GEOG312-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

Snow, Ice and Climate

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


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.


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

Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 15:00 Ernest Rutherford 164 Geog/Geol Lab 15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Computer Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 16:00 - 18:00 Ernest Rutherford 211
211A GIS Comp Lab (5/8, 16/9, 30/9)
Jack Erskine 101 (22/7)
22 Jul - 28 Jul
5 Aug - 11 Aug
16 Sep - 22 Sep
30 Sep - 6 Oct

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 $850.00

International fee $4,000.00

* 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

  • GEOG312-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019