The UNSW Climate Systems Science (CLIM3001) course navigates the key systems that control our climate and how these systems interact. It explores the uncertainties associated with direct climate observation and future climate modelling.

Climate Science incorporates aspects of atmospheric science, oceanography, hydrology, biology, chemistry and physics. You’ll critically interpret climate model projections and understand key aspects of the uncertainty associated with those projections.

Throughout the course, you’ll build an appreciation of the range of observational data products that allow us to understand climate processes. You’ll also develop an understanding of how climate models are built, executed and evaluated.


Course Breakdown

The theoretical understanding gained in lectures will be reinforced in practical sessions using a range of simplified statistical and climate models. Upon completion of the course, you’ll have the knowledge and expertise to:

  1. Identify the limits of inference for a given observed climate data product. For example, spatial or temporal scales, sampling uncertainty and representativeness, or noise levels.
  2. Describe primary pathways of the carbon cycle, including photosynthesis, autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration and ocean solubility
  3. Detail a range of key climate feedback mechanisms, as well as how these are likely to have affected the Earth's paleoclimate.
  4. Identify common representations of atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial processes within current state-of-the-art climate models.
  5. Identify aspects of future climate projections that deserve higher or lower confidence. You’ll recognise the sources of uncertainty in such projections including downscaling techniques.
  6. Perform experiments using simple and complex models of the climate system and present results


Conditions for Enrolment

To be eligible for this third-year course, you must have completed at least one of the following courses:


Career Opportunities

Environmental Science careers span many different industries and provide solutions to current environmental challenges including waste management, climate change and pollution. These roles often involve the study and development of future policies to ensure the survival of flora, fauna and other natural resources.

Relevant Roles

  • Meteorologist 
  • Geologist 
  • Geophysicist 
  • Hydrologist 
  • Ecologist 
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Natural Resource Manager 
  • Marine Scientist 
  • Marine Biologist 
  • Environmental Scientist

Learn more