Semester Two 2009
Antarctica and Global Change
This course provides a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how Antarctica will be affected by global change. It will take a Science System approach and investigate the linkages between the Antarctic atmosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere.
This course will focus on how Antarctica will respond to global change by exploring linkages between the Antarctic atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. We intend to apply the principles of Earth Systems Science to Antarctica by considering Antarctica as a system isolated from the rest of the universe for the purpose of observing and measuring change. Within this system, the Antarctic atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere are all open systems, and every smaller system within them is an open system. These small open systems are dynamic and interconnected. When something disturbs one of them, the others also change. One of the main challenges is to understand the dynamic interactions between all the relevant open systems sufficiently well so that we can accurately predict what the responses will be when some part of the system is disturbed. In reality, of course, Antarctica is part of an open system and one part of the course will consider the role of Antarctica within the global Earth System. It is only by knowing how the system processes operate that we can begin to predict what possible changes may occur in the future either through natural causes or through anthropogenic changes.
We plan to integrate information across disciplines. The course will address the following questions
• How does the entire Antarctic System work?
• How does it work as a coupled set of subsystems?
• What have we learned from how the system works that can help us forecast or predict how Antarctica will respond to global change in the future?
There are three types of assessment:
Mid course tests: There are two mid course tests counting for a total of 30% of the course marks. The first will be held in Term 3 (15% of final marks) and the second at the beginning of Term 4 (15% of final marks).
End of year exam. An end of year exam counting for 40% of the total marks. The end of year exam will cover topics included in Term 4, Semester 2 and some general questions that relate to the whole course. It will be held on [Date to be advised].
Essay and oral/poster presentation. This counts for 30% of the marks and contains two parts, an essay (20% of the total) and an oral or poster presentation (10% of total). Students will be given a list of topics at the beginning of the course and asked to select one for the essay and presentation. The essay and presentation will be on the same topic, and each student will have a different topic. Students will have a choice of giving a ten minute oral or a poster presentation. The oral presentations will be made at one of the seminar sessions in Term 4. The posters will be displayed during one of the seminars. The Seminars are an integral part of the course. Topics will be covered during the seminars that are not included in the lecture programme and may be tested in the end of year exam.
Text books - Not compulsory
The Blue Planet: An introduction to Earth System Science. Brian Skinner, Stephen Porter, Daniel Botkin. John Wiley and Sons
Earth Systems; Processes and Issues. W.G. Ernst Cambridge University Press.
Antarctic Environments and Resourses; A Geographical Perspective. James Hansom and John Gordon. Longman.
Science into Policy; Global Lessons from Antarctica. Paul Berkman, 2001.
A state of the Environment Report for the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica. Emma Waterhouse. 2001.
For further information see
All ANTA201 Occurrences
Semester Two 2009