Environmental modelling and prediction

We use models of natural systems such as rivers, glaciers, oceans and the atmosphere to understand how these systems work, and in some cases to make predictions. Predictions may be useful for the scientific community or for managing these systems and their resources.

Quantitative predictive models, are becoming increasingly important for planning in many areas of social and economic life such as agriculture, medicine, insurance, energy generation and transport.

The Environmental Modelling and Prediction Research Group consists of earth, ocean and atmospheric scientists interested in modelling. 


A model is a representation of the essential aspects of a system presented in a useable form.

Models are often based around fundamental physical equations that incorporate the best-known understanding of process response. Models in the natural sciences often also include empirical (ie: data-derived) relationships or simplified ‘physically-based’ relationships. They also generally draw on knowledge from multiple disciplines.

For example, a glacier model will include information from fluid mechanics (Navier-Stokes equations), laboratory experiments (Glen’s flow law) and the local geography (sub-ice bedrock profile, climate). 

Academic and research staff