Stephan Matthiesen

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Climate and Climate Change - Course at the TH Nürnberg, summer semester 2023

In the summer semester of 2023, I will be holding a course (in English) at the TH Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm on "Climate and Climate Change". With this course I want to teach students of all disciplines the scientific basics of the climate system and the relevant processes, so that they can assess statements about the climate and climate change in an educated way. The course will take place weekly every Tuesday at 14:00-15:30 from 21 March to 27 June 2023. The course language is English, so the course is suitable for international guest and exchange students. Details can be found in the Course Catalogie of the TH Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm.

Course description

Course Aim

The aim of this course is to give you an understanding of the different components of the climate system, the processes that govern their variability, the interactions between them, and which drivers and factors lead to climatic changes. The course will familiarise you with key scientific concepts that are necessary for understanding climate and climate changes.

At the end of the course you will be able to explain how drivers like the concentration of greenhouse gases are changing and which impacts this has on the climate, also in the context of historic climatic changes.

The course will give you a foundation for evaluating statements about climate change that you might hear in the media or from friends and relatives and discuss them critically based on our solid scientific knowledge of the climate system.

The course is suitable for students from all subject areas and does not require any specific prior knowledge beyond basic school science.


The course will cover:

Components of the climate system: what are the key climate features of the atmosphere, the oceans, the land surface, and the biosphere?

Drivers, forcings, feedbacks and mechanisms in the climate system: what drives the internal variability of the climate and which external forcings, like anthropogenic greenhouse gases, influence it?

Measuring and monitoring the climate: how do we quantify climate and how do we create comprehensive data sets from measurements?

Past climatic changes: what can we learn about the past from important climate proxies like ice cores or tree ring data?

Climate modelling: How do climate models work, and how do we make sure that they indeed work?

Attribution of past and present climatic changes: how do we find out what caused those past and present climatic changes that we have observed?

Future climate projections and their implications: what are the assumptions and different scenarios that are used for future climate projections?


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