Time: Semester 1 2022

Location: on campus (University of Melbourne, Parkville) and online (dual delivery)

Coordinator: Dr Josephine Brown, josephine.brown@unimelb.edu.au

The history of Earth’s climate provides examples of widely different states, ranging from cold glacial climates to hot greenhouse climates. Palaeoclimatology seeks to reconstruct past climate conditions and understand the dynamics and variability of the climate system on a range of time scales. This course will explore key examples of past warm and cold climates, including the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, the Pliocene, the warm last interglacial period and the last glacial maximum. The drivers and mechanisms of past climate change will be discussed, with a focus on topics of current debate in palaeoclimate science. Proxy records used to reconstruct past climate will be discussed, such as ice cores, marine sediments, tree ring and coral records. The use of climate models to simulate past climates will also be a explored. The course will also address the relevance of past climates for understanding future climate change due to human activity.

Time: 11 - 22 July 2022

Location: on campus (Parkville)

Lecturer: Prof Todd Lane, tplane@unimelb.edu.au

More info


The aim of this subject is to explore processes governing convection in the atmosphere, with a particular emphasis on severe convective storms and tropical cyclones. Specific topics covered include buoyancy, local convection, cellular convection, stability, severe storms - including supercell storms and squall lines, tornadoes, and tropical cyclones.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Evaluate the detailed mechanisms governing the formation of convective clouds and storms on a range of spatial and temporal scales.
  • Understand, explain and summarize advanced theories of moist convection, mesoscale dynamics, and gravity waves.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the analysis and visualisation of computational and observational data to study storm dynamics.
  • Apply advanced knowledge to interpret data from storm-scale computational models
  • Evaluate and criticise areas of active research on the topics of convection and storms and identify disputed theories and gaps in knowledge

Generic skills

  • Exercise critical judgement;
  • undertake rigorous and independent thinking;
  • adopt a problem-solving approach to new and unfamiliar tasks;
  • develop high-level written report and/or oral presentation skills.

Time: Semester 2 2022

Location: on campus, Parkville

Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Malte Meinshausen, malte.meinshausen@unimelb.edu.au


This subject describes the physics of the climate system, and how the system is represented in numerical models.

Key aspects include:

  • Radiation balance and heat balance of the earth
  • Carbon dioxide, water vapour and other Greenhouse Gas absorption spectra
  • Other key climate drivers including solar variability, aerosols and clouds
  • The global carbon cycle and the modelling of other greenhouse gases
  • Impacts of climate change including sea level rise and extreme events

It covers aspects of uncertainty and chaos to understand why climate models are imperfect but invaluable tools. Students will build a simple climate model and run numerical experiments with different greenhouse gases. Existing knowledge in python programming is recommended but can be acquired throughout the course. The subject will also briefly discuss the processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The 12 lectures cover the following themes: 1. Introduction; 2. Radiative forcing; 3. Climate feedbacks; 4. Carbon & gas cycles; 5. Oceans & sea level rise; 6. Aerosols & Clouds; 7. Variability and El Nino*; 8. Water Cycle and Extremes; 9. Ensemble & probabilistic projections, D&A; 10. Scenarios, carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management; 11. Climate Targets, carbon budgets and the Paris Agreement*; 12. Wrap Up

The lectures are accompanied with weekly exercises that provide students with hands-on conceptual learning, modelling and data analysis experience.

Time and delivery: Semester 1 2022, dual-delivery (on campus (Parkville) and online)

Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. This subject covers the basics of climate science - including climate change, natural variability, extremes, climate scenarios, and detection and attribution - and how this translates into impacts on society, ecosystems and economies. The subject focuses on the production of climate science and data and how its creation, analysis, and use informs decisions made from multiple perspectives and across multiple levels, including governments, industry and communities. The subject has a particular focus on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. To develop practical skills, students are required to apply knowledge from the course to develop and justify various stakeholder positions, policies, or business cases. Students will build climate profiles for relevant stakeholders in order to assess and debate how national or other circumstances frame responses at the local, state and international level.



  • Analysis of each week's topic, 8 x 250 words, 40% of final mark
  • Written assessment/s - due Weeks 5, 9 and at the end of semester, 2000 words , 40% of final mark
  • Participation in a negotiation (session held during the final seminar), 20% of final mark


Time & Location:
Semester 1 (01 March – 27 May), Parkville Campus

Alister Self, alister.self@climate-energy-college.org

Time: 14 - 25 February 2022, dual-delivery (on campus (Parkville) and online)

Data assimilation refers to the process of combining model simulations of a natural system such as the atmosphere or ocean with observations to obtain an estimate of the actual trajectory of that system. It is vitally important to weather and climate prediction. Of all the improvements made to the Bureau of Meteorology’s global forecasting system since 2011, the top 5 were all from improvements to the data assimilation system. It is data assimilation that produces the multi-decadal reanalyses from which details of climate change and climate model error can be deduced. A wide range of industries such as finance, mining and medicine now regularly use data assimilation tools that were originally developed for atmosphere/ocean data assimilation applications. The course will introduce and explain the data assimilation systems now used at the world’s leading weather and climate forecasting centres. These systems include 4DVar and various flavours of the Ensemble Kalman filter. In addition, a brief introduction will be given to more accurate but more computationally expensive methods such as the particle filter and Monte-Carlo-Markov chain approaches.


  • 6 x 15 quizzes, 90 minutes in total, 30% of final mark
  • 2 x written assignments, 40% of final mark
  • Oral exam during assessment period, 15 – 20 minutes, 30% of final mark

Time and Location:
17 – 28 February, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus

Craig Bishop, craig.bishop@unimelb.edu.au

Course website: http://singh.sci.monash.edu/GenCirc

Dates: The class will run during Semester 1 2022, starting on 28th of February 

Lecture / Workshop Times: Monday 9am - 11am and Tuesday 1pm - 3pm.

Location: Rm 115, Level 1, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment (9 Rainforest Walk), Monash University Clayton Campus.

Costs: None

Synopsis: This subject provides an introduction to the large-scale circulation features of the atmosphere and the processes that maintain them. Students will be introduced to a set of mathematical tools that will be used to analyse the transport of energy, momentum and moisture through the atmosphere and to build a conceptual picture for how these transports are achieved by the atmospheric circulation. Topics covered will include:

  • Review of the governing equations
  • Reynolds decomposition and atmospheric transports
  • Atmospheric reanalysis
  • Angular-momentum budget of the atmosphere
  • Midlatitude eddies and jet formation
  • The Hadley circulation
  • Monsoons
  • The Ferrel Cell
  • Eliassen-Palm fluxes and the transformed Eulerian mean

Learning outcomes:

  • Ability to identify the main features of the atmospheric circulation and the processes that contribute to their maintenance.
  • Ability to apply mathematical tools to analyse the transports of energy/momentum through the atmosphere
  • Ability to critically engage with the scientific literature regarding the large-scale atmospheric circulation and its possible changes under climate change

Prerequisites: Students should have taken an introductory course in dynamical meteorology and be familiar with partial differential equations.

Assessment: Two assignments (30%), one presentation and report (20%) and a final examination in the week of the 4th of May (50%).

Registration Deadline: No deadline - students just need to show up for the first lecture.

Martin Singh
School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Monash University, VIC 3800

Phone: +613 9902 0421
Room:  213
Email: martin.singh@monash.edu