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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1434 Water

10 creditsClass Size: 92

Module manager: Dr A Maycock

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

GCSE General Science or equivalent

Module replaces

SOEE1433 Water in the Environment

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

You will gain a general overview of the many important roles that water plays in the global environmental system. The module introduces the basic properties of water as a substance and explains why these make it a unique and important part of the terrestrial environmental system. By the end of the module you will have an understanding of the major components of the environmental system in which water plays a key role: the atmosphere, oceans, ice and land surface. The focus is on highlighting the diverse and interesting array of phenomena for which water is of fundamental importance, including climate change, storms, sea ice and glaciers, flooding and hydrology, and biodiversity in waterways and the oceans. The emphasis of the module is on providing a holistic view of water within the environmental system. This will act as a primer for more specialised modules at subsequent study levels. This module is taught in semester 1.


The module examines the importance of water in the global environmental system. The module will introduce the major reservoirs of water on Earth: from the vast oceans, to rivers, snow and ice caps, and the role of water as a "fuel" for our weather and climate. You will learn how human activities are changing our environment and the key role of water for shaping these changes. By the end of the module you will have an understanding of the global water cycle and its components, including the influence of human activities on water resources.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will:

- understand the main ways in which water shapes the global environmental system;
- understand the global water cycle and the connections between the major reservoirs of water in the environmental system (i.e. atmosphere, oceans, rivers, glaciers, ice sheets);
- have knowledge of some of the major themes related to water in the environment including: climate change, sea ice and glaciers, the oceans and ocean biodiversity, hydrology, water quality, and flooding.


- The global water cycle
- Water and its basic physical and chemical properties
- Water in the atmosphere: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, clouds, observing water vapour from space
- Water and climate: water vapour as a greenhouse gas, role of water vapour in climate change, flooding
- Water in the oceans: the global ocean circulation and water transport, geochemistry and biodiversity
- Water as ice: sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets
- Water on land: rainfall, drainage, rivers, water pollution, human impacts on water quality

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours81.00
Total Contact hours19.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent online learning and private study: Viewing online lectures, time for private reading to back up lectures, engagement with supplementary online learning materials, online completion of questions for understanding and MCQ tests, and preparation for unseen exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive formative feedback via online MCQ exercises during the course. These will help students prepare for the unseen examination at the end of the course. Students will be set short answer questions for understanding during the semester and will receive formative feedback on these in timetabled online discussion sessions with demonstrators. Students will be able to join timetabled online discussion/Q&A sessions with lecturers to discuss course material, ask questions and seek feedback on learning.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/05/2022 14:15:14


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