General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Climate Changes In Earth History. When, How And Why?
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Karina Apolinarska
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position
Faculty Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences
Semester 2022/2023 (winter)
Duration 30


Tuesdays OR Thursdays 15:00-16:30 (3-4:30 pm); Institute of Geology, room 212

First meetings 11 and 13 October - short informative meeting at 15:00 (3 pm), please choose the day that suits you better.


Week 1 What makes Earth climate unique? The role of carbon, water and greenhouse gases.

Week 2 and 3 Carbon cycle on Earth – a long time perspective. Biosphere, volcanism, CO2 and weathering (+seminar)

Week 4 Plate tectonics and long-term climate. Examples from the Earth past. Polar position of continents. Supercontinents. Spreading of oceanic crust and CO2. Tectonic uplift and CO2 removal.

Week 5 The greenhouse word. An example is from the Cretaceous.

Week 6 From the greenhouse climate to the glacial world. Mechanisms and consequences of the cooling between Cretaceous and Quaternary.

Week 7 and 8 Quaternary climate changes from the carbon cycle perspective. CO2 and orbital cycles. The fate of CO2 during the glacial-interglacial cycle. Tracers of CO2.

Week 9 Quaternary climate changes from the carbon cycle perspective. CH4 and orbital cycles. Insolation control on monsoons.

Week 10 and 11 Disturbance of the carbon cycle, CO2 and CH4. Holocene and Anthropocene perspective.

Week 12 Seminar

Week 13 Other greenhouse gases and their role in climate change. Water vapour, sulfate aerosols of natural and anthropogenic genesis. CFSs and ozone hole.

Week 14    Greenhouse gases and their role in climate change – prediction.

Module aim (aims)

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

A student has basic knowledge in geosciences. The student has skills in reading and understanding English texts in geosciences.


The course in an accessible and intelligible way presents changes in the climate throughout Earth history. Different forcing mechanisms are discussed: the geochemical aspect (mainly carbon cycle - CO2, CH4, and others), tectonics and weathering, all important from the longer-term perspective. Examples of greenhouse and icehouse climates in Earth history are presented, including mechanisms and consequences of the cooling between Cretaceous and Quaternary. Anthropogenic influence on the carbon cycle and climate during the Holocene and Anthropocene is discussed. The importance of the greenhouse gases, of both natural and anthropogenic genesis, to the climate on Earth is presented.

Reading list