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Subject: PALEOCLIMATOLOGIA (A.A. 2023/2024)


Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Paleoclimatologia
Geology and Paleontology (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: GEO/01 CFU: 5
Geology and Paleontology (exercise)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: GEO/01 CFU: 1
Teachers: Francesca BOSELLINI, Annalisa FERRETTI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download




The course aims to provide students with the tools to deal with classical problems or the most recent developments in paleoclimatology through the knowledge of the basic elements that regulate the functioning of the current climate system and the proxies that allow the reconstruction of the climate of the past in a well-defined chronological framework. At the end of the course of "Paleoclimatology" the student should be capable to:
- be familiar with the tools to deal with classical problems or the most recent developments in paleoclimatology;
- be familiar with the basic principles that regulate the functioning of the current climate system:
- accomplish the basic principles necessary for the reconstruction of the climate of the by the use of different proxies.
For a deeper understanding of the course aims, please see the section on expected learning results.

Admission requirements

This course has no formal prerequisites, and all topics will be taught assuming no prior training.

Course contents

The climate today. (0,25 CFU)
The Earth's climate system; shallow and deep oceanic circulation, atmosphere-ocean interactions.
The main proxies for paleoclimatic reconstructions. (0,5 CFU)
Physical aspects in paleoclimatology: the testimony of ice, the analysis of sediments. (2 CFU)
Which future is waiting for us? (0,25 CFU)

The main biotic proxies for paleoclimatic reconstructions: oceanic sediments and planktonic organisms, corals, pollen, tree rings. (1 CFU)
Paleoclimatic curves. (1 CFU)
Climate variability in the geological past. (1 CFU)
Integrations and/or changes to the course contents can be foreseen due to specific contingencies. More time may be devoted to some topics in relation to possible students' feedback.

Teaching methods

Lectures associated with analysis of case studies planned to stimulate criticism and discussion in commenting climatic and paleoclimatic data. For specific topics, multimedia movies can be shown in order to unravel the connection between the theoretical arguments treated and implications in modern paleoclimatic studies.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of an oral test or a presentation on a specific topic established in advance with the teacher. Particular attention is given to conceptual and methodological aspects. In assigning the final mark the level of the following aspects will be considered: i) theoretical knowledge acquired (50%); ii) capacity of applying the acquired knowledge (30%); iii) independent thinking (10%); communication skills (10%). Each ability will be assessed based on different topics taught within the course. The exam will be finally evaluated on a scale of thirty. Knowledge and comprehension will be tested by means of questions covering at least three of the points in the syllabus under "Course Syllabus". The knowledge (remembering) and understanding (comprehending) of the topics will be assessed. The ability to apply KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING will be assessed through the answers given to a series of questions requiring the ability to correlate notions relating to several topics (analysing). COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS will be tested on the basis of the ability to critically analyse content (evaluate) and language properties. Contributes to the award of distinction.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding: Through lectures, guided readings and group discussions, students will be able to get the fundamental laws of paleoclimatology and paleoclimatic processes.
Applying knowledge and understanding: Through data analysis students will be able to apply their knowledge to solve paleoclimatic problems within complex systems.
Making judgments: Through lectures and a constant in class-discussion of specific issues the student will acquire a sensible independent judgment with respect to the evaluation and critical interpretation of experimental data.
Communication skills: through constant group activities the student will acquire necessary skills and tools for communication with reference to obtaining, processing and presentation of data effectively and concisely; to express the concepts learned with appropriate language and to hold a discussion about the topics covered. Learning skills: all the described activities will enable students in acquiring the methodological tools for knowing and upgrading their knowledge.


Dispense del corso e selezionate letture che verranno suggerite durante il corso.

Notes from the teachers and selected readings that will be suggested during the course.