Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
Monash Passport categoryDepth (Enhance Program)
OfferedClayton Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Christian Jakob


Climate change is becoming an ever greater challenge to the sustainability of modern society. This unit explores the basic principles and physical processes that define and govern the Earth's climate. The response of the atmosphere and ocean to these forces are explored, as well as their role in establishing the variability of climate. Major human decisions that affect climate are then considered followed by an exploration of the global governance of the climate change regime in the context of the broader consequences of climate change to our society. Mitigation and adaptation scenarios are explored, and the design and costs of the climate change policies necessary to implement these various strategies.


On completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the key components of the climate system and the key physical processes that influence climate, including aspects of weather and natural variability;
  2. An understanding of how human activities have modified the Earth's climate since the industrial revolution;
  3. An understanding of the techniques used for climate modeling, the results of current projections for the 21st century, and the implications for living systems;
  4. An understanding of the role and responsibilities of key international institutions, including the Earth Systems Science Partnership, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
  5. An understanding of the consequences for economies, international development and social justice of different approaches to
    1. the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and
    2. the adaptation to unavoidable impacts of climate change;
  6. Competence in information technology, data handling, laboratory skills, communication skills and team work as appropriate for a level-one interdisciplinary study of climate change.


Project 1: 20%
Essay: 20%
Project 2: 30%
Final Examination (3 hours): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Christian Jakob

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures per week, one 2-hour laboratory/support class per week, plus private study/research time