Global Energy Balance and Climate Change

Queensland University of Technology

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Global Energy Balance and Climate Change

  • Host University

    Queensland University of Technology

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Engineering Science, Environmental Science, Environmental Sustainability

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Modern societies are becoming increasingly aware of potential environmental problems associated with conventional energy production technologies. Application of alternative technologies is therefore increasing, with ambitious targets and plans to support research and development for reducing energy related environmental consequences. Already, energy designs in modern developments are based on packages selected from a number of different energy resources. In particular, solar energy is being harvested for daylighting, direct heating and electricity production. 

    This unit is designed to offer science and engineering students an opportunity to gain awareness about the expanding field of alternative energy technologies and to understand relationships between use of energy and its impact on local and global environment.


    Learning Outcomes
    On completion of this unit you should be able to: 
    1. Understand the significance, scope and limitations of energy resources used on a global scale such as fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy.
    2. Understand, on a scientific basis, the relationships between energy consumption, generation of pollutants, and their impact on health and the environment, and. different mechanisms of transport of pollutants.
    3. Understand the role of scientists and engineers in the society and short and long-term social and environmental implications of the decisions that they make.
    4. Understand the role of aerosols in controlling Earth's climate and their impact on health and environment on regional and global level. Describe some techniques used to measure aerosols.
    5. Manage scientific experimental and reporting tasks carried out as a part of a team and as an individual and express yourself with technical and scientific rigour both verbally and in writing.
    6. Explain, on scientific basis, different mechanisms of transport of pollutants through material media.


    Energy needs of the world - past, present and future 

    Global energy balance 
    Principles of the physics of energy 
    Energy transport and exchange, radiative energy, heat transfer 
    Earth's energy balance 

    Relationship between Earth's energy, climate and meteorology 
    Astronomy of the Sun - a terrestrial perspective of solar astronomy 
    Solar radiation on the Earth 
    Composition and structure of Earth's atmosphere 
    Climate and meteorology 

    Atmospheric pollution and its impact on energy balance 
    Sources of atmospheric pollution - focus on combustion of fossil fuels 
    Composition of atmospheric pollution in gaseous and particulate phases 
    Aerosols - physical and chemical properties 

    Mechanisms of pollutant transport 
    Diffusion, dispersion and advection Fluid dynamics 
    The Gaussian plume model 

    The greenhouse effect 
    Definition of the greenhouse effect 
    Global warming - Earth's past, present and predicted temperature profiles, Relationship between climate change and energy exchange 
    Consequences of global warming 

    Stratospheric ozone reduction 
    Structure of the ozone layer and its relationship with UV radiation 
    Changes in atmospheric composition and their effect on the natural ozone layer 
    Effect of stratospheric ozone reduction on human health and ecology 

    Sources of energy for human use 
    Conventional and alternative sources of energy for use in the built environment, transportation and industry - their scope and limitations 

    Renewable energy technologies 
    Solar energy 
    Photovoltaic conversion 
    Heat transfer for harvesting solar energy 
    The optics of collectors 
    Direct heating
    Wind energy

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.