Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
PHD155 (AF:401902 AR:218062)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Corso di Dottorato (D.M.45)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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This course will provide the students with understanding of how the Earth system operates and how it is investigated by contemporary as well as pioneering Earth system research. Focus is on the physical components of the Earth system, especially linked with dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, and on the planet's natural cycles - the carbon, water, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur cycles. After a brief introductory overview on the concept of Earth system, the course will focus on a host of simple, conceptual models that will allow to learn the most fundamental processes operating within the Earth system, such as Energy Balance Models. Students will then become familiar with the main modern tools used for the characterization, understanding and prediction of Earth system dynamics, including instrumental observations, proxy-based and documental reconstructions, and simulations with state-of-the-art numerical Earth system models. Lectures will illustrate the most significant recent advancements at the frontiers of current Earth system research, particularly regarding how anthropogenic activities are influencing state, variability and predictability of the physical and biogeochemical components of the Earth system.
Knowledge of the fundamental physical and biogeochemical processes that determine state and variability of the Earth system. Knowledge of the main tools used in contemporary Earth system research (observations, simulations, reconstructions). Development of critical evaluation skills in the assessment and attribution of natural and anthropogenic changes in the Earth system.
Basic knowledge of climatology, thermodynamics, chemistry. Some confidence with mathematics, in particular calculus and geometry.
key concepts of atmospheric physics and fluidodynamics; key concepts of biogeochemistry; conceptual and realistic models of the Earth system; humans within the Earth system; predictability and prediction.
oral exam on the topics of the lectures. Students are invited to begin with a presentation based on a scientific article on the topics touched in class. Examples will be proposed in class.
frontal lessons with discussions initiated with the students; seminars

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Climate change and energy" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 12/05/2022