GEOL 489G/789G
Fall 2013: Geoscientific modeling
next likely offering: Fall 2015
(reload for updates as the semester progresses)


seawifs as97 productivityUSGS topo and
                      bathy map eurasia, eqs, url:
                      http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/2800/navy ocean model Aug 17 2007 pred, url
Overview Goals Schedule Assessment Policies Resources

Overview

A model is a simplified representation of the processes underlying observations of the Earth around us.  Models can therefore provide hypothesis tests, support process understanding, and inform how we plan additional observations; modeling is implicit or explicit in almost everything we do as geoscientists.  Following a discussion of the utility of geoscientific modeling, we will develop key concepts in its application - construction, coding, parsimony, robustness, validation, uncertainty, and interpretation - and discuss examples of each of these concepts in the literature.

Goals 

By the conclusion of the semester, students should be able to:

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Logistics

Location and Time: HBK 0123, MWF 10:00a-10:50a.  Occasionally, Friday meetings may happen in the computer lab in GEOL 3120, F 10a-10:50a; stay tuned for announcements.

Instructor: Michael Evans , Department of Geology and ESSICChemistry Bldg, Rm 1212B.  ph 301-405-8763;  email: mnevans@umd.edu.

Office hours:
W 12pm-1pm (sometimes until 2pm), location: Geology 3120; or by appointment.  Please let me know in advance if you plan to come to office hours, if you can.  We will also set up a class email list; please also use email for questions or more information.  I will try to answer emails within 24 hours, and reserve the right to copy the class on replies of interest/benefit to all.

Prerequisites:
MATH 140,141 (Calculus) and any two of the 400-level GEOL courses; their equivalents; or permission of the instructor.

Reading and course materials: There is no textbook required for this course.  Per copyright fair use guidelines, I will provide readings electronically as password protected PDF files, served from this webpage, via the listed links in the course syllabus.

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Assessment (subject to revision)  

Resources

Further background on principles is available from the following excellent sources, some of which I have available for short-term loan (links to commercial vendors are convenient descriptors and give access to tables of contents, but are not intended to be sales endorsements):

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Acknowledgements

Many thanks to: Thorsten Becker, Mike Brown, Andy Campbell, Phil Candela, Russ Dickerson, Jay Kaufman, Bill McDonough, Saswata Hier-Majumder, Laurent Montesi, Roberta Rudnick, Richard Walker, Rong-Hua Zhang, and participants in the 2009 offering for educating me on fundamentals and grand challenges in the Earth Sciences; discussing mathematics and numerics; sharing code; and for contributing ideas for readings and problem sets.  For 2013 we will concentrate on modeling principles rather than trying to survey a range of geological/geochemical/geophysical models.  Thanks to the 2013 participants for their hard work and help redesigning the course. 

Policies (per UMD guidelines)

Schedule (subject to revision -- refresh page for latest update)
 
Jump to week of:
Oct. 14th
Nov. 11th
Dec 16th-21st
Week
Topic
Reading
Assignment
Week of Sept 3
No class this week.  First day of class is: Sept 11 (Weds)

Problem set 0 due Wednesday 9/11 before beginning of class.
Sept 11/13
Weds: Introduction/logistics
Fri: Overview of modeling concepts

Oreskes et al. (1994) and letters to the editor (1994) Problem set 1 due Monday 9/16 at beginning of class.
An exemplary response is here.
Sept 16/18/20
9/20: course meets at Geology Bldg Rm 3120

(9/16: last day to add/drop classes)
Mon: PS1 discussion
Weds: Coding Practices
Fri: Introduction to programming with Matlab (supervised work on PS2)
OIT tutorial introduction to MATLAB; my  "Elements of programming style" Problem set 2 due Monday 9/23 at beginning of class.  The function fmk2.m is here.  An exemplary response is here.
Sept. 23/25/27
9/27: course meets at GEOL 3120
Mon: PS2 discussion
Weds: Introduction to box modeling
Fri: box modeling: simplified carbon cycle (supervised work on PS3a) 
Wookey et al (2005)
Problem set 3a due Monday 9/29 at beginning of class.  My solution notes are here.  My code is here.  My 4th order Runge-Kutta solver function is here.  An exemplary response is here.
Sept. 30/Oct 2/4
10/4: course meets at GEOL 3120
Mon: PS3a discussion
Weds: Box model construction (continued)
Fri: supervised work on PS3b
Cao and Bao (2013)
Problem set 3b due Monday 10/7 at beginning of class.  An exemplary response is here.
Oct 7/9/11
10/11: course meets at GEOL 3118
Mon: PS3b discussion
Weds: Parsimony vs. complexity
Fri: supervised work on PS4a
optional - see problem set
Problem set 4a due Monday 10/14 at beginning of class.  My main script, parameters, model function, plotting script, plot.  An exemplary response is here.
Oct 14/16/18 Mon: PS4a discussion
Weds: Parsimony vs. complexity
Fri: no class meeting
Refsgaard and Knudsen (1996) Problem set 4b due Monday 10/21 at beginning of class.  An exemplary response is here.
Oct 21/23/25 Mon: PS4b discussion
Weds: Sensitivity
Fri: supervised work on PS5a
optional - see problem set Problem set 5a due Monday 10/28 at beginning of class.  My main script, parameters, model function, plotting script, plot.  An exemplary response is here.
Oct 28/30/Nov 1
Mon: PS5a discussion.
Weds: Sensitivity
Fri: no class meeting
Huang et al (2013)
Problem set 5b due Monday 11/11 at beginning of class. An exemplary response is here.
Nov 4/6/8 (no class this week)
No class this week.


Nov 11/13/15
11/15: course meets at GEOL 3120
Mon: PS5b discussion.
Weds: supervised work on PS6a
Fri: Validation
optional - see problem set
Problem set 6a due Monday 11/18 at beginning of class. My main script, parameters, model function, plotting script, plot.  An exemplary response is here.
Nov 18/20/22
Mon: PS6a discussion.
Weds: Critical evaluation of scientific literature
Fri: Close reading of Parsons et al. (2000)
Parsons et al (2000)
Problem set 6b due Monday 11/25 at  beginning of class.   An exemplary response is here.
Nov 25/27/29 (no class 11/27; Thanksgiving recess: Nov 28-Dec 1)
Mon: PS6b discussion.
no reading this week

Dec 2/4/6
12/4: course meets at GEOL 3120
12/6: course meets at GEOL 3118
CourseevalUM is open for course evaluations through 12/15
Mon: Interpretation (including notes for getting started on PS7; revised 12/4/13)
Weds: supervised work on PS7
Fri: more supervised work on PS7
session notes (see link at left)
Problem set 7 due Monday 12/9 at beginning of class.  My analysis script, plot1, plot2, plot3. An exemplary response is here.
Dec 9/11/13 (Last day of classes, 12/13; Reading Day: 12/14) Mon: PS7 discussion; final exam introduction.
Weds: no class
Fri: no class
anonymous post-course assessment;
final exam.
Please complete and return the post-course assessment by Monday, 12/16, to my mailbox in Geology or Chemistry.
Final exam due Friday 12/20, HBK 0123, at beginning of class (10am).
Dec 9-20
Take home final exam to be completed Dec 9-20;
office hours @ GEOL 3120: Tues Dec 10th, 11a-12pm and Mon, Dec 16th, 11a-12p

Final exam discussion: 12/20/13 10a HBK 0123
course website
Final exam suggested solutions are here; main script, model function, plotting/analysis script; plot1 and plot 2.  An exemplary final exam response is here.

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