Module Identifier EA31220  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Neil Macdonald  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours.  
  Practical   10 Hours.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours WRITTEN EXAMINATION  50%
Semester Assessment 2500 WORD ESSAY  30%
Semester Assessment WORKSHOP REPORTS  20%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours WRITTEN EXAM   

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
Describe and explain natural hydroclimatological variability at a variety of spatial scales

Describe the methods used to reconstruct records of past hydroclimatological change

Describe and explain the fundamentals concepts and methods used in both the atmospheric and hydrological sciences

Discuss the interactions between: precipation, evaporation, interception, soil moisture, snow and ice, and stream flow

Discuss the 'contemporary' challenges in hydroclimatology resulting from increasing human impact upon processes within the hydrological cycle


  1. Introduction to hydroclimatology - past, present and future
  2. Instrumental records - (1) rainfall. Workshop (A) - Spatial and temporal rainfall variability
  3. Instrumental records - (2) temperature. Workshop (B) - Record homogenisation
  4. Instrumental records - (3) river flow. Workshop (C) - Reconstructing historical river flow records
  5. Historical and diary records - (1) river flow and (2) climate. Workshop (D) - Interpreting diary returns using phenology as an example.
  6. Palaeo records - varves, stalagmites and tree rings. Workshop (E) - Palaeo records
  7. Water in the atmosphere
  8. Climates of the British Isles
  9. Hydroclimatology of floods and droughts
  10. Climate change and water resources in Britain


The aim of this module is to provide a detailed explanation of natural hydroclimatological variability through the analysis of past records of environmental change, to examine the contemporary (present day) processes controlling the behaviour of water in the atmosphere and at the Earth's surface, and to consider potential future challenges in hydroclimatology resulting from increasing human impact upon the air-land-water system. This module will adress these issues usin hypothetical and 'real-life' examples within lectures and workshops.

Brief description

This module is split into three distinct sections: the first examines past climates and approaches to the examination of source materials. The second section addresses the current state of the hydroclimatological environment. The final lectures then examine the possible state and balance of the climate system. The workshops permit the students a greater understanding of the possible source materials through 'simple' problem based learning.

Module Skills

Problem_solving A problem based learning approach will be taken within the workshops, students will undertake the workshops with guidance notes, attempting to solve poblems based upon materials covered with the previous lecture  
Research skills Undertaken during independent reading and in the problem based learning workshops  
Communication Written skills developed through the reports presented from the workshops  
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent reading  
Team work Some workshops will require small group work  
Information Technology Use of simple equations within Excel required for workshops, detailed guidance provided  
Application of Number Some workshops will involve numeric problem solving  
Personal Development and Career planning Increased confidence in undertaking analytical tasks, working with data (workshops)  
Subject Specific Skills Development and expansion on currently present skills base through workshops, particularly within Excel and Word. Experience of working with real data/information.  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Arnell, N. (1996) Global Warming, River Flows and Water Resources John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.
Bradley, R.S. and Jones, P.D. (1994) Climate Since A.D.1500 Routledge, London
Davie, T. (2002) Fundamentals of Hydrology Routledge, London
Hardy, J.T. (2003) Climate Change: Causes, Effects and Solutions John Wiley and Sons, Chichester
Hulme, M. and Barrow, E. (1997) Climates of the British Isles Routledge, London
Jones, J.A.A. (1997) Global Hydrology Longman, London
Lamb, H.H. (1997) Climate history and the modern world 2nd Edition. Routledge, London
Pfister, C., Brazdil, R., Glaser, R. (1999) Climatic Variability in Sixteenth-Century Europe and its Social Dimensions Kluwer, The Netherlands
Shaw, E.M. (1994) Hydrology in Practice 3rd Edition. Chapman and Hall, London
Ward, R.C. and Robinson, M. (2000) Principles of Hydrology 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill, London


This module is at CQFW Level 6