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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Earth Modelling and Prediction (GESC08002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEMP is a compulsory course for incoming Geosciences students who don't have sufficient maths qualifications, i.e. with a D grade or below at A-level Maths, or a C grade or below at Higher Maths. Students with sufficient qualifications can take the course but not for credit.
Earth Modelling and Prediction (EMP) is a level 8, 20-credit course. EMP uses topical issues in Geosciences to understand and develop the essential mathematical skills required by modern geoscientists. The emphasis will be on data analysis and interpretation, including an appreciation of the importance of observation errors and the use of quantitative data in the prediction of future changes in the Earth system.
Course description The course content will be taught through accessible applied problems (e.g., growth rate of ice sheets, balancing the carbon cycle), which are carefully designed to introduce key scientific notation and concepts that are used repeatedly through this course and more widely through the GeoSciences degree programmes.
Weekly tutorials (in groups of 5-6) will reinforce the key concepts taught in the course. The course will be examined by continuous assessment and an end of semester exam. EMP's total contact teaching time is 35 hours (20 x 1.5 hour lectures; 10 x 1.5 hour tutorials). Students should also undertake self-directed study outside the contact teaching hours.
Students will therefore have a sound understanding of
Scientific notation and nomenclature (e.g. significant figures)
How to manipulate equations
How to use calculators to evaluate equations (e.g. exponent versus exponential)
Guesstimation and knowing when to use it
Scalars and vectors
Basic calculus
Basic probability and statistics (e.g. mean and variance)
Errors and uncertainty of measured or predicted values
Areas and volumes
How to approximate observed data using lines and curves

At the end of this course, students will be able to carry out routine lines of enquiry into professional level problems and critically evaluate evidence-based solutions.
Students will be assigned to either Wednesday or Friday tutorial. Details will be given of how to request to change tutorial group in specific applicable circumstances.

Tutorial topics are based on the maths lecture preceding it. In other words, the maths topic discussed at the Tuesday lecture will be covered on the following Wednesday or Friday.
If there are extenuating reasons why you cannot attend a tutorial, you must inform the Course Secretary and your Tutor in advance. Only exceptional circumstances will be considered for non-attendance. These do not include sporting or social engagements.
For any specific questions about tutorials and class work, you should first refer to the FAQ section on Learn before contacting the Course Organiser.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Appreciate quantitative methods that are commonly used in geosciences to answer a range of questions in Earth system science.
  2. Develop a broad knowledge and understanding of how to use a range of standard methods to process and obtain data.
  3. Use and evaluate numerical and graphical data to solve problems.
  4. Carry out routine lines of enquiry into professional level problems and critically evaluate evidence-based solutions.
Reading List
Recommended textbooks
Foundation maths by Anthony Croft and Robert Davison, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Essential Maths for Geoscientists: An Introduction. by Paul I. Palmer, Wiley Blackwell
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 x 1.5 hour tutorial per week. 2 x 1.5 hour lectures each week.

Students will be assigned to either Wednesday or Thursday tutorial. Details will be given of how to request to change tutorial group in specific applicable circumstances.
KeywordsEarth Modelling and Prediction
Course organiserDr Massimo Bollasina
Tel: (0131 6)51 3464
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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