Environmental Modelling and Climate Change


The module will develop the understanding of environmental modelling through investigations of climate change models and their implications through a combination of lectures, self- study and supervised practicals.


The module aims are to equip students with the basic principles of model-based approaches in environmental science, develop critical understanding of the current basis of climate change predictions, and to explore various scenarios to assess the impact on the world in the future.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Knowledge of the fundamental basis of modelling of environmental systems and main principles used in the development and analysis of models.

2.  Practical knowledge of the application of computational methods to the analysis and modelling of environmental data.

3.  Demonstrate in depth knowledge of the principles of climate change models currently used.

4.  Understand how different scenarios affect predictions of climate change to develop an understanding of mitigation and uncertainty.

5.  Demonstrate in depth knowledge of how climate change affects international agreements.

Indicative Content

1 Model Types.

Different types and structures of models in environmental science: empirical models, conceptual models, physically based models, systems dynamics models, data-based models, statistical models, agent-based modelling, participatory modelling.

2 Climate Change Models.

Dynamic and statistical models of climate change including scenario planning models, greenhouse gas emissions and flooding management modelling, and environmental sustainability models.

3 Climate Change.

Prediction, uncertainty, and mitigation.

4 Towards Universal Climate Agreements.

The political and global landscape.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module uses a problem-based learning approach to introduce students to the modelling methodology and current climate change concerns. The module includes a combination of lectures, tutorials, and computer practicals, and the assessment will be via two reports.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 9
Unsupervised Practical Activity 18
Assessment 40
Independent 109

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.