UCL Department of Geography
GEOGG134 Climate Modelling
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GEOGG134 Climate Modelling


(15 credits; Term 2)


Chris Brierley


The Climate Modelling module aims to introduce and critique a range of models commonly used to understand past and predict future climate change.


The module will cover the fundamental physics, construction, testing, and use of various climate models. This will include box models, intermediate complexity models and fully-coupled General Circulation Models (GCMs).  The course will explain how physical processes are incorporated within each type of model.  It will also examine how models are calibrated and compared.  The course will discuss error analysis and confidence limits on model output. The course is built around running and analysing a climate change experiment using HadCM3 (a GCM developed by the UK Met Office).


Written report based upon practical experiment (max 3000 words; worth 8% of the total assessment).


The course is based upon lectures, practical computer sessions and project work.

The module will be delivered through:

  • Lectures (providing concepts, methods, examples and literature context)
  • Computer laboratory work (extended practical sessions progressing technical aspects of understanding and providing hands-on experience of relevant software and computational problems).
  • Moodle resources (hosting reading lists, lecture handouts, datasets, guides and practical support materials)

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the module, students should:

  • have an understanding of spatial resolution/parameterization of models
  • have an appreciation for the complexity of feedbacks in the climate system
  • have an understanding of different types of models
  • have an awareness of model limitations

have the ability analyse climate projections from multi-model archives