• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Environmental Studies, Science, Climate
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Joelle Gergis
    • Prof Nerilie Abram
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 1 2021. On-campus activities will be available. Email enquiries to envs3013@anu.edu.au

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Students will work with data from proxy records (e.g. ice cores, tree rings, corals, sedimentary records and historical documents), observational records, and climate model output.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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land in the Earth’s climate system.
  2. Analyse climate data to interpret past, present and future climate variability and change.
  3. Interpret the relationships between large-scale ocean-atmosphere processes and regional and global climates, using simple statistical techniques.
  4. Synthesise your understanding of processes that influence climate variability and change, and their application to research and policy contexts.
  5. Develop a broad scientific basis for evaluating the likely causes and potential impacts of climate variability and change, and communicate this in a range of formats suitable for diverse audiences.

Other Information

If you do not meet the requisites for this course, it may be possible to receive a permission code. If you are prompted for a permission code on ISIS, please request one online via the following form

Indicative Assessment

  1. Students must attempt all assessment items to pass the course: (null) [LO null]
  2. Wattle Quiz I (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Article for The Conversation (1000 words) and accompanying creative piece (e.g. video, podcast, poster etc) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Wattle Quiz II (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Exam (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 2 x 2 hour workshops per week.
  • Approximately 82 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 72 units towards a degree including ENVS2004. Incompatible with ENVS6303.

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed textbook for this course. A reading list will be provided on the course WATTLE site.

Preliminary Reading

Gergis, J. (2018). Sunburnt Country: The future and history of climate change in Australia, Melbourne University Press, 310pp.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
3786 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person View

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