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Atmosphere, Biogeosphere and Climate Change

This course provides the environmental science perspective on climate change. The course focus is the human-induced (anthropogenic) perturbations of the Earth system, the biogeosphere, the atmosphere and climate.

ABC cycle

The environmental science perspective recognizes that the large-scale natural element cycles (e.g., the global carbon cycle, which includes exchange with atmospheric CO2, CH4 and Black Carbon/soot aerosols) is intertwined with emissions from human society of such greenhouse gases and aerosols and other perturbations such as land-use change, to combine into anthropogenic effects ranging from climate change to degradation of air and water quality. These in turn, may give feedbacks and thus affect how nature works (e.g., change the carbon cycle and nutrient dynamics, cause eutrophication and lake/ocean acidification).

In this core course in the Stockholm University M.Sc. program in Environmental Science – Atmosphere-Biogeochemistry – Climate Change, the students will become familiar with these complexities and equipped to contribute to solutions to these 21st century challenges.

Topics that will be covered

  • The functioning of the climate and the biogeosphere-atmosphere systems: the cycles of water, carbon and other key elements, energy balances, ocean and atmosphere general circulation
  • Mechanisms and concepts in the Earth system: emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, climate forcing, earth system and climate feedback, climate sensitivity
  • Natural variations in the climate: How did climate vary during pre-industrial times and further back in time?
  • Anthropogenic climate change: What is the evidence? What causes anthropogenic climate change? How do we observe human-caused climate change? How do anthropogenic drivers vary over space and time?
  • Climate change over coming decades-centuries-millennia: What are different scenarios for future emissions and atmospheric concentrations of climate-related pollutants? What effects can we expect on large-scale biogeosphere-atmosphere cycles, ecosystem services, and human societies?
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation: International efforts such as the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), efforts in the private and civil sectors
  • Course structure

    Teaching format

    The knowledge base provided through this course will be communicated both in lectures and in seminars where the students take an active role in e.g. scientific literature review and classroom discussions. We will also make study visit. Participation in seminars, study visit and any associated integrated instructions is compulsory. The lectures and seminars will primarily be led by researchers from Stockholm University.


    Assessment takes place through a written exam, active participation in semanars and written assignments.


    Cheating and plagiarism

    Cheating of every kind is wholly unacceptable and Stockholm University takes this matter extremely seriously.

    By cheating is meant, for example, that students cooperate in an unauthorized way, use unauthorized resources or otherwise try to cheat in the examination. To use another person’s expressions or ideas without stating the source is plagiarism. To translate and/or change some words in someone else’s text and present it as your own is also a form of plagiarism. Plagiarism is considered cheating and if discovered in an exam or paper, the exam or paper will be failed immediately and disciplinary measures may be taken.

    Any student who is caught cheating or disrupting academic activities may be suspended from lectures and exams for a period of up to six months. The Vice Chancellor or the Disciplinary Council decide whether the student is to be subject to any disciplinary measures.

    Read more about the rules and regulations here:
    Guidelines for Disciplinary Matters at Stockholm University
    Your rights and responsibilities as a student
    Regulations for written seated examination

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

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

    Han Dolman (2019) Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate, ISBN: 9780198779308, Oxford Univ Press, 272 pages.

    Latest IPCC reports.

  • Course reports

  • More information

    Compulsory core course for the M.Sc. program in Environmental Science – Atmosphere-Biogeochemistry – Climate Change (ABC), but is also offered as a separate course.

  • Contact

    Study counsellor

    Course coordinator

    Claudia Mohr,

    Department of Environmental Science, unit of Atmospheric Science