Handbook Public View

This page displays current curriculum information. For staff view, please login

Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Modelling the Environment (ENV684)

Organisational Unit Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description This unit develops concepts of modelling using the systems dynamics approach, a widely adopted approach to modelling. The unit focuses on the application of systems dynamics to areas such as natural resource management, applied ecology, earth's physical climate system, economics, etc. Students will learn to identify a key issue, conceptualize it, and develop a system dynamics model to predict the consequences of actions and policies in environmental management. No prior knowledge or experience in modelling is required.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit you should be able to:
1. Apply the systems thinking approach to an environmental problem
2. Develop an earth systems model of an environmental issue to inform decision-making
3. Critically evaluate systems models in terms of their assumptions and inherent limitations, and discuss their usefulness in decision-making
4. Use an earth systems model to predict, in advance, the consequences of environmental policies and management techniques
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures/workshops: 2 hours per week.
Unit Learning Experiences Humankind exists within and is an integral part of the Earth System. Systems concepts and terminology offer precise, concise means for describing the components (sub-systems) comprising the Earth System and their interconnections and interactions, including those due to humankind. These thoughts lead to the central theme of this unit: For humankind to make wise choices -- policy -- concerning the global environment, an in-depth understanding of the Earth System and the roles played by humanity in it are essential. You should obtain from this unit an enhanced understanding of the makeup and functioning of the Earth System, and humankind's role with it. The specific aims of the unit are for you to (i) develop a recognition of environmental phenomena as coming from dynamic systems, (ii) distinguish between systems thinking and other approaches and (iii) understand how dynamic systems models can be used to understand environmental problems. Internal students approach this through a weekly interactive workshop/lecture whereas a weekly online workshop is run for external students as the interactive nature of the internal workshop precludes its recording. The software platform used for the Unit is STELLA Professional -- https://www.iseesystems.com/store/products/stella-professional.aspx -- and will be freely available to enrolled students at the Murdoch campus in a computer lab. External students who do not have access to the Murdoch campus will need to purchase a student license, and internal students may also need to purchase a student licence to use the software on their personal computer, or when the computer lab is not available due to other units using the lab. The cost for a semester student licence (6 months) can be found here: https://www.iseesystems.com/store/products/stella-professional.aspx
Assessment Numerical modelling is a major tool for exploring the function and evolution of the environment, and the intent of this unit is to enable you to explore and think deeply about an environmental issue with societal implications. The unit starts by building your modelling skills with two problem sets (30%) and a model sensitivity study (20%). You will then develop a numerical model and use it to explore an environmental issue. Students produce a Project Proposal (10%) followed by a Final Report (30%) and undertake an oral presentation (10%) (or Skype presentation for external students). The oral presentation focuses on the strengths and weakness of the modelling approach adopted, in line with discussions throughout the weekly workshops.
Prerequisites Enrolment in Graduate Diploma in Energy and the Environment or Master of Environmental Science.
Exclusions Students who have previously completed ENV330/ENV630 Special Topics in Environmental Science: Earth System Science or ENV614/684 Earth Systems Science may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Notes The software platform used for the Unit is STELLA Professional (https://www.iseesystems.com/store/products/stella-professional.aspx), and will be freely available to enrolled students at the Murdoch campus in a computer lab. External students who do not have access to the Murdoch campus will need to purchase a student license, and internal students may also need to purchase a student licence to use the software on their personal computer, or when the computer lab is not available due to other units using the lab. The cost for a semester student licence (6 months) can be found here: https://www.iseesystems.com/store/products/stella-professional.aspx),
Previously 2016: 'Earth System Science'
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Graduate Diploma in Energy and the Environment (GradDipEnEnv)
Master of Environmental Science (MEnvSc)
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.

Contacts

Unit Coordinator
ENV684
Dr Jatin Kala
Senior Lecturer Atmospheric Science

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 6297
e: J.Kala@murdoch.edu.au
o: 335.2.053 - Environmental Science, Murdoch Campus
Unit Contacts
ENV684

MURDOCH: S2-External
MURDOCH: S2-Internal
Dr Jatin Kala
Senior Lecturer Atmospheric Science

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 6297
e: J.Kala@murdoch.edu.au
o: 335.2.053 - Environmental Science, Murdoch Campus
Fee Calculator
Handbook help
Information for Students

Cancellation

The University reserves the right to cancel, without notice, any course, major, minor or unit if the number of students enrolled falls below limits set by the University.


Regulations and Rules

Students should ensure they are familiar with the University's internal legislation, including provisions specifically relevant to their studies. See the University Regulation overview and view legislation online.