Courses Catalogue

Syllabus of the course: Global Climate Change

In this web page we provide the syllabus of the course Global Climate Change, offered by the Department of Physics.
The list of the courses offered during the current accademic year is available here.
The list of all courses offered by the Department of Physics is available here.

InstructorG. Neofotistos, X.Zotos
ProgramFriday, 10:00-14:00, Computer Lab 3
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Goal of the courseThe course is specially designed for introducing science students to science, economics and policy issues of global climate change. The lectures and lab sessions explore a wide range of issues relating to climate science, past and present climate, climate time series, time-series analysis (in order to estimate the global warming trend), global economics modelling and policy implications. Lectures are followed by hands-on sessions at the Computational Lab of the Physics Department.
SyllabusTheoretical dimension: Introduction to Global Climate Change. Climate and the greenhouse effect: a simple model of energy fluxes, radiative forcing and global warming potentials, the climate system, past climate and gases, the carbon cycle, feedback mechanisms and the greenhouse effect, feedback and the climate sensitivity factor, general circulation models and projections of climate change, a “toy” climate model, predictions of anthropogenic emissions, climate certainties and uncertainties. Economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse emissions and policy costs. Renewables. EU-ETS cap-and-trade system. Fitting statistical models: regression, analysis of variance.
Time-series analysis: auto-regressive processes, the Campbell-Diebold model.
Computational dimension: Getting acquainted with the E-Views software. Conducting time series analysis: each student selects a city (everywhere in the world), accesses and downloads the city’s climate variables’ time series (data), “cleans-up” the data, performs regressions (including trend, seasonality, cyclicality terms), estimates the global warming trend, reports.
Bibliography1) “An introduction to global warming”, by John R. Barker and Marc H. Ross, American Journal of Physics 67 (12), December 1999.
2) David Archer (2007). Global Warming – Understanding the Forecast. Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
3) Campbell, S. and Diebold, F.X. (2005), "Weather Forecasting for Weather Derivatives," Journal of the American Statistical Association, 100, 6-16.
4) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007). IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, (
5) Nicholas Stern (2007). The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review. Executive Summary.
6) William Nordhaus (2008). A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies. Yale University Press.
7) S. Labatt and R. R. White. Carbon Finance – The Financial Implications of Climate Change. Wiley Finance 2007.
8) Climatic Consequences: Investment Implications of a Changing Climate. Citibank Report, 2007.
9) “History of Science: The discovery of rapid climate change”, Spencer Weart, Physics Today, August 2003.

University of Crete - Department of Physics - P.O Box 2208 - GR-71003 Heraklion, Greece
phone: +30 2810 394300 - fax: +30 2810 394301