Climate Modelling and Climate Change

Subject ERTH90026 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours


Admission to a Masters level program.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Roger Dargaville

Subject Overview:

This subject describes the physics of the climate system, and how the system is represented in numerical models.

Key aspects include -

  • Radiation balance and heat balance of the earth
  • Carbon dioxide, water vapour and other Greenhouse Gas absorption spectra
  • Other key climate drivers including solar variability, aerosols and clouds
  • The global carbon cycle including fossil fuel emissions
  • Impacts of climate change including sea level rise and extreme events

It covers aspects of uncertainty and chaos to understand why climate models are imperfect but invaluable tools. Students will build a simple climate model and run numerical experiments with different greenhouse gases. The subject will also briefly discuss the processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in particular how the scientific consensus of the IPCC assessment reports is reached.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students will be able to -

  • Debate the reality of climate change in both a qualitative and quantitative manner
  • Develop simplified climate models and make projections of future climate change
  • Assess different climate models currently in use, including quantification of uncertainty and its implications for future projections

Assessment will be a write-up of 6 of the tutorial exercises (500 words each, 50%) and a 2 hour end of semester exam (50%)

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • The ability to communicate effectively with the community at large
  • Understanding of the social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities of a professional, and the need for sustainable development
Related Course(s): Master of Energy Systems

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