The Climate System Analysis Group has launched a new initiative in providing online material to help users understand some of the key concepts of Climate Science.


An overview of CSAG’s e-learning material:

The following e-learning modules are part of the Climate System Analysis Group’s online material used in climate science training.  The focus in these particular modules is on different types of climate data.  When it comes to using climate data, a user is often confronted by very scientific terminology and also lists of multiple sources of data, often with very little guidance on application.  The objective here is to provide an entry level background to the many concepts used in climate science, to assist users in understanding the data they are using and where it comes from.


How to view a Module:

Prezi, which is used here, is a dynamic method used to tell a story through a combination of text and figures. By clicking on the link for a module (or copy and paste into your browser), it will take you to the online version of the presentation. Use the right and left arrows (in the dark tool bar at the bottom of the prezi window) to go forwards and backwards, respectively, through the presentation. Note that the presentation is best viewed in full screen mode, which can be set at the bottom right hand corner of the tool bar.  If there are any lines of text that you are not able to read, you can use the scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom in to that particular slide.


Module One: An introduction to Climate Data

This module provides an introduction of some of the basic concepts of observing the climate system.  It covers concepts ranging from how weather stations have played a important role in improving our understanding of climate through to how advances in technology have improved climate observations.



Module Two: An introduction to Climate Models

Climate models are seen to be one of the biggest developments in climate science. Climate models have evolved considerably in recent decades due to the advances in computer technology. This module provides a breakdown on the history of climate models, detailing how such simple methods have become increasingly complicated. It also looks at some of the model limitations and how developers have attempted to overcome these.



Module Three: An Introduction to Future Climate Projections

Through the use of climate models and future emission pathways, climate scientists have been able to project what the climate could be like at the end of the 21st century based on numerous plausible assumptions. This module looks at how model ensembles are used to create future climate projections.



Module Four: Downscaling Climate Data

The output of Global Climate Models is at a scale that is too coarse for the requirements of many decision makers. To overcome this challenge, a method known as downscaling is one technique that has been applied to produce finer-scaled data.



Module Five: An introduction to the challenges of applying Climate Data

One of the biggest challenges many users are faced with is the application of climate data. This module serves as in introduction to some of the challenging topics that will be discussed in the week long workshop held in Cape Town at the end of October.



Module Six: Adaptation in the context of Impacts & Vulnerability

This module provides an introduction to climate change adaptation. It outlines how adaptation needs are shaped by climate change risk, and gives a brief outline of processes for identifying adaptation responses. The module provides a number of generic adaptation examples, and highlights the possibility of maladaptation, with related examples.



Module Seven: Communication for research based decision making  

This module provides an insight into the interface between science and society, and the communication challenges that arise in that space. It further provides some recommendations for how scientists can communicate and engage with a range of stakeholders.