Mathematics

ECM3730 - Mathematics of Climate Change (2015)

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MODULE TITLEMathematics of Climate Change CREDIT VALUE15
MODULE CODEECM3730 MODULE CONVENERProf Peter Cox (Coordinator)
DURATION: TERM 1 2 3
DURATION: WEEKS 0 11 weeks 0
Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 33
DESCRIPTION - summary of the module content

This module will provide a background in the mathematics underlying human-induced climate change. It will provide you with a good general understanding of the climate system, against which to assess the likely role of anthropogenic forcing factors. You will learn to apply a range of mathematical methods, including differential equations, calculus and the use of small parameters to approximate and simplify climate system problems.  Topics of study will include observations of climate change, the greenhouse effect, regimes of atmospheric absorption, climate feedbacks, climate tipping points and geoengineering.
 

Prerequisite module:  ECM1705 or equivalent
 

AIMS - intentions of the module

Climate change is a high-profile subject that is often covered in the media. However, debate about climate change is often presented in a polarized way, divided along political or idealogical lines. In contrast, there is now an urgent need to develop a new generation of thinkers capable of objectively analyzing the evidence for climate change and its causes, and the options for dealing with it (including mitigation, adaptation and geoengineering). Mathematically-minded people are especially sort after by organizations such as the Met Office-Hadley Centre in Exeter. This module aims to develop the skills required to meet these needs, by providing a strong-background in the science surrounding the climate change issue to mathematically-minded undergraduates.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) (see assessment section below for how ILOs will be assessed)

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

 

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:
1 demonstrate a good general understanding of the climate system, and human-induced climate change;
2 use simple climate models to demonstrate this understanding.
Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:
3 demonstrate the application of a range of mathematical methods, including differential equations, calculus and the use of small parameters to approximate and simplify climate system problems.
Personal and Key Transferable/ Employment Skills and  Knowledge:
 

SYLLABUS PLAN - summary of the structure and academic content of the module

- definition of climate and the climate system;
- observations of climate change and climate variability;
- the greenhouse effect;
- human-forcing of the climate system;
- climate feedbacks: water vapour, snow/sea ice albedo, ocean circulation, cloud cover, carbon cycle;
- energy balance models of the climate system;
- predictions of future climate change.

LEARNING AND TEACHING
LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TEACHING METHODS (given in hours of study time)
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities 33.00 Guided Independent Study 117.00 Placement / Study Abroad
DETAILS OF LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TEACHING METHODS
Category Hours of study time Description
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 33 Lectures/example classes 
Guided independent study 117 Lecture and assessment preparation; wider reading
     

 

ASSESSMENT
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT - for feedback and development purposes; does not count towards module grade
Form of Assessment Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
In-class problem sheets 4 x 1 hour 1,2,3 Verbal
       
       
       
       

 

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (% of credit)
Coursework 20 Written Exams 80 Practical Exams
DETAILS OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Written exam – closed book 80 2 hours 1,2,3 Verbal
Coursework – two example sheets 20 2 x 3 hours 1,2,3 Written
         
         
         

 

DETAILS OF RE-ASSESSMENT (where required by referral or deferral)
Original Form of Assessment Form of Re-assessment ILOs Re-assessed Time Scale for Re-reassessment
All above Written exam (100%) All August Ref/Def period
       
       

 

RE-ASSESSMENT NOTES

If a module is normally assessed entirely by coursework, all referred/deferred assessments will normally be by assignment.


If a module is normally assessed by examination or examination plus coursework, referred and deferred assessment will normally be by examination. For referrals, only the examination will count, a mark of 40% being awarded if the examination is passed. For deferrals, candidates will be awarded the higher of the deferred examination mark or the deferred examination mark combined with the original coursework mark.

RESOURCES
INDICATIVE LEARNING RESOURCES - The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of
information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener

ELE – http://vle.exeter.ac.uk

Reading list for this module:

Type Author Title Edition Publisher Year ISBN Search
Set Houghton, JT The Physics of Atmospheres 3rd Cambridge University Press 2002 978-0521011228 [Library]
Set Houghton, JT Global Warming - The Complete Briefing Electroninc Cambridge University Press 2009 0521817625 [Library]
Set Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change Climate Change 2007 - the physical science basis Cambridge University Press 2007 978-0521705967 [Library]
CREDIT VALUE 15 ECTS VALUE 7.5
PRE-REQUISITE MODULES ECM1705
CO-REQUISITE MODULES
NQF LEVEL (FHEQ) 6 AVAILABLE AS DISTANCE LEARNING No
ORIGIN DATE Friday 09 January 2015 LAST REVISION DATE Friday 09 January 2015
KEY WORDS SEARCH Climate; mathematics; climate change; mathematical modelling.