Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Physical Climatology

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEOF212
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study

Bachelor, master

Teaching semester


Enrolment to this course is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 33 for the autumn semester. Please see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

Objectives and Content


The course aims to provide an understanding of the Earths climate, and the factors that cause it to change.


The course covers present day climate, as well as climate variations in the past, present, and future. It focuses on the physical principles governing the global energy budget, the role of the circulation of the atmosphere and oceans, and interactions between the different components of the climate system. The course investigates the physical mechanisms governing changes in climate related to land surface properties (ice, snow, vegetation, etc.), atmospheric composition (gas and particles), clouds and orbital parameters. It also introduces climate variability that results from interactions within the climate system (e.g., El NiƱo). In addition, the concepts of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change are discussed.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • will know the central concepts in climate physics
  • will know the main features of the atmospheric and ocean general circulation, and understand the energy transports associated with each
  • will know the fundamental physical mechanisms for large scale climate variability and change
  • will know the main feedback mechanisms in the climate system


The student

  • is able to compute and interpret global energy budgets
  • is able to perform calculations of the climate sensitivity to external factors, such as from the sun, volcanoes and changes in greenhouse gasses
  • is able to explain the nature of internal climate variability and anthropogenic climate change
  • is able to explain key elements of global climate models and sources of uncertainty
  • is able to analyze gridded global-scale climate data

General competence

The student

  • can explain the factors determining climate and its changes
  • can use scientific programming software to perform computations on global data sets
  • can prepare and give scientific presentations and discuss scientific results, following good scientific practice
  • can discuss anthropogenic climate change, including the uncertainties in model based predictions of future climate

Required Previous Knowledge

Principles of meteorology and/or oceanogarphy (GEOF105 and GEOF110) in addition to basic knowledge in maths and physics (mechanics).

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Good knowledge in dynamics, meteorology and oceanography, in addition to basic knowledge in maths and physics, and programming skills

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

AGF-213 5 ECTS, AGF-214 5 ECTS (at UNIS), both courses together will cover the contents of GEOF212. MNF344: 5 ECTS

SDG213: 5 ECTS

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

2 lecture of 2 hours per week including exercises with Teaching Assistant

Problems will be solved with active involvement of students; Term project will be presented to the class, and

this will be followed by discussion. Students will be asked to evaluate each others projects. Lecturer and assistant will perform the final evaluation and grading.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Presentation of term project is compulsory.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

- Presentation of Mid-term assignment; counts 30% of the final grade, valid for the semester it has been approved and the following semester

- Final exam, written, 4 hours; counts 70% of the final grade and must be passed.

We add up scores form the partial assessments to determine the final grade in the course. All partial assessments must be passed to pass the course.

Examination Support Material

Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination and presentation of mid-term assignment

    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Written examination

      Examination system
      Digital exam