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CLI2201 Climate Change and Variability

Semester 2, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agriculture and Environmental Science
Student contribution band : Band 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 18 May 2022


Examiner: Christa Pudmenzky


A better understanding of the world's climate system is essential in order to achieve sustainable development of our natural environment and to appreciate the impact of future climate change and variability. Insight comes from the physical mechanisms that drive our climate and its variability and are underpinning the development and application of climate system models. This course is designed to provide students with a sound understanding based on physical principles into the functioning of the climate system.

The course discusses the underlying physical processes and mechanism that drive the world's climate system and future climate change. Students examine the architecture and design of climate models ranging from simple energy balance models to complex climate system models. Insight is provided into the phenomena of climate change and variability and past climates of the planet on regional and global scales are investigated in the context of presently observed climatic changes. The course highlights examples of climate change and variability and historical approaches to adapting to climate change and harnessing the opportunities that arise from projecting climate variability and its application to managing economic activities. Access to the internet is required.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. describe general dynamics of the climate system on global scales;
  2. apply simple models based on physical processes of the climate system to study the response of climate to varying forcing;
  3. explain the physical processes that apply to the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere;
  4. describe non-seasonal climate mechanisms that lead to departures from anticipated climate pattern;
  5. describe the practical benefits of Climate Change and variability studies in areas such as agricultural climatology and applications;
  6. explain the concept of Climate Change forecasting.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The global climate system 20.00
2. Physical processes in the climate system 25.00
3. Physical models of the climate system 25.00
4. Climate Forecasting 10.00
5. Climate Change and Variability in Australia 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

IPCC 2007, Working Group I Report, "The Physical Science Basis",
Sturman, A P and Tapper, N J 2006, The Weather and Climate of Australia and New Zealand, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Essay 1 No 25 1,3,5
Assignments Written Essay 2 No 25 1,2,3,4,6
Examinations Non-invigilated Time limited online examinatn No 50 1,2,3,4,5,6
Date printed 18 May 2022