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ES 419: Climate Change: Concepts and Perspectives

Course Title

Climate Change: Concepts and Perspectives

Course Code

ES 419

Course Type

Elective

Level

Master’s

Year / Semester

1st / 2nd (Subject to change)

Instructor’s Name

Johannes Lelieveld (Leader), Panos Hadjinicolaou

ECTS

10

Lectures / week

1 (3h)

Laboratories / week

None

Course Purpose and Objectives

The course aims to provide: overview of the climate change science history; presentation of the radiatively relevant atmospheric gases and aerosols; discussion of other human related or natural climate forcings; survey of the observed changes in the climate system; exploration of climate models ability to represent climate; methods of detecting and attribution climate change; results and insights of global and regional climate projections.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students should be able to: define the green-house effect and summarize the climate change science progress; record the changes in atmospheric composition and explain its effect on radiative forcing; recognize the observed changes of climate variables; document the capabilities of climates models and assess their performance; understand the concepts of (and the methodologies for) climate change detection and attribution; interpret global and regional climate projections.

Prerequisites

None

Course Content

1.  Historical overview of climate change science

1.1 The green-house effect

1.2  Processes involved in climate change

1.3  Progress in modelling the climate

1.4  The IPCC assessments of climate change

2.  Changes in atmospheric constituencies and radiative forcing

2.1  Concept of radiative forcing

2.2  Chemically and radiatively important gases

2.3  Aerosols

2.4  Anthropogenic changes in surface properties

2.5  Natural forcing

2.6  Uncertainties and aspects of radiative forcing

2.7  Global warming potentials

3.  Observations of climate variables changes

3.1  Surface climate

3.2  Free atmosphere

3.3  Atmospheric circulation

3.4  Extreme events

3.5  Snow and ice

3.6  Ocean and sea-level

4.  Climate models and their evaluation

4.1  Introduction to model construction and evaluation

4.2  Advances in modelling

4.3  Evaluation of contemporary climate

4.4  Evaluation of large-scale climate variability

4.5  Model simulated extremes

4.6  Climate sensitivity and feedbacks

5.  Understanding and attributing climate change

5.1  Introduction to climate change detection and attribution

5.2  Radiative forcing and climate response

5.3  Pre-industrial climate change

5.4  Industrial era climate change

5.5  Constraints on climate sensitivity

6.  Global climate projections

6.1  Emission scenarios

6.2  Atmosphere and land surface

6.3  Ocean

6.4  Cryosphere

6.5  Atmospheric composition and air quality

6.6  Range of projections - uncertainties

7.  Regional climate projections

7.1  Introduction to regional climate models and projections

7.2  Polar regions

7.3  Europe and the Mediterranean

7.5  MENA region

7.4  Other continents

Teaching Methodology

Lectures

Bibliography

1) IPCC, 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp.

2) IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 996 pp.

Assessment

Coursework and exam

Language

English

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