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Climate and the General Circulation

The course gives a physical understanding of the climate system, its natural and anthropogenically induced variation and change, as well as the general circulation of atmosphere and ocean and its relation to climate on regional to global scale. The course is currently given in Swedish.

The course gives a large-scale perspective on the climate system in terms of radiative balance and energy and momentum transport, and introduces important biogeochemical cycles; it further discusses mechanisms for natural climate variability and anthropogenically induced climate change, as well as the concepts of forcing, feedback and climate sensitivity.

The course offers the opportunity to, from the gained knowledge on climate and general circulation, discuss weather events and other topical issues, and gives practice in reading scientific literature and performing and presenting a small project.

  • Course structure

    The course has two parts, which together give a large-scale perspective on the climate system and general circulation.

    The CLIM part deals with

    • The climate system (radiation balance, greenhouse effect, radiative-convective equilibrium, clouds and radiation, surface energy balance, hydrological cycle, carbon cycle)
    • General circulation (meridional energy transport, momentum balance, climate types in relation to general circulation, ocean circulation, stratospheric circulation, natural climate variability)
    • Climate change (radiative forcing, feedbacks and climate sensitivity, climate models, future projections and human influence on climate)

    The PROJ part of the course consists of a project, where the climate of a chosen region is studied and discussed in relation to the general circulation.

    Teaching format

    The course is given in a hybrid format:

    Recorded lectures and literature are studied before each scheduled session, and the in-class time is used for exercises and discussions. Lecture quizzes can give bonus points towards the exam.

    In addition, there are calculation exercises, including one on basic Python use, and one dealing with an old exam.

    For the project part, course participants work in groups (pairs) on investigating the climate of a chosen geographical region, and relating it to the general circulation. The work is presented in a written report (individually) and an oral presentation (in groups/pairs).


    A written exam is given on the CLIM part, with quiz bonus points included. The PROJ part is examined through written report and oral presentation.


    Here is a link to a list of course coordinators and examiners.

  • 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.

    • Hartmann, D. L.: Global Physical Climatology, 2nd edition, Elsevier, 2016.
    • Holton, J. R. and Hakim: An introduction to dynamic meteorology, 5th edition, International Geophysics Series, Academic Press, 2012, 552 pp. Print Book ISBN: 9780123848666, eBook ISBN: 9780123848673
  • Contact

    Study counselor