ANTA201-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Antarctica and Global Change

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course provides a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how Antarctica will be affected by global change. It takes a Science System approach and investigates 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 will 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?

The topics coved by this course are:
• Introduction to Earth System Sciences
• The Antarctic System through time
• The Antarctic cryosphere
• Antarctic climate
• The Southern Ocean
• Survival in an extreme environment
• Marine Biota
• Microalgae
• Student seminars
• Course synthesis

Learning Outcomes

An understanding of Earth System Science

  • An understanding of how the Antarctic atmosphere, Cryosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere function and interact
  • An understanding of how Antarctica will respond to climate change in the immediate and long term future.
  • An understanding of the uncertainties around climate change predictions
  • Experience in personal literature reviews and poster presentations

    It may be possible to waive the Pre-requisites for students that have completed other relevant papers.  Please contact Gateway Antarctica to discuss this.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


ANTA101, or ANTA102 and ANTA103 or ANTA112 and ANTA113.

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Monday 17:00 - 18:00 Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Wednesday 12:00 - 13:00 Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator

Wolfgang Rack


Regina Eisert and Marwan Katurji

Contact Person

Carey Treleaven


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Test and Assignment
Final Examination

There are three types of assessment:

Mid Course Test:  The contents of Term 3 will be tested in a mid course test held at the beginning of Term 4. This test will contribute 30% of the final course mark. (Date to be advised)

End of year exam.  The end of year exam will cover topics covered in Term 4 and some general questions that relate to the whole course.  The exam will contribute 40% to the final course mark. (Date to be advised)

Essay and poster presentation.  This contributes 30% of the final course mark and contains two parts, an essay (20% of the total) and a computer generated poster presentation (10% of total).  Students will be provided with a list of topics from which they are to select a topic.  The essay and presentation will be on the same topic with each student having a different topic.  The posters will be displayed, on screen, during one of the seminars in Term 4 and the students will be asked to give a one minute oral summary of the poster.  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 included in the end of year exam.


Recommended Reading

Berkman, Paul Arthur; Science into policy : global lessons from Antarctica; Academic Press, 2002.

Ernst, W. G; Earth systems : processes and issues; Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Hansom, J. D. , Gordon, J. E; Antarctic environments and resources : a geographical perspective; Addison Wesley Longman, 1998.

Skinner, Brian J. , Porter, Stephen C., Botkin, Daniel B; The blue planet : an introduction to earth system science; 2nd ed; J. Wiley, 1999.

Waterhouse, E. J. , Antarctica New Zealand; Ross Sea region 2001 : a state of the environment report for the Ross Sea region of Antarctica; New Zealand Antarctic Institute (Antarctica New Zealand), 2001.

No textbook required.

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Geography on the department and colleges page.

All ANTA201 Occurrences

  • ANTA201-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018