AHT404 Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation (8)

This subject aims to give a comprehensive overview of the science and policy issues surrounding current and likely global Climate Change.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: AHT404. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of past and present climates, the science behind anthropogenic global warming, the current state of knowledge on likely Climate Change scenarios, and mitigation and adaptation efforts.
  • be able to demonstrate broad skills in climatology, geomorphology, soil science, landscape history and environmental science as they affect climate change issues.
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of current Government policy and management systems and develop problemsolving skills as applied to Climate Change adaptation and mitigation options.
  • be able to accurately assess the significance of new Climate Change research and will gain sufficient knowledge to be able to adjudicate between conflicting evidence and theories on anthropogenic global warming.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Basic Climatology and weather patterns influencing Australia
  • - ENSO
  • - IOD
  • - SAM
  • Paleoclimates
  • - Evidence for glacial/interglacial environments
  • - Geomorphological evidence
  • - Ice cores
  • - Species extinctions etc.
  • Factors influencing climate fluctuations at varying scales
  • - Milankovitch Cycles and planetary scale impacts
  • - Glacial/interglacial
  • - Holocene
  • - Last 1000 years (eg. medieval warm period, Little Ice Age)
  • - Post industrial era
  • The Greenhouse Effect
  • - Natural forcing
  • - Water vapour
  • - Solar inputs
  • - CO2 and its feedbacks with temperature
  • - Anthropogenic forcing and its causes
  • - CO2
  • - Methane
  • - Nitrous Oxide
  • - Water vapour in contrails etc.
  • - Sectorial breakdown eg. Transport, Stationary Energy, Agriculture
  • The Global Carbon Balance
  • - Carbon pools and their relative significance
  • - Ocean
  • - Atmosphere
  • - Terrestrial pools eg. soils, vegetation
  • - Residence times and fluxes between pools
  • Climate modelling and GCMs
  • - Scope, parameters and limitations of currently used GCMs
  • - Model skill (how well do these models explain current climate)
  • - Scenario building ? (likely input parameters)
  • - Realisations (different model runs and their limitations)
  • Evidence for Recent Climate Change
  • - Global air temperature records (ground based and satellite)
  • - Sea level rises
  • - Arctic sea ice decline
  • - Global glacial retreat
  • - Animal behavioural modifications
  • - Changes in floral timings, eg. flowering, fruit set, harvest times
  • - Species extinctions and vulnerabilities
  • - Increases in extreme events eg. heatwaves, fires, drought severity, hurricanes
  • - Ocean acidification
  • Future Climate Scenarios and the IPCC
  • - Likely climates in 50, 100 years
  • - Positive and negative feedbacks as the climate warms
  • Eg. permafrost melting
  • Impacts of impending climate change
  • - Rates of change, magnitude of change and their implications for humans and natural resources
  • - Likely risks and their magnitudes
  • - Potential threshold events and the likelihood of exceedance
  • - Scale of impacts
  • Adaptation and Mitigation Responses
  • - Policy
  • - IPCC and global responses
  • - Australian policy responses (AGO, NCAS etc.)
  • - Emissions trading/carbon credit schemes
  • - Science
  • - Role of soil and land management etc.
  • - Monitoring natural resource condition
  • - Carbon accounting
  • Change management theory and practice
  • - What is change, and how do we manage it?
  • - Monitoring climate change
  • - Managing climatic variability in agriculture
  • The role of Governments, Business, NGOs, other Institutions and the general populace in adapting to, and mitigating climate change
  • - Sustainability audits
  • - Recycling (closing the resource use loop)
  • - Environmental education
  • - Renewable energy technologies (solar, wind, waves, tides)
  • - New industry opportunities (eg. biochar)
  • Impact of climate change on fundamentals in science (ie. Does a trending climate change the basis of many scientific assumptions? Are there opportunities for new scientific endeavours as a result of rethinking these assumptions?)
  • - Future Research opportunities


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or ask@csu.edu.au or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 334 733 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2019 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: September 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.