Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Palaeoenvironmental Change Beyond the Ice Sheets
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 3 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen written exam.  50%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation of one key academic paper.  Oral presentation of one key academic paper.  10%
Semester Assessment In-course 2500 word essay.  In-course 2500 word essay.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Resit exam.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Redelivery of failed oral presentation.  10%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed in-course 2500 word essay .  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Describe the variety of proxy records that are available for reconstructing Quaternary climate change at low and mid latitudes

Understand the processes involved in producing different proxy records and be aware of the complexities involved in interpreting those records

Evaluate the importance of key publications in this field of research

Synthesise the findings from different proxy records to form a coherent picture of Quaternary environmental change at low and mid latitudes

Brief description

The first evidence for dramatic changes in Earth's climate through time came from recognition of the growth and decay of large ice sheets at high latitudes. However, equally dramatic environmental changes occurred beyond the ice sheets, at mid and low latitudes. This course explores the different records that are available from beyond the ice sheets, and provides an opportunity to engage with recent research on the topic.


The course will cover themes drawn from the following list:

1) Introduction
- Climatic framework through the Cenozoic
- Key drivers of, and responses to, climate change
- Key role played by low and mid latitudes in global climate change, including monsoons and El Ni'r

2) Ocean systems
- Palaeoenvironmental records based on organic and inorganic components of deep ocean sediments
- Corals as palaeoenvironmental indicators

3) Aeolian systems
- Desert dunes: Extensions, contractions and changing orientation
- Complexities in interpreting records of dune activity
- Loess: extent, chronology and palaeoenvironmental proxies

4) Speleothems
- Nature of speleothem records and methods for reconstructing palaeoenvironments

5) Fluvial systems
- Alluvial fans and gullies
- River channels and floodplains
- Wetlands, pans and playas

6) Lacustrine systems
- Methods for obtaining quantitative reconstructions of climate change (e.g. oxygen and carbon isotopes, biogenic silica production)
- Long and short time scale records

7) Future changes
- The extent to which studies of past environmental change can inform potential future changes

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Where appropriate, numerical datasets will support student learning
Communication Students will develop their communication skills through both the oral presentation, and through seminars. Oral presentations will be 10 minutes in length, and assessment will be based on structure, content, clarity of presentation, timekeeping, and response to questions. Students will prepare for seminars by critical examination of academic papers/work, prior to group seminar discussions of the paper and consideration of the wider context of the work and overarching themes.
Improving own Learning and Performance A large amount of independent study, through background reading, preparation for seminars, and independent research is required. A considerable degree of self-motivation is required from the students in order to contribute effectively to seminar work and to meet deadlines for assessment. The development of learning and self management strategies is necessary in order to meet both the long- and short-term goals set by this course.
Information Technology Students will use IT to prepare their in-course assessed essay and presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning There is an increasing demand for people with a detailed understanding of climate change issues and this module will develop that awareness.
Problem solving Students will develop skills in problem solving through the study of a variety of different proxy records of climate change, learning to identify the different techniques which might be applied in different situations, and critically evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of their use in reconstructing Quaternary environments.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills and independent project work through the seminars, seminar preparations, and through their preparation for the assessed in-course essay and the final examination.
Subject Specific Skills This course will require students to critically engage with a wide literature covering the nature of environmental change across a wide range of environments, and then to be able to synthesise this information. Students will demonstrate their ability to read, critically assess, discuss, and reference the work of others in an appropriate manner.
Team work Students will develop their team work skills through the seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6