Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhysical Geography
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Ailie Gallant


Previously coded GES2860


A multidisciplinary approach to the nature, causes and future implications of climatic change and variability. This is a team taught unit. Emphasis is placed on processes such as rapid climate change, greenhouse warming, carbon cycle, monsoon activity and the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon which are of greatest global concern. Contributions of fossil, historical and instrumental data are critically assessed and social, economic, political and broad environmental implications of predicted future changes are evaluated in terms of the significance for biotic communities and human society. Analysis of paleo, historical and current environmental data forms is a core.


The course aims to provide a background in how climate has changed in the past and how it is likely to change in the future. After completing the unit students will be expected to:

  1. Understand the concept of climate change and how this varies from climate variability
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how climate changes across different timescales (geological, centennial, decadal to annual).
  3. Illustrate the mechanisms and feedbacks that influence climate change.
  4. Show an awareness of the social and political context to climate change and the impacts, adaptation and mitigation of such change.


Examination (2 hours): 35%
Practical reports (6 hours): 30%
Essay (2000 words): 35%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures per week
One 2-hour practical per fortnight

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A first-year sequence in geography and environmental science, mathematics, earth sciences, biology, environmental science or permission


ATM2250, ATM3250, GES3860