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Causes of Climate Change

University of Bergen via FutureLearn


Uncover the past, present, and future of the causes of climate change

This free online course provides the basis for understanding the underlying physical processes governing climate variations in the past, present and future.

On this course, you’ll explore the main external forcing mechanisms such as the sun, volcanoes, and changes in greenhouse gasses and aerosols, which can contribute to changing the global energy budget and initiate climate variations.

You’ll also consider the role of internal feedback mechanisms and the energy transport in the atmosphere and ocean, in order to understand regional variations in climate.

You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the climate system, and be able to put the recently observed, man-made changes in climate in the context of past natural changes.

To uncover the true causes of climate change, you’ll learn with experts from The University of Bergen. They host the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, the largest centre for natural science-based climate research in Scandinavia.

This course is intended for those with an interest in the physical aspects of climate variations and change.

It does not require any previous experience of studying the causes of climate change, but high school level mathematics and physics is recommended.


  • Radiative forcing
    • Introduction - who are you, what is your motivation, and how has climate already changed in your surroundings?
    • Natural radiative forcing
    • Man-made radiative forcings
    • Natural versus man-made radiative forcing
  • Climate feedbacks and heat transport
    • Energy balance/heat transport
    • Climate Feedback
    • Summary: Climate feedbacks and heat transport
  • Past changes in climate and ocean heat uptake
    • Records of past changes in climate
    • Ocean heat Uptake
    • Sum up week 3: Records of past changes in climate - natural changes in climate of the past

Taught by

Asgeir Sorteberg and Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu


4.7 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

4.4 rating at FutureLearn based on 59 ratings

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