Courses & Units

Our Changing Climate KGA320


Human-induced climate change is arguably the most serious problem currently facing our planet. Detection and attribution of human-induced climate change requires an understanding of the mechanisms of natural climate variability as well as trends in climate. Earth's climate is a coupled system between atmosphere, ocean, land surface, biota, snow and ice. Gaining an understanding of how our climate system works is an important first step to more confidently diagnosing and predicting the effects and impacts of human induced climate change. In this unit you will learn how Earth's climate works. We will begin to understand mechanisms underpinning important known natural climate variations such as El Nino Southern Oscillation. To achieve these ends, we examine global climate observations (in situ and by satellite), estimations of past climate variability; learn about global and regional climate models; consider detection and attribution techniques to discern human induced climate change above natural variability; the impacts of climate change on human and biological systems; and examine recent statements by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on human induced climate change.


Unit name Our Changing Climate
Unit code KGA320
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences
Discipline Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences
Coordinator Doctor Kathleen Beyer
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Advanced


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Online Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 22/7/2024 16/8/2024 9/9/2024 27/10/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyse interactions and feedbacks in climate systems and under climate change
  • Evaluate spatial and temporal climate variability and trends using climate model simulations, historical and palaeoclimatic data
  • Evaluate the impacts of climate change on physical, biological and human systems
  • Obtain scientific information and present it graphically, quantitatively, qualitatively and via oral presentation
  • Work constructively in groups to produce scientific outputs

Fee Information

The 2024 Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) rates are still being finalised by the Government and we will update the domestic fee information as soon as we have more details.



KGA204 OR KSA205 OR KPZ211


Teaching Pattern

Weekly 2-hour lectorial

3-hour practical, 8 times per semester

AssessmentGroup oral presentation and discussion (10%)|Lecture quiz (10%)|Monash Simple Climate Model (10%)|Introduction to paleoclimatology: tree rings (15%)|Essay (20%)|Report - climate topic of choice (35%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



IPCC 2021 Summary for Policy Makers in Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Masson-Delmotte V, Zhai P, Pirani A, Connors SL, Pèan C, Berger S, Caud N, Chen Y, Goldfarb L, Gomis MI, Huang M, Leitzell K, Lonnoy E, Matthews JBR, Maycock TK, Waterfield T, Yelekci O, Yu R (Eds) Cambridge University Press. 41pp

IPCC 2022 Summary for Policy Makers, inAR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The Working Group II Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report Pörtner H-O, Roberts DC, Tignor M, Poloczanska ES, Mintenbeck K, Alergia A, Caig M, Langsdorf S, Löschke S, Möller V, Okem A, Rama (Eds) Cambridge University Press

Chapters 2-6 and 11 also pertinent.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

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