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GE489 Past and Present Climate

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

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 and how proxy records are used to extend the instrumental observations of climate change. We discuss and outline possible changes that will 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 a good understanding of what determines and drives the climate system on Earth today.
  • understand and know the most important methods used to reconstruct past climate changes from different natural archives and be able to see the difficulties and shortcomings involved in such reconstructions.
  • gain knowledge of the climate changes that has occurred through geological time and a good understanding of the theories that explain them.
  • gain a detailed understanding of the climate changes that took place over the last 10,000 years.
  • gain a good perception of the latest theories and models for climate change in the future.


The students:

  • learn to do efficient scientific literature research
  • can plan and write a scientific report
  • gain experience in presenting scientific results

General competence

The students gain:

  • competence in basic meteorological processes and past, present and future climate change.
  • deeper insights into the current state of research related to geohazards and climate change

Entry requirements

90 ECTS in environmental sciences or geoscience at the time of application

Teaching methods

Lessons, exercises and an independent research project.

Compulsory learning activities

  • Four approved exercises
  • Oral presentation of the research project


Assignment (Written report). Grading A-F.

Examination support material


More about examination support material

Course reductions

  • GE483 - Climate Change - Reduction: 7.5 studypoints