• Class Number 2943
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Craig Strong
    • David Shearer
    • Dr Chiara Holgate
    • AsPr Craig Strong
    • Dr Frank Mills
    • Dr Joseph Guillaume
    • Dr Steven Crimp
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

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 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 and the application of this knowledge to other societal impacting weather phenomenon. 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 for students pursuing ecology, environmental science, natural resource management, or sustainability studies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the physical processes that drive weather and climate in Australia.
  2. Analyse real-world data to characterise flood and drought conditions.
  3. Understand how weather and climate vary in location, scale and complexity.
  4. Reflect on how weather and climate extremes influence society and are considered in decision making.
  5. Apply multidisciplinary thinking to course topics to understand contemporary challenges.
  6. Reflect upon, synthesise and explain learning outcomes 1-5 from a broad scale, to specific topics/events.

Research-Led Teaching

This course is updated to include recent climate change research findings. Students will learn research skills in the practical sessions from researchers who apply climate knowledge to a broad range of applications.

Field Trips

No field trips planned for this course this year

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

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

Student Feedback

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information


  1. Watch all recorded lectures via Echo360/Wattle
  2. Submit all assessable work via PDF on Wattle by the deadline
  3. Comply with ANU and Fenner School requirements regarding referencing, academic honesty and other standards for academic work
  4. Complete the required reading for each lecture
  5. Attend the practicals and complete each assessment
  6. Study for and complete course tests/exams

 This level of participation will amount to approximately 11 hours of work per week in total

Your Feedback

Your thoughts and opinions matter. Here’s how you can provide feedback on the course:

  1. Send email to envs2004@anu.edu.au
  2. 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 3 of semester.
  3. The Convener will be in continual informal discussions with course reps throughout the semester
  4. Complete the SELT surveys at the end of the course; we do value your feedback and respond to your suggestions.


Stuck? Confused? Falling behind? Don’t wait! Contact us ASAP. We are here to help.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Students should refer to the Wattle site for current delivery information for the course this semester.
Lectures:1.1 Course introduction & Overview;1.2 Atmospheric science I – Atmospheric structure and composition ;1.3 Atmospheric science II – Atmospheric stability;Practical:Course assessment finalisation discussion
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 quizzes, practicals and exam.

2 Lectures2.1 Atmospheric science III – Drivers of Australia’s weather ;2.2 Atmospheric science IV - Local weather ;2.3 Atmospheric science V – Climate change impactsPractical:Climate practical
3 Lectures:3.1 Atmospheric science VI – Surface observations;3.2 Synoptic Weather Patterns I;3.3 Synoptic Weather Patterns II;Practical:Australian Weather
4 Lectures:4.1 Canberra Day public holiday;4.2 Local Weather – Urban climate;4.3 Application: Wind erosion erosivity;Practical:Remote Sensing of dust storms Met Sat H-8.
5 Lectures:5.1 Climate drivers I – seasonal cycle and climate modes (ENSO);5.2 Climate drivers II – (SAM, IPO);5.3 Application: Predicting bushfire seasons;Practical:Australian climate drivers
6 Lectures:6.1 Heatwaves I;6.2 Heatwaves II;6.3 Heatwaves III;Practical:Public Holiday Assessment task:Climate review quiz (30%)Practicals and key theory (covering Weeks 1–6)Multiple choice & Short written answersOnline wattle quiz
7 Lectures:7.1 Droughts I – mechanisms and key events;7.2 Droughts 2 – mechanisms and key events;7.3 Application: drought preparedness;Practical:No activity
8 Lectures:8.1 Floods I – mechanisms and key events;8.2 Floods 2 – mechanisms and key events;8.3 Application: Satellite sensing of rainfall & soil moisture;Practical:Flood mapping tools
9 Lectures:9.1 BOM > Ag services I;9.2 BOM > Ag services II;9.3 BOM > Ag services III;Practical:Weather for Ag planning
10 Lectures:10.1 Ag microclimate – wind break;10.2 Scale – climate vs microclimate drivers of variability;10.3 Landscape water availability - application of energy balance);Practical:Self directed study
11 Lectures:11.1 Water abundance – managing variability;11.2 Water scarcity – concepts and implications;11.3 Water scarcity – water infrastructure planning;Practical:Self directed study
12 Lectures:12.1 Climate science modelling, mitigation, adaptation reflection;12.2 Philosophy – climate into the future;12.3 Climate 'where to now'Practical:Self directed study Assessment task:Applications review quiz (30%)Practical examples and key theory (covering Weeks 7–11)Multiple choice & Short written answersOnline wattle quiz
13 Assessment task:Final exam (40%)Questions that integrate knowledge gained throughout the course (covering Weeks 1 - 12)Multiple choice & Short written answerscentral exam block

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Climate review quiz (covering Weeks 1–6) 30 % 28/03/2024 05/04/2024 1,2,3
Application review quiz (covering Weeks 7–11) 30 % 24/05/2024 31/05/2024 1,2,3,4,5
Final exam (40%) 40 % 03/06/2024 13/06/2024 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 Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

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 Skills 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.


An online examination will be scheduled during the Semester 1 examination period

Check the ANU final Examination Timetable to confirm examination details

Examination results will be incorporated into final course results

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 28/03/2024
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Climate review quiz (covering Weeks 1–6)

Climate review quiz (30%)

Practicals and key theory (covering Weeks 1–6)

Multiple choice & Short written answers

Online wattle quiz

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 24/05/2024
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Application review quiz (covering Weeks 7–11)

Practical examples and key theory (covering Weeks 7–11)

Multiple choice & Short written answers

Online wattle quiz

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 03/06/2024
Return of Assessment: 13/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Final exam (40%)

Questions that integrate knowledge gained throughout the course (covering Weeks 1 - 12)

Multiple choice & Short written answers

central exam block

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

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

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 or online examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Wattle.

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

Re-submission of assignment tasks is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

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).

AsPr Craig Strong

Research Interests

AsPr Craig Strong

By Appointment
By Appointment
David Shearer

Research Interests

David Shearer

By Appointment
Dr Chiara Holgate

Research Interests

Dr Chiara Holgate

By Appointment
AsPr Craig Strong

Research Interests

AsPr Craig Strong

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Frank Mills

Research Interests

Dr Frank Mills

By Appointment
Dr Joseph Guillaume

Research Interests

Dr Joseph Guillaume

By Appointment
Dr Steven Crimp

Research Interests

Dr Steven Crimp

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions