Climate Science

Study climate science online. Learn about weather science, wind circulation patterns, climate classifications, climate changes, applications of climate science, and more.

Course CodeBSC208
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn about Climate Science.

Climate is a cornerstone of Environmental Management. This is something that everyone who works in farming, horticulture or environmental management should study; no matter what part of the industry they work in.

It is a fundamental area of knowledge that underpins everything else we do, from land management to waste management; and from farming to urban conservation.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of Climatology
    • Introduction
    • Understanding how climate and weather affects us
    • What makes up weather?
    • How do we measure weather?
  2. Weather Science Foundations
    • Solar Radiation
    • Temperature
    • Precipitation
    • Deposition
    • Humidity
    • Clouds
  3. Circulation Patterns
    • Pressure Systems
    • Atmospheric Pressure
    • Pressure and Temperature
    • Latitudinal Circulation
    • Air masses
    • Wind
    • Trade Wind
    • The Beaufort Scale of Wind Speed
    • Frontal Systems
    • Oceanic circulation
    • Longitutinal Circulation
    • Southern Oscillation
    • Ocean Gyres
  4. Climate Classifications & Patterns
    • Types of Climates
    • Arid or Desert
    • Subtropical
    • Tropical
    • Temperate
    • Mediterranean
    • Coastal
    • Factors Which Influence Climate
    • Latitude
    • Wind Direction
    • Topography
    • Altitude
    • Aspect
    • Geographical Location
    • Climates Classification Models
    • Koppen Climate Classification
    • Thornwaite Climatic Classification System
    • Bergeron Climatic Classification System
    • Spatial Synpotic Classification (SSC)
    • Other Global Classification Systems
    • Holdridge Life Zone System
  5. Atmospheric Dynamics
    • Introduction to Atmosphere Composition
    • Purpose of the Atmosphere
    • Seasonal Variations
    • Vertical Structure of Atmosphere
    • Precipitation
    • Precipitation Processes and Other Events
    • Cloud Dynamics
    • Storms
    • Thunderstorms
    • Cyclones, Typhoons and Hurricanes
    • Tornadoes
    • METAR Codes for Precipitation Processes
    • Aerosols and Climate Processes
    • Indirect Effects of Aerosols
  6. Climate Changes
    • Factors that Cause or Influence Climate Change
    • Natural Causes
    • The Sun
    • Earth's Orbit
    • Earth's Axis
    • Oceanic Circulation
    • Oceanic Carbon Dioxide
    • Magnetic Field
    • Plate Tectonics
    • Volcanic Activities
    • Asteroids, Comets or Meteorite Impact
    • Manmade Causes or Anthropogenic Influences
    • Fossil Fuels
    • Agriculture
    • Deforestation
    • Nitrous Oxide
    • Other Pollution
    • Different Types of Climate Change Events
    • Glaciation and Ice Loss
    • Flora and Fauna
    • Ocean Warming and Sea Levels
    • Permafrost
    • Extreme Weather Events
    • zone Depletion
    • Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect
  7. Applications of Climate Science
    • Evolution of Methods and Techniques of Weather Forecasting
    • Early Methods & Simple Techniques
    • Modern Forecasting Approaches
    • Synoptic (Traditional) Forecasting
    • Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)
    • Statistical Methods
    • Long and Short Range Forecasting
    • Understanding Forecasting Models
    • Simple Models
    • Tropical Cyclone Forecast Model
    • General Circulation MOdel (GCM)
    • Regional Climate Modelling
    • Collection and Applications of Weather and Climate Data
    • Weather Mapping
    • Satellite
    • Radar
    • Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)
    • Verification Methods
    • Methods of Standard Verification
  8. Climatology Problem Based Learning Project
    • Management Processes
    • Planning
    • Organising
    • Leading
    • Controlling
    • Business Plans - Preparing a Plan
    • Decision Making
    • What to Plan for
    • Risk
    • Risk Analysis
    • Ways to Manage Risk

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What Makes Up Our Weather?
The following components of weather are among some of the most common weather features. An understanding of each of these is essential to expand your knowledge.

  • Rainfall
  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Hours of Sunshine
  • Cloud
  • Fog
  • Dew
  • Mist
  • Hail
  • Sleet
  • Snow
  • Frost
  • Weather fronts
  • Lightning
  • Hurricanes
  • Dust clouds
  • Wildfire
  • Volcanic ash
  • Aurora  

The sun is a vital component to all our weather patterns. As the sun shines over different surfaces such as lakes, forests and hard surfaces, variations of warm air and air patterns emerge. As these try to find or reach equilibrium, various types of weather form. Warm and cool air gusts appear, more moisture is transpired from forests or evaporated from lake areas than other sites, causing sections of air that are extra humid. As these rise (as warm air always does) and are blown about, various other phenomena occur. If the air has to rise over a mountain range blocking its path then clouds can develop, and depending on the type of cloud, rain clouds may form.


As an environment degrades, the living plants and animals within them are faced with a depletion of resources; in effect, a different set of resources to live with. They must either adapt, or their populations change (or, in the extreme, disappear). Such changes in populations will in turn result in a further degradation and impact upon the stability of other aspects of the environment. In essence, everything is interlinked and inter-dependent.

If the influence of man is withdrawn from any environment, given time, nature will usually return to some sort of balance. The mix of species may vary from what existed originally, but the environment would stabilise.

The question therefore arises whether it is preferable for man to attempt to create or fabricate an environment, or alternatively allow a degraded landscape to rehabilitate itself (i.e. largely let nature do the job).

There are various concerns:

  1. The Conservation Ethic - Is it more ethical to let nature take its course, or to take  control over nature? The traditional way of Western civilisation has been to take control but many today would consider it more ethical to work more with nature rather than in spite of it.
  2. Aesthetics - Some say we cannot let nature go uncontrolled because of aesthetic consequences. For others who see greater beauty in nature, it is more aesthetic to let nature take its own course. In essence, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  3. Practicalities - Degradation may have reached a point where human interference become essential if for no other reason, for public welfare. It may be impractical to leave an eroded roadside to the forces of nature, as the result may be a serious accident.
  4. Level of interference - Some say that access/use of an area by people must be controlled (reduced or limited) to a carefully determined level, to ensure a recovery/rehabilitation occurs.
  5. Cost - Continued degradation may result in long-term costs through reduced productivity or usefulness of both the site concerned and other sites which the degradation could eventually effect.

Fabricated landscapes are attractive and will almost certainly continue to exist. They are however expensive to maintain. A more cost effective way is to work with nature, rather than against it; managing land to maintain or re-establish self-sustaining natural systems.

All living organisms require a minimum amount of space to maintain a stable population. As such, size is critical in any attempt to sustain or rehabilitate a natural landscape. If the area is not big enough, some of the animals or plants within that ecosystem will disappear in due course. 

Where Will this Course Lead You?

Your knowledge of climate science will grow as you learn more; and as this happens, you will begin to develop an awareness of people, organisations and resources. The opportunity to expand your networking within the environmental industries will develop and if you take up the opportunities that present, you will rapidly move onto a pathway to expand experience and further opportunities in the future.

This is a course for people with a passion for the environment, a desire to contribute to the future of our planet, and at the same time develop career or business opportunities that can sustain you throughout your working life.

Success is not so much a matter of having a high level of formal studies. It is more about having a foundation of knowledge, gaining some experience, and seizing upon opportunities as they reveal themselves to you.

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Marie Beermann

Marie has more than 10 years experience in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M. Sc. Hort., Dip. Bus., Cert. Ldscp.
Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
Barbara Seguel

Teacher and Researcher, Marine Scientist, Tourism and Outdoor recreation guide, Health and Safety Coordinator & Production Manager for Fisheries, National Park Staff/Farmer, Laboratory technical aide, Zoo, Wildlife and Marine Park assistant. Barbara has w
Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Hort
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