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NES1206 : Earth System Science

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Cees van der Land
  • Lecturer: Professor Sam Wilson, Professor Yit Arn Teh, Dr Simon Peacock
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To challenge students to think holistically about Earth as a global environmental system by examining important matter and energy fluxes. This will require the use of basic algebra to describe the phenomena.

To equip students to tackle more advanced environmental concepts with an element of chemistry and physics and to describe environmental systems quantitatively.

An introduction to the physical environment at the global scale, with a consideration of the important interactions with the biosphere.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Global Systems, topics to be covered include: The Earth's geosphere, the atmosphere, the oceans, the biosphere.

2. Transport, topics to be covered include: global cycling elements (e.g., carbon).

3. Matter, topics to be covered include: conservation of matter, chemical reactions, biologically mediated transformations.

4. Energy, topics to be covered include: solar energy (radiation, latent and sensible heat) and climate.

5. Homeostasis, topics to be covered include: positive and negative feedback, climate change and global warming.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion154:0054:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for a full understanding of material
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Exam preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lectures covering the syllabus
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Topic Tutorial report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Topic Tutorials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce core information (linked directly to all Intended Knowledge Outcomes). Small group teaching (tutorials) is designed to put this information into context of “real world examples”, and to apply information to solving explicit problems, encouraging a deeper understanding of gained core information and further reading (linked directly to Intended skills and Knowledge Outcomes).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination601A100MCQ Digital Examination
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MTopic Tutorial Practice
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Given the breadth of subject areas covered in this introductory module for Earth, Environment and Chemistry programs, the assessment method will be based on an exam.

Reading Lists