Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Ailie Gallant


Previously coded GES2860


Examines the differences between the nature and causes of climate change and climate variability in the context of the contemporary climate "debate". Emphasis is placed on the conceptual understanding of processes such as the greenhouse effect, the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, monsoon activity, climate feedbacks and rapid climate change. Recent analyses of paleo, historical, climate model and environmental data are presented and critically assessed. Likely future climate changes are addressed and their social, economic, political and broad environmental implications are evaluated for biotic communities and human society. Several guest lecturers present the latest findings in their fields of climate change research.


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 human-induced climate change and how this differs from natural 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,political and economic context to climate change and the impacts, adaptation and mitigation of such change.


Examination (2 hours): 50%
Practical reports: 30%
Assignment: 20%

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour practical per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


A first year sequence in geographical science or human geography, MTH1020, or PHS1011, or with permission from the unit coordinator.


ATM2250, ATM3250, GES3860