NGEK11003U Past Climate and Sea Level - Processes and Proxies (1+2)

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Geology and Geoscience
MSc Programme in Agriculture

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 and isotope records; what processes, interactions and feedbacks between the components of the climate system may have led to the signal in sedimentary archive. The course is composed of theory and case-studies. The theory part comprises an introduction to the climate system, climate archives and marine and terrestrial system processes. Important sedimentary, biotic and geochemical proxies including isotopes are covered and students are trained in critical reading of literature. Cases may deal with past climate change, landscape change, long carbon cycle and seawater geochemical change and on time scales from millions to hundreds of years.

Learning Outcome


The main knowledge outcomes of the course are that the student should be able to :

  • 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


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Critical evaluate scientific literature
  • Interpret geological climate signals
  • Place interpretations of climate archives or climate systems in a wider perspective


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Read scientific literature on climate systems and geological climate archives
  • Use relevant definitions and terms
  • Describe data from geological climate archives
  • Give professional-style oral presentation
  • Write a concise report
Please see Absalon course page.
BSc in Geology and Geoscience or equivalent
Teaching in block 1 will be in the form of class teaching with active participation of students by means of student presentations, group-work etc. There is a 3-day field trip to Jutland followed by the preparation of a short field trip report. At the end of block 1, students read key papers and produce a review report. In block 2 students work with case stories or do laboratory work. At the end of block 2 students should have the necessary background for understanding the importance of observations and hypothesis testing. The students should be able to make a professional-style report based on key literature and laboratory results.
Students from Geology can choose to follow block 1 only and get 7,5 ECTS-points by signing up to the course "Past Climate and Sea Level - Processes and Proxies (1)" instead. In this case the exam assessment is based on teachers’ approval of assignments.
All students must hand in a written assignment after block 1. The assignment must be approved by the teacher. Students can choose to follow block 1 only and get 7.5 ECTS credits based on the teachers' approval of the written assignment.
Students must have an approved block 1 assignment to continue with the course and participate in the block 2 exam.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 272
  • Project work
  • 70
  • Theory exercises
  • 70
  • Total
  • 412
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 30 minutter
Oral examination (written report and curriculum) without preparation time. The examination takes 30 minutes, inclusive grading.
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. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list.
Exam registration requirements
Submission of written report before exam
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

See description of learning outcome