MTMG50-Climate Services and Climate Impact Modelling

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: MTMA33 Introduction to Computing and MTMA39 Forecasting Systems and Applications or MTMW12 Introduction to Numerical Modelling
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr David Brayshaw


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module seeks to provide students with the scientific awareness, practical techniques and communication skills required for the provision of climate services and climate impact modelling.  Contact time will be divided between a series of taught lectures covering key scientific and technical material; a computer-based technical development of a relevant climate service application; sector-specific case studies presented by external speakers; and preparation of a consultancy style briefing report.


  • To introduce students to the scientific principles and techniques associated with climate service provision

  • To introduce how weather and climate information is used in key end-user sectors.  Examples may include disaster risk reduction, energy, insurance, water and transport.

  • To enable the student to independently evaluate, tailor, and communicate climate information to address specific end-user needs.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the strengths, limitations and sources of uncertainty in climate data and how it is produced (observations, reanalyses, forecasts and projections).

  • Demonstrate how quantitative weather and climate data can be utilised and evaluated to aid decision-making in typical end-user applications.

  • Communicate climate information appropriately, efficiently, and effectively.

Additional outcomes:

  • Understand what is meant by the term ‘climate services’.

  • Awareness of the diverse range of end-user needs.

  • Awareness of a growing employment market.

Outline content:

The content is divided into three parts: a series of lectures outlining the scientific/technical issues associate with climate service provision; an extended technical analysis computer practical; and seminars to develop awareness of practical industrial and sectoral concerns.

Scientific/technical material (lectures):

  • What is a ‘climate service’?

  • The nature of weather and climate predictability

  • Climate risk assessment using historic data

  • Climate projections

  • Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting

Examples of relevant physical/meteorological processes and their impacts on climate service target sectors will be used to illustrate the uses and limitations of climate information.  The illustrations chosen may vary but could include, for example, forecasts of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns and their consequences for water resources or renewable energy.  In each case, a range of concepts will be identified and discussed, including:

  • Climate uncertainty

  • Calibration and downscaling

  • Modelling of climate impacts

  • Performance assessment metrics

  • Quality assurance and verification

  • Decision-making with climate information

  • Communicating with potential users and understanding their expectations

Technical analysis (computer labs)

  • A practical climate-service project, creating an end-user relevant application driven by weather and climate data, culminating in a short technical report.  This may, for example, include constructing simple impact models using raw data or using existing impact models in a climate-service context. The python programming language will be used to write the application models, developing skills with assistance available during computing lab classes.

Industrial exposure (seminars, literature and analysis):

  • Specific industry/sector case studies will be presented by invited guest speakers (representing up to four distinct sectors and industries, e.g., energy, insurance, transport, water, and disaster risk reduction).

  • Preparation of ‘consultancy-style’ briefing report for a particular sector/user.  This may include a numerical analysis of a particular problem using suitable datasets or an appropriately tailored literature review in a climate service context.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures (technical and scientific material); seminars (sector-specific case studies by external speakers); computer-based analysis.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8
Seminars 4
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (directed) 6
    Preparation of practical report 36
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 8
    Essay preparation 24
    Reflection 4
Total hours by term 0 100 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 70

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

No in-class tests will be used.

  • Report on technical project (computer based quantitative data processing to demonstrate ability in analysing climate data in the context of specific impact sector): submission week 10 Spring term.

  • Written assignment (short and concise written report identifying and addressing the climate information needs of a particular type of climate impact user, e.g., energy, transport, water.  This may include numerical analysis and/or literature review): submission week 11 Spring term.

Formative assessment methods:

Computer based quantitative data processing exercise: submission week 5 Spring term

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Resit by resubmission of the largest piece of coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 10 April 2019


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