Past Climate

Course content

The course is composed of theory and case-studies. The theory part comprises an introduction to selected climate archives, marine and terrestrial system processes, and additional proxies. Important sedimentary and geochemical proxies, including isotopes, are covered and students are trained in critical reading of scientific key literature. Cases may deal with past climate change, long term carbon cycle and/or seawater geochemical changes, on time scales ranging from thousands to multi-millions of years. Focus will be on pre-Quaternary systems, but items treated may change from year to year. Data collected during laboratory and/or field work are analysed and critically evaluated. 

The aim of the course is to provide an overview of past climate and sea-level changes focused on how these changes are observed in the sedimentary records, and what processes, interactions and feedbacks between the components of the climate system may have led to the signal in the sedimentary archives. The course is composed of theory and case-studies. The theory part comprises an introduction to climate archives and marine and terrestrial system processes. Important sedimentary and geochemical proxies, including isotopes, are explained and students are trained in the evaluation of such data. Examples may deal with past climate changes, long-term carbon cycle perturbations and/or modifications of seawater geochemistry on time scales ranging from thousands to multi-millions of years. In the last weeks of the course, students read key papers and produce a review report or write a report about field/laboratory work/data. The students have the necessary background for understanding the importance of observations and hypothesis testing. They should have developed skills in analysing multiple datasets and in interpretation of which process feedbacks lead to the observations; and they should be able to evaluate the validity of geological data archives and to model results through comparative studies.

A series of lectures and practicals consist in signal analysis (data preparation, Fast fourier transforms or FFT, evolutive FFT, Filter design) of sedimentary climatic signals with the aim of extracting orbital components to better understand the influence of insolation on climate through time.

Education

MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Geology-Geoscience

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

• Describe the main drivers and patterns of the Climate system of the Earth

• Understand what controls sea-level changes

• Relate sea-level change and climate evolution at different timescales

• Describe some of the most important marine and terrestrial system processes

• Apply sedimentary, biotic and geochemical proxies to reconstruct past climates

 

Skills:

• Critical evaluate scientific literature

• Interpret geological climate signals

• Place interpretations of climate archives or climate systems in a wider perspective

• Write a concise report including the proper digitization of field information

 

Competences:

• Read and understand scientific literature on climate systems and geological climate archives

• Use relevant definitions and terms

• Describe data from geological climate archives and relate to future paths in terms of sustainability

• Write a concise report including the proper digitization of field information

The form of teaching is theory exercises combined with ad hoc lectures and 3 to 4 days field trip. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon.

Please see Absalon.

BSc in Geology-Geoscience or equivalent is recommended.

Participation at first lecture is necessary to plan the excursion.

Students shall pay for their own travel to and from the field-work area, as well as entry visa (if required), vaccinations (if required) and personal medicine (e.g. malaria medication) and 125 DKK per day for food and lodging. For outside DK destinations the students are required to take out a private illness and repatriation insurance covering the field period. Detailed information about payment can be found on the Absalon course page.

The course is identical to the discontinued course NIGK17002U Past Climate and Sea Level: Processes and Proxies. Therefore you cannot register for NIGK21035U - Past Climate, if you have already passed NIGK17002U Past Climate and Sea Level: Processes and Proxies.
If you are registered with examination attempts in NIGK17002U Past Climate and Sea Level: Processes and Proxies without having passed the course, you have to use your last examination attempts to pass the exam in NIGK21035U - Past Climate. You have a total of three examination attempts.

Oral

Oral feedback will be given during the classes.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during the course
Oral examination, 20 minutes.
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. There is no preparation time for the oral exam. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.
Aid
Without aids

All aids allowed when working on the written assignment.

No aids allowed at the oral examination. The students can bring a copy of the handed in report.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learing Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 135
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • Excursions
  • 36
  • English
  • 206