MAQ-23306 System Earth: Scale Dependence, Feedbacks and Global Change


Studiepunten 6.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. LN Ganzeveld
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PMJ Fest
dr. B Bovenkerk
dr. B Kruijt
dr. ir. LN Ganzeveld
Examiner(s)dr. ir. LN Ganzeveld

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

MAQ-10306 Introduction Atmosphere (in particular: main features of the greenhouse effect and meteorological processes). In case you do not master this assumed knowledge, please study Chapter 3 and 4 of the book used in this course (L.R. Kump, J.F. Kasting, R.G. Crane. 2004; The Earth System). The course builts in part on the topics discussed in these two chapters.


This course focuses on providing a general introduction into the mechanisms that determine the dynamics of the Earth system in the past, present and future, for example, the role of the biosphere in climate- and global change and, vice versa, the loss of biodiversity associated with climate- and global change. The course builds on integration of the disciplinary knowledge on Earth system processes such a hydrology, meteorology and biogeochemistry. It introduces the systems approach to study Earth system dynamics involving different temporal and spatial scales in process interactions and feedback mechanisms that explain observed climate- and global change. Emphasis is on Earth system interactions associated with dynamical, physical and biogeochemical processes affecting the state of the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere under natural and anthropogenic conditions. The course's lectures are complemented with an intensive modelling activity, including the search for information on the Earth system and an introduction into the ethical and philosophical context of global and climate change issues.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand and apply the systems approach in the context of climate- and global change issues;
- summarize the major Earth system compartments and associated dynamical, physical and biogeochemical processes;
- recognize the spatial and temporal scales issues related to climate and global change;
- demonstrate an insight into the regulation of environmental processes by Earth system compartment interactions and the role of feedback mechanisms;
- distinguish between natural and anthropogenic factors affecting the climate- and Earth system;
- formulate a basic view on ethical and philosophical considerations on Earth system theories;
- develop and apply a simple model of Earth system components including the role of interactions and feedback mechanisms;
- find relevant information in literature, databases and other sources of information in support of conducting Earth system analysis;
- assess the role of fundamental Earth system processes in past- and present climate and global change which is essential to evaluate adaptation and mitigation strategies to cope with future climate and global change.


- lectures;
- practicals;
- modelling and exercises.


Online interim examination including open and multiple choice questions (2/3);
Evaluation of modelling practical (1/6) and grades for ethics assignment (1/12) and information literacy assignment (1/12).
Each component included in the overall grading (online interim examination, modelling practicals and two assignments) needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


L.R. Kump, J.F. Kasting, R.G. Crane. (2004). The Earth System. 3rd ed. Pearson Education, USA. 432p. ISBN 0-13-142059-3.

Verplicht voor: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc2AF
Verplicht voor: WUEABBSc Minor Earth and Biosphere2AF
Keuze voor: WUCLCBSc Minor Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Society2AF