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Table of Contents

1. Course title

Global biogeochemical cycles in the Earth System


2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53341 Ilmastojärjestelmän biogeokemialliset kierrot, 5 op

3. Course status: optional

-Which degree programme is responsible for the course?
Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences

-Which module does the course belong to?
ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences
optional for

  • Study Track in Biogeochemical Cycles
  • Study Track in Meteorology

-Is the course available to students from other degree programmes?

4. Course level (first-, second-, third-cycle/EQF levels 6, 7 and 8)

Master’s level, degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine = secondcycle
degree/EQF level 7
Doctoral level = third-cycle (doctoral) degree/EQF level 8

-Does the course belong to basic, intermediate or advanced studies (cf. Government Decree
on University Degrees)?
Advanced studies

5. Recommended time/stage of studies for completion

-The recommended time for completion may be, e.g., after certain relevant courses have
been completed.

6. Term/teaching period when the course will be offered

-This course will be offered next in autumn term 2017.

-November-December 2017

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course

Martin Heimann

9. Course learning outcomes

-Description of the learning outcomes provided to students by the course
- See the competence map (

10. Course completion methods

-Course material is provided online (slides, exercises, solutions to exercises). 
-Attendance of lectures is recommended, but not mandatory
-Credit points are given after passing final exam

11. Prerequisites

-Basic knowledge of the physical Earth System and familiarity with elementary mathematics up to differential equations. 

12. Recommended optional studies

-What other courses are recommended to be taken in addition to this course?
-Which other courses support the further development of the competence provided by this

13. Course content

An advanced course covering the basic knowledge and analysis techniques for understanding the major global biogeochmical cycles and how they interact in the Earth System: The cycle of  carbon, methane, nitrogen, oxygen and phosphorus.  Topics include: 

1 Introduction and overview, 
2 ocean carbon cycle, 
3 terrestrial carbon cycle, 
4 global carbon cycle modelling, 
5 carbon isotopes (13C and 14C), 
6 oxygen and oxygen isotopes, 
7 quantification of global and regional budgets, 
8 methane, 
9 nitrogen, 
10 phosphorus, 
11 paleo carbon and methane cycles, 
12 couplings between climate and biogeochemical cycles.

14. Recommended and required literature


  • Schlesinger: Biogeochemistry - An analysis of global change, Elsevier Academic Press, 1997, ISBN: 978-0-12-625155-5, 588pp.
  • Jacobson, Charlson, Rhode and Orians: Earth System Science, Elsevier Academic Press, International Geophysics Series vol. 72, 2000, ISBN: 978-0-12-379370-6, 527pp.
  • Archer:The global carbon cycle. Princeton University Press, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-691-14414-6, 205pp.

15. Activities and teaching methods in support of learning

-See the competence map (
-Student activities
-Description of how the teacher’s activities are documented

16. Assessment practices and criteria, grading scale

-See the competence map (
-The assessment practices used are directly linked to the learning outcomes and teaching
methods of the course.

17. Teaching language