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Climate Change

Applied Physics, First Cycle
2. year
Lecturer (contact person):

Tjaša Redek, Assist. Prof. Ddr. Matjaž Ličer, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gregor Skok, Prof. Dr. Luka Snoj, Nina Črnivec, Gregor Vertačnik, Sašo Petan, Blaž Gasparini, Marko Kovač, Matjaž Česen, Bojana Bajželj, Mark Žagar, Miha Humar, Metka Hudina, Andrej Ferdo Gubina, Marko Jošt, Robert Dominko, Assist. Prof. Dr. Žiga Zaplotnik, Tjaša Pogačar

Hours per week – 2. semester:

Enroled in 2nd year

Content (Syllabus outline)

The physics of climate change: history of research, astronomical factors, greenhouse gases, changes in Earth’s surface. Radiation models, spectra of incoming and outgoing radiation. Feedback loops, stability of the climate system, tipping points. Impact on temperature distribution and precipitation. Physical evidence for human impact on rising greenhouse gas concentrations.
Climate dynamics: climate change in the past, possible states of Earth’s climate, stability, bifurcations, natural multi-year to multi-decade climate variability.
Climate models: physical models and the impact of clouds on the climate system. Projections of climate change.
Geoengineering. The impact of aerosols on the climate system.
Local consequences of climate change. Climate projections for Slovenia produced using regional climate models. Changes in temperature and precipitation.
Sea level rise and glacier melting; altered hydrology of standing and flowing waters.
Commitments to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (Paris Agreement; EU Fit for 55; National Energy and Climate Plan). Econometric models.
The impact of climate change on work productivity; health; well-being; agriculture; forestry; nutrition; and the role dietary changes play in mitigating its effects.
Environmental economics: benefits and costs associated with a green transition; socio-economic scenarios; theory of further growth/de-growth. Carbon tax and emission permits.
Transformation (electro)energy system in Slovenia. Existing low-carbon technologies (nuclear power plants; wind turbines; solar power plants; battery storage systems).


Masson-Delmotte, V.; Zhai, P.; Pirani, A.; Connors, S.; Péan, C.; Berger, S.; Caud, N.; Chen, Y.; Goldfarb, L.; Gomis, M.; et al. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2021.

IPCC. Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report 550
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, 2022. 551
IPCC. Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of 553
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, 2022. 554

Objectives and competences

The main objective of this course is to acquire general knowledge necessary for understanding the reasons for climate change and its impact on human systems; social plans; and technological solutions for mitigating and adapting to it.
The acquired competencies enable an understanding of the green transition and possible technological solutions for mitigating climate change.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge of the history of climate change research, understanding of the greenhouse effect, knowledge of various anthropogenic causes of climate change. Acquaintance with climate change models. Knowledge of predicted impacts on the hydrological cycle, state of oceans, hydrology of land waters. Knowledge of local consequences of climate change. Knowledge of the impact of climate change on human systems: food systems, agriculture and forestry, public health, economics. Awareness of social agreements for mitigating climate change and changes. Knowledge of the potential of various methods for mitigating climate change: geoengineering, general understanding of low-carbon energy sources.


Ability to use knowledge in designing environmental commitments. The student demonstrates acquired knowledge in the form of a seminar/exam in which he/she demonstrates an understanding of the problem of climate change and discusses potential solutions.

Transferrable skills

The ability of critical assessment of the impact of climate change provides the mental framework for tackling problems outside the academic environment. The acquired competenes provide support in communicating climate-change related science, writing grant proposals, interpreting climate change to the general public, and interdisciplinary communication required for facing major environmental issues. The student acquires skills applicable to working in interdisciplinary working groups and organizations.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, individual seminars and/or other homeworks, consultations


Written exam
Oral exam or individual project

Lecturer's references

ZAPLOTNIK, Žiga, PIKOVNIK, Matic, BOLJKA, Lina. Recent Hadley circulation strengthening: a trend or multidecadal variability?. Journal of climate. 2022, vol. 35, iss. 13, str. 4157-4176, ilustr. ISSN 0894-8755. DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-21-0204.1. [COBISS-SI-ID 98102531]

ZAPLOTNIK, Žiga, ŽAGAR, Nedjeljka, BENEDETTI, Angela, SEMANE, Noureddine. Inferring atmospheric dynamics from aerosol observations in 4D-Var. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 2020, vol. 146, iss. 728, str. 1403-1422, ilustr. ISSN 0035-9009. DOI: 10.1002/qj.3743. [COBISS-SI-ID 387497]

PIKOVNIK, Matic, ZAPLOTNIK, Žiga, BOLJKA, Lina, ŽAGAR, Nedjeljka. Metrics of the Hadley circulation strength and associated circulation trends. Weather and climate dynamics. 2022, vol. 3, iss. 2, str. 625-644, ilustr. ISSN 2698-4016. DOI: 10.5194/wcd-3-625-2022. [COBISS-SI-ID 116336643]

ŽAGAR, Nedjeljka, ZAPLOTNIK, Žiga, KARAMI, Khalil. Atmospheric subseasonal variability and circulation regimes: spectra, trends and uncertainties. Journal of climate. 2020, vol. 33, iss. 21, str. 9375-9390, ilustr. ISSN 0894-8755. DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-20-0225.1. [COBISS-SI-ID 26783747]

KOSOVELJ, Katarina, ZAPLOTNIK, Žiga. Indices of Pacific Walker circulation strength. Atmosphere. Feb. 2023, vol. 14, art. no. 397, 20 str., ilustr. ISSN 2073-4433. DOI: 10.3390/atmos14020397. [COBISS-SI-ID 142299395]