Master’s studies

Syllabus for Environmental Change on Geological Timescales

Miljöförändringar i ett geologiskt tidsperspektiv


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 1GE055
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Earth Science A1F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), 3, 4, 5
  • Established: 2015-03-12
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 30, 2015
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with 90 credits in earth science and Dynamics of Earth Systems - Global Chang, 10 credits.
  • Responsible department: Department of Earth Sciences

Learning outcomes

After the completion of the course, student should be able to:

  • Describe the long-term global environmental changes that characterise the Cenozoic and Quaternary
  • Explain the proposed forcing mechanisms for these climatic transitions and consider their interactions
  • Assess the major debates over key transitions in global climate, such as the Mid-Pleistocene revolution, the onset of Quaternary glaciation, and the development and global impact of the Asian monsoon system
  • Explain the key climate proxy methods used in reconstruction of palaeoclimate


The transition to Quaternary ice age conditions is marked by numerous major climatic changes and forms part of a longer trend of global cooling over the Cenozoic. This course considers debates about the nature and forcing of these fundamental shifts in the Earth system over multi-millennial and tectonic timescales, such as the onset of the Quaternary, the mid Pleistocene revolution and the onset of monsoonal circulation. Students will discuss and engage in environmental change reconstruction using studies of key long-term archives such as loess and marine sediments as well as consider the proposed tectonic forcing mechanisms that shape our current climate epoch.


Lectures, seminars, and exercises.


The course is graded based on a written examination (3 credits), participation in exercises and seminars (1 credit), and the written and oral presentation of a project (1 credit).

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 36, 2015

  • Clift, Peter D..; Plumb, R. Alan. The Asian Monsoon : Causes, History and Effects

    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008

    Find in the library


  • Bradley, Raymond S. Paleoclimatology : reconstructing climates of the quaternary

    3. ed.: Oxford: Academic Press, 2014

    Find in the library