Climate and Climate Change


At the end of this UC the student will have acquired knowledge, skills and competences that allow him to define and explain the differences between meteorology and climatology, interpreting the basic elements for describing weather and climate (air temperature, humidity, clouds and cloudiness, precipitation, pressure, direction and wind speed). It will integrate the atmosphere into the terrestrial system, realizing its complexity and continuous interaction with the geosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, analysing the interdisciplinary involved in the study of the planet and global environmental problems. The student will acquire knowledge about the anthropogenic action in climate change, from the pre-industrial era, analysing the past observed trends of climatic variables, as well as on future projections. The student will understand the importance of climate change for the practice of environmental engineering, in light of the expected impacts on natural and human systems.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Alexandra de Jesus Branco Ribeiro


Weekly - 2

Total - 28

Teaching language



There are no precedence requisites.



Houghton, J. (2015) Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, Cambridge University Press; 5th ed. 396 pp

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.

Lutgens, F. K. & Tarbuck, E. J. (2016). The Atmosphere: An Introduction to Meteorology, 13th ed., Pearson Publishing Company, ISBN-13: 9780321984623

European State of the Climate 2018, Copernicus, EC, ECMWF

Global Climate Change, NASA

Portal do Clima de Portugal, IPMA

Teaching method

Lecturing of problem-solving sessions and laboratory sessions are carried out in a room equipped with data-show.
The pedagogic material is available for the students in the Discipline Sheet created in the Moodle. This sheet also allows students to follow the Course through the whole semester, e.g. in what concerns the work carried out in small working groups.

Evaluation method


1.1 – The admission to the final exam is conditioned by a) absences must be below around 1/3 to the total number of classes, and b) Delivering and oral presentation of a group project. This report represents 30% of the final grade. The compliance of a) and b) is compulsory for final exam admission.

1.2 – LECTURES EVALUATION represents 70% of the final grade. 1.2.1 - Two tests through the semester. 1.2.2 – Evaluation through final exam needs the fulfilment of the admission conditions (number of presences and group project) and is for who failed the evaluation, or wants to increase the final grade.

1.3 – Team report: The report must comply the format made available at the page of the discipline in the Moodle. Each team must perform an oral presentation of their report, and will have feedback from the docent.

Subject matter

The geophysics and meteorology. Structure and composition of the atmosphere. Solar and terrestrial radiation. Overall energy balance. Greenhouse effect. Ozone hole. Air temperature. Air humidity. Atmosphere dynamics: stability and instability of the air, adiabatic processes. Dew and frost. Clouds, cloudiness and fogs. Precipitation. Air masses and fronts. Atmospheric pressure. Wind systems. General circulation of the atmosphere. Weather systems.

Anthropogenic radiative forcing. Relation between the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and increase of the average global temperature of the planet. Concept of climatic anomaly. Climatic models of general and regional circulation. RCP: concept, families and purpose. Future projections of climatic variables, including extremes. The importance of climate and climate change in environmental engineering and ODS 13.


Programs where the course is taught: