Hydroclimatology: Climate and Water


This module introduces the Earth’s climate, weather and water system, represented by hydroclimatological variables such as precipitation, wind, air pressure, evaporation, snow and ice, (sub)surface water, and rivers. We will study the spatial and temporal variability of these variables, covering local (for example Birmingham), regional (for example UK) and global scales and timescales from minutes to centuries. We will discuss the meteorological and hydrological processes underlying these variables and the way they are linked through the water balance. We will investigate how to measure these variables, discussing both established techniques and exciting new approaches (for example satellite measurement). We will then introduce some important applications of this understanding, by focusing on the impacts of human-induced changes such as climate change on the water system and how water management can help alleviate extremes like floods and drought.

Undertaking this module you will develop the following transferable skills:

  • Understand fundamental concepts and methods in both the atmospheric and hydrological sciences on different scales (e.g. point scale, catchment scale, global scale);
  • Describe the water balance, represented by interactions between: precipitation, evaporation, soil moisture, groundwater, snow and ice, lakes and wetlands, and stream flow;
  • Explain the spatial and temporal variation in hydroclimatological variables for the globe and the UK;
  • Discuss the challenges in hydroclimatology resulting from increasing human impact upon natural processes, including anthropogenic climate change.