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Statistics in Climate Dynamics (ATOC90010)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Off Campus

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeATOC90010
March - Off Campus
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The subject will discuss some basic statistical methods for analysing climate dynamics with the aim of understanding the physical mechanisms driving the observed structures (statistics). The subject will emphasise how these methods can be applied and will explore the potential pitfalls in interpreting statistical results. The subject will start with a discussion on the basics of probability theory, time series analysis, stochastic models and multivariate data (pattern) analysis. It will then focus on the principles of decision making in statistical analysis (significance tests), which is followed by a discussion of the pitfalls and general strategies in statistical analysis.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Complete statistical analysis on probability distributions, time series, and multi-variate data
  • Apply standard statistical methods in climate dynamics data analysis.
  • Interpret the outcomes of the statistical analysis in the context of climate dynamics.
  • Read, understand and critically analyse the scientific literature on data analysis in climate dynamics.

Generic skills

  • Developing the ability to exercise critical judgement
  • Rigorous and independent thinking
  • Adopting a problem-solving approach to complex or ambiguous questions
  • High-level written report presentation skills; oral communication and presentation skills

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

This subject requires basic university level math. This includes basic calculus and linear algebra. Some knowledge of introductory statistics and climate dynamics is recommended.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Five assignments, weekly, due throughout weeks 2 - 7, 40%
  • Examination (closed book; 3hrs): 60% to be held approximately 2 weeks after the end of the course.

Note: The assignments should be solved in teams of two to three students. Most of the assignments involve computations with MATLAB.

Dates & times

  • March - Off Campus
    CoordinatorRalf Haese
    Mode of deliveryOff Campus
    Contact hoursTotal 36 hours - 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of practicals
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Pre teaching requirementsWhile there are no pre-teaching requirements, students are encouraged to make themselves familiar with the basics of MATLAB.
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 19 April 2019
    Last self-enrol date13 March 2019
    Census date22 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail12 April 2019
    Assessment period ends10 May 2019

    March contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Additional delivery details

This subject is taught through the Victorian Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences: https://vieps.earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/.


NOTE - This intensive subject is hosted by Monash University

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Recommended texts and other resources

    Lecture notes, available here:


    ”Statistical Analysis in Climate Research” by Hans von Storch and Francis W. Zwiers.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 3 April 2019