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CEG8514 : Climate Change: Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Hayley Fowler
  • Lecturer: Dr Stephen Blenkinsop, Professor Richard Dawson, Professor Sean Wilkinson, Dr Alistair Ford, Professor Oliver Heidrich
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The module aims are to:

introduce the likely hazards (impacts) associated with climate change in a range of areas of the human, built and natural environments;

develop understanding of risk, its composition in terms of hazard and vulnerability and how these can vary spatially depending on local context;

develop understanding of engineering adaptation strategies to identified hazards and risks for a number of key areas in the context of a changing climate;

apply a relevant framework for the assessment of risks and adaptations for different cities.

The module introduces the concept of risk in the context of natural (hydro-climatological) hazards in a changing climate. The impacts of climate change on different sectors, principally (but not exclusively) related to water are described and engineering responses to these impacts are examined. The module demonstrates how climate information and methods introduced previously are used in practice in risk assessment frameworks to adapt to these future risks and aid decision-making.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will learn not just how climate change will impact society, but also how we can assess the risk and decide how we should respond. The student will be well equipped to propose, assess, and apply sustainable adaptation strategies in a range of key settings.

Key concepts of impacts, hazard, vulnerability and risk in the context of climate change.

Identifying hazards and vulnerabilities at specific locations or in specific systems on local to national scales.

Use of climate information/data/models in impact studies, including how they are applied with impact models.

Detection of change in climate and climate hazards

Attributing anthropogenic influence on changes in climate and climate hazards.

Impacts and adaptation (including engineering) strategies for hydro-climatic hazards:

Flooding: fluvial and pluvial , sea level rise and coastal

Water resources

Heat, people and buildings

Critical infrastructure

Sustainable cities: strategy, design and implementation and the need for integrated assessment

Using risk assessment frameworks to consider how data and tools examined during the course are applied in practice to undertake risk assessment and adaptation planning for climate change.

The UK legal and institutional frameworks for climate adaptation (and mitigation) and wider international context.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Coursework
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00Pip lectures
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities13:003:00Guided remote practical exercise (Asynchronous online)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops101:0010:00PiP computer practicals and group work
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion31:003:00Recordings with guided short activities (Asynchronous online)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00PiP discussion sessions and seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study142:0042:00Background reading, practice, and study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures allow transfer of the various knowledge, methods and practices available for understanding impacts and adaptation, and in person computer-based practicals and other tutorials and workshops allow for consolidation of this knowledge prior to its application in a given problem (which is carried out as coursework). Guided independent study will comprise short recorded lectures some of which will be supported by short exercises and learning from these will be consolidated in group discussions and seminars.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M100Casework Report (3000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MCanvas quiz
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessed by coursework. This allows a student's knowledge and understanding of the theory and practical methods introduced in the teaching to be monitored, applied and tested.

Assessment is :-
(a) Coursework - which assesses understanding of the nature of risk as a function of hazards and vulnerability and how these are incorporated into the risk assessment and adaptation planning processes using climate change impacts information. Understanding of viable responses to identified risks is assessed.
(b) Canvas quiz - which assesses understanding of the key terms, concepts, and processes which apply to the summative coursework.

The rationale is to assess the students’ grasp of the practical skills and understanding represented by the knowledge outcomes. The written exercise involves using a risk assessment framework for the assessment of vulnerability and risk and the development of an adaptation plan for a chosen city. It assesses skills in the use of the taught methods, available open-access tools and datasets, and ability to critique their use by identifying their limitations.

Reading Lists