WSG-20306 Climate Change studies topics and approaches

Code last year: (ESA-23306)


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper3
Course coordinator(s)dr. F Ludwig
Lecturer(s)B van der Bolt
dr. RWA Hutjes
dr. EH van der Werf
dr. F Ludwig
Examiner(s)dr. F Ludwig

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

General knowledge on the radiation balance and greenhouse effect, carbon cycle, and biodiversity


Climate Change has become a very urgent and important global problem. While until recent climate change was seen as a problem for the future, impacts are now becoming visible around the globe. Calls for urgent action are increasing. In this course we will study and discuss the main topics and approaches  of climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation. Students will obtain knowledge on topics and approaches in climate science and will learn to apply these approaches in climate research.

In the course, the students study the most recent working group reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which discuss the physical scientific basis; impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and mitigation of climate change. Lectures will provide understanding on the topics and approaches used in climate science and during the tutorials students apply what they have learned in the lectures. In an individual writing assignment, students learn to critically reflect on a scientific perspective and support or oppose this perspective using scientific literature. A peer review assignment broadens the knowledge of the students on different topics and assists their own writing process.

The course is useful as a frame of reference in climate studies as it raises awareness on the societal and policy implications of natural and socio-economic developments and scientific research approaches that are involved in climate change.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to able to:
- explain and discuss the physical science basis of climate change; climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and mitigation of climate change.
- understand and critically reflect on approaches in climate studies, such as:
   - impact and adaptation assessments;
  - climate data analyses;
   - mitigation strategies;
   - scenario analysis;
   - climate negotiations.
- use and evaluate climate change data sets for impacts and adaptation assessments.
- evaluate a recent perspective published in Science and support or oppose this perspective based on the scientific literature.


- interactive lectures;

- exercises and tutorials;
- individual paper;
- self-study;
- peer-review.


The final grade consists of 3 parts that all contribute equally to the final grade:
- essay;
- case study movie (group work);
- take-home exam (individually).


The technical summaries of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and scientific articles, together with a reading guide, are available through the course website.

Compulsory for: MCLClimate StudiesMSc1MO