Course description

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 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

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.

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


Schedule 2019

Course Litterature

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

Special eligibility requirements

A Bachelor in Natural Science or Engineering, including 15 credits in Mathematics or Statistics, good command of English.


Study counsellors

Environmental Science
Miljö- och hälsoskydd

Analytical Chemistry
Environmental Chemistry