Climate System I

Climate System I

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level."

This statement in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 is based on a wide variety of climate observations and model simulations. The present characteristics of the climate system are a product of a long-term evolution determined by external forcing (sun, volcanoes) and internal interactions within the climate system, which is composed of atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, land surfaces, and the marine and terrestrial biosphere. Until 250 years ago, the interference of man was negligible, and climate variations were a product of natural processes and interactions alone. Since the beginning of industrialisation the composition of the atmosphere, especially the concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, have significantly increased. In addition, the character of the land surface has been largely modified through land-use and land-cover change through human activities. Part of the observed global warming during the past 100 years is attributed to these anthropogenic impacts.

Special topics are:

1. Introduction to the Climate on Earth
2. Climate Variations
3. The Climate System
4. Energy Balance
5. Radiation Processes
6. Convection and Radiation Model
7. The role of the ocean in the climate system


Taylor, F. W.: Elementary Climate Physics, Oxford University Press, 2009

McGuffie, K. and A. Henderson-Sellers: A Climate Modelling Primer, Wiley,
Chichester, 1997

Peixoto, J.P. and A.H. Oort: Physics of Climate, American Institute of Physics,
New York, 1992

IPCC, 2013:Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of
Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
[Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp, doi:10.1017/CBO9781107415324