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Biogeochemical Cycles

The course deals with the Earth's climate system seen from a historical perspective and in a changing time linked to human influence. The course covers the biogeochemical cycles of the state of the elements in the atmosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, the pedosphere and the lithosphere. The course therefore has a strong interdisciplinary approach.

The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to more specifically address the following topics:

Earth's history: the evolution of the oceans, atmosphere and life.  The structure and composition of the lithosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biota.

Models that describe flow and circulation, residence times, etc.  The main features of the global cycles of water, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and trace elements.  Cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in the Baltic Sea.  A key theme is the human impact on cycles and the implications of this.

The course is designed primarily for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in meteorology, geology, biology, chemistry, ecology and oceanography.  The course will be taught in English.

The course is given in collaboration with the Bolin Center for Climate Research and the Climate Research School of Stockholm University (  The lectures will be given by scientists from several institutions at SU.

  • Course structure


    A1    Introduction    
    A2    Evolution of the atmosphere/ocean
    A3    The Physics of the Ocean    
    A4    Marine Ecosystems                
    A5    Sediments and lithosphere
    A6    Composition and structure of the Atmosphere
    A7    Anthropogenic Climate change
    A8    Terrestrial Ecosystems
    A9    Biogeochemical signatures in paleorecords

    B1    Carbon Cycle
    B2    Cycle models                
    B3    Water Cycle                
    B4    Nitrogen cycle    
    B6    Nitrogen and phosphorus in the Baltic Sea            
    B6    Sulfur cycle                        

    E    Exam


    Teaching format

    Lectures and Critical précis.

    Course material

    Grading criteria, course literature and other material and correspondence related to the course will be available on the course Athena-site at once you have registered for the course.


    In order to achieve a passing grade (E or higher), a passing grade (E or higher) on each of the components (written exam, critical précis, attendance in lectures) is required.

    The final grade for MO7013 will be a weighted average of the grades of the components, with weights as follows:
    Written exam 60%
    Critical précis 32%
    Attendance in lectures (A1-A9; B1 – B7) 8%


    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.

    You can search for schedules from previous years in TimeEdit, by entering the course code.

    Link to TimeEdit

  • Course literature

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

    The textbook can be downloaded as an e-book free of charge from the SU library:

    • "Earth System Science: From Biogeochemical Cycles to Global Change", editors: Michael C. Jacobson, Robert J. Charlson, Henning Rodhe & Gordon H. Orians, Academic Press, 2000.

    Additional material may be distributed at or before the lectures depending upon the lecturer.

  • Course reports

  • More information

    Upcoming courses

    The course is held every spring semester.

  • Contact

    Study counselor