Alpine Glaciology and Climatology

A.Y. 2021/2022
6
Max ECTS
48
Overall hours
SSD
GEO/04
Language
English
Learning objectives
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.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of the training activities for the Academic year 21/22 will be provided over the coming months based on the evolution of the public health situation
Course syllabus
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.
Prerequisites for admission
The students need to have appropriate knowledge of math, physics, physical geography and climatology
Teaching methods
Lectures and technical practical activities in the lab to analyse cryo data,
field excursions
Notes and recommended textbooks:
Notes are available at the ARIEL web site
students can also use:
- Benn and Evans, Glaciers and Glaciations
- J. Oerlemans Glaciers and Climate
Teaching Resources
Notes and recommended textbooks:
Notes are available at the ARIEL web site
students can also use:
- Benn and Evans, Glaciers and Glaciations
- J. Oerlemans Glaciers and Climate
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is oral. The student can start presenting and discussing a paper (from a peer reviewed journal) focusing on a cryospheric issue or he/she can discuss cryosperic data he analysed and processed
GEO/04 - PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND GEOMORPHOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours