date: 2020-10-30
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Wattle Quiz II
Wattle quiz (covering Weeks 7–11), Multiple choice
Practical quiz will formally assess content covered in practical classes in Weeks 7-11.
Estimated return date: 2020-10-30
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Graduate 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 related to any topic covering during the course and develop and deliver a 7-8 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
- Discussion of past, present and future aspects of the selected topic
- Summary 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. climate change adaptation, future climate risks etc
Student talks will be assessed based on:
- Accuracy of scientific explanation of the topic
- Discussion of past, present and future aspects of the selected topic
- Quality and readability of slides
- 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 6 November 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. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.
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.
Assessments will be returned via Wattle and/or during workshop 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
Climate variability and extremes, climate change, historical climatology, palaeoclimatology
Dr Joelle Gergis
Prof Nerilie Abram