The listed courses below are exemplarily for the various tracks. You will design your personal curriculum based on advice and information provided particularly during the introduction week.

 

Track: Geohazards and Earth Observation

Statistics and Data Analysis in Physical Geography

In today’s scientific research, statistics are an integral part of physical sciences and social sciences. Statistical analysis provides credibility to a theory and is central to the general acceptance of most statements. This specialised course deals with some of the widely used statistical and geostatistical techniques in earth science research. The course starts with a refresher of elementary statistics, with subjects like probability, characteristics of population distributions, covariance, correlation, t-test, F-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and regression analysis. The course continues with two multivariate analysis techniques: Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA) and Principle Component Analysis (PCA). The last part of the course is devoted to the statistics of spatial data (geostatistics). The spatial correlation between data points will be modelled with the variogram and kriging techniques will be used for spatial prediction and modelling. The software used during computer practicals is Microsoft EXCEL for the elementary statistics and regression analysis, while the package ‘R’ is used for multivariate analysis and geostatistics.

During the last week of the course students will carry out an individual exercise on a topic that is relevant to their own study programme. Examples of such exercises are: 1) setting up an groundwater monitoring scheme; 2) analyzing social data using non-parametric statistics; 3) time series analysis of river discharges; etc.

By the end of the course, the student will have acquired:

  • Advanced knowledge of elementary statistics, regression analysis, multivariate statistics and geostatistics; 
  • Ability to apply relevant (geo-)statistical modules of EXCEL and ‘R’ software packages;
  • Insight into statistical data problems and the possible analytical tools to solve those problems.

Specific skills that will be learned by the student are:

  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills;
  • Technical skills.

Principles of groundwater flow

The importance of groundwater as a resource and as a critical component in many environmental issues is widely recognized. Groundwater hydrology is a rapidly evolving science and plays a key role in understanding a variety of subsurface processes.

  1. Porous media properties such as porosity and intrinsic permeability, hydraulic conductivity, erosion, fractures, continuum approach, Representative Elementary Volume REV- concept, up-scaling from pore-to continuum scale, basic fluid mechanical concepts.
  2. Groundwater flow: Darcy's Law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, pore pressure, anisotropy, Dupuit assumptions, mapping of flow, flow in fractured media.
  3. Flow equations in confined and unconfined aquifers: combining the mass balance equation and Darcy’s Law, boundary conditions, storage properties of porous media: compressibility of groundwater and compressibility of the solid phase, Boussinesq approximation, initial and boundary conditions, flow nets, dimensional analysis, analytical solutions of simple hydro-geological problems.
  4. Density-dependent flow, coastal aquifers.
  5. Super position principle, method of images, Analytical Element Method.
  6. Transient flow of groundwater, pumping tests, slug tests, constant head and falling head tests.
  7. Groundwater flow modeling, modeling approaches (schematization), simulation, evaluation model results, model verification and validation, finite differences, grids, integration in time, initial and boundary conditions, computer models, introduction to ModFlow, modeling exercises with ModFlow.
  8. Particle tracking in groundwater modeling.
  9. Two excursions are an integral part of this course. In general a visit to a bank-infiltration water supply pumping station (De Steeg of Oasen) and a trip to a groundwater remediation site.

Grading
During the course a variety of home works is presented to the students. Each home work contributes to the final grade. The idea of the home works is ‘continuous assessment’ of the students. In the final weeks of the course, the students are confronted with old exams, either as a graded homework or as an additional example to get acquainted with the examination style.
The home works, including the computer homework(s) contribute to 25 % of the final grade. The written exam contributes 75%.
 
Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. Grades between 5.0 and 5.49 are rounded down to 5.0. The right to a repair examination is granted if the final grade lies between 4.0 and 5.0. The result of the repair exam will be expressed as a pass (grade = 6.0) or a fail. Failure in the repair stage implies redoing the course in the following academic year.

Advanced GIS for Geoscientists

In this “hands on” course the emphasis lays on working with GIS together with a theoretical embedding. The Software used is ESRI ArcGIS (both desktop and workstation) together with Erdas Imagine (LPS eATE, Virtual GIS and Stereo Analyst, Agisoft photoscan).

The course exists of two major parts:

  • The assignment is a traditional workflow existing of the making of a “Potential Erosion Map” of a part of South Limburg, the Netherlands. Part of the data is available (Top10 and contour lines) in digital form. Another part must be digitized (soil map). The analyses are calculating derivatives and combining the data to one or more resulting maps. The maps must be presented through hardcopies in a scientific report.
  • DEM extraction of aerial photography. This project must be presented in a poster and oral presentation.

Additional smaller assignments can be given and must be handed in.

Students work in groups of 2 or alone if seats or software licenses allow.

  • Learning advanced theory of geospatial data analysis.
  • Performing a complete GIS-project: datainput -> analysis -> mapmaking/report.
  • Getting familiar with DEM extraction methods.
  • Training in oral and written presentation of the individual exercises.
  • Training in designing and developing a poster on DEM extraction.

Programme
This course is given in period 1, at a maximum of 30 participants. The Lab-sessions (compulsory) are in room 422 of the WC van Unnik-building.
Lecture 1:        4 hour introduction Course, GIS and data input
Lecture 2:        2 hour continue data input, datasets
Lecture 3:        2 hour analyses (vector raster)
Lecture 4:        2 hour presentation and mapmaking
Lecture 5:        2 hour Photogrammetry and DEM extraction
Lectures 6-8:     2 Guest lectures and additional subjectsAn excursion to an institute may be organized. Previous site visits included TNO, RIVM, KNMI

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Handson training GIS.
  • Report writing.
  • Oral presentation, presentation will be video recorded.
  • Giving feedback on oral presentations and posters.
  • Poster making: A0 scientific poster.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes ESRI platform, ErdasImagine. Agisoft, introduction python.

Field research instruction geochemistry

In this course students learn how to perform a field campaign and biogeochemical experiments in order to answer research questions related to the nutrient dynamics in aquatic environments. This includes: testing and preparing analytical and experimental methods, collecting and analyzing environmental samples, performing experiments, interpretation of analytical and experimental data, and presentation of the results orally and in a written form.The fieldwork consists of three parts: a preparation period in Utrecht, a field campaign, and a period of data interpretation and report writing in Utrecht. During the preparation period, the students give presentations related to the subject and the objectives of the fieldwork. Furthermore, they practice analytical procedures and experimental methods which are required during the fieldwork. During the fieldwork campaign, water samples from rivers, estuaries, and marine locations are collected and analyzed. Additionally, sediment cores will be taken and analyzed. Laboratory experiments are conducted in order to quantify individual processes related to the nutrient fluxes in the investigated environments. The analytical and experimental data are finally integrated in order to characterize the trophic state of the investigated systems, to determine the nutrient fluxes between the different compartments of the systems, and to investigate the interplay between physical and biological processes in controlling the nutrient dynamics. The results of the fieldwork are presented in reports

Development of transferable skills

  • Leadership: Students work in teams; each day someone takes the task of the team leader who takes the responsibility that the team activities are target orientated and  who reports about the team activities.
  • Ability to work in a team: All tasks are performed in teams. The teams often operate independently during field campaigns. Important hereby is making decisions about the selection of sampling sites and sampling approaches.
  • Written communication skills: Results of fieldwork are presented in reports. Feedback is given on the reports and students have to revise the reports based on the comments.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students have to give scientific presentations about a subject related to nutrient dynamics in aqueous environments.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: students have to integrate the data collected in the field and in the laboratory, in combination with knowledge from scientific literature and model calcultions, in order to answer the allocated research questions.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on conditions and observations during field campaigns and during laboratory work, the sampling programme or the analytical / experimental approach have to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: students are introduced to a variety of methods to characterize the chemical and physical properties of water or sediment samples. They are introduced to methods to determine processes and fluxes in situ or in laboratory experiments.

Please note: There is only 15 places available.Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Environmental Hydrogeology

  • Review of major soil and groundwater pollution sources and processes
  • Advanced topics in adsorption (two-site kinetics, nonlinear kinetics, double porosity media, - etc.)
  • Modelling dissolution and transport of organic liquid compounds
  • Modelling biodegradation
  • Principles of multiphase flow
  • Principles of virus transport and colloid transport in the subsurface
  • Pollution due to agricultural activities
  • Natural attenuation of soil and groundwater pollution
  • Review of major soil and groundwater remediation methods
  • Detailed description and modelling of Pump-and-Treat method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Hydraulic Removal of LNAPL method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Soil Vapour Extraction method
  • Working extensively with PMWIN model of flow and transport.

Masters excursion Earth Surface and Water

The MSc field course/excursion is open to students with background knowledge sufficient to give a good chance of successful completion of the course. This will be assessed on the basis of the personal study plan of the student, approved by the student's advisor. The study plan should contain an overview of previous field experience as well as details of the relevant master courses to be followed preceding the field course.

  • Geology of northwestern Europe;
  • Glacial landforms in northern Germany, and their evolution in the Quaternary;
  • Coastal processes in the Wadden Sea and North Sea;
  • Bio-geomorphological landscape development along the Dutch and German coast
  • Water management problems along the river Elbe;
  • Hydrological research in the Harz mountains;
  • Visits to the field sites of research institutes (e.g. universities) and executive institutes (e.g. drinking water companies, water authorities, consultancy firms) in the Netherlands and Germany involved in problems of river and coastal management, soil erosion, flood prevention, and nature conservation;
  • Theoretical context based on the international scientific literature;
  • Field exercises.

Development of transferable skills

  • Ability to work in a team: Participants are expected to take responsibility for a smooth execution of the excursion, both logistically  and content-wise.
  • Written communication skills: Participants will write a written report on a specific topic related to the excursion .
  • Verbal communication skills: Participants will give a scientific presentation about a topic related to the excursion programme. Participants are expected to actively take part in discussions.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on for example weather conditions, the excursion programme need to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: Participants are introduced to a variety of methods and techniques in fundamental or applied research and the application of these methods will be demonstrated.

Estimated costs
Approx. Euro 450. This includes meals and accommodation, travel, excursion guide, books and maps. The exact amount is determined every year by the board of education.
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Hydrology, Climate Change and the Cryosphere

Please note: It is not allowed to register for course GEO4-4423 and also for course GEO4-2327.

Traditionally, the terrestrial part of the hydrological cycle is mainly studied by hydrologists while the atmospheric part is left to atmospheric science and the cryospheric part to glaciology. As a consequence, apart from the study of evaporation, the three sciences have shown limited interaction. The last two decades however, have shown an increased interest in climate change and its impacts, not only by the atmospheric and cryospheric science community, but also by hydrologists. The first studies on hydrology and climate that were performed by hydrologists mainly focussed on the impact of climate change and variability on the water balance and river discharge. Recently, atmospheric scientist have turned more and more to hydrology to come up with better land-atmosphere parameterisations in order to improve climate models and weather prediction. The same holds for the cryosphere. There is an increasing number of cases where glacier dynamics and snow hydrology are integrated in basin scale hydrological studies. These developments together have led to an almost separate hydrological discipline called 'climate hydrology' where hydrological systems are viewed as part of the climate system being both influenced by climate change and variability and the cryosphere, as well as constraining the climate system through positive and negative feedbacks. The study of the hydrological cycle in the context of the climate system and the cryosphere has developed sufficiently to warrant a self-contained course on the subject.

The course consists of a set of lectures, in which a separate subject is treated by an expert.  The course outline is divided in three main blocks: the climate system, fundamentals of the atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere and climate change impacts.1.The climate system

  • An overview of the global climate system
  • The role of the hydrological cycle in the climate system

2.Fundamentals of atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere

  • Measurements and physics of precipitation
  • Measurements and physics of evaporation
  • Principles of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Climate, soil moisture and groundwater feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow hydrology
  • Physics of glaciers

3.Climate change impacts

  • Climate models
  • Climate scenarios and downscaling
  • Dynamics of glaciers, ice sheets and global sea-level rise
  • The intensification of the hydrological cycle
  • Climate change impacts on mountain hydrology

In addition, there will be hands-on exercises and case study work to get familiar with commonly used tools, methods and key concepts. There are four short hands-on exercises of half day each and a longer case study project on climate change impact modelling using a hydrological model. The topics of the hands-on exercises are:

  • Land surface atmosphere feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow cover mapping with satellite imagery
  • Mass and energy balances of glaciers
  • Climate model downscaling
  • Glaciers and climate change

Land Surface Hydrology

This course concentrates on land surface hydrology and the ways by which it is influenced by different environmental factors, including man. The course focuses on quantitative analyses, including modelling, and offers students an opportunity to improve their analytical skills and understanding of hydrology. The course content will be applied directly during practicals and in the individual assignment that the student has to complete over the duration of the course.
This course will be taught on the basis of a textbook and a reader comprising the exercises, additional background materials and articles. Details are published in the course guide.

This course is compulsory for the Hydrology track of the master programme Earth, Surface and Water and also within the master programme Water Science and Management.

Remote Sensing

In this second course we put emphasis on hyperspectral remote sensing and advanced image processing. The course starts with 4 lectures (2x45 minutes) where we introduce the setup and organisation of the course, repeat the basics of remote sensing, we introduce hyperspectral remote sensing, sensors and advanced images analysis techniques, discuss applications in geography, geology, botany and agriculture, and present thermal and radar remote sensing.Hands on computer exercises comprise the major part of the course. Your will work on a set of computer exercises covering hyperspectral remote sensing for monitoring rocks, soils, crops, natural vegetation, water bodies, a number of technical exercises looking at data quality and some exercises focussing on thermal remote sensing and radar remote sensing. The software that we use is IDL/Envi installed on the computers in room 421 of the Unnik Building (user id and password will be provided).Remote sensing, or earth observation, is a fast developing and innovative technique of exceptional importance for all geo-disciplines. Earth observation is now widely used to study the dynamics of system earth and deliver important input in global change models, ocean current models water balance models and at regional level for modeling catchment discharges and erosion processes. Remote sensing enables the collection of information about the spatial distribution of objects at the Earth surface such as crops, vegetation, soil types, rock types, snow, surface water, to identify object properties (vegetation cover, type of crops, soil mineral contents) and to investigate their temporal changes (seasonal or long-term). A wide range of sensors (optical, thermal, radar, lidar) are now orbiting the earth or are available in aircrafts. These basics are presented and discussed during the Remote Sensing 1 course and here we continue with more advanced techniques for information extraction from imagery by hands-on exercises.The course is offered to you by a joint collaboration between UU and ITC (www.itc.nl).

Land Surface Process Modelling

Numerical simulation models of processes on the earth surface are essential tools in fundamental and applied research in the geosciences. They are used in almost all disciplines in the geosciences, for instance hydrology, geomorphology, land degradation, sedimentology, and most fields in ecology. They are important instruments in research for a number of reasons. First, they provide understanding of how systems work, in particular how system components interact, how systems react to changes in drivers, and how non-linear responses emerge. Also, simulation models can be used to forecast systems, which is essential in planning and decision-making. Finally, land surface process models provide a means to evaluate theory of simulated processes against observational data.
In this course we will focus on generic principles of land surface modelling. You will study a number of different approaches to represent land surface processes in a simulation model, including differential equations, rule based modelling, cellular automata, individual (agent) based approaches, and probabilistic models. We will discuss how local interactions can lead to complexity at a larger scale and the implications of this for forecasting. Also, you will learn how to combine information from observational data and simulation models using error propagation, calibration, and data assimilation techniques.
During the course you will learn how these principles can be applied in a number of different disciplines, in particular in the field of hydrology, geomorphology, sedimentology, and ecology. You will also learn how very similar approaches are used in other fields, for instance in urban geography and social sciences.
In addition to principles of land surface modelling, you will learn how to use software tools for land surface modelling. You will study theoretical concepts of software environments for land surface modelling, and you will learn how to program land surface models. In this part of the course we will use the Python programming language and PCRaster. These tools provide standard frameworks for model construction and techniques to combine a model with observational data. Other tools for model construction use similar concepts, so you will be able to apply your knowledge from this course to other software environments. This course can also be interesting for MSc students in ecology, environmental science, sustainability science, or energy science.

Additional information is available at: http://karssenberg.geo.uu.nl/lspm

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in a team: Oral presentations and the case study report are written in teams of 2-3 students. Students will learn how to distribute the work over team members and how to cooperate efficiently.
  • Written communication skills: Three two-page papers are written on which students get extensive feedback from the tutor. In addition, a longer case study report is written structured like a scientific article.
  • Problem-solving skills: Students learn to execute all phases of numerical model construction. This requires to solve problems related to concepts of process-based models, the implementation of these models using a programming environment, and the use of various empirical data linked to models. Students are challenged considerably regarding this aspect in the case study project at the end of the course which is done largely without support from the tutor.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students present their work in two working group sessions. This teaches them mainly to prepare a well-structured talk in the time span of a few days; in addition they get limited feedback on the quality of the presentation.
  • Strong work ethic: The course is taught as a blended learning course which means that students need to properly plan their own work.
  • Initiative: Students are trained to take initiative, particularly in the case study projects.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: A large part of the course relates to various analytical approaches used in forward process-based modelling. Students have to apply these approaches in their own modelling work.
  • Technical skills: The course teaches computational thinking in particular during the computer labs on Python programming and PCRaster programming.

Stochastic Hydrology

The following topics will be studied:

  • introduction to the added value of the stochastic approach to hydrology;
  • descriptive statistic';
  • probability, random variables and random processes (random functions), and their application in calculating the return periods of extreme hydrological events;
  • time-series analysis;
  • geostatistics;
  • forward stochastic modelling;
  • optimal state prediction and Kalman filtering;

The theory will be treated by lectures, the application of the theory by exercises (homework) and by computer practicals. Furthermore, students will select a special topic for further study.
 
More information can be found on: http://www.earthsurfacehydrology.nl/education/stochastic-hydrology/

The course contributes to the following skills:
1. Ability to work in a team (computer practicals and proposal writing)
2. Written communication skills (proposal writing)
3. Problem solving skills (exercises and computer practicals and exam)
4. Verbal communication skills (presenting a research proposal)
5. Analytical/quantitative skills (exercises and exam)
6. technical skills (computer skills)
 

Hazards and Risk Assessment

The world is continuously alerted by major environmental hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding and drought, landslides, and their aftermath. Recent events include earthquakes in Haïti, Chile, China, New Zealand or Japan with the resulting devastating tsunami, flooding in Pakistan and Australia, volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Indonesia. These natural hazards become disastrous where a growing population is forced to live in marginal areas with elevated risks, leading to numerous victims and major economic damage in case of events. Building on the knowledge that Earth Scientists have of the Earth System, this course provides the necessary overview of processes and tools necessary to minimize damage and victims, through better understanding links between causes and related risks. Students will then be able to effectively communicate their knowledge to managers and a general public. This concerns not only natural hazards that are highly unpredictable in their precise timing, but also risks related to human activities such as unwanted effects of prolonged pollution (e.g., tipping points of systems leading to hypoxia or toxic algal blooms in aquatic systems), mass movements or induced seismicity related to, e.g., CO2 sequestration, shale gas winning or geothermal exploration.
The course is organised in lectures and exercises / practicals that will be given by experts in their respective field, both from within Utrecht University and external. Furthermore, the students will work on independent projects, resulting in a final paper that will be presented to fellow students.Entry requirements: The course ‘Hazards and Risk assessment’ forms part of the Track ‘Geohazards and Earth Observation’ of the program ‘Earth Structure and water’. Recommended courses for this track are:

  • GEO4-4406 Earth Surface Modelling
  • GEO4-4412 Statistics and data analysis in Physical Geography
  • GEO4-4433 Advanced GIS for geoscientists

Track: Coastal Dynamics and Fluvial Systems

Statistics and Data Analysis in Physical Geography

In today’s scientific research, statistics are an integral part of physical sciences and social sciences. Statistical analysis provides credibility to a theory and is central to the general acceptance of most statements. This specialised course deals with some of the widely used statistical and geostatistical techniques in earth science research. The course starts with a refresher of elementary statistics, with subjects like probability, characteristics of population distributions, covariance, correlation, t-test, F-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and regression analysis. The course continues with two multivariate analysis techniques: Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA) and Principle Component Analysis (PCA). The last part of the course is devoted to the statistics of spatial data (geostatistics). The spatial correlation between data points will be modelled with the variogram and kriging techniques will be used for spatial prediction and modelling. The software used during computer practicals is Microsoft EXCEL for the elementary statistics and regression analysis, while the package ‘R’ is used for multivariate analysis and geostatistics.

During the last week of the course students will carry out an individual exercise on a topic that is relevant to their own study programme. Examples of such exercises are: 1) setting up an groundwater monitoring scheme; 2) analyzing social data using non-parametric statistics; 3) time series analysis of river discharges; etc.

By the end of the course, the student will have acquired:

  • Advanced knowledge of elementary statistics, regression analysis, multivariate statistics and geostatistics; 
  • Ability to apply relevant (geo-)statistical modules of EXCEL and ‘R’ software packages;
  • Insight into statistical data problems and the possible analytical tools to solve those problems.

Specific skills that will be learned by the student are:

  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills;
  • Technical skills.

Principles of groundwater flow

The importance of groundwater as a resource and as a critical component in many environmental issues is widely recognized. Groundwater hydrology is a rapidly evolving science and plays a key role in understanding a variety of subsurface processes.

  1. Porous media properties such as porosity and intrinsic permeability, hydraulic conductivity, erosion, fractures, continuum approach, Representative Elementary Volume REV- concept, up-scaling from pore-to continuum scale, basic fluid mechanical concepts.
  2. Groundwater flow: Darcy's Law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, pore pressure, anisotropy, Dupuit assumptions, mapping of flow, flow in fractured media.
  3. Flow equations in confined and unconfined aquifers: combining the mass balance equation and Darcy’s Law, boundary conditions, storage properties of porous media: compressibility of groundwater and compressibility of the solid phase, Boussinesq approximation, initial and boundary conditions, flow nets, dimensional analysis, analytical solutions of simple hydro-geological problems.
  4. Density-dependent flow, coastal aquifers.
  5. Super position principle, method of images, Analytical Element Method.
  6. Transient flow of groundwater, pumping tests, slug tests, constant head and falling head tests.
  7. Groundwater flow modeling, modeling approaches (schematization), simulation, evaluation model results, model verification and validation, finite differences, grids, integration in time, initial and boundary conditions, computer models, introduction to ModFlow, modeling exercises with ModFlow.
  8. Particle tracking in groundwater modeling.
  9. Two excursions are an integral part of this course. In general a visit to a bank-infiltration water supply pumping station (De Steeg of Oasen) and a trip to a groundwater remediation site.

Grading
During the course a variety of home works is presented to the students. Each home work contributes to the final grade. The idea of the home works is ‘continuous assessment’ of the students. In the final weeks of the course, the students are confronted with old exams, either as a graded homework or as an additional example to get acquainted with the examination style.
The home works, including the computer homework(s) contribute to 25 % of the final grade. The written exam contributes 75%.
 
Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. Grades between 5.0 and 5.49 are rounded down to 5.0. The right to a repair examination is granted if the final grade lies between 4.0 and 5.0. The result of the repair exam will be expressed as a pass (grade = 6.0) or a fail. Failure in the repair stage implies redoing the course in the following academic year.

Advanced GIS for Geoscientists

In this “hands on” course the emphasis lays on working with GIS together with a theoretical embedding. The Software used is ESRI ArcGIS (both desktop and workstation) together with Erdas Imagine (LPS eATE, Virtual GIS and Stereo Analyst, Agisoft photoscan).

The course exists of two major parts:

  • The assignment is a traditional workflow existing of the making of a “Potential Erosion Map” of a part of South Limburg, the Netherlands. Part of the data is available (Top10 and contour lines) in digital form. Another part must be digitized (soil map). The analyses are calculating derivatives and combining the data to one or more resulting maps. The maps must be presented through hardcopies in a scientific report.
  • DEM extraction of aerial photography. This project must be presented in a poster and oral presentation.

Additional smaller assignments can be given and must be handed in.

Students work in groups of 2 or alone if seats or software licenses allow.

  • Learning advanced theory of geospatial data analysis.
  • Performing a complete GIS-project: datainput -> analysis -> mapmaking/report.
  • Getting familiar with DEM extraction methods.
  • Training in oral and written presentation of the individual exercises.
  • Training in designing and developing a poster on DEM extraction.

Programme
This course is given in period 1, at a maximum of 30 participants. The Lab-sessions (compulsory) are in room 422 of the WC van Unnik-building.
Lecture 1:        4 hour introduction Course, GIS and data input
Lecture 2:        2 hour continue data input, datasets
Lecture 3:        2 hour analyses (vector raster)
Lecture 4:        2 hour presentation and mapmaking
Lecture 5:        2 hour Photogrammetry and DEM extraction
Lectures 6-8:     2 Guest lectures and additional subjectsAn excursion to an institute may be organized. Previous site visits included TNO, RIVM, KNMI

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Handson training GIS.
  • Report writing.
  • Oral presentation, presentation will be video recorded.
  • Giving feedback on oral presentations and posters.
  • Poster making: A0 scientific poster.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes ESRI platform, ErdasImagine. Agisoft, introduction python.

Field research instruction geochemistry

In this course students learn how to perform a field campaign and biogeochemical experiments in order to answer research questions related to the nutrient dynamics in aquatic environments. This includes: testing and preparing analytical and experimental methods, collecting and analyzing environmental samples, performing experiments, interpretation of analytical and experimental data, and presentation of the results orally and in a written form.The fieldwork consists of three parts: a preparation period in Utrecht, a field campaign, and a period of data interpretation and report writing in Utrecht. During the preparation period, the students give presentations related to the subject and the objectives of the fieldwork. Furthermore, they practice analytical procedures and experimental methods which are required during the fieldwork. During the fieldwork campaign, water samples from rivers, estuaries, and marine locations are collected and analyzed. Additionally, sediment cores will be taken and analyzed. Laboratory experiments are conducted in order to quantify individual processes related to the nutrient fluxes in the investigated environments. The analytical and experimental data are finally integrated in order to characterize the trophic state of the investigated systems, to determine the nutrient fluxes between the different compartments of the systems, and to investigate the interplay between physical and biological processes in controlling the nutrient dynamics. The results of the fieldwork are presented in reports

Development of transferable skills

  • Leadership: Students work in teams; each day someone takes the task of the team leader who takes the responsibility that the team activities are target orientated and  who reports about the team activities.
  • Ability to work in a team: All tasks are performed in teams. The teams often operate independently during field campaigns. Important hereby is making decisions about the selection of sampling sites and sampling approaches.
  • Written communication skills: Results of fieldwork are presented in reports. Feedback is given on the reports and students have to revise the reports based on the comments.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students have to give scientific presentations about a subject related to nutrient dynamics in aqueous environments.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: students have to integrate the data collected in the field and in the laboratory, in combination with knowledge from scientific literature and model calcultions, in order to answer the allocated research questions.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on conditions and observations during field campaigns and during laboratory work, the sampling programme or the analytical / experimental approach have to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: students are introduced to a variety of methods to characterize the chemical and physical properties of water or sediment samples. They are introduced to methods to determine processes and fluxes in situ or in laboratory experiments.

Please note: There is only 15 places available.Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Environmental Hydrogeology

  • Review of major soil and groundwater pollution sources and processes
  • Advanced topics in adsorption (two-site kinetics, nonlinear kinetics, double porosity media, - etc.)
  • Modelling dissolution and transport of organic liquid compounds
  • Modelling biodegradation
  • Principles of multiphase flow
  • Principles of virus transport and colloid transport in the subsurface
  • Pollution due to agricultural activities
  • Natural attenuation of soil and groundwater pollution
  • Review of major soil and groundwater remediation methods
  • Detailed description and modelling of Pump-and-Treat method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Hydraulic Removal of LNAPL method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Soil Vapour Extraction method
  • Working extensively with PMWIN model of flow and transport.

Masters excursion Earth Surface and Water

The MSc field course/excursion is open to students with background knowledge sufficient to give a good chance of successful completion of the course. This will be assessed on the basis of the personal study plan of the student, approved by the student's advisor. The study plan should contain an overview of previous field experience as well as details of the relevant master courses to be followed preceding the field course.

  • Geology of northwestern Europe;
  • Glacial landforms in northern Germany, and their evolution in the Quaternary;
  • Coastal processes in the Wadden Sea and North Sea;
  • Bio-geomorphological landscape development along the Dutch and German coast
  • Water management problems along the river Elbe;
  • Hydrological research in the Harz mountains;
  • Visits to the field sites of research institutes (e.g. universities) and executive institutes (e.g. drinking water companies, water authorities, consultancy firms) in the Netherlands and Germany involved in problems of river and coastal management, soil erosion, flood prevention, and nature conservation;
  • Theoretical context based on the international scientific literature;
  • Field exercises.

Development of transferable skills

  • Ability to work in a team: Participants are expected to take responsibility for a smooth execution of the excursion, both logistically  and content-wise.
  • Written communication skills: Participants will write a written report on a specific topic related to the excursion .
  • Verbal communication skills: Participants will give a scientific presentation about a topic related to the excursion programme. Participants are expected to actively take part in discussions.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on for example weather conditions, the excursion programme need to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: Participants are introduced to a variety of methods and techniques in fundamental or applied research and the application of these methods will be demonstrated.

Estimated costs
Approx. Euro 450. This includes meals and accommodation, travel, excursion guide, books and maps. The exact amount is determined every year by the board of education.
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Hydrology, Climate Change and the Cryosphere

Please note: It is not allowed to register for course GEO4-4423 and also for course GEO4-2327.

Traditionally, the terrestrial part of the hydrological cycle is mainly studied by hydrologists while the atmospheric part is left to atmospheric science and the cryospheric part to glaciology. As a consequence, apart from the study of evaporation, the three sciences have shown limited interaction. The last two decades however, have shown an increased interest in climate change and its impacts, not only by the atmospheric and cryospheric science community, but also by hydrologists. The first studies on hydrology and climate that were performed by hydrologists mainly focussed on the impact of climate change and variability on the water balance and river discharge. Recently, atmospheric scientist have turned more and more to hydrology to come up with better land-atmosphere parameterisations in order to improve climate models and weather prediction. The same holds for the cryosphere. There is an increasing number of cases where glacier dynamics and snow hydrology are integrated in basin scale hydrological studies. These developments together have led to an almost separate hydrological discipline called 'climate hydrology' where hydrological systems are viewed as part of the climate system being both influenced by climate change and variability and the cryosphere, as well as constraining the climate system through positive and negative feedbacks. The study of the hydrological cycle in the context of the climate system and the cryosphere has developed sufficiently to warrant a self-contained course on the subject.

The course consists of a set of lectures, in which a separate subject is treated by an expert.  The course outline is divided in three main blocks: the climate system, fundamentals of the atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere and climate change impacts.1.The climate system

  • An overview of the global climate system
  • The role of the hydrological cycle in the climate system

2.Fundamentals of atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere

  • Measurements and physics of precipitation
  • Measurements and physics of evaporation
  • Principles of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Climate, soil moisture and groundwater feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow hydrology
  • Physics of glaciers

3.Climate change impacts

  • Climate models
  • Climate scenarios and downscaling
  • Dynamics of glaciers, ice sheets and global sea-level rise
  • The intensification of the hydrological cycle
  • Climate change impacts on mountain hydrology

In addition, there will be hands-on exercises and case study work to get familiar with commonly used tools, methods and key concepts. There are four short hands-on exercises of half day each and a longer case study project on climate change impact modelling using a hydrological model. The topics of the hands-on exercises are:

  • Land surface atmosphere feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow cover mapping with satellite imagery
  • Mass and energy balances of glaciers
  • Climate model downscaling
  • Glaciers and climate change

River and Delta Systems

The entire course is a unique integration of process-based and engineering approaches with geological reconstruction. It is the first in a series of three subsequent courses: river and delta systems, tidal systems and coastal morphodynamics. The course content is structured in four themes with increasing length and time scales of evolution. Within each theme, the necessary initial and boundary conditions for certain phenomena are studied, the underlying physical processes identified and derived, and the consequences for morphology, stratigraphy and so on described.

  1. Review of channel flow, sediment transport and fundamentals of fluvial morphodynamics. This part mostly comprises review and deepening of required foreknowledge. References will be provided, particularly for students with deficiencies in background.
  2. River patterns: empirical descriptors and predictors for river patterns (which refers to bar pattern, channel pattern and to some extent floodplain pattern). The ‘advanced’ part here (relative to subject 1 and the content of BSc prerequisite courses) is the level of physics-based explanation and modelling of braided and meandering rivers, in the full three dimensions, and the dynamic interaction with floodplains.
  3. River displacement on plains and deltas is about how a river fills larger spaces by migration and displacement (avulsion). And, while doing so: how, when and why rivers sometimes change their pattern. Such larger spaces include valleys, fluvial plains and deltas. Furthermore, in between the fluvial deposits peat develops, that later on might considerably affect the development of deltas.
  4. From just below the mountains to near the sea is about the fluvial system from upstream alluviated valleys (e.g. with terraces) to the sedimentary (deltaic) zone. Given the required time of significant change, the system at this scale is strongly affected by boundary conditions such as base level change (downstream boundary), climatic change (upstream boundary) and forebulge dynamics (‘initial’ condition).

Development of transferable skills:
 
The computer practicals will improve your:
-ability to work in a team (through collaboration with fellow students),
-written communication skills (through abstracts written in English),       
-verbal communication skills (by presenting your research to your fellow students),
-work ethic (through collaboration and submission deadlines),
-analytical/quantitative and technical skills (through data analysis and modelling with Matlab). 
 
The Delta research project will improve your:
-ability to work in a team (projects will be carried out in groups of 3-4 students),
-problem-solving skills (by going through the process of defining a research question, developing an appropriate method, gathering data, and analysing results),
-written communication skills (through extended abstracts written in English),  
-verbal communication skills (by presenting your research to your fellow students),
-leadership and work ethic (through working in groups)
-adaptability (conducting your own research project will most likely involve dealing with unforeseen circumstances)
 

Morphodynamics of Tidal Systems

This course is the second course in a series of three (period 1: River and Delta systems, period 3: Morphodynamics of wave-dominated coasts) . Other courses in the MSc that focus on delta and coastal systems are Coastal Ecology and Managing Future Deltas.
 During this course the dynamics of tidal systems will be studied at all relevant time scales (few hours to millennia) and spatial scales (kilometers to global scale). We will follow the pathway of the tidal wave from its generation in the ocean to the dissipation of tidal energy in the shallowest regions of tidal basins and estuaries. Along its paths, tidal waves induce current that transport sediment and cause morphological change. Main topics of the course are:

  1. Generation of tides by the gravitational interaction of earth, moon and sun. Tidal dynamics of shallow shelf seas.
  2. Hydrodynamics and morphodynamics of shallow tidal basins.
  3. Tides in estuaries: Effect of geometry on tides, river-tide interactions, estuarine dynamics, fine sediment dynamics and morphological change.
  4. Time series analysis of water level and flow velocity data.
  5. Evolution and depositional architecture of tidal systems under sea level rise.

Development of Transferrable Skills

  • Ability to work in a team: During the course the students have to work in couples to do Matlab exercises, write reports and do research.
  • Written communication skills: Students have to deliver four reports and one abstract. You will get feedback on the content.
  • Problem-solving skills: Students have to work on programming exercises (in Matlab) and apply it to analyse data sets or model tidal phenomena.
  • Verbal communication skills: Student have to give an oral presentation on the results of a case study.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: Students have to analyze data sets, to apply equations to field cases, and to program Matlab code.
  • Technical skills: Students will have to program in Matlab and will learn to use the codes to study tidal phenomena.

Morphodynamics of Wave-dominated Coasts

Wind-generated waves are the main driving force for the evolution of the nearshore zone (water depths less than 10 m) on time scales of hours (storms) to decades. As waves approach the coast, they transform by altering, among other characteristics, shape, height, length, and orientation. This results in a wide variety of other processes, including alongshore currents and rip currents. Also, it leads to the transport of sand perpendicular to and along the coast. As a consequence, the morphology of the nearshore zone changes continuously as the offshore wave conditions change with time and when mankind intervenes with coastal processes, for example, by artificially placing sand to enhance coastal safety. This makes the nearshore zone one of the most dynamic and complicated regions within the oceanic domain.

Main topics of the course include:

  • cross-shore transformation of wind-generated waves, and the resulting currents;
  • sand transport and morphological evolution;
  • modelling of waves, currents, and sand transport;

at a range of time scales (hours - decades) and in natural and humanly altered wave-dominated coastal settings. The later setting provides the student with insight into issues related to present-day coastal zone management.

The topics will be treated by means of lectures and computer assignments. As part of the course, the student is expected to apply/develop Matlab code to analyse scientific data and to compare these data to model predictions. This will provide the student with insight into present-day capabilities of models used in both scientific and coastal-zone-management settings, and with basic Matlab programming skills.
 The course contributes to the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: All computer assignments are performed in teams of 2 persons. Although each team is to provide a report, co-operation between teams during the assignments is encouraged.
  • Written communication skills: Results of all computer assignments are presented in reports.
  • Problem-solving skills: The teams have to define a strategy how to implement code to solve allocated scientific questions.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: The students have to use the developed code, together with knowledge from the lectures, to answer allocated scientific questions.
  • Technical skills: The students will (further) develop their programming skills for data analysis and modelling.

Managing Future Deltas

This course focuses on the integrated management of coastal and fluvial systems within the context of delta areas. Deltas are characterised by dynamic interactions between hydrodynamics, sedimentation, morphology, ecology and man. They support rich ecosystems, intense agriculture and many major cities and harbours are located in deltas. The management of deltas poses considerable challenges, and involves both fundamental knowledge of the physical and ecological processes involved as well as the understanding and negotiating among the different interests from the ‘users’ of these systems. Moreover, future climate change, sea-level rise and increasing societal demands further complicate a sustainable management of rivers and coasts. Emphasis is therefore on the key factors, philosophies and techniques of integrated management of delta areas, with a sharp focus on the every-day practices. The course includes classes, a group project, individual work and a field component.

Development of transferable skills

  • Ability to work in a team: During the course, you will work together in teams of 5 people. You will learn about team processes, both by doing as through lectures on working in teams.
  • Written communication skills: You will write a chapter of the team report and receive feedback on your writing from your peers and from the supervisor(s).
  • Problem-solving skills: The case study work will require you to pin-point the main issues at hand in your case study area and to think about possible solutions for these issues.
  • Verbal communication skills: Plenary discussions and presentations as well as communication within your cast study group will provide ample opportunities for practicing verbal communication skills.
  • Strong  work ethic: As a team member you are expected to respect the team plan agreed during the tema’s ‘kick-off’ meeting at the beginning of the course.
  • Initiative: For your case study work you are expected to contact stakeholders or experts on your cast study area yourself.

Reconstructing Quaternary Environments

Lecture topics (12):

  • Introduction
  • Palaeorecords of environmental change
  • Geomorphological evidence
  • Site selection and sampling strategies
  • Lithological evidence
  • Botanical evidence
  • Faunal evidence 
  • Dendrochronology
  • C-14 dating and annual layering
  • Luminescence and other dating techniques
  • Stratigraphic correlation
  • Environmental and climate reconstructions
  • Integration of Ice-core, Marine and Terrestrial records.

Note: all ppt files will be made available on Blackboard.

Several transferable skills will be trained during the course practicals, seminars, and excursion.   

Practicals:

  • Analytical, technical, and team-work skills are trained in the Microscope Labs on: pollen; core description. 
  • Problem solving skills are trained in Computer labs: data analysis; C-14 calibration and wiggle-matching.
  • Written communication skills are trained: scientific jounals analysis; article writing and evaluation of research proposals, short reports.

Excursion: Analytical and team-work skills are trained during a lithological description and interpretation of a ca 50m long core from the shallow sub-soil of The Netherlands at  Deltares / Geological survey of the Netherlands.

Seminar presentation: training in verbal communication skills during short (15 minutes) individual presentation and discussion of recent scientific papers on different  topics: Proxies; Dating and correlation; Events. 
   

Track: Hydrology

Statistics and Data Analysis in Physical Geography

In today’s scientific research, statistics are an integral part of physical sciences and social sciences. Statistical analysis provides credibility to a theory and is central to the general acceptance of most statements. This specialised course deals with some of the widely used statistical and geostatistical techniques in earth science research. The course starts with a refresher of elementary statistics, with subjects like probability, characteristics of population distributions, covariance, correlation, t-test, F-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and regression analysis. The course continues with two multivariate analysis techniques: Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA) and Principle Component Analysis (PCA). The last part of the course is devoted to the statistics of spatial data (geostatistics). The spatial correlation between data points will be modelled with the variogram and kriging techniques will be used for spatial prediction and modelling. The software used during computer practicals is Microsoft EXCEL for the elementary statistics and regression analysis, while the package ‘R’ is used for multivariate analysis and geostatistics.

During the last week of the course students will carry out an individual exercise on a topic that is relevant to their own study programme. Examples of such exercises are: 1) setting up an groundwater monitoring scheme; 2) analyzing social data using non-parametric statistics; 3) time series analysis of river discharges; etc.

By the end of the course, the student will have acquired:

  • Advanced knowledge of elementary statistics, regression analysis, multivariate statistics and geostatistics; 
  • Ability to apply relevant (geo-)statistical modules of EXCEL and ‘R’ software packages;
  • Insight into statistical data problems and the possible analytical tools to solve those problems.

Specific skills that will be learned by the student are:

  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills;
  • Technical skills.

Principles of groundwater flow

The importance of groundwater as a resource and as a critical component in many environmental issues is widely recognized. Groundwater hydrology is a rapidly evolving science and plays a key role in understanding a variety of subsurface processes.

  1. Porous media properties such as porosity and intrinsic permeability, hydraulic conductivity, erosion, fractures, continuum approach, Representative Elementary Volume REV- concept, up-scaling from pore-to continuum scale, basic fluid mechanical concepts.
  2. Groundwater flow: Darcy's Law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, pore pressure, anisotropy, Dupuit assumptions, mapping of flow, flow in fractured media.
  3. Flow equations in confined and unconfined aquifers: combining the mass balance equation and Darcy’s Law, boundary conditions, storage properties of porous media: compressibility of groundwater and compressibility of the solid phase, Boussinesq approximation, initial and boundary conditions, flow nets, dimensional analysis, analytical solutions of simple hydro-geological problems.
  4. Density-dependent flow, coastal aquifers.
  5. Super position principle, method of images, Analytical Element Method.
  6. Transient flow of groundwater, pumping tests, slug tests, constant head and falling head tests.
  7. Groundwater flow modeling, modeling approaches (schematization), simulation, evaluation model results, model verification and validation, finite differences, grids, integration in time, initial and boundary conditions, computer models, introduction to ModFlow, modeling exercises with ModFlow.
  8. Particle tracking in groundwater modeling.
  9. Two excursions are an integral part of this course. In general a visit to a bank-infiltration water supply pumping station (De Steeg of Oasen) and a trip to a groundwater remediation site.

Grading
During the course a variety of home works is presented to the students. Each home work contributes to the final grade. The idea of the home works is ‘continuous assessment’ of the students. In the final weeks of the course, the students are confronted with old exams, either as a graded homework or as an additional example to get acquainted with the examination style.
The home works, including the computer homework(s) contribute to 25 % of the final grade. The written exam contributes 75%.
 
Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. Grades between 5.0 and 5.49 are rounded down to 5.0. The right to a repair examination is granted if the final grade lies between 4.0 and 5.0. The result of the repair exam will be expressed as a pass (grade = 6.0) or a fail. Failure in the repair stage implies redoing the course in the following academic year.

Advanced GIS for Geoscientists

In this “hands on” course the emphasis lays on working with GIS together with a theoretical embedding. The Software used is ESRI ArcGIS (both desktop and workstation) together with Erdas Imagine (LPS eATE, Virtual GIS and Stereo Analyst, Agisoft photoscan).

The course exists of two major parts:

  • The assignment is a traditional workflow existing of the making of a “Potential Erosion Map” of a part of South Limburg, the Netherlands. Part of the data is available (Top10 and contour lines) in digital form. Another part must be digitized (soil map). The analyses are calculating derivatives and combining the data to one or more resulting maps. The maps must be presented through hardcopies in a scientific report.
  • DEM extraction of aerial photography. This project must be presented in a poster and oral presentation.

Additional smaller assignments can be given and must be handed in.

Students work in groups of 2 or alone if seats or software licenses allow.

  • Learning advanced theory of geospatial data analysis.
  • Performing a complete GIS-project: datainput -> analysis -> mapmaking/report.
  • Getting familiar with DEM extraction methods.
  • Training in oral and written presentation of the individual exercises.
  • Training in designing and developing a poster on DEM extraction.

Programme
This course is given in period 1, at a maximum of 30 participants. The Lab-sessions (compulsory) are in room 422 of the WC van Unnik-building.
Lecture 1:        4 hour introduction Course, GIS and data input
Lecture 2:        2 hour continue data input, datasets
Lecture 3:        2 hour analyses (vector raster)
Lecture 4:        2 hour presentation and mapmaking
Lecture 5:        2 hour Photogrammetry and DEM extraction
Lectures 6-8:     2 Guest lectures and additional subjectsAn excursion to an institute may be organized. Previous site visits included TNO, RIVM, KNMI

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Handson training GIS.
  • Report writing.
  • Oral presentation, presentation will be video recorded.
  • Giving feedback on oral presentations and posters.
  • Poster making: A0 scientific poster.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes ESRI platform, ErdasImagine. Agisoft, introduction python.

Field research instruction geochemistry

In this course students learn how to perform a field campaign and biogeochemical experiments in order to answer research questions related to the nutrient dynamics in aquatic environments. This includes: testing and preparing analytical and experimental methods, collecting and analyzing environmental samples, performing experiments, interpretation of analytical and experimental data, and presentation of the results orally and in a written form.The fieldwork consists of three parts: a preparation period in Utrecht, a field campaign, and a period of data interpretation and report writing in Utrecht. During the preparation period, the students give presentations related to the subject and the objectives of the fieldwork. Furthermore, they practice analytical procedures and experimental methods which are required during the fieldwork. During the fieldwork campaign, water samples from rivers, estuaries, and marine locations are collected and analyzed. Additionally, sediment cores will be taken and analyzed. Laboratory experiments are conducted in order to quantify individual processes related to the nutrient fluxes in the investigated environments. The analytical and experimental data are finally integrated in order to characterize the trophic state of the investigated systems, to determine the nutrient fluxes between the different compartments of the systems, and to investigate the interplay between physical and biological processes in controlling the nutrient dynamics. The results of the fieldwork are presented in reports

Development of transferable skills

  • Leadership: Students work in teams; each day someone takes the task of the team leader who takes the responsibility that the team activities are target orientated and  who reports about the team activities.
  • Ability to work in a team: All tasks are performed in teams. The teams often operate independently during field campaigns. Important hereby is making decisions about the selection of sampling sites and sampling approaches.
  • Written communication skills: Results of fieldwork are presented in reports. Feedback is given on the reports and students have to revise the reports based on the comments.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students have to give scientific presentations about a subject related to nutrient dynamics in aqueous environments.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: students have to integrate the data collected in the field and in the laboratory, in combination with knowledge from scientific literature and model calcultions, in order to answer the allocated research questions.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on conditions and observations during field campaigns and during laboratory work, the sampling programme or the analytical / experimental approach have to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: students are introduced to a variety of methods to characterize the chemical and physical properties of water or sediment samples. They are introduced to methods to determine processes and fluxes in situ or in laboratory experiments.

Please note: There is only 15 places available.Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Environmental Hydrogeology

  • Review of major soil and groundwater pollution sources and processes
  • Advanced topics in adsorption (two-site kinetics, nonlinear kinetics, double porosity media, - etc.)
  • Modelling dissolution and transport of organic liquid compounds
  • Modelling biodegradation
  • Principles of multiphase flow
  • Principles of virus transport and colloid transport in the subsurface
  • Pollution due to agricultural activities
  • Natural attenuation of soil and groundwater pollution
  • Review of major soil and groundwater remediation methods
  • Detailed description and modelling of Pump-and-Treat method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Hydraulic Removal of LNAPL method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Soil Vapour Extraction method
  • Working extensively with PMWIN model of flow and transport.

Masters excursion Earth Surface and Water

The MSc field course/excursion is open to students with background knowledge sufficient to give a good chance of successful completion of the course. This will be assessed on the basis of the personal study plan of the student, approved by the student's advisor. The study plan should contain an overview of previous field experience as well as details of the relevant master courses to be followed preceding the field course.

  • Geology of northwestern Europe;
  • Glacial landforms in northern Germany, and their evolution in the Quaternary;
  • Coastal processes in the Wadden Sea and North Sea;
  • Bio-geomorphological landscape development along the Dutch and German coast
  • Water management problems along the river Elbe;
  • Hydrological research in the Harz mountains;
  • Visits to the field sites of research institutes (e.g. universities) and executive institutes (e.g. drinking water companies, water authorities, consultancy firms) in the Netherlands and Germany involved in problems of river and coastal management, soil erosion, flood prevention, and nature conservation;
  • Theoretical context based on the international scientific literature;
  • Field exercises.

Development of transferable skills

  • Ability to work in a team: Participants are expected to take responsibility for a smooth execution of the excursion, both logistically  and content-wise.
  • Written communication skills: Participants will write a written report on a specific topic related to the excursion .
  • Verbal communication skills: Participants will give a scientific presentation about a topic related to the excursion programme. Participants are expected to actively take part in discussions.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on for example weather conditions, the excursion programme need to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: Participants are introduced to a variety of methods and techniques in fundamental or applied research and the application of these methods will be demonstrated.

Estimated costs
Approx. Euro 450. This includes meals and accommodation, travel, excursion guide, books and maps. The exact amount is determined every year by the board of education.
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Hydrology, Climate Change and the Cryosphere

Please note: It is not allowed to register for course GEO4-4423 and also for course GEO4-2327.

Traditionally, the terrestrial part of the hydrological cycle is mainly studied by hydrologists while the atmospheric part is left to atmospheric science and the cryospheric part to glaciology. As a consequence, apart from the study of evaporation, the three sciences have shown limited interaction. The last two decades however, have shown an increased interest in climate change and its impacts, not only by the atmospheric and cryospheric science community, but also by hydrologists. The first studies on hydrology and climate that were performed by hydrologists mainly focussed on the impact of climate change and variability on the water balance and river discharge. Recently, atmospheric scientist have turned more and more to hydrology to come up with better land-atmosphere parameterisations in order to improve climate models and weather prediction. The same holds for the cryosphere. There is an increasing number of cases where glacier dynamics and snow hydrology are integrated in basin scale hydrological studies. These developments together have led to an almost separate hydrological discipline called 'climate hydrology' where hydrological systems are viewed as part of the climate system being both influenced by climate change and variability and the cryosphere, as well as constraining the climate system through positive and negative feedbacks. The study of the hydrological cycle in the context of the climate system and the cryosphere has developed sufficiently to warrant a self-contained course on the subject.

The course consists of a set of lectures, in which a separate subject is treated by an expert.  The course outline is divided in three main blocks: the climate system, fundamentals of the atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere and climate change impacts.1.The climate system

  • An overview of the global climate system
  • The role of the hydrological cycle in the climate system

2.Fundamentals of atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere

  • Measurements and physics of precipitation
  • Measurements and physics of evaporation
  • Principles of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Climate, soil moisture and groundwater feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow hydrology
  • Physics of glaciers

3.Climate change impacts

  • Climate models
  • Climate scenarios and downscaling
  • Dynamics of glaciers, ice sheets and global sea-level rise
  • The intensification of the hydrological cycle
  • Climate change impacts on mountain hydrology

In addition, there will be hands-on exercises and case study work to get familiar with commonly used tools, methods and key concepts. There are four short hands-on exercises of half day each and a longer case study project on climate change impact modelling using a hydrological model. The topics of the hands-on exercises are:

  • Land surface atmosphere feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow cover mapping with satellite imagery
  • Mass and energy balances of glaciers
  • Climate model downscaling
  • Glaciers and climate change

Unsaturated Zone Hydrology

Hydrogeological Transport Phenomena

The subsurface environment plays an important role in many human activities as well as in natural systems. Both soil and groundwater are valuable natural resources for human beings. Moreover, the subsurface is frequently used for storage of mass (toxic and otherwise) and energy, and construction of certain facilities and infrastructure. For a sustainable use of the subsurface and its resources, it is extremely important to understand and predict various processes that occur in the subsurface. In particular, knowledge of the flow of water and the movement of dissolved components is essential for the design of various activities occurring in the subsurface. This course relates to the understanding and description of processes affecting the fate of dissolved components of groundwater. The knowledge obtained in this course will be also relevant to the study of transport of solutes in general porous media (e.g. human tissues, plants, ceramics, concrete and other construction materials, food, paper).

Transport of solutesby advection and diffusion;

  • Various ways of classification of pollutants
  • Determination of flow velocity and dispersion coefficients
  • Description of adsorption: linear and nonlinear isotherms, kinetic adsorption
  • Determination of adsorption coefficients
  • Degradation processes
  • Discussion of initial and boundary conditions
  • Solute transport in double-porosity media
  • Transport in unsaturated zone

This course is an entry requirement for Environmental Hydrogeology (GEO4-1432)

Land Surface Hydrology

This course concentrates on land surface hydrology and the ways by which it is influenced by different environmental factors, including man. The course focuses on quantitative analyses, including modelling, and offers students an opportunity to improve their analytical skills and understanding of hydrology. The course content will be applied directly during practicals and in the individual assignment that the student has to complete over the duration of the course.
This course will be taught on the basis of a textbook and a reader comprising the exercises, additional background materials and articles. Details are published in the course guide.

This course is compulsory for the Hydrology track of the master programme Earth, Surface and Water and also within the master programme Water Science and Management.

Reactive transport in the hydrosphere

  • Basics of model formulation (from conceptual diagrams to differential equations)
  • Introduction to R (focus on deSolve and ReacTran packages)
  • Spatial components and parameterization
  • Model solution (analytical vs. numerical methods)
  • Stability and feedback analysis
  • Regression analysis (fitting of data by a model)
  • Case studies/Applications:
    • River/Lake chemistry
    • Diagenesis in sediments
    • Aquifers
    • Global ocean biogeochemistry

By the end of the course, students will

  • have a general understanding of concepts and methods needed to quantitatively describe (bio)geochemical reactions and transport processes in various compartments of the hydrosphere;
  • be able to formulate models (conceptually and with mathematical equations) to describe transport and reactions in Earth's surface environments;
  • be able to solve simple models analytically and more complex models numerically using appropriate modeling software (R, with relevant packages such as ReacTran, deSolve);
  • be able to fit data with a model, and interpret the results of the models in the relevant context (e.g., geochemical processes in rivers, lakes, aquifers, sediments, oceans);
  • be able to report the results in written and oral form.

 
 
The course will also help develop the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: Practical exercises and final projects will be done in teams of two students. Students will need to distribute the tasks, organize and execute the workflow, share responsibility for presentation of the results.
  • Written communication skills: Assignments and final projects will be presented as reports. Feedback will be given after each report, allowing students to improve.
  • Verbal communication skills: Results of the final projects will also be presented orally. Students will receive feedback on the quality of their presentations.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: Throughout the course students will solve quantitative tasks using analytical and numerical methods. They will also interpret their results in the wider context of environmental biogeochemistry.
  • Strong work ethic: students will be required to follow fixed deadlines for delivering assignments and results of their final projects.

Technical skills: students will write their own code to solve models. This will develop their programming skills in the programming language R. Preparation of written reports and oral presentation will help them develop skills in programs used for word processing and slide shows.

Stochastic Hydrology

The following topics will be studied:

  • introduction to the added value of the stochastic approach to hydrology;
  • descriptive statistic';
  • probability, random variables and random processes (random functions), and their application in calculating the return periods of extreme hydrological events;
  • time-series analysis;
  • geostatistics;
  • forward stochastic modelling;
  • optimal state prediction and Kalman filtering;

The theory will be treated by lectures, the application of the theory by exercises (homework) and by computer practicals. Furthermore, students will select a special topic for further study.
 
More information can be found on: http://www.earthsurfacehydrology.nl/education/stochastic-hydrology/

The course contributes to the following skills:
1. Ability to work in a team (computer practicals and proposal writing)
2. Written communication skills (proposal writing)
3. Problem solving skills (exercises and computer practicals and exam)
4. Verbal communication skills (presenting a research proposal)
5. Analytical/quantitative skills (exercises and exam)
6. technical skills (computer skills)
 

Track: Environmental Geochemistry

Statistics and Data Analysis in Physical Geography

In today’s scientific research, statistics are an integral part of physical sciences and social sciences. Statistical analysis provides credibility to a theory and is central to the general acceptance of most statements. This specialised course deals with some of the widely used statistical and geostatistical techniques in earth science research. The course starts with a refresher of elementary statistics, with subjects like probability, characteristics of population distributions, covariance, correlation, t-test, F-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and regression analysis. The course continues with two multivariate analysis techniques: Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA) and Principle Component Analysis (PCA). The last part of the course is devoted to the statistics of spatial data (geostatistics). The spatial correlation between data points will be modelled with the variogram and kriging techniques will be used for spatial prediction and modelling. The software used during computer practicals is Microsoft EXCEL for the elementary statistics and regression analysis, while the package ‘R’ is used for multivariate analysis and geostatistics.

During the last week of the course students will carry out an individual exercise on a topic that is relevant to their own study programme. Examples of such exercises are: 1) setting up an groundwater monitoring scheme; 2) analyzing social data using non-parametric statistics; 3) time series analysis of river discharges; etc.

By the end of the course, the student will have acquired:

  • Advanced knowledge of elementary statistics, regression analysis, multivariate statistics and geostatistics; 
  • Ability to apply relevant (geo-)statistical modules of EXCEL and ‘R’ software packages;
  • Insight into statistical data problems and the possible analytical tools to solve those problems.

Specific skills that will be learned by the student are:

  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills;
  • Technical skills.

Principles of groundwater flow

The importance of groundwater as a resource and as a critical component in many environmental issues is widely recognized. Groundwater hydrology is a rapidly evolving science and plays a key role in understanding a variety of subsurface processes.

  1. Porous media properties such as porosity and intrinsic permeability, hydraulic conductivity, erosion, fractures, continuum approach, Representative Elementary Volume REV- concept, up-scaling from pore-to continuum scale, basic fluid mechanical concepts.
  2. Groundwater flow: Darcy's Law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, pore pressure, anisotropy, Dupuit assumptions, mapping of flow, flow in fractured media.
  3. Flow equations in confined and unconfined aquifers: combining the mass balance equation and Darcy’s Law, boundary conditions, storage properties of porous media: compressibility of groundwater and compressibility of the solid phase, Boussinesq approximation, initial and boundary conditions, flow nets, dimensional analysis, analytical solutions of simple hydro-geological problems.
  4. Density-dependent flow, coastal aquifers.
  5. Super position principle, method of images, Analytical Element Method.
  6. Transient flow of groundwater, pumping tests, slug tests, constant head and falling head tests.
  7. Groundwater flow modeling, modeling approaches (schematization), simulation, evaluation model results, model verification and validation, finite differences, grids, integration in time, initial and boundary conditions, computer models, introduction to ModFlow, modeling exercises with ModFlow.
  8. Particle tracking in groundwater modeling.
  9. Two excursions are an integral part of this course. In general a visit to a bank-infiltration water supply pumping station (De Steeg of Oasen) and a trip to a groundwater remediation site.

Grading
During the course a variety of home works is presented to the students. Each home work contributes to the final grade. The idea of the home works is ‘continuous assessment’ of the students. In the final weeks of the course, the students are confronted with old exams, either as a graded homework or as an additional example to get acquainted with the examination style.
The home works, including the computer homework(s) contribute to 25 % of the final grade. The written exam contributes 75%.
 
Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. Grades between 5.0 and 5.49 are rounded down to 5.0. The right to a repair examination is granted if the final grade lies between 4.0 and 5.0. The result of the repair exam will be expressed as a pass (grade = 6.0) or a fail. Failure in the repair stage implies redoing the course in the following academic year.

Advanced GIS for Geoscientists

In this “hands on” course the emphasis lays on working with GIS together with a theoretical embedding. The Software used is ESRI ArcGIS (both desktop and workstation) together with Erdas Imagine (LPS eATE, Virtual GIS and Stereo Analyst, Agisoft photoscan).

The course exists of two major parts:

  • The assignment is a traditional workflow existing of the making of a “Potential Erosion Map” of a part of South Limburg, the Netherlands. Part of the data is available (Top10 and contour lines) in digital form. Another part must be digitized (soil map). The analyses are calculating derivatives and combining the data to one or more resulting maps. The maps must be presented through hardcopies in a scientific report.
  • DEM extraction of aerial photography. This project must be presented in a poster and oral presentation.

Additional smaller assignments can be given and must be handed in.

Students work in groups of 2 or alone if seats or software licenses allow.

  • Learning advanced theory of geospatial data analysis.
  • Performing a complete GIS-project: datainput -> analysis -> mapmaking/report.
  • Getting familiar with DEM extraction methods.
  • Training in oral and written presentation of the individual exercises.
  • Training in designing and developing a poster on DEM extraction.

Programme
This course is given in period 1, at a maximum of 30 participants. The Lab-sessions (compulsory) are in room 422 of the WC van Unnik-building.
Lecture 1:        4 hour introduction Course, GIS and data input
Lecture 2:        2 hour continue data input, datasets
Lecture 3:        2 hour analyses (vector raster)
Lecture 4:        2 hour presentation and mapmaking
Lecture 5:        2 hour Photogrammetry and DEM extraction
Lectures 6-8:     2 Guest lectures and additional subjectsAn excursion to an institute may be organized. Previous site visits included TNO, RIVM, KNMI

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Handson training GIS.
  • Report writing.
  • Oral presentation, presentation will be video recorded.
  • Giving feedback on oral presentations and posters.
  • Poster making: A0 scientific poster.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes ESRI platform, ErdasImagine. Agisoft, introduction python.

Field research instruction geochemistry

In this course students learn how to perform a field campaign and biogeochemical experiments in order to answer research questions related to the nutrient dynamics in aquatic environments. This includes: testing and preparing analytical and experimental methods, collecting and analyzing environmental samples, performing experiments, interpretation of analytical and experimental data, and presentation of the results orally and in a written form.The fieldwork consists of three parts: a preparation period in Utrecht, a field campaign, and a period of data interpretation and report writing in Utrecht. During the preparation period, the students give presentations related to the subject and the objectives of the fieldwork. Furthermore, they practice analytical procedures and experimental methods which are required during the fieldwork. During the fieldwork campaign, water samples from rivers, estuaries, and marine locations are collected and analyzed. Additionally, sediment cores will be taken and analyzed. Laboratory experiments are conducted in order to quantify individual processes related to the nutrient fluxes in the investigated environments. The analytical and experimental data are finally integrated in order to characterize the trophic state of the investigated systems, to determine the nutrient fluxes between the different compartments of the systems, and to investigate the interplay between physical and biological processes in controlling the nutrient dynamics. The results of the fieldwork are presented in reports

Development of transferable skills

  • Leadership: Students work in teams; each day someone takes the task of the team leader who takes the responsibility that the team activities are target orientated and  who reports about the team activities.
  • Ability to work in a team: All tasks are performed in teams. The teams often operate independently during field campaigns. Important hereby is making decisions about the selection of sampling sites and sampling approaches.
  • Written communication skills: Results of fieldwork are presented in reports. Feedback is given on the reports and students have to revise the reports based on the comments.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students have to give scientific presentations about a subject related to nutrient dynamics in aqueous environments.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: students have to integrate the data collected in the field and in the laboratory, in combination with knowledge from scientific literature and model calcultions, in order to answer the allocated research questions.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on conditions and observations during field campaigns and during laboratory work, the sampling programme or the analytical / experimental approach have to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: students are introduced to a variety of methods to characterize the chemical and physical properties of water or sediment samples. They are introduced to methods to determine processes and fluxes in situ or in laboratory experiments.

Please note: There is only 15 places available.Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Environmental Hydrogeology

  • Review of major soil and groundwater pollution sources and processes
  • Advanced topics in adsorption (two-site kinetics, nonlinear kinetics, double porosity media, - etc.)
  • Modelling dissolution and transport of organic liquid compounds
  • Modelling biodegradation
  • Principles of multiphase flow
  • Principles of virus transport and colloid transport in the subsurface
  • Pollution due to agricultural activities
  • Natural attenuation of soil and groundwater pollution
  • Review of major soil and groundwater remediation methods
  • Detailed description and modelling of Pump-and-Treat method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Hydraulic Removal of LNAPL method
  • Detailed description and modelling of Soil Vapour Extraction method
  • Working extensively with PMWIN model of flow and transport.

Masters excursion Earth Surface and Water

The MSc field course/excursion is open to students with background knowledge sufficient to give a good chance of successful completion of the course. This will be assessed on the basis of the personal study plan of the student, approved by the student's advisor. The study plan should contain an overview of previous field experience as well as details of the relevant master courses to be followed preceding the field course.

  • Geology of northwestern Europe;
  • Glacial landforms in northern Germany, and their evolution in the Quaternary;
  • Coastal processes in the Wadden Sea and North Sea;
  • Bio-geomorphological landscape development along the Dutch and German coast
  • Water management problems along the river Elbe;
  • Hydrological research in the Harz mountains;
  • Visits to the field sites of research institutes (e.g. universities) and executive institutes (e.g. drinking water companies, water authorities, consultancy firms) in the Netherlands and Germany involved in problems of river and coastal management, soil erosion, flood prevention, and nature conservation;
  • Theoretical context based on the international scientific literature;
  • Field exercises.

Development of transferable skills

  • Ability to work in a team: Participants are expected to take responsibility for a smooth execution of the excursion, both logistically  and content-wise.
  • Written communication skills: Participants will write a written report on a specific topic related to the excursion .
  • Verbal communication skills: Participants will give a scientific presentation about a topic related to the excursion programme. Participants are expected to actively take part in discussions.
  • Problem-solving skills: In the field, teams often have to define a strategy for fulfilling the assigned tasks, including the identification of sampling sites and performing the sampling.
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on for example weather conditions, the excursion programme need to be adjusted.
  • Technical skills: Participants are introduced to a variety of methods and techniques in fundamental or applied research and the application of these methods will be demonstrated.

Estimated costs
Approx. Euro 450. This includes meals and accommodation, travel, excursion guide, books and maps. The exact amount is determined every year by the board of education.
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Hydrology, Climate Change and the Cryosphere

Please note: It is not allowed to register for course GEO4-4423 and also for course GEO4-2327.

Traditionally, the terrestrial part of the hydrological cycle is mainly studied by hydrologists while the atmospheric part is left to atmospheric science and the cryospheric part to glaciology. As a consequence, apart from the study of evaporation, the three sciences have shown limited interaction. The last two decades however, have shown an increased interest in climate change and its impacts, not only by the atmospheric and cryospheric science community, but also by hydrologists. The first studies on hydrology and climate that were performed by hydrologists mainly focussed on the impact of climate change and variability on the water balance and river discharge. Recently, atmospheric scientist have turned more and more to hydrology to come up with better land-atmosphere parameterisations in order to improve climate models and weather prediction. The same holds for the cryosphere. There is an increasing number of cases where glacier dynamics and snow hydrology are integrated in basin scale hydrological studies. These developments together have led to an almost separate hydrological discipline called 'climate hydrology' where hydrological systems are viewed as part of the climate system being both influenced by climate change and variability and the cryosphere, as well as constraining the climate system through positive and negative feedbacks. The study of the hydrological cycle in the context of the climate system and the cryosphere has developed sufficiently to warrant a self-contained course on the subject.

The course consists of a set of lectures, in which a separate subject is treated by an expert.  The course outline is divided in three main blocks: the climate system, fundamentals of the atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere and climate change impacts.1.The climate system

  • An overview of the global climate system
  • The role of the hydrological cycle in the climate system

2.Fundamentals of atmosphere, cryosphere and the hydrosphere

  • Measurements and physics of precipitation
  • Measurements and physics of evaporation
  • Principles of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Climate, soil moisture and groundwater feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow hydrology
  • Physics of glaciers

3.Climate change impacts

  • Climate models
  • Climate scenarios and downscaling
  • Dynamics of glaciers, ice sheets and global sea-level rise
  • The intensification of the hydrological cycle
  • Climate change impacts on mountain hydrology

In addition, there will be hands-on exercises and case study work to get familiar with commonly used tools, methods and key concepts. There are four short hands-on exercises of half day each and a longer case study project on climate change impact modelling using a hydrological model. The topics of the hands-on exercises are:

  • Land surface atmosphere feedbacks
  • Mountain meteorology
  • Snow cover mapping with satellite imagery
  • Mass and energy balances of glaciers
  • Climate model downscaling
  • Glaciers and climate change

Aquatic and Environmental Chemistry

The course deals with processes that control the composition of water in aquifers, soils, lakes, and in the ocean. The focus lies on using equilibrium approaches to describe and quantify these processes.The course is organized around three main themes:

  1. Speciation of dissolved compounds in aqueous solution:
    Acid-base reactions, complexation of metals, redox speciation, introduction into quantitative methods in aquatic chemistry including the tableau method and speciation models.
  2. Partitioning of compounds between different phases:
    Thermodynamics of equilibrium partitioning, gas – water partitioning, solid-water partitioning, liquid – liquid partitioning
  3. Adsorption at the solid-water interfaces:
    adsorption isotherms, surface reactivity of solids, surface complexation, ion exchange

The course includes project-based work. These projects are devoted to processes controlling the composition of waters in surface and subsurface environments or the phase distribution and transformation inorganic compounds in aquatic environments. Computer equilibrium models will be used to solve quantitative problems related to the different projects.

Development of transferable skills

  • Ability to work in a team: The quantitative problems related to various projects in the course are solved in teams, typically couples. Important part of the team work is the critical assessment and discussion of results obtained from the chemical equilibrium models.
  • Written communication skills: students are introduced to the scientific review process. They write a scientific manuscript, review manuscripts from their fellow students and improve their manuscripts based on the comments. 
  • Problem-solving skills: In the projects, students have to find a strategy to answer the given research or practical questions.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: Students have to learn to conceptualize processes affecting the composition of natural waters. Conceptual understanding is a prerequisite to properly define problem sets in chemical equilibrium models.
  • Technical skills: students are introduced to the methodology to solve quantitative problems in the field of aquatic chemistry including chemical equilibrium models.

Quantitative Water Management

  • Groundwater drainage: Donnan, Hooghoudt and beyond.
  • Groundwater drainage practice in The Netherlands: agricultural vs. urban areas.
  • Urban stormwater drainage and the urban water assignment: pluvial flooding and sewer management, flooding from regional surface waters, and governance issues.
  • Side effects of drainage: downstream flooding, land subsidence, salinization and operational water resources management, ecohydrological drought, and foundation damage.
  • Reservoir management and irrigation: basics of irrigation scheduling, hydrological change and sustainable reservoir planning and management.

Kinetic processes

  1. Rates of geochemical reactions. Rate equations, reaction mechanisms, elementary reactions, order of reactions, steady state, Arrhenius equation, principle of detailed balancing, Michaelis-Menten kinetics, heterogeneous kinetics.
  2. Theory of chemical kinetics: Collision theory, diffusion controlled reactions in solution, transition state theory, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, kinetic processes under non-hydrostatic conditions.
  3. Applications of geochemical kinetics: Mineral dissolution and growth, kinetics of microbially mediated reactions, kinetics of redox reactions, kinetics of reactions in aqueous solution, geochronology, geospeedometry.

Most of the examples discussed in the course are biogeochemical processes in aquatic environments. As part of the course, the students have to study independently chapters from the textbook Geochemical Kinetics by Y. Zhang. Students have to solve problems in the book and their solutions will be graded.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: (Video) lectures are prepared in teams. Students have to distribute tasks, organize the workflow and are responsible for the time planning.
  • Problem solving: students receive data from (virtual) experiments and have to use different approaches to parameterize empirical rate laws.
  • Verbal communication skills: emphasis is put on transferring knowledge to non-expert audience / teaching, including the definition of teaching goals, planning a (video) lecture and preparing/presenting the lecture. Students are familiarized with techniques required to prepare video lectures.
  • Analytical / quantitative skills: analytical and numerical integration of differential equations. Solving quantitative problems related to kinetic processes.  
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, Matlab and Stella for numerical integration of differential equations.

Hydrogeological Transport Phenomena

The subsurface environment plays an important role in many human activities as well as in natural systems. Both soil and groundwater are valuable natural resources for human beings. Moreover, the subsurface is frequently used for storage of mass (toxic and otherwise) and energy, and construction of certain facilities and infrastructure. For a sustainable use of the subsurface and its resources, it is extremely important to understand and predict various processes that occur in the subsurface. In particular, knowledge of the flow of water and the movement of dissolved components is essential for the design of various activities occurring in the subsurface. This course relates to the understanding and description of processes affecting the fate of dissolved components of groundwater. The knowledge obtained in this course will be also relevant to the study of transport of solutes in general porous media (e.g. human tissues, plants, ceramics, concrete and other construction materials, food, paper).

Transport of solutesby advection and diffusion;

  • Various ways of classification of pollutants
  • Determination of flow velocity and dispersion coefficients
  • Description of adsorption: linear and nonlinear isotherms, kinetic adsorption
  • Determination of adsorption coefficients
  • Degradation processes
  • Discussion of initial and boundary conditions
  • Solute transport in double-porosity media
  • Transport in unsaturated zone

This course is an entry requirement for Environmental Hydrogeology (GEO4-1432)

Reactive transport in the hydrosphere

  • Basics of model formulation (from conceptual diagrams to differential equations)
  • Introduction to R (focus on deSolve and ReacTran packages)
  • Spatial components and parameterization
  • Model solution (analytical vs. numerical methods)
  • Stability and feedback analysis
  • Regression analysis (fitting of data by a model)
  • Case studies/Applications:
    • River/Lake chemistry
    • Diagenesis in sediments
    • Aquifers
    • Global ocean biogeochemistry

By the end of the course, students will

  • have a general understanding of concepts and methods needed to quantitatively describe (bio)geochemical reactions and transport processes in various compartments of the hydrosphere;
  • be able to formulate models (conceptually and with mathematical equations) to describe transport and reactions in Earth's surface environments;
  • be able to solve simple models analytically and more complex models numerically using appropriate modeling software (R, with relevant packages such as ReacTran, deSolve);
  • be able to fit data with a model, and interpret the results of the models in the relevant context (e.g., geochemical processes in rivers, lakes, aquifers, sediments, oceans);
  • be able to report the results in written and oral form.

 
 
The course will also help develop the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: Practical exercises and final projects will be done in teams of two students. Students will need to distribute the tasks, organize and execute the workflow, share responsibility for presentation of the results.
  • Written communication skills: Assignments and final projects will be presented as reports. Feedback will be given after each report, allowing students to improve.
  • Verbal communication skills: Results of the final projects will also be presented orally. Students will receive feedback on the quality of their presentations.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: Throughout the course students will solve quantitative tasks using analytical and numerical methods. They will also interpret their results in the wider context of environmental biogeochemistry.
  • Strong work ethic: students will be required to follow fixed deadlines for delivering assignments and results of their final projects.

Technical skills: students will write their own code to solve models. This will develop their programming skills in the programming language R. Preparation of written reports and oral presentation will help them develop skills in programs used for word processing and slide shows.