GEOG412-17S2 (C) Semester Two 2017

Atmospheric and Cryospheric Environments

0.2500 EFTS
17 Jul 2017 - 19 Nov 2017


This course will explore processes and relationships in the Earth-atmosphere system. Emphasis will be on the interaction between the atmosphere and cryospheric (snow and ice) and terrestrial surfaces. Physical processes involved in development of the atmospheric boundary-layer will be explored, with relevance to both micro and regional climate.

The overall goal of this course is to provide guided advanced level learning about the way in which the atmosphere and cryosphere interact. The course involves a combination of learning styles, including student-led discussions based on assigned readings, field work, and has a considerable emphasis on student-driven assignment work outside class time. In particular, the most important piece of assessment involves an authentic exercise, the writing, review, and revision process of a real scientific paper. The key to successful learning in this course is active reading around the subjects, and then engaging in discussion about what you have read.

During the field trip you will gain hands-on experience setting up and collecting data with specialised equipment, which may include for example, automatic weather stations, eddy co-variance sensors, ground penetrating radar systems, and/or learning methods to determine snow-ice albedo, glacier mass balance and snowpack stability etc. The location of the field trip will vary depending on weather and conditions, but past locations include Fox Glacier and the Cragieburn Mountains.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

Describe atmospheric boundary layers and explain in detail their interaction with snow and the cryosphere and other terrestrial surfaces.

Critically assess, and be familiar with, key research from New Zealand and international scientists that relate to various atmospheric and cryospheric processes, for example, the processes involved with snow accumulation and avalanche hazard.

Use equipment (e.g. automatic weather stations, wind profilers and surface flux measurement systems) to gather boundary-layer data in the field.

Apply a range of skills to the development and writing of a scientific paper of publishable quality and format, including interpreting and critiquing recent published science, developing hypotheses, selecting appropriate methods, and undertaking analysis and interpretation.

Develop and refine self-learning techniques and use these to solve applied science problems.


Entry subject to approval of the Head of Department.


GEOG408 and GEOG410

Timetable 2017

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 15:00 Psychology - Sociology 413 17 Jul - 27 Aug
11 Sep - 22 Oct

Course Coordinators

Heather Purdie and Peyman Zawar-Reza

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,926.00

International fee $7,900.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Geography.

All GEOG412 Occurrences

  • GEOG412-17S2 (C) Semester Two 2017