EAE3051 - Palaeoclimatology: Discovering Earth's past climate - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Ben Henley


Dr Ben Henley

Not offered in 2018


One of ATS2776, ATS2779 or 6 points from EAE2 or ESC2 units


Palaeoclimatology is the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth. The unit will provide an introduction to the methods of past climate reconstructions and the most important climate proxy records. It will discuss the evolution of the Earth climate from the formation of Earth to the present with a particular focus on the history of mankind and how this relates to future anthropogenic climate change. It will discuss the physical processes causing past changes in climate on a number of time scales.


On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the history of the earth's climate system from the formation of the earth (4 billion years ago) to present.
  2. Illustrate physical, chemical and biological proxies of climate and know the techniques used to extract past climate information from these proxies.
  3. Interpret past climate changes from reconstructions developed from palaeoclimate proxies. Appreciate and quantify the uncertainties in these reconstructions.
  4. Discuss how climate has changed in the past and what have been the physical, chemical and biological processes causing these changes.
  5. Use simple climate models to explain past climate changes.
  6. Communicate clearly the key concepts covered in the unit, both verbally and in written form.


Examination(2 hours): 50%

Continuous assessment (practicals, assignments and presentations): 40%

Two mid-semester tests: 10%

Workload requirements

Three hours of lectures and one 2-hour practical per week

See also Unit timetable information

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