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Climate Change Science and Solutions

Module titleClimate Change Science and Solutions
Module codeGEOM142
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr James Dyke (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will expose you to some of the most vibrant frontiers in the science of anthropogenic climate change. It will provide an overview of the natural science underlying projections of future climate change, enabling you to distinguish between what is known with high-certainty from aspects that remain uncertain. These latter ‘Frontiers in Climate Change Science’ will be introduced by a number of international experts from the University and other renowned research institutions (such as the nearby Met Office-Hadey Centre). Though natural science led, the module is interdisciplinary with a focus on understanding the climate change problem as part of the wider sustainability agenda. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module will equip you with an understanding of the science that underpins projections of anthropogenic climate change, and separate what is well known from what remains unknown. It will help you to understand the frontiers of climate change science, through guest lectures by international experts (from the university, the Met Office and other centres), and through student-led workshops. There will be opportunities for peer-to-peer as well as independent learning, and expectations for you to engage in debate and discussion during module sessions. As part of the module assessment, you will produce a short film that argues for and against a particular climate change solution.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe the key scientific principles of the operation of the Earth’s climate
  • 2. Identify and explain frontiers in the scientific understanding of human-caused climate change
  • 3. Critically evaluate proposed climate change solutions

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Separate what is known from what is still uncertain in future climate projections
  • 5. Synthesise and critically evaluate data, theory, and evidence from across physical and social sciences
  • 6. Understand and evaluate major international efforts to address climate change such as the IPCC

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Digest, interpret, and explain complex ideas
  • 8. Undertake independent, self-directed study and research

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Led by experts in the field, the module will be delivered through guest lectures, lectures delivered by the module leaders, and student-led workshops. The frontiers to be discussed each year will vary depending on the availability of guest lecturers and topicality, but are likely to include:

  • Observations of the changing climate; detection and attribution of climate change
  • Clouds and climate
  • Carbon cycle feedbacks
  • Changes in high-latitudes
  • Feedbacks from change in ocean and atmosphere circulation
  • Climate sensitivity
  • Impacts of land-based mitigation to avoid 1.5 and 2K of global warming
  • Communication of climate change science
  • Negative emissions technologies
  • Geoengineering proposals

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching10Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching10Workshops
Scheduled learning and teaching1Introduction to the module
Scheduled learning and teaching2Preparation for leading a frontiers workshop
Scheduled learning and teaching2Chairing guest lecture and leading workshop
Guided independent study125Reading and research for tutorials and assessment


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Student-led workshop on research frontier presented45 minutes1-9Peer-to-peer/ in-class feedback from lecturers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination752 hours1-2, 4, 6-8Written/oral on request
Short film evaluating a proposed climate change solution255 minutes3, 5, 6-8Written/oral on request


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-2, 4, 6-8Referred/deferred period
Short film evaluating a proposed climate change solutionShort film3, 5, 6-8Referred/deferred period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to redo the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • McGuffie, K. and Henderson-Sellers, A., 2014. The Climate Modelling Primer, John Wiley & Sons.
  • Houghton, J.T., 2015. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, Cambridge University Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Anthropogenic climate change, greenhouse effect, climate feedbacks

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date