Skip to main content

Unit information: Past and Future Climate Simulation in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Past and Future Climate Simulation
Unit code GEOGM1403
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Dan Lunt
Open unit status Not open



Other mandatory units on programme

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce complex climate models, such as General Circulation Models, as used extensively in the Intergovermental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. It will trace their development and highlight advances and cutting-edge topics, as well as their weaknesses and limitations. Studies which have used these models to investigate major transitions in Earth history (e.g. initiation of Northern Hemisphere glaciation, Pliocene warmth, Paleocene-Eocene Boundary) will be discussed. State of the art future climate predictions will also be presented. The students will gain a real appreciation of the evaluation and use of GCMs through hands-on practicals.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Describe the fundamental basis of GCMs; Discuss the limitations of GCM simulations and their interpretation; Critically assess previous studies which have used GCMs to understand past climates; Evaluate predications of future climate; Run a simple GCM experiment.

Teaching Information

Seminars and practicals

Assessment Information

The unit is assessed by coursework consisting of a write-up of the GCM experiments, in the style of a Climate of the Past paper.

Reading and References

McGuffie K and Henderson-Sellers A. (2005). A Climate Modelling Primer. 3rd Ed. Wiley Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007, Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chaen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.) Ruddiman W.F (2001). Earth’s climate: past and future. W.H. Freeman and Company