MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG70552
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The students will gain experience of using industry standard software for hydrological modelling, river modelling, GIS analysis, and in water scarcity. Students will also develop hands on skills in data analysis and GIS, and use hydrological and hydraulic river modelling techniques in the context of river basins.

Themes will include; flood hydrology, hydrological modelling, river modelling (i.e.1D & 2D hydraulic modelling), and hydrological modelling in mountain catchments, and water scarcity and irrigation (i.e. water and food insecurity), water balance modelling, and climate change modelling (case studies include Ethiopia and Pakistan).



Develop an understanding of application of modelling approaches in environmental research and/or consultancy.


Teaching and learning methods

Teaching method is through lectures, seminars, and studio workshops/practicals. Notional hours of Learning is 150 hours. Learning methods is through private study/practical work and directed reading.

Knowledge and understanding

Gain an understanding of flood hydrology including data collection and environmental monitoring. Understand the application and use of 1D and 2D river models and hydrological models (i.e. rainfall-runoff). Acquire data analysis & GIS skills including spatial modelling techniques, Gain an understanding of the water-food-energy nexus, global water insecurity and water conflicts, and an introduction of the economics of water scarcity. Learn about the application of water balance modelling (Ethiopia), and irrigation and economic development in the Rift Valley for food security. Discuss climate change issues and modelling in context of Africa. Gain knowledge of mountain hydrology and use and modify a glacier runoff model. Learn about data collection, environmental monitoring, GIS and data analysis techniques.

Intellectual skills

Develop skills at data interpretation and data analysis, expanding understanding of what is modelling and uncertainty, and writing analytically.

Practical skills

Acquire data analysis & GIS skills; Gain the ability to use 1D river models and hydrological models; Learn to estimate design flows; undertake irrigation and dam analysis, and to develop a glacier runoff model,

Transferable skills and personal qualities

To have used industry standard software and used in environmental consultancy which are also applicable to continued research, and be able to write a practical book to a postgraduate standard.

Employability skills

Develop skills at data interpretation and data analysis including GIS skills; Gain the ability to use 1D river models and hydrological models. Have used industry standard software and used in environmental consultancy which are also applicable to continued research and be able to write analytically. Be able to work independently and to meet deadlines.

Assessment methods

The course will be assessed by a practical book based on computer based practical classes related to each theme taught

Feedback methods

Formative written feedback.

Recommended reading

Reading Lists should normally be managed through the JRUL 'Link2Lists' facility. This field will generically contain the URL address for the 'Link2Lists' facility, but you can amend this as you wish (either entering a different URL in this field, to the specific reading list for the course unit), or by entering supplementary free text details of the reading list.
It is although advised that the 'Link2Lists' functionality is utilised as standard.

R & D Project FD1913 ‘Revitalisation of the FSR/FEH rainfall-runoff method’
Flood Estimation Handbook Supplementary Report.
Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH) Volumes 1 – 5.
Shaw, E. (1991) Hydrology in Practice.

Ferguson, R. I., 1999. Snowmelt runoff models. Progress in Physical Geography, 23 (2), 205-227.

Fountain, A. G., and Tangborn, W., 1985. Overview of contemporary techniques. In Young, G. J. (ed.),
Techniques for prediction of runoff from glacierized areas. International Association of Hydrological Sciences Publication number 149, 27-41. 

Lowe, A.T. and Collins D.N. 2001. Modelling runoff from large glacierised basins in the Karakoram Himalaya using remote sensing of the transient snowline. International Association Hydrological Sciences Publication number 267, 99-104.  

Richard, C., and Gratton, D. J., 2001. The importance of the air temperature variable for the snowmelt runoff modelling using the SRM. Hydrological Processes, 15 (18), 3357-3370. 

Turpin, O. C., Ferguson, R. I., and Clarke, C. D., 1997. Remote sensing of snowline rises as an aid to testing and calibrating a glacier runoff model. Phys. Chem. Earth, 22, 3-4, 279-283.  

Various authors, 2003. Mountain Hydrology and Water Resources, Journal of hydrology, Vol. 282, issues 1-4, 1-181.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Practical classes & workshops 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 106

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Lowe Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This is semester two course which consists of two weekly two hour sessions.


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