spring 2021
FYS-2018 Global climate change - 10 ECTS

Last changed 28.06.2021

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

The course is available as a singular course. The course is also available to exchange students and Fulbright students.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements are generell studiekompetanse + SIVING.

Local admission, application code 9336 - enkeltemner i ingeniørfag.  

Course content

The course gives a general introduction to the physical causes of climate change. The course discusses climate changes in the past, the current climate change, and the predictions for the coming century. It also discusses impacts on society of global warming. Simple radiative-balance models of the climate system are introduced, and the concept of radiative forcing and the role of the greenhouse effect are discussed. The course provides an introduction to climate models and discusses their strengths and weaknesses as well as the uncertainty of their predictions of future climate change. The course also gives an introduction to fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans. The course introduces the Navier-Stokes equations, the hydrostatic and geostrophic approximations, and concepts of dry and moist-static stability. Based on this knowledge, the course provides an overview of the general circulation of the atmosphere and oceans.

Recommended prerequisites

FYS-1001 Mechanics, FYS-2017 Sustainable energy, INF-1049 Introduction to computational programming, MAT-1003 Calculus 3

Objectives of the course

Knowledge - The student can:

  • provide a simple radiative-balance model of the climate system based on the radiative balance at the top of the atmosphere
  • describe the role of the greenhouse effect in the climate
  • explain natural and anthropogenic courses of climate change
  • describe the impact of global warming
  • provide and overview of climate change in the past
  • identify the basic equations relevant for the circulation in the atmosphere and oceans
  • based on physical arguments, describe the concept of static stability and potential temperature
  • describe the concepts of hydrostatic and geostrophic approximations and the thermal wind balance
  • based on physical arguments, provide an overview of the general circulations of the atmosphere and oceans


Skills - The student can:

  • understand and interpret relevant arguments and new theories concerning global climate change
  • solve basic problems within atmosphere and ocean fluid dynamics
  • perform basic climate model simulations


General expertise - The student can:

  • incorporate current knowledge and new scientific information into critical thinking
  • communicate theories, problem descriptions and solutions regarding global climate change

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 48 hours Project work and supervision: 24 hours


Portfolio assessment:

  • up to 3 assignments counting about 30 % The course responsible determines the number of assignments in the beginning of the semester.
  • final 4 hour written examination counting about 70 %.

All components in the portfolio are assessed as a whole and one combined grade is given.

Assessment scale: Letter grades A-F. A is the higes grade and F is failed.

Re-sit examination (section 22): There is no access to a re-sit examination in this course.

Postponed examination (sections 17 and 21): Students with valid grounds for absence will be offered a postponed examination early in the following semester.

See indicated sections in Regulations for examinations at the UiT The arctic university of Norway for more information.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: FYS-2018