NFYK13022U Climate Models, Observations of the Past and the Present, and Projected Climate Change including Sea Level Rise

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Climate Change, Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation (CCIMA)

The course will comprise the following elements:

  • What is a climate model?
  • Observations of climate variations in the recent and deeper past
  • Observations of present day climate change (Satellite data as well as ground/ocean based observations).
  • Sea level rise (gauge + laser altimetry), measurements /estimates of mass balance of ice sheets.
  • Observed and “hind casted” climate of the 20th century. Attribution of climate change.
  • Climate projections for coming centuries.
  • Future sea level change and its impacts on coasts
Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is (1) to introduce to the structure and functionality of climate models, (2) to provide an overview of observations of past (proxy) and recent instrumental climate variations, and (3) to give an overview of future climate changes as projected with state of the art climate models, and related changes in sea-level and their impacts. After completing the course the student should be able to


  • Know how a typical climate simulation is performed, which methodologies are used to observe climate in the past and at present


  • Understand the design, functionality, and purpose of climate models
  • Be able to describe, in general terms, the observed changes in the climate in the past and at present and be able to attribute these variations to different climate drivers.
  • Know how ocean and ocean heat content and sea level have risen over the recent past and what methods have been applied to obtain these measures
  • Be able to describe the general future climate changes (including sea level rise) as simulated with state of the art climate models


  • Identify the potentials and limitations of climate models
  • Be able to apply the relevant scientific terminologies correctly
  • Present the results of an analysis or exercise in a well-structured, logical, coherent and scientifically correct form
  • Provide qualified contributions to discussions on climate change mechanisms.

Will be annouced in Absalon

Lectures and theoretical exercises
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 128
  • Theory exercises
  • 42
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes
25 minutes oral examination in unknown question with 25 minutes preparation time.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal evaluation by two persons (including the person responsible for the course)
25 minutes oral examination in unknown question with 25 minutes preparation time.
Criteria for exam assesment
The grade 12 is given for the excellent performance fulfilling the learning outcome of the course with few or no important misses.