Climatic change has and continues to be undoubtedly one of the major global environmental concerns over the last two decades. The course will look at the likely causes of climate change, natural and manmade, as well as the methods used for establishing past palaeoclimates. The course will investigate the enhanced greenhouse effect and associated global warming, and alternative theories such as the switching off of the Thermo Haline Conveyor or Gulf Stream. Time will also be allocated to investigating the last Ice age in the UK, the Pleistocene, as well as climatic changes in more recent times such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. The most recent thoughts on global climatic change, global weirding, and its associated extreme weather events will also be analysed. Finally solutions to climatic change and global warming phenomena will be studied. The course will include discussion within the group as well as viewing data and relevant climatic documentary clips.
WEEK1: WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CLIMATIC CHANGE? The earth's orbit, the sun, volcanoes, feedback loops, ocean circulations.
WEEK 2: WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE THAT CAN BE USED TO ESTABLISH CLIMATIC CHANGE? Ice cores, tree rings, pollen analysis, glaciers, and historical documents.
WEEK 3: THE ICE AGES: in context of the geological time scale, the most recent one in the UK, the Pleistocene, glacial and interglacials.
WEEK 4: WHAT IS GLOBAL WARMING AND THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT? What is the evidence for global warming? An analysis of the mechanism of how the greenhouse effect works.
WEEK5: AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. A case study into the work and career of Al Gore and his life time's work into drawing attention to the effect of global warming.
WEEK6: WARMING UP FOR THE ICE AGE. The concept of the Thermo Haline Conveyor. Could the Gulf Stream switch off? The Day after Tomorrow.
WEEK 7: THE LITTLE ICE AGE IN EUROPE AND THE UK. An analysis of the last 1000 years of climate, with special reference to climate in the Middle Ages.
WEEK 8: EXTREME WEATHER AND GLOBAL CLIMATIC CHANGE. How does this link to flooding, droughts, hurricanes, their severity and frequency.
WEEK 9: GLOBAL WIERDING. The most recent thoughts on global climatic change. The most recent work of meteorologists and climatic scientists from around the world.
WEEK 10: THE FUTURE OF PLANET EARTH. What can be done to control global warming and climatic change? Will we be able to modify the weather?