GE489 Past and Present Climate

Course description for academic year 2019/2020

Contents and structure

The course provides a palaeoclimatic overview from the Last Glacial Maximum to present-day. The focus is on natural and anthropogenic climatic controls on different temporal and spatial scales. Topics include the carbon cycle, solar orbital variations, greenhouse warming, and ocean-atmosphere-land feedback mechanisms. We study research methods used to investigate archives of past climate changes. We discuss and outline possible changes that may occur in Earth's climate within the coming centuries.

During this course the students conduct an independent research project on various topics related to climate change and geohazards.

Learning Outcome

The students gain the following general qualifications:

  • knowledge about the most important methods used to reconstruct past climate changes from different natural archives and the ability to see the difficulties and shortcomings involved in such reconstructions.
  • knowledge of the climate changes that have occurred through geological time and a good understanding of the theories that explain them.
  • understanding of the climate changes that took place over the last 10,000 years.
  • a good perception of the latest theories and models for climate change in the future.
  • efficient scientific literature research
  • planning and writing a scientific report
  • presenting scientific results
  • gain deeper insights into the current state of research related to geohazards and climate change

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

GE406 Introduction to Geology or similar

Teaching methods

Lessons, exercises, a two-day mandatory assignment and an independent research project.

Course requirements

Approved mandatory assignment.

Approved three exercises. 

Oral presentation of the research project.


Written report.

Grading A-F.

Course reductions

  • GE483 (1) - Climate Change - Reduction: 7.5 studypoints