814332 Fundamentals of the climate system

Lecture and exercise
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Rieder, Harald , Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie , Fiebig, Markus , Schulz, Karsten , Formayer, Herbert
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


A fundamental understanding of the key drivers and mechanisms in the climate system is required to assess and comprehend the manifold changes emerging across temporal and spatial scales (past, present, and future). This course covers the fundamentals of thermodynamics, the Earth’s radiation and energy balance, feedback mechanisms in the climate system and processes through which the atmosphere, biosphere and global oceans interact over different time scales. The course provides a broad overview about the evolution of the atmosphere and climate over Earth’s history and the core physico-chemical processes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and pedosphere. Students will comprehend among others the Earth’s radiation and energy balance, and fundamentals of energy and mass transport and conservation, water cycle and water resources management, soil respiration and (de)nitrification in the climate system.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

After course completion the students will be able to describe and explain the fundamental physico-chemical processes in the climate system, the relationships and feedbacks between the atmosphere, hydrosphere and pedosphere and climate evolution past to present. Students will be able to comprehend, describe and quantify changes in the Earth’s radiative and energy budget and critically assess changes in climate system components and their contribution to climate variability and change.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.