This course will give competence and skills to describe and analyze cryosphere dynamics and evolution with a particular focus on climate change driven impacts on Alpine glaciers. Methods and techniques to survey glaciers and several approaches to model their dynamics, to reconstruct their mass and to compute the energy exchanges at the ice-atmosphere interface will be described and explained. The course will take advantage from field activities (mainly at the Forni Glacier, the widest Italian valley glacier where a UNIMI permanent Automatic Weather Station has been running since the last decade) and laboratory experiences to permit to the students to acquire competence and skills for collecting, processing, analyzing and modelling glacier data.
Expected learning outcomes
The students will acquire competence and skills for collecting, processing, analyzing and modelling glacier data.
From snow to ice: introduction to glaciers, classifications and basic concepts. Glacier motion: a physical approach to know creep, sliding and ice-bed interactions. Debris free and debris covered glaciers: features and distribution. The glacier mass balance: introduction, computation, applied methods, glaciological and climatic meanings. The glacier terminus fluctuations: introduction, computation, applied methods, glaciological and climatic meanings. Glacier energy budget: introduction, computation and exercises. Glacier meteorology: theoretical features and processing of actual data from AWS on glaciers. Glacier models: examples of application, simulation and data discussion. Tropical glaciers: recent dynamics and climate meanings. The Antarctic cryosphere: features and recent evolution. The Himalayan cryosphere: ongoing dynamics and climate relations. Calving processes: analysis of a spreading phenomenon on the Alps. Sea level rising and glaciers. Alpine isostasy and glaciers.