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The University of Southampton

GEOG3057 Adapting to Climate Change and Weather Hazards

Module Overview

GEOG3057 is a multidisciplinary unit designed for students with an interest in how individuals and societies understand and respond to environmental shocks and stresses, and their different capacities for adaptation. The focus of the module is on climate and weather hazards. Through lectures and seminars we will explore the key concepts of vulnerability and risk relating to environmental events. We will apply these concepts in a variety of applied contexts through case studies and seminars. Applied frameworks and real world observations lie at the heart of this module, and it is on these aspects that assessment is based. The module begins with an exploration of the key concepts that underpin adaptation, followed by an understanding of what adaptation looks like in practice, and ending with some considerations of future adaptation needs and realities. The module has a global focus and will consider adaptation in the UK and the rest of the world.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the concepts of adaptation, vulnerability, risk and resilience in the context of weather and climate hazards
  • Undertake high quality evidence-based analysis of topics relating to adapting to climate and weather hazards
  • Show a capacity to critically assess the robustness of scientific work in the subject area
  • Articulate the benefits and risks of applying alternative conceptual frameworks to address climate and weather adaptation issues
  • Describe to a layperson the purpose of the main institutions and the role of the key actors that shape the current climate and weather adaptation landscape


Introduction to module Brief review of climate science, climate impacts and uncertainty Introduction to core concepts and theories (risk and vulnerability) Theorising vulnerability Case studies of reducing vulnerability Theorising risk Managing current hazards and risks Understanding adaptive capacity Adaptation limits and thresholds

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

20 lectures 5 seminars 3 sessions on setting assignments/help sessions Generic feedback session Depending on class size – if needed (i.e. class >80) daily responses to BB forum queries from a demonstrator Depending on class size - if needed - drop-in sessions for assignment advice (if student numbers greater than 50 - provided by demonstrators)

Independent Study118
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Lea Berrang-Ford, James D. Ford, Jaclyn Paterson (2011). Are we adapting to climate change?. Global Environmental Change. ,21 , pp. 25-33.

SMIT, B. & PILIFOSOVA, O. (2001). Chapter 18, Adaptation to climate change in the context of sustainable development and equity.. Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II. Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.. , pp. 879-912.

James J. Porter, Suraje Dessai, Emma L. Tompkins (2014). What do we know about UK household adaptation to climate change? A systematic review. Climatic Change. ,127 , pp. 371.



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 65%
Assignment  (300 words) 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: GEOG1011 OR GEOG2032 OR UOSM2010

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