Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The aim of the course is to give a deeper and more quantitative understanding of glacial processes and the interaction between weather/climate and glaciers. In the course, the interaction between snow, ice and climate, mass balance modelling, temperature in glaciers, glacier hydrology and glacier dynamics are included. The principles for glacier modelling are presented and students create their own glacier model in python. All students summarize one peer-reviewed article in a presentation.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the course GEOV325 the student should be able to:


  • Describe the principles for mass balance modeling and measurements
  • Describe the principles for glacier movement and glacier dynamics
  • Explain the temperature conditions and distribution in glaciers and ice sheets
  • Understand how glaciers and climate interact, emphasizing differences between marine and contionental climates
  • Sketch how climate change impacts the individual parts of the surface mass balance
  • Describe the importance of liquid water in glaciers
  • Understand the principles of the interaction of continental ice sheets and the solud Earth, and the importance of this process for ice sheet stability and glacial cycles
  • Discuss the main principles for glacier modeling


  • Implement theoretical knowledge of glaciology in a numerical model
  • have practical experience with glaciological field methods such as accumulation measurement, ground-penetrating radar, and aerial photogrammetry
  • Analyze and quantify the interaction between snow, ice and climate in their own model
  • Test the impact of different climate variations (temperature, precipitation) on glacier mass balance
  • Present selected glaciological topics for fellow students

General competence

  • Summarize and present the contents of current peer-reviewed literature in the field of glaciology
  • Solve differential equations numerically
  • implement and operate a glacier model written in the python language

ECTS Credits


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor's degree in Earth Science, Physical Geography or equivalent, with knowledge of basic principles in quarternary geology
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
5 ECTS overlap with AG-325 (UNIS)
Forms of Assessment
Portfolio assessment with presentation
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Spring semester.
Examination Support Material
Textbook, computer