GEO4330 – Advanced hydrological modelling

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Course content

GEO4330 is a course on hydrological modelling (both surface water and groundwater) and related issues. This course strives to convey expertise about the analysis of hydrologic models. The course will be divided into two parts. Part I deals with advanced surface water modeling and part II deals with groundwater modeling.

The contents included in the first part include objective oriented model selection, objective oriented model validation, use of unit hydrograph in surface runoff calculation, river flow routing, regional parameterization, uncertainty assessment, the use of model in climate change and land-use change studies, introduction to macroscale and global hydrological models, introduction to hydraulic models and use of finite difference to solve partial differential equations (e.g. Saint-venant equation). As a learning tool, the physically-based Ecomag model and/or the distributed version of HBV model will be used to solve problems in the course.

Topics to be discussed in part II include basic equations of groundwater flow, Darcy’s Law, Laplace’s Equation, solving Laplace’s Equation analytically and numerically. Learning how to use MODFLOW (A Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Ground-Water Flow Model) model to solve groundwater problems, etc.

Learning outcome

The students learn (1) when and how to select a stochastic, a conceptual, a physically-based, a lumped, a semi-distributed and distributed model according to the objective of the study, (2) what are the issues and methods in calibration and validation of the different types of models (lumped-distributed, physically-based- conceptual, catchment scale-macroscale), (3) what are the methods of regional parameterization, (4) what are the issues to be studied in using hydrological model in climate change study and coupling the hydrological model with climate model, (5) understand and use Ecomag (a physically-based distributed model) and MODFLOW (A Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Ground-Water Flow Model) to solve surface water and groundwater problems. Any student graduating from this course will gain an understanding of how and why hydrologic models can be used, but not blindly believed.


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Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor courses in basic mathematics, statistics and hydrology/meteorology/climatology/physical geography. The introductory modelling course GEO4320 – Hydrological Modelling.


The course will be divided into two parts, namely surface water modeling and groundwater modeling. For each part, there will be an intensive period of lectures which discusses some important terminologies, concepts, methods and demonstrates how to use the selected models to solve the problems. Two assignments and 6 smaller exercices.


The final grade will be Pass or No pass (Fail). The evaluation will be based on the assignment reports (One assignment for surface water modelling and one for groundwater modelling). No oral or written examination will take place.

This course does not offer new examination in the beginning of the subsequent term for candidates who withdraw during an ordinary examination or fail an ordinary examination. For general information about new examinations, see /studier/admin/eksamen/sykdom-utsatt/mn/index.html and

General information about examinations at the faculty can be found at

Facts about this course






This course will be changed into a PhD-level course (GEO9330) from spring 2010.

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