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LEC.468: Modelling Environmental Processes

Department: Lancaster Environment Centre NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF7//RQF7
Study Level: Postgraduate (Masters level) Credit Points: 15.0
Start Date: 12-01-2015 End Date: 17-04-2015
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr W Tych

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • Lectures:
    Throughout the course case studies and examples will be used to illustrate the material. Guest lecturers may be invited to contribute depending on availability.

    Scope of the course; Scientific methodology and modelling: Introduction to modelling as a process;

    Approaches to modelling: the role of data and perceptions in the modelling process; the problems of badly defined systems in the context of modelling environmental processes; problems of scale (temporal and spatial) and uncertainty in quantifying environmental systems.

    The concept of dynamic system. First order linear systems, with the Nicholson blowfly dynamics and the Aggregated Dead Zone (ADZ) model of dispersion in a river used as practical case studies. Transfer function models, steady state gain and time constant; serial, parallel and feedback connections of first order systems. Block diagram analysis.

    Muskingum-Cunge, Lag and Route, and General Transfer Function models of flow in a river system

    Second order linear systems with the predator-prey equations and a climate model as practical examples; natural frequency and damping ratio; higher order systems

    Linear vs. Nonlinear systems – basic introduction


    Blowfly population modelling and simulation (Matlab/Simulink package)

    Aggregated Dead Zone (ADZ) modelling (Matlab/Simulink package)

    Predator-Prey population dynamics modelling and Gilliland Climate model

    Modelling river flow

Curriculum Design: Pre-requisites/Co-requisites/Exclusions

  • None

  • 50% Exam
  • 50% Coursework

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • Assessment:                CWA:          50%                         Exam:        50%

    Details of CWA:

    Coursework assessment is based on practical reports.  During the practical computer based sessions the students are guided through specific data analysis tasks closely related to the lecture contents

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On completion of this module students should be able to:


    • Communicate with mathematicians and numerical analysts in joint projects involving modelling. 
    • Understand the way in which simple mathematical concepts can be used to build models of environmental systems 

    Subject specific:

    • Be able to individually undertake some simple modelling tasks and to analyse experimental data.
    • Evaluate the principles and problems of computer aided modelling of environmental systems.
    • Use contemporary industry standard  numerical software to analyse and simulate environmental systems.

Contact Information

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