Water and Energy Cycles

 Study course:
Compulsory elective module M.Sc. Water Science and Engineering (’Advanced Fundamentals’ AF 701)
Compulsory course M.Sc. Civil Engineering (Study focus II "Water and Environment")
Compulsory course M.Sc. Resources Engineering
Elective Course M.Sc. Geoecology (Module WB2)

 Knowledge in programming with Matlab. Otherwise, it is strongly recommended to participate in the course 'Introduction to Matlab'.

Knowledge of hydrology and engineering hydrology

ECTS Credits:

Learning outcomes

The students are able to explain the most relevant processes of the terrestrial water and energy cycles including their feedbacks and limitations. They know the concepts to quantitatively describe and predict these processes in the context of science and water management and are able to independently apply related computer-based tools for analysis and prediction for standard situations.
The students are able to evaluate the required data and are able to quantify and evaluate the uncertainties related to the simulations and predictions.


Learning contents

This module deepens the fundamentals of the water and energy cycle with particular regard to:

  • evaporation, energy balance, and processes in the atmospheric boundary layer (Reynolds decomposition, turbulence parametrization, Eddy-Covariance-method);
  • soil, as the central control element of the water and energy cycle and of the interplay of soil water budget and ground heat balance (Richards equation, heat transfer equation, hydraulic and thermal soil properties);
  • the interaction of runoff processes and soil water budget, and soils as 'filters'
  • Runoff and evaporation regimes in different hydro-climates
  • Concepts of hydrological similarity
  • Process-based and conceptual models for the prediction of floods, water balance and evaporation

Proof of performance

Oral exam (30 min.) with a programming exercise as a prerequisite



  • Kraus, H. (2000): Die Atmosphäre der Erde. Vieweg
  • S. P. Aryan (2001): Introduction to Micrometeorology, 2nd Ed., Academic Press
  • Hornberger et al. (1998): Elements of physical hydrology. John Hopkins University Press
  • Beven, K. (2004): Rainfall runoff modelling – The primer: John Wiley and Sons
  • Plate, E. J.,Zehe, E. (2008): Hydrologie und Stoffdynamik kleiner Einzugsgebiete. Prozesse und Modelle, Schweizerbart, Stuttgart, 2008.



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Erwin Zehe: Tuesday 14:00 – 15:30 by appointment