GEO255 Environmental Modelling

Level 2
Credits 10
Availability Approved for BA Geography; BSc Geography; Environmental Science; Geography & Planning
Semester Autumn
Prerequisites GEO162 (GEO161 2013/14 onwards)
Description The module uses lectures and computer practicals to introduce the numerical modelling of environmental systems. The art and science of model formulation, construction, and testing will be covered in detail. Students will use a number of specially-written models from various areas of physical geography and environmental science.
  1. To introduce numerical modelling as an important method of understanding environmental systems and predicting changes in these systems.
  2. To give students some experience of what is involved in creating and using computer models.
Learning Outcomes By the end of the module, a student will be able to demonstrate:
  1. Knowledge of the uses of numerical models of environmental systems.
  2. Knowledge of how dynamic store-and-flow systems are represented in computer models.
  3. Knowledge of issues of calibration, uncertainty, and sensitivity analysis
Outline Contents The following themes will be addressed in order: (1) why model?, (2) types of model, (3) box models of flows between stores, (4) alternative spatial representations, (5) calibration and sensitivity analysis, (6) examples of models in three of the following (depending on who teaches the module in a given year): hydrology, climatology, geomorphology, population ecology.
Delivery Methods Lectures to introduce basic concepts and methods and to introduce practical work. Practicals in PC laboratory using prepared models (in Excel which students already know) to illustrate what was discussed in lectures .
Student Contact Hours 25
Supporting Texts
  • Kirkby, M.J., Naden, P.S., Burt, T.P., and Butcher, D.P. (1993) Computer Simulation in Physical Geography, 2nd edition.
  • Wainwright, J. and Mulligan, M. (eds) (2003) Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in Complexity.
Assessment Methods Examination (67%); practical write-up (33%)
(convenor underlined)
Dr Julie Jones, Dr Felix Ng

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