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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.
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.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Benn, Douglas I. , Evans, David J. A;
Glaciers & glaciation;
Hodder Arnold, 2008.
Cuffey, Kurt. , Paterson, W. S. B;
The physics of glaciers;
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
Geography on the department and colleges page.