PHYS430-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Environmental and climate modelling

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


This is a hands-on course in which students will learn the fundamentals of modelling the Earth’s climate system. Using the Python programming language, students will develop parameterisations for simple climate models, and learn how to run more advanced models. Students will learn how models are used to support decision making through geoinformatics and science in the areas of: climate change; air pollution; the ozone layer; numerical weather prediction, and its application in renewable energy and agricultural meteorology. Particular focus will be given to how these issues affect Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Pacific.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain why a range of models are necessary to solve different problems, demonstrating knowledge relating to multiple scenarios based on current literature. Show how models and derived geospatial information are used to support decision making and science.
  • Identify what constitutes a functional model, and apply advanced programming skills to develop and run a range of climate models and analyse the output.
  • Synthesise mathematical and programming skills to develop a parameterisation for simple climate models.
  • Evaluate whether model output is reasonable when compared with observations and other models using advanced data analysis techniques. Explain how derived model output can be effectively communicated to affected communities.



Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Laura Revell


Adrian McDonald and Marwan Katurji

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

David J Stensrud; Parameterization Schemes: Keys to Understanding Numerical Weather Prediction Models; Cambridge University Press, New York, 2007 (

Jacobson, Mark Z; Fundamentals of atmospheric modeling; Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Roger A Pielker Sr; Mesoscale Meteorological Modelling; Volume 98, 3rd Edition; 2013 (

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,054.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Physical & Chemical Sciences on the department and colleges page.

All PHYS430 Occurrences

  • PHYS430-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020