Study information

# Mathematics of Climate Change - 2024 entry

MODULE TITLE CREDIT VALUE Mathematics of Climate Change 15 MTH3030 Dr Mark Williamson (Coordinator)
DURATION: TERM 1 2 3
DURATION: WEEKS 11 0 0
 Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 170
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:  MTH1002 Methods 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 ideological 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;

- energy balance models of the climate system;

- climate feedbacks: water vapour, snow/sea ice albedo, ocean circulation, cloud cover, carbon cycle;

- atmospheric radiation and the vertical structure of climate;

- human-forcing 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 Guided Independent Study 33 117
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 5 x 1 hour 1,2,3 Verbal

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (% of credit)
 Coursework Written Exams 20 80
DETAILS OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Coursework 1 – based on questions submitted for assessment 10 10 hours All Annotated script and written/verbal feedback
Coursework 2 - based on questions submitted for assessment 10 10 hours All Annotated script and written/verbal feedback
Written exam - closed book 80 2 hours (Summer) All Written/verbal on request, SRS

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
Written Exam* Written exam (2 hours) All  Referral/Deferral period
Coursework*  Coursework All ReferralDeferral period

*Please refer to reassessment notes for details on deferral vs. Referral reassessment

RE-ASSESSMENT NOTES
Deferrals: Reassessment will be by coursework and/or written exam in the deferred element only. For deferred candidates, the module mark will be uncapped.

Referrals: Reassessment will be by a single written exam worth 100% of the module only. As it is a referral, the mark will be capped at 40%.
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
Set Salby, M. L. Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate 2nd Cambridge University Press 2012 978-1139005265
Set North, G. R., and Kim, K-Y. Energy Balance Climate Models [ePDF edition] Wiley 2017 978-3-527-68383-3
Set North, G. R., and Kim, K-Y. Energy Balance Climate Models [ePub edition] Wiley 978-3-527-68381-9
Set North, G. R., and Kim, K-Y. Energy Balance Climate Models [print edition] Wiley 2017 978-3-527-41132-0
Set Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change AR5 Climate Change 2013 - the physical science basis Cambridge University Press 2014 978-1107415324
CREDIT VALUE ECTS VALUE 15 7.5
PRE-REQUISITE MODULES MTH1002, PHY1026, PHY2025
NQF LEVEL (FHEQ) AVAILABLE AS DISTANCE LEARNING 6 No Tuesday 12th March 2024 Thursday 14th March 2024
KEY WORDS SEARCH Climate; mathematics; climate change; mathematical modelling.

Please note that all modules are subject to change, please get in touch if you have any questions about this module.