Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Climate Change

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Environmental Management and Planning

DESCRIPTION The study-unit will address the scientific and technical aspects of this global environmental issue in order to introduce students to the global climate as a continuous change of flux, to the current rate and direction of recent changes and of predicted changes. The physical mechanisms by which climate change occurs will be explained and the extent of changes in climate reviewed. The distinction between historical climate change and present-day phenomena of climate change will be explained. This unit also examines the probable causes of climatic change, and its impacts on a variety of receptors. Amongst other aspects, the unit will outline the global, regional and local impacts on society. This unit will give students the opportunity to work with climate data to derive time-series trends, as well as with climate models to project and understand future climate change scenarios on the basis of IPCC data.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to give students:

- An understanding of global climatic cycles which have affected Earth through geological time;
- An appreciation of the scale and potential severity of climate change impacts;
- An understanding of atmospheric feedback cycles;
- An understanding of strategies and processes that may mitigate or accelerate climatic change;
- An appreciation of the urgency and complexity of the climate change issue;
- An understanding of the latest climate change trends and IPCC climate change scenarios.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Outline known changes in climate throughout Earth history and describe the basis of the Milankovitch cycles of climatic change;
- Describe global carbon fluxes;
- Describe the role of feedback cycles in the atmosphere;
- Describe the probable mechanisms of climate change including the role of greenhouse gases;
- Explain the importance of the science underpinning the consequences of climate change;
- Describe strategies that may reduce the rate of climate change;
- Discuss ongoing efforts towards mitigation of climate change;
- Explain the link between climate change and resource use.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Critically appraise various viewpoints concerning global climate change;
- Conduct analysis of climate data to understand and critically assess current trends;
- Conduct analysis of various scenarios for future climate states and critically assess the pros and cons of climate change modelling.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- IPCC 6th Assessment Report
- Barry, R.G. and Chorley, R.J. (2010). Atmosphere, weather and climate. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN: 9780415465694.
- Burrough, W.J. 2007. Climate change: a multidisciplinary approach. Cambridge. ISBN: 978-0521690331.
- Rayner, J., 2000. Dynamic Climatology. 1st Edition. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 978-157-718-016-6.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lectures and Computer Lab Sessions

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Quiz SEM1 Yes 30%
Analysis Task SEM1 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Charles Galdies (Co-ord.)
Mark Scerri

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.