Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CM0445 (AF:451499 AR:245238)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
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The teaching course is a 'related' teaching of the CdS in Environmental Science included in the curriculum named Global Environmental Change and allows the student to get the knowledge of the climatic conditions of the past at different spatial and temporal scales. The teaching course aims to provide the tools for evaluating the interactions between the different environmental spheres and the evolution of the climate system form the origin of Earth. The knowledge provided allow the student to elaborate and couple the main factors that can affect the past climate system, allowing the student to individuate, assess and face with a major awareness the climate changes issues at global scale.

Knowledge and comprehension
1. knowledge of the interaction mechanism in terms of mass transport and energy balance between the different environmental spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, cryosphere and litosphere)
2. knowledge of the main methods for the climate reconstructions with a particular focus on the use of proxies and dating methods
3. knowledge and comprehension of the reconstruction from climatic records based on the scientific method
Ability to apply knowledge and comprehension
1. Know how to relate the evolution of the climate system as a function of the internal and external forcing, finding the factors that operate to modify the climatic and environmental system
2. Know to individualize, based on the scientific method, the pros and cons of the different strategies used for reconstructing the climate of the past.
3. Explain properly and critically the main hypothesis formulate in paleoclimatology
It is fundamental to have obtained the training objective pointed out in General and Inorganic Chemistry, Maths, Physics and Geochemistry.
L1 : Introduction. Reconstructing the Climate of the Past. Chronology, Climatic archives and proxies
L2 :Dating Methods (14C, U/Th, tephrochronology). Dating Marine and Lake sediments. Dating Ice cores.
L3 : Climatic Proxies. The Rayleigh distillation. d18O and dD. The meaning of O and H isotopes from marine sedimentary and ice cores.
L4 : The Faint Young Sun Paradox.
L5 : Tectonic scale changes
L6-7 Orbital scale changes
L8 : The Milankovitch Theory
L9 : The Kutzbach hypothesis and monsoon circulation
L10 : Millennial scale changes
L11 : The Last Glacial Maximum and the Holocene transition
L12 : The last eight interglacials
L13 : The human impact during the Holocene
L14 :The last millennia
L15: The last century
William F. Ruddiman. Earth’s Climate: Past and Future 2nd Ed. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York. 2008.
Raymond S. Bradley. Paleoclimatology. Reconstructing the Climates of the Quaternary.
scientific papers provided by the professor
The ora exam consists in 20 multiple choice questions where each answer accounts for 1 point and 5 open questions where each answer accounts for 2 points each.
Of the sudent obtains 30/30 it will be possibile to take an oral exam to assign the "with honors".
The exam aims to evaluate the comprehension and the capability to explain the mechanism of the past climate variability, the methodology used to reconstruct the climate of the past and the main events that had characterized the story of the climate.
The teaching course is presented by lectures.
Attending the lectures is not mandatory and does not affect the final evaluation. Nevertheless, the attendance is warmly suggested.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 09/05/2023