ESC-10025: Global Warming Or a New Ice Age

ESC-10025: Global Warming Or a New Ice Age

Module ESC-10025: Global Warming or a New Ice Age? 2008-9

ESC-10025 is supported by online resources including lecture slides, readings, assessments and learning exercises. Students must make use of these resources, which can be accessed on the KLE or at:

Module staff:

Dr. Peter Knight (PGK)e-mail:

Dr. Katie Szkornik (KS) e-mail:

Format of the module:

Teaching involves a combination of lectures and online study resources. Students must make use of the online resources, which can be accessed through the Keele Learning Environment (WebCT) and at: . The blending of face-to-face contact in lectures with online activities enables students to benefit from different styles of teaching and learning, and to manage large parts of the module at their own pace and in their own time. Materials on WebCT will enable you to reinforce and extend the knowledge you gain from lectures and from independent reading, and help you to prepare for the online assessments that take place following lectures 5 and 10. It is essential that you engage with the WebCT materials from the outset. If you have problems accessing WebCT please seek help from the IT Help Desk in the InformationServicesBuilding.


Lectures take place in the 2nd Semester up until the Easter vacation, on Wednesdays, 1-2pm, DorothyHodgkinBuilding room 0.21.

  1. Introduction (PGK)
  2. History and causes of climate change (KS)
  3. Global warming and the future (KS)
  4. Communicating complexity: writing science (PGK)
  5. Researching and writing your assignment (PGK)

(An online assessment will be set during week 5)

  1. Glaciers, ice ages and global warming (PGK)
  2. Oceans, coasts and sea-level change (KS)
  3. Biodiversity, ecosystems and sustainability (KS)
  4. Global warming and the future of life (KS)
  5. What can we do about it? (KS)

(An online assessment will be set during week 10)


Specific readings will be set for each lecture, and resources for each lecture will be posted online. A large number of relevant books (and research journals) are available in Keele library, including the books listed below - which are also worth considering for purchase.

The mark that you get for your essay will depend partly on the extent to which you have engaged with the available literature, including core texts and case study research articles.

This bookprovides a good all round introduction and is a good basic text to use as a key resource for this module. If you are only buying one book, buy this one:

  • Henson, R. (2008) The Rough Guide to Climate Change (2nd ed.) (Rough Guides/Penguin)

These books provide useful background and are good general introductions to the material that the course will deal with:

  • Maslin, M. (2004) "Global Warming, A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford)
  • Dow, K. and Downing, T.E. (2006) "The Atlas of Climate Change." (Earthscan)

This book provides useful advice about writing essays, and is strongly recommended:

  • Knight P.G. and Parsons, T. (2003) "How to do your essays, exams and coursework..." (Routledge).


  • Two online exercises (20% each)
  • One 2000-word essay (60%)

(There is no end-of-course exam)

The online exercises will be tests based on material from the previous lectures, from set readings and from the WebCT guided study materials. Further information will be provided on WebCT and in class. The exercises will be available for a period of one week, the first immediately following the lecture in week 5, the second immediately following the final lecture.Late submissions will not be allowed.

The essaymust be formatted and presented in the “Physical Geography House Style”. This is available at and on WebCT. The essay must include references to published sources and a reference list in the “Harvard” style. The correct production and presentation of a scientific essay is one of the communication skills on which this module focuses, so your mark will depend partly on your ability to follow the set style. You must submit your essay electronically using the “Turnitin” submission tool on the WebCT page. Your essay will be checked for plagiarism and collusion. The deadline for the submission of the essay is Wednesday 6th May 2009. Essays received late up to one week after the deadline will be marked out of a maximum of 40%. Essays received more than one week after the deadline will score zero.

Essay title: your essay should be chosen from the following list:

1. Global warming or a new ice age: why don’t we know for sure?

2. To what extent are popular media such as television and newspapers reliable sources of information about global climate change?

3. Examine the factors that control the Earth’s climate: past present and future.

4. Explore the relationships between global climate, sea level and human activity.

5. Consider why global warming is such a controversial topic.