Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 Hours. 1 HOUR LECTURES
Other Video Lecture.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   short answer and multiple choice examination  100%
Supplementary Assessment 2 hour short answer and multiple choice examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

  • describe the processes involved in the formation of the solid Earth, the atmosphere and oceans
  • summarise the large scale changes in global climate though geological time, and explain the theories used to account for such hypotheses
  • explain how Earth systems have interacted to control climate through time via various feedback processes
  • place current concerns about environmental change in the context of the geological record


This module will provide students with a knowledge of the nature and magnitude of change that has occurred in the physical environment over a range of temporal and spatial scales. Specifically the course will contrast natural and anthropogenic processes of environmental change. These considerations will then be used as a basis for a discussion of the potential for future environmental change.

Students taking this course will be able to describe the nature of environmental change over a wide range of timescales. They will be capable of relating this information to current concerns about global environmental change. It will make them aware of the need to consider past records of change when planning future developments, or when assessing current environmental concerns.


1) Introduction to global environmental change

Section 1 - Environmental Change on a Geological Time Scale

2) Origin of Earth and early formation processes

3) The geological time scale

4) Climate change/ice ages/mass extinctions over geological time

Section 2 - Environmental Change from the Pleistocene to Recent

5) Climate change through the Pleistocene to the Holocene

6) Historical records of change

Section 3 - Anthropogenically influenced environmental change

7) Geochemical cycling

8) Resource exploitation and exhaustion

9) Predicting future environmental change

Reading List

Recommended Text
van Andel, T. (1994) New views on an old planet: A history of global change 2nd Cambridge University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4