Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Master's Degree Programme on SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES OF NAVIGATION
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

The course provides the student with the tools to learn the basic knowledge on modern methods of integrated analysis that allow to reconstruct the trend of the climate in past eras through the use of paleontological data of both plant and animal origin, petrographic, geochemical(proxy data) . This educational approach is a key tool in the field of paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions for the definition of global climate and environmental change scenarios.


no prerequisite


PALEOCLIMATOLOGY - Climate and climate change; The climate system; Climate archives, data and models.
PLATE TECTONICS - Earth's heat flux and associated phenomena; It derives from the continents; classification of continental margins; expansion of the ocean floor; methods for measuring the spreading rate of the ocean floor; magnetic anomalies and their meaning, magnetostratigraphy; distribution of sedimentary cover on oceanic crust.
SEDIMENTARY ROCKS - Degradation of rocks, processes and mechanisms of transport and deposition. Composition, textures and sedimentary structures and their meaning. Diagenesis and lithification.
NOTES OF STRATIGRAPHY Stratigraphy principles; Main stratigraphic units. Absolute and relative chronology, scale of geological time. Sedimentary dynamics and notes on depositional environments.
CLIMATE CHANGES TO THE TECTONIC SCALE. CO2 and the long-term evolution of the climate. Plate tectonics and long-term changes in climate. The evolution of the climate from the Precambrian to the Quaternary. The Faint Young Sun Paradox. Climate model of the super continent Pangea; the tectonic control of CO2; the Blag hypotesis (spreading rate). The tectonic control on the removal of CO2, the uplift weathering hypotesis.
THE GREENHOUSE CLIMATE REGIME IN THE GEOLOGICAL PAST. Simulation model of the Cretaceous's greenhouse. Volume change of ocean basins.
FROM THE GREENHOUSE REGIME TO THE ICEHOUSE REGIME: the last 50 million years. Evidence and analysis techniques of climatic variations (vegetation, oxygen isotopes and Mg / Ca ratio measurements).
CLIMATE CHANGES TO THE ORBITAL SCALE. Astronomical control on insolation.
Insolation control on the extension of the ice caps. Variations on the orbital scale of CO2 and CH4. Interactions at the orbital scale and feedback. Introduction to Quaternary climate change.

The course is organized in two modules (Module 1 of 6 CFU and Module 2 of 3 CFU) deals with the following topics:
Module 1
The climate archives (16 h)
Climate Archives; Climatic forces; Plate Tectonics; how sedimentary rocks are formed; basic principles of Stratigraphy;
Sea level fluctuations (8 h)
Eustatism and relative changes in sea level;
The Carbon cycle and the isotopic stratigraphy (8 h)
climate change at the tectonic scale; the Greenhouse climate regime in the geological past; from the Greenhouse regime to the Icehouse regime;
Climate Milankovitch cycles (16 h)
climate change on the orbital scale; insolation control on ice caps;

Teaching Methods

frontal teaching and classroom exercisesT


Ruddiman William F. 2nd Edition., Earth's Climate (Past and Future). --: W.H. Freeman And Company., 2007.
C. Smiraglia, “Guida ai ghiacciai e alla glaciologia”. Zanichelli.
P. Casati e F. Pace, “Scienze della Terra”. Vol. II - Città Studi Ed.
Bennet, “Glacial Geology: Ice Sheets and Landforms”, 2nd Edition - Wiley.
R.S. Bradley, “Paleoclimatology. Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary”, 2nd Edition -
Materiale didattico fornito dal docente

Learning assessment

L’obiettivo della prova d’esame consiste nel verificare il livello di raggiungimento degli obiettivi formativi precedentemente indicati.
L’esame consiste in una prova orale nella quale sarà valutata la capacità di descrivere collegare e confrontare aspetti diversi trattati durante il corso

More information

voluntary participation in checking tests