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Biogeochemical Modelling
[Introduction] [Teachers] [Schedule] [Details] [KA info]

Note: This course was earlier given under the name "Ecological Process Modelling" (KTE160, swedish name Ekologisk processmodellering)

The Biogeochemical Modelling course consists of a number of simulation tasks, which are first to be described using Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs) and then solved numerically, usually using the STELLA simulation environment. The Modelling course includes an introduction to CLDs. For a task to qualify as a simulation task in Biogeochemical Modelling, they should meet as many as possible of the following requirements:

  • They should be simple enough to have a reasonably intuitive behaviour (i.e. not too time-consuming)
  • They should describe current environmental problems
  • Together, the simulation tasks should describe environmental problems of different scale and complexity
  • The solution should be close to the "professional" solution, i.e. after solving the task, the student should have gained insight in how the research that forms the basis of international agreements and protocols is carried out.

Course Overview

Causal Loop Diagrams is at the heart of the course, and can be described as an esperanto for system dynamics and is a map of all/important feedback loops of a system. From a correctlty drawn CLD for a system, all possible dynamic responses can be foreseen and reference behaviour patterns (RBPs) can be analysed. With some knowledge on the relative importance of different feedback loops further conclusions on the specific behaviour can be drawn. There are many advantages with CLDs, e.g.

  • facilitates communication of system behaviour to people without training in advanced mathematics.
  • focuses on and illustrates feed backs rather than mechanisms or formulas
  • facilitates a holistic approach in tackling dynamic systems

Who can follow this course? The course is a G2 course, i.e. you're expected to have prior experience of studying at the university level. Over the years many different kinds of students have taken this course and found it interesting and worthwhile, including chemical engineers and PhD-students in ecology although most student the recent years have been students at the environmental engineering programme. What we have found is that a basic understanding of

  • general chemistry
  • reaction kinetics
  • ecology
  • computer aided simulation
  • programming
  • differential euqations
  • insights in the actual systems we model

makes following the course easier, but we haven't listed any definite prerequisites for the course.


Material will be handed out or made available through internet


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Created: 2002-01-26 Last updated: 2008-02-28 Biogeochemistry homepage