GEO206 Environmental Change

Level 2
Credits 20
Availability Approved for BA Geography; BSc Geography; Environmental Science; Geography & Planning
Semester Autumn
Prerequisites GEO101 & GEO108
Description Huge changes at a global, regional and local scale have occurred in the last 2.5 million years of the earth’s history (Quaternary period). These changes are ongoing with implications for both present and future environments. Methods and techniques to investigate past environmental change are outlined and illustrated. The course will also raise issues related to the problems of distinguishing natural variability from that caused by humans, and the contribution of modelling to understanding and predicting changes in the environment.
  1. To demonstrate the variability of environmental change at different spatial and temporal scales.
  2. To illustrate how past changes in environmental systems can be reconstructed and used to model future changes.
  3. To develop an awareness of the contributions made by human activity to changes in the physical environment.
Learning Outcomes By the end of the module, a student will be able to demonstrate:
  1. An understanding of the differences between proxy and instrumental data.
  2. An understanding of a variety of sources from which an understanding of the past environmental changes can be reconstructed.
  3. An understanding of some of the difficulties associated with predicting both human impacts and future environmental changes.
  4. A knowledge of the types, effects and periodicity of environmental changes over the last 2.5 million years.
Outline Contents
  1. Reconstruction of past environments
  2. Forcing mechanisms of climate change
  3. Long term environmental change
  4. Human impact on environmental change and future environmental changes
Delivery Methods Lectures, plus practical and tutorial support
Student Contact Hours 27 hours lectures, 1 practical, 3 tutorials
Supporting Texts
  • Lowe, J.J. and Walker, M.J.C. (1997) Reconstructing Quaternary Environments;
  • Roberts, N. (1998) The Holocene
  • Williams et al (1998) Quaternary Environments
  • Wilson, R.C.L. et al (2000) The Great Ice Age: Climate Change and Life
Assessment Methods Examination (67%), essay (33%)
(convenor underlined)
Professor Mark Bateman, Dr Julie Jones, Dr Felix Ng, Dr Darrel Swift

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