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GEOG282 Climate Change: Present and Future

Principles of meteorology, with particular reference to weather systems; climate variability and change; projected future trends; climate change policy; laboratories as required.

The field of atmospheric sciences covers a broad range of subjects related to the properties and processes of the Earth's atmosphere. Their focus varies, ranging from the surface to the upper layers of the atmosphere. Not only is there an interest in the fundamental properties of the atmosphere, but also in the interactions of the atmosphere with the Earth's surface, as well as how the atmosphere affects human activities. More recently, there has also been a much greater awareness of the need to better understand the extent to which human activities have modified atmospheric processes and phenomena in the context of climate variability and change.

In this paper the fundamental processes controlling our atmosphere and weather are initially examined, which provides a platform to examine in detail climate change in the present and future. All topics, including the detailed study of weather systems and climate change, are described in a New Zealand weather and climate context.

Paper title Climate Change: Present and Future
Paper code GEOG282
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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GEOG 101
GEOG 388
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
The content of the paper assumes that students have undertaken at least one introductory paper in Physical Geography or a related subject.
Teaching staff

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Nicolas Cullen

Paper Structure

The course is structured in such a way that the specific topics described above are by and large investigated in 3 lecture blocks:

  1. Firstly, a theoretical description of the processes responsible for motion and weather in the atmosphere is given, which includes principles of divergence, convergence and vorticity.
  2. Secondly, knowledge obtained in the first lecture block is used to better understand weather systems that affect New Zealand. A detailed assessment of one week’s weather using synoptic charts and other meteorological data sets is required.
  3. Thirdly, an assessment of climate change in New Zealand and elsewhere and policy to respond to observed climate variability is made.
Teaching Arrangements

2 lectures per week and 7 x 3 hour laboratories scheduled over the 13 weeks of semester.


Required: Sturman, A. and Tapper, N. (2006), The Weather and Climate of Australia and New Zealand. Second Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Environmental literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

On completion of this paper students should be able to:

  • Understand the atmospheric processes responsible for controlling the generation and decay of weather systems
  • Identify factors that are important in controlling day-to-day weather changes using a range of atmospheric data products
  • Appreciate the critical issues related to climate change confronting New Zealand and elsewhere, and understand the importance of global citizenship to tackle the problems associated with climate change
  • Critically assess the interconnections between the atmosphere and other components of the physical environment

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 17-22
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Monday 14:00-16:50 10-13, 18-20
P2 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 10-13, 18-20
P3 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 10-13, 18-20