5th Annual Aberdeen Catchment Science Summer School


August 17 - 22, 2014


University of Aberdeen, Northern Rivers Institute, Aberdeen, UK


Photos: Sim Reaney and Björn Thomas

Course coordinators

Professor Jeff McDonnell (University of Saskatchewan and University of Aberdeen)
Professors Chris Soulsby and Doerthe Tetzlaff (University of Aberdeen)

Course instructors

Professor Keith Beven (University of Lancaster)
Dr. Rick Hooper (CUAHSI, USA)
Professor Jeff McDonnell (University of Saskatchewan and University of Aberdeen)
Professors Chris Soulsby and Doerthe Tetzlaff (University of Aberdeen)
and others

Course overview

The Aberdeen Catchment Science Summer School is a 5-day shortcourse that is intended for post-graduate students and post-docs interested in a hands-on catchment science curriculum, focusing on northern catchments, runoff processes and combined hydrometric, isotope/chemical tracer and modelling techniques in catchment hydrology. The learning objectives for this shortcourse are to understand:

  • Rainfall-runoff processes
  • Rainfall runoff model development, use and testing
  • Hydrochemical and isotopic measurement and analyses
  • Linking field experiments with modelling approaches
  • Evolution of empirical and theoretical understanding of runoff processes
  • Landscape analysis

The text for the shortcourse will be the IAHS Benchmark Papers volumes on Streamflow Generation (by Keith Beven) and Rainfall-Runoff Modeling (by Keith Loague). Selections from these books will be made available to students during the shortcourse.

Enrollment in the class is limited to 30 students. Our aim is for a hands-on course experience with a low student-teacher ratio.

Course materials

Required reading for labs (PDFs attached):

  • Criss, R.E. and Winston, W.E. (2008) Do Nash values have value? Discussion and alternate proposals, Hydrological Processes 22: 2723-2725. PDF
  • Hooper, R.P. and Shoemaker, C.A. (1986) A comparison of chemical and isotopic hydrograph separation, Water Resources Research 22(10): 1444-1454. PDF
  • McGuire, K.J. and McDonnell, J.J. (2006) A review and evaluation of catchment transit time modeling, Journal of Hydrology 330: 543-563. PDF
  • Seibert, J. and McDonnell, J.J. (2010) Land-cover impacts on streamflow: a change-detection modeling approach that incorporates parameter uncertainty, Hydrological Sciences Journal 55(3): 316-332. PDF
  • Tetzlaff, D. et al (2007) Conceptualisation of runoff processes using a geographical information system and tracers in a nested mesoscale catchment, Hydrological Processes 21: 1289-1307. PDF
  • Tetzlaff, D., Waldron, S., Brewer, M.J., and Soulsby, C. (2007) Assessing nested hydrological and hydrochemical behaviour of a mesoscale catchment using continuous tracer data, Journal of Hydrology 336: 430-443. PDF

Required reading for evening discussions (PDFs attached):

  • Anderson, M.G. and Burt, T.P. (1978) The role of topography in controlling throughflow generation, Earth Surface Processes 3: 331-344. PDF
  • Beven, K.J. (2006) "Introduction" in Streamflow Generation Processes: Benchmark Papers in Hydrology. IAHS, Wallingford. PDF
  • Beven, K.J. and Kirkby, M.J. (1979) A physically based, variable contributing area model of basin hydrology, Hydrological Sciences-Bulletin-des Sciences Hydrologiques 24(1): 3. PDF
  • Binley, A. and Beven, K. (1989) A physically based model of heterogeneous hillslopes 2. Effective hydraulic conductivities, Water Resources Research 25(6): 1227-1233. PDF
  • Freeze, R.A. and Harlan, R.L. (1969) Blueprint for a physically-based digitally-simulated hydrologic response model, Journal of Hydrology 9: 237-258. PDF
  • Harr, R.D. (1977) Water flux in soil and subsoil on a steep forested slope, Journal of Hydrology 33: 37-58. PDF
  • Hewlett, J.D. and Hibbert, A.R. (1967) "Factors affecting the response of small watersheds to precipitation in humid areas" p.275-290 in Sopper, W.E. and Lull, H.W. (eds.) Forest Hydrology. New York, Pergamon Press. PDF
  • Loague, K. (2010) "Introduction" in Rainfall-Runoff Modelling: Benchmark Papers in Hydrology. IAHS, Wallingford. PDF
  • Mosley, M.P. (1979) Streamflow generation in a forested watershed, New Zealand, Water Resources Research 15: 795-806. PDF
  • Sklash, M.G. and Farvolden, R.N. (1979) The role of groundwater in storm runoff, Journal of Hydrology 43: 45-65. PDF

Accommodation and transportation

Students will need to make their own accommodation reservation. However, we can reserve student accommodation at the local university halls of residence at a significant discount (please select this option on the online registration page, below, if required).

Information about traveling to campus can be found on the University of Aberdeen website.

Please plan to arrive in Aberdeen on Sunday, Aug 17 in time for an introductory talk and reception at 4 pm. Course teaching will being at 8 am on Monday, Aug 18 and continue through to Friday, Aug 22 at 4 pm.


The tuition cost for the course is approximately £400. Students will be responsible for their food and lodging (we will arrange for a group booking at the local university halls of residence at a significant discount). Please contact Julie Timms (see below) for further details on registration and costs.

Registration details

Click here for the online registration page.

For enquiries regarding registration and costs, please contact:

Julie Timms
School Finance Person
School of Geosciences
University of Aberdeen
St Mary's
Elphinstone Road
Aberdeen, Scotland
AB24 3UF

E-mail: julie.timms@abdn.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1224 274365