GEOG312-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Snow, Ice and Climate

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 16 July 2018
End Date: Sunday, 18 November 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 27 July 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 12 October 2018


This course examines the physical processes involved with the formation and evolution of mountain glaciers and seasonal snow, including processes such as surface mass balance, dynamics and hydrology. The course develops knowledge by drawing on key research, and encourages students to critically evaluate published work. The supporting lab programme will enable students to develop a range of transferable skills by working with real data and equipment, for example, ground penetrating radar (GPR), snowpit analysis, and simple glacier models.

Why are glaciers touted as being excellent indicators of climate change? How do glaciers respond to climate? What will be the impact of current rapid glacial retreat on world water resources, sea level rise, and tourism? What about ski-fields – will they survive a warming climate?  

The lecture programme begins by exploring glacier mass balance and considering the challenges of measuring snow accumulation and ice ablation in mountainous regions.  The intricacies of glacier motion are considered in-depth, and the unit on glacier hydrology highlights how knowledge of water systems are highly transferable. Material presented in lectures is reinforced by a lab programme utilises real field data, and students have the opportunity to learn practical snow measuremnt skills in a one-day field trip to a local skifield.

Learning Outcomes

  • Have familiarity and understanding of glacier related research in New Zealand and overseas, and developments in the discipline pertaining to these central themes.
  • Develop a range of analytical, practical and academic skills including; the use of spreadsheet software and GIS to facilitate research-orientated data analysis, snowpit analysis, interpret and understand a range of graphical data, write clearly and concisely, and to critically evaluate published work as well as own and peer-group work.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of glacier processes, especially glacier mass balance, ice motion and glacier hydrology, and interactions between glaciers and landscape.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


30 points of 200-level Geography, including GEOG201, or
in special cases with approval of the Head of Department.

Course Coordinator

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the departments and colleges page

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $834.00

International fee $3,788.00

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

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the department and colleges page.

All GEOG312 Occurrences

  • GEOG312-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018