Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Practical outline

In this set of practicals, we’ll be using R, RStudio and WhiteboxTools to perform hydrological analysis.

In Chapters 2 and 3, we’ll install and get to grips with the required programs.

In Practical 1 (Chapters 4 - 6), which uses data for the Eskdale watershed, we’ll introduce you to some of the key approaches, including DEM pre-processing, calculating flow parameters and comparing flow algorithms.

In Practical 2 (Chapters 7 - 11), we’ll utilise these approaches to investigate the water quality of the Mersey Basin. This forms the basis for your assessment.

Note: the relevant chapters will be made available as we progress through the semester, hence why Practicals 2 and the assessment information are not currently visible. Practical 2 will be released prior to the Week 10 lecture.

1.2 Objectives

After completing these practicals, you will:

  • have gained experience with new tools (e.g. R, RStudio, WhiteboxTools);
  • become familiar with hydrological approaches used to simulate overland flow from digital elevation models (DEMs);
  • utilised statistical analysis to investigate the relationships between water quality indicators and catchment characteristics;
  • improved your understanding of the hydrological processes influencing water quality.

1.3 Schedule

These practicals will be completed across Weeks 8 to 12 as follows:

  • Week 8:
    • Introductory lecture (~1 hr)
    • Complete Chapters 1 - 3: An introduction to R (~2 hr)
  • Weeks 9:
    • Lecture on Hydrological and Geomorphological models (~1 hr)
    • Complete Chapters 4 - 6: Eskdale practical (~2 hr, plus independent work)
  • Weeks 10 - 12:
    • Lecture on Water Quality Modelling (~1 hr)
    • Complete Chapters 7 - 11: Mersey practical (~6 hr, plus independent work)

The assessment, based upon Practical 2 (Mersey), is due 11/01/2024 (14:00).