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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Meteorology

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling (ENVI11002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe aim of the course is to provide a theoretical and practical introduction to three dimensional climate modelling. This will allow students to have an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of climate models and for some to subsequently carry out projects which make use of climate models.
The course is structured as a set of guided readings of the text book 'An Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling, 2nd Edition' by Washington and Parker.

Students will be expected to read selected parts of the text and come to the class to discuss areas where they are uncertain. The lecture will aim to clarify areas where the class are uncertain and provide guidance and structure for the next set of readings.
Course description 5 Sessions (Block 1 & 2):
The numbers refer to sections & sub-sections in 'An Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling'
Session 1: Introduction.
- Course aims.
- Climate System - land and Ocean. (section 2.1, 2.2, 2.4.1-2.4.4)

Session 2: Equations of motion for the Atmosphere & the Oceans - also with help from Vallis book. (Students who have not studied Atmospheric Dynamics would find this session hard)
- Governing Equations for the Atmosphere sections 3.1-3.3 (pp 49-69)
- Governing equations for the Ocean (3.8.1 & 3.8.3-3.8.4)

Session 3: Numerical solutions & the need for parameterisation
- Grid-point methods (Sections 4.1 & 4.2)
- Semi-Lagrangian methods for advection. (4.7)
- Spectral Methods (4.4 & 4.5)

Session 4: Parameterisation
- Radiation () (3.6.1-3.6.5)
- Clouds (3.6.6.-3.6.9)
- Ocean Eddies (3.8.4)

Session 5: Using Climate Models.
- Sensitivity to Initial Conditions
- Simulations of Present Climate (5.1, 5.2, 5.5)
- Using Models to understand possible future climates (6.6 & 6.10)

The course will be run as a set of guiding readings largely of parts of the textbook "Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling" by Washington and Parkinson + other books. There will be one 1-hour seminar/week for 5 weeks. The aim of the seminars will be for the students to demonstrate they have understood the previous week's readings and to be given guidance for readings for the following week.

Each session (50 mins) would consist of a discussion about previous set readings (30 mins) where students would raise issues that they did not understand while academic would try to clarify those issues. The remaining 20 mins would be used to set out key ideas in next set of readings. Students would be expected to spend 9 hours/week working through readings; doing problems etc.

The course functions on the assumption that level 11 students are mature enough to be self-learners. So students will be expected, perhaps with some guidance, to seek out additional material and read some literature.

To supplement the theoretical study practical training in how to run the unified model (or other models). (Two half day labs to be arranged in weeks 4-6 as appropriate). Two subsequent sessions (also two half day labs) will give the students practical training in how to analyse the Unified Model - a climate model (or other models as time develops). Section numbers below refer to Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Dynamics and Vector Calculus (PHYS08043) OR Introductory Dynamics (PHYS08052)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students are strongly recommended to have some experience with programming computers prior to the course.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The exam will be two questions out of three. Two of the questions will be theoretical where the students can demonstrate their understanding of the theoretical concepts in the course and a third essay based one where students can demonstrate their understanding of how to use climate models and some broader reading.

The course work is a group exercise which will be assessed using a similar marking scheme to project work. Students are expected to keep a diary and individual students can receive more or less marks based on their contribution to the report.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a theoretical understanding of the principals underlying three dimensional climate models
  2. Have a theoretical understanding of how climate models work
  3. Have a practical understanding of how to run a climate model
  4. Have a practical understanding of how to analyse climate model output
Reading List
'An Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling, 2nd Edition' by Washington and Parker
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 one-hour session per week.
KeywordsClimate Modelling
Course organiserProf Simon Tett
Tel: (0131 6)50 5341
Course secretaryMiss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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