Climate change: Earth system, future scenarios and threats

Tipologia: corso d'addestramento - DATA: 18 nov. 2010 - LUOGO: NewCastle (UK) - ORGANIZZAZIONE: NewCastle University

The course introduces and describes the Earth's climate system with respect to past, present and future change, and describes climate modelling techniques and scenario outputs, with emphasis on threats to infrastructure and society, scenarios for engineering applications, and associated uncertainties.Upon completion, delegates will have:
- an understanding of the fundamentals of the earth system and its climate: the grand cycles and feedbacks;
- an awareness of past and present evidence and the nature of change and human impacts;
- an understanding of the principles and limits of climate modelling and specific engineering scenario techniques;
- a broad knowledge of future changes and threats;
- the ability and confidence to pursue and promote a climate change awareness agenda in professional settings;
- the ability to select and apply suitable methods to develop future climate scenarios for engineering applications;
- confidence and understanding to use, and promote the use of, climate scenario information.

1. An overview of climate change history and context: science vs engineering, evidence vs belief, vested interests and political aspects, aims of the course and roadmap.
2. The earth system: general circulation, atmosphere-ocean, cryosphere, greenhouse effect.
3. The grand cycles: hydrological cycle, carbon cycle, biogeochemical cycles and linkages, CO2.
4. Climate variability: causes and signals, Milankovitch, ice ages, solar, volcanic, ENSO, NAO, Sahel drought etc.
5. Past climate: palaeoclimates, proxies, non-instrumental records, climate reconstruction, implications for future.
6. Anthropogenic forcing: enhanced greenhouse effect, sources and budgets of greenhouse gases, emissions scenarios, large scale land use changes, urbanisation, urban heat-islands.
7. Observed changes: surface and atmospheric - temperature, rainfall, humidity, heatwaves.
8. Tutorial: session on climate myths covering paleo and current changes.
9. Observed changes: rivers, flood, drought, groundwater, snow, ice; sea level and storms, hurricanes.
10. Practical session: change assessment for key locations.
11. Detection of anthropogenic changes: statistics of trend detection, attribution.
12. Practical session: trend detection and attribution.
13. Climate modelling:
- History of development, how they work and limitations;
- Evaluation of models, uncertainty, ensembles
- Downscaling, statistical approaches;
- Weather generators, extremes.
14. Practical session: generating engineering scenarios.
15. Future climate projections:
- Global and regional overview of main features;
- Review of threats: heat, water, sea level rise, ecosystems and food, society, health.

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