Climate Change

(Course Code: 238KEY, Course outline)

Semester: 8 Teaching Credits: 3 ECTS Credits: 5 Type:


Prerequisite Courses: Course type: Special background Instructor: Christos Matsoukas

1. Basic understanding of the complexity of the climate system

2. Understanding of why climate has changed in the past

3. An understanding of the natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate system for various time-scales

4. Knowledge of current modelling techniques used to predict climate change

5. Understanding of predicted climate change and its effects

6. Scientific understanding of why it is thought that anthropogenic influences are likely to cause much more rapid climate change in the future

7. Understand the conflicting positions taken by the many groups with special interests in this globally important issue

8. Research material from a variety of sources and synthesise it so as to support or refute a claim pertaining to climate change

9. Ability to work constructively in a group and on your own.

Topics per Week:
  1. Introduction, in situ and remote sensing climate observations. Quantification of observed changes.
  2. Reconstructions of paleoclimate. Proxy methods and Milankovitch theory.
  3. Planetary radiation energy balance. Greenhouse effect.
  4. Heat fluxes. General circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean conveyor belt.
  5. Climate response to forcing agents. Stefan-Boltzmann, ice-albedo, cloud, and water vapor feedbacks. Climate sensitivity
  6. Natural modes and quasi-periodic oscillations, e.g. ENSO, NAO. Chaotic behavior.
  7. Carbon cycle and planetary budget. Capture and sequestration.
  8. Greenhouse gases and solar flux as forcing agents. Sources and sinks of greenhouse gases.
  9. Aerosols and climate. Direct and indirect effects on radiation.
  10. Climate models and future projections. Evaluation of model performance.
Theory – Lectures
(hours / week)
Exercises – Laboratories
(hours / week)
Other Activities:  –

40% from projects during the semester and 60% from the final exam

Basic Textbook:
  • Taylor, F. W., (2005), Elementary climate physics, Oxford University Press
  • Burroughs, William James, (2007), Climate change : a multidisciplinary approach, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press
  • Kagan, Boris Abramovich, (1995) Ocean- atmosphere interaction and climate modelling, Cambridge University Press
  • Trenberth, Kevin E., (1995), Climate systems modeling, Cambridge University Press
  • Barry, Roger Graham, Chorley, Richard J., (1998), Atmosphere, weather and climate 7th ed, Routledge
  • Graedel, T. E., Crutzen, Paul J., (1995), Atmosphere, climate and change, Scientific American Library
  • Bryant, Edward, (1997), Climate process and change, Cambridge University Press
  • Burroughs, William James, (2003), Climate : into the 21st century, Cambridge University Press
  • Ruddiman, W. F., (2001), Earth’s climate : past and future, W.H. Freeman

The course is taught in English

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