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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Ice and Climate (GEGR10119)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIce plays a fundamental role in the climate system, with impacts ranging from watershed control in mountain regions and regulation of ocean circulation and temperatures, to global sea level and the onset and termination of glacial cycles. This course will examine the major components of the cryosphere: glaciers and ice caps, ice sheets, and sea ice. All of these components have undergone recent change, and it is important to understand this change in the context of the larger climate system. The students will learn about the methods of measure and the observations of recent changes affecting the Cryosphere and how they relate to changes in other parts of the climate system, such as air and ocean temperatures. Building on this information, the causes and underlying physical mechanisms behind these changes and interactions will be investigated through governing principles and simplified models, and the implications for ice in the climate system under future global warming scenarios will be discussed.
Course description Syllabus:
Week 1: Overview of ice in the climate system, historic and recent observations of glaciers and icecaps
Week 2: Principles of ice formation, melting, and movement; physics of glaciers
Week 3: Ice sheets - observations
Week 4: Ice sheets - theory
Week 5: Subglacial environment - observations/practical - modelling
Week 6: Subglacial environment - theory/Practical - earth observations
Week 7: Ice shelves and tidewater glaciers - observations
Week 8: Ice shelves and tidewater glaciers - observations
Week 9: Sea ice observations and trends
Week 10: Sea ice - role in climate
Week 11: Revision session
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  36
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, Summative Assessment Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 128 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 60%, Course Work: 40 %, Practical Exam: 0%.

The degree assessments are weighted 40% on coursework assignment and 60% on an unseen examination.
Feedback - Questions and answers in lectures. Questions are encouraged during lectures, and give you an opportunity to check your understanding, and obtain more information in areas of interest to you.
- Assessed problem sheet. Collective feedback on most common points for improvement across the class will be given via Learn by week 11.
- From individual written comments on assessed practicals and examination scripts.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the distinguishing characteristics of glaciers, ice sheets, and sea ice; and why, although they are all composed of the same material, they differ greatly in behaviour and response to climate change
  2. Understand basic principles behind Earth Observation of the cryosphere, and be familiar with the basic physical mechanisms by which ice evolves
  3. Have experience working with, manipulating, and interpreting Earth Observation data and with running computer simulations of ice dynamics and ice-climate interactions, and interpreting the results
  4. Enhance specialist knowledge and understanding, including a range of established techniques and research methodologies.
  5. Interpret, use and evaluate a wide range of specialist data.
Reading List
1. Cuffey, K., and Paterson, W. The Physics of Glaciers, 4th ed. Elsevier, 2010

2. Van der Veen, CJ. Fundamentals of Glacier Dynamics, 2nd ed. CRC Press, 2013.

3. Thomas, D., and Dieckmann, G. Sea Ice, 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

4. Campbell, J.B. (2002). Introduction to remote sensing. (3rd edition). Taylor and Francis (or Guildford), London. 622pp.

5. Rees, W. G., (2001) Physical principles of remote sensing 2nd ed, CUP.

6. Rees, W. Gareth (2006), Remote Sensing of Snow and Ice, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, pp. 1-22.




Particularly useful Journals include the Journal of Glaciology, Annals of Glaciology, Nature, Science, Nature Geoscience, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, The Cryosphere, and Geology.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analytical skills, manipulating and interpreting earth observations, running and interpreting simplified climate models
Special Arrangements None
KeywordsIce,Climate,Cryosphere,Earth Observation,Models
Course organiserDr Daniel Goldberg
Tel: (0131 6)50 2561
Course secretaryMiss Kirsty Allan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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