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Climate Change Throughout Earth's History

Over the 4.6 billion year history of the Earth our planet has shown itself to be a dynamic and ever changing place.

two people hiking on mountains coverd with snow

The tectonic plates are in constant motion, ocean levels have been rising and falling, mountain chains lifting and eroding away and species have been coming into and out of existence. The Earth’s climate has also been changing, both driving and being driven by these planetary changes. Geologically speaking, we live in a "blink of an eye" of the Earth’s history. This course seeks to take an in-depth look at some of the climate shifts that have occurred throughout the Earth’s long history and how we study them. The content of this course will present to you cutting edge research as well as classic works. As it is a distance course you are free to proceed at your own pace and start when you like.

  • Course structure


    Knowledge assessment takes the form of written essay and two plotting exercises.

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    J. Imbrie and K. Palmer Imbrie, 1986
    Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery
    Harvard University Press
    ISBN: 9780674440753
    – required

    W.F. Ruddiman, 2017
    Earth's Climate: Past and Future
    W.H. Freeman, 3rd ed
    ISBN: 9781319154004
    – recommended, available as SU library e-bok

    All other course literature is drawn from scientific publications. As such it is necessary to have access to on-line journals.

  • Course reports

    Course evaluations allow the possibility to affect and take responsibility for your own learning and gives important information for our work with pedagogical development.

    It's important that all students complete the course evaluations after each course, it gives the Department the opportunity to improve the courses' quality.

    The course evaluation is composed of a number of questions and specific questions for each course. If you, as a student, want to contribute with more course specific questions you may send them to

    If you haven't received the course evaluation for your finished course, or if you have other questions regarding course evaluations at IGV please contact

    Course evaluation = student's review of the course
    Course report = course leader's reflections about the review

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