Geography of Global Change

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona

Teaching Period: 22 June to 10 July

Contact: summer@uab.cat

Professor: Graham Mortyn

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Enrolment guidelines


PROFESSOR BIO INFORMATION

Graham Mortyn earned BS and MS degrees in Earth Science and a PhD in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California at San Diego, UCSD). Prior to academia he worked as a hydrogeologist. He was an Assistant Professor in California (California State University, Fresno, CSUF) before UAB arrival in 2004, joining the Department of Geography and ICTA.
 

ACADEMIC GUIDE

Contents overview


The main objective of the course is to explore causes, processes and consequences of global environmental change in the world today, with particular emphasis on human influence. Despite being global in extent, this change may manifest itself uniquely and differently depending on the temporal and spatial scales examined.

The course considers the Earth as a system, and bases everything on the concepts of Earth System Science. Despite global-scale influences, more local-scale manifestations of such processes will also be explored and examined. Global environmental change is partly driven by human activities, with sometimes unexpected and indirect consequences. Some of these global change processes have become the subject of international attention and agreements, with the aim of minimizing negative impacts.

With regard to more specific objectives, the course will be subdivided into introductory concepts and distinctions, and followed by distinct environmental spheres of impact, including the atmosphere, the oceans, and the land surfaces. With these distinctions in mind, constant exploration of more focused elements will occur, considering human population growth, urbanization, water and land use, transportation, energy and other resource consumption, pollution, and more.

Week programme
 

Week Contents Teaching / learning contents
1
Block 1 Introduction to Global Change

- The Earth as a System
- Spatial and temporal scales (e.g. human, geologic, and all in between) Global change vs. climate change, similarities and distinctions

Block 2 The Atmosphere

- Defining the structure and composition (baseline for change)
- Greenhouse gases
- Industrial pollution
 

- Lecture presentations

- Readings of relevant articles, and book content

- Both individual and small group activity and discussion of concepts

- Question and answer / critical dialog
 
2 Block 3 The Oceans

- Role in global and climate change
- Non-climatic global changes (e.g. fisheries, pollution, exotic species invasions)
- Specific global change issues (monsoons, ENSO, hurricanes, etc.).
-Concrete look at the 2017 Atlantic hurricane events

- Lecture presentations

- Readings of relevant articles, and book content

- Both individual and small group activity and discussion of concepts

- Question and answer / critical dialog

- Field trip to Barcelona to discuss and explore urban global change
 
3 Block 4 Terrestrial Impacts

- The nature of land surfaces
- Specific terrestrial-based concerns (e.g. biosphere)
- Causes for concern and likely futuristic developments
 

- Lecture presentations

- Readings of relevant articles, and book content

- Both individual and small group activity and discussion of concepts

- Question and answer / critical dialog

-Visit to UAB research institute (ICTA
 

Evaluation

Block 1 Thematic Question Answers, due Wednesday of Week 1 (12.5%)
Block 2 Thematic Question Answers, due Friday of Week 1 (12.5%)
Block 3 Thematic Question Answers, due Thursday of Week 2 (12.5%)
Block 4 Thematic Question Answers, due Tuesday of Week 3 (12.5%)
Final Exam Wednesday of Week 3 (50% )

Links and references
 
  • GUGLER, J. (2004). World Cities. Globalization, Development and Inequality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • JOHNSTON, R.J., TAYLOR, P.J. I WATTS, M.J. (eds) (2002): Geographies of Global Change. Oxford: Blackwell (2ª edició).
  • MANNION, A.M. (1991): Global environmental change. Harlow, Essex: Longman. MARSH,W.M. I
  • GROSSA,J.M. Jr (1996): Environmental Geography. Science, Land Use and Earth Systems. New York: John Wiley.
  • OLDFIELD, F. 2005: Environmental Change. Key Issues and Alternative Perspectives. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • STEFFEN, W. et al 2004: Global Change and the Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure. New York, Springer.
  • TURNER, B.T.II; Clark,W.C., KATES,R.W., RICHARDS,J.F., MATHEWS,J.T. I MEYER,W.B. (eds) (1990): The Earth as transformed by human action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/