Aberdeen Catchment Science Summer School


Dates: 20-25 August 2017

Location: University of Aberdeen, UK


Photo: Nino Amvrosiadi 

Course coordinators

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

Course instructors

Professor Jan Seibert (University of Zurich)
Dr. Rick Hooper (CUAHSI, USA)
Professor Jeff McDonnell (University of Saskatchewan and University of Aberdeen)
Professor Doerthe Tetzlaff (University of Aberdeen)
Professor Chris Soulsby (University of Aberdeen)
Dr. Josie Geris (University of Aberdeen)

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 evening discussions:

For Monday:

  • Beven, K.J. (2006) "Introduction" in Streamflow Generation Processes: Benchmark Papers in Hydrology. IAHS, Wallingford.
  • Mosley, M.P. (1979) Streamflow generation in a forested watershed, New Zealand, Water Resources Research 15: 795-806.
  • Sklash, M.G. and Farvolden, R.N. (1979) The role of groundwater in storm runoff, Journal of Hydrology 43: 45-65.
  • Pearce, A.J., Stewart, M.K., Sklash, M.G. (1986) Storm runoff generation in humid headwater catchments: 1. Where does the water come from? Water Resources Research 22, 1263–1272.
  • Sklash, M.G., Stewart, M.K., Pearce, A.J. 1986. Storm Runoff Generation in Humid Headwater Catchments: 2. A Case Study of Hillslope and Low-Order Stream Response. Water Resources Research 22(8), 1273–1282, DOI: 10.1029/WR022i008p01273.
  • McDonnell, J.J., 1990. A rationale for old water discharge through macropores in a steep, humid catchment. Water Resources Research 26 (11), 2821–2832.

For Tuesday:

  • Loague, K. (2010) "Introduction" in Rainfall-Runoff Modelling: Benchmark Papers in Hydrology. IAHS, Wallingford.
  • 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.
  • Freeze, R.A. and Harlan, R.L. (1969) Blueprint for a physically-based digitally-simulated hydrologic response model, Journal of Hydrology 9: 237-258.
  • Ebel, B.A., Loague, K., Montgomery, D.R. and Dietrich, W.E. (2008). Physics‐based continuous simulation of long‐term near‐surface hydrologic response for the Coos Bay experimental catchment. Water Resources Research 44: doi: 10.1029/2007WR006442.

Additional reading for labs:

  • Bastiaanssen et al. (1998) A remote sensing surface energy balance algorithm for land (SEBAL) 1. Formulation, Journal of Hydrology 212-213: 198-212.
  • Allen et al (2007) Satellite-based energy balance for mapping evapotranspiration with internalized calibration (METRIC)-Model, Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering July/August 380-384.
  • Birkel et al (2011) Using time domain and geographic source tracers to concetpualize streamflow generation processes in lumped rainfall-runoff models, Water Resources Research W02515.
  • Capell et al (2012) Can time domain and source area tracers reduce uncertainty in rainfall-runoff models in larger heterogeneous catchments, Water Resources Research 48: W09544.
  • Allen et al FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper No. 56. Crop Evapotranspiration.
  • Long and Singh (2012) A modified surface energy balance algorithm for land (M-SEBAL) based on a trapezoidal framework, Water Resources Research 48: W02528.
  • Surface Energy Balance Algorithms for Land (SEBAL) Users Manual.
  • Criss, R.E. and Winston, W.E. (2008) Do Nash values have value? Discussion and alternate proposals, Hydrological Processes 22: 2723-2725.
  • Hooper, R.P. and Shoemaker, C.A. (1986) A comparison of chemical and isotopic hydrograph separation, Water Resources Research 22(10): 1444-1454.
  • McGuire, K.J. and McDonnell, J.J. (2006) A review and evaluation of catchment transit time modeling, Journal of Hydrology 330: 543-563.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional reading material:

Students with little background in hydrology should also read Hewlett, J.D. (1982) Principles of Forest Hydrology. The University of Georgia Press, Athens. (particularly read chapters 5 and 7).

Accommodation and transportation

Students will need to make their own accommodation arrangements.

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

Please plan to arrive in Aberdeen on Sunday, Aug 20 in time for an introductory talk and reception at 4 pm. Course teaching will being at 8 am on Monday, Aug 21 and continue through to Friday, Aug 25 at 4 pm.


The tuition cost for the course is £475.

Registration details

Registration is now open via this link: Register now here!

For further information, contact Michelle Martel-Andre (michelle.martel-andre@usask.ca).


Photos: Sim Reaney and Björn Thomas