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ATM2250 - Climate change and variability

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader(s): Associate Professor Jason Beringer and colleagues


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


A multidisciplinary approach to the nature, causes and future implications of climatic change and variability. This is a team taught unit. Emphasis is placed on processes such as rapid climate change, greenhouse warming, carbon cycle, monsoon activity and the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon which are of greatest global concern. Contributions of fossil, historical and instrumental data are critically assessed and social, economic, political and broad environmental implications of predicted future changes are evaluated in terms of the significance for biotic communities and human society. Analysis of paleo, historical and current environmental data forms is a core.


The course aims to provide a background in how climate has changed in the past and how it is likely to change in the future. After completing the unit student will be expected to:

  1. Understand the concept of climate change and how this varies from climate variability
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how climate changes across different timescales (geological, centennial, decadal to annual)
  3. Illustrate the mechanisms and feedbacks that influence climate change
  4. Show an awareness of the social and political context to climate change and the impacts, adaptation and mitigation of such change.


Examination (2 hours): 35%
Practical reports (6 hours): 30%
Essay (2000 words): 35%

Contact hours

3 hours per week on average (two lectures per week and one 2-hour practical per fortnight) plus a 1-day field excursion


A first-year sequence in geography and environmental science, mathematics, earth sciences, biology, environmental science or permission


ATM3250, GES2860, GES3860

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