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Glaciers Ice Sheets & Climate Change - ENV00020H

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Rippin
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module aims to provide students with a deep understanding of the vital links between climate and the response of glaciers and ice-sheets. It will equip students with an understanding of key fundamental concepts, and an ability to critically examine evidence for climatic change in the cryospheric record. The module will also introduce students to the role of numerical models in glaciological studies, and it will introduce them to key contemporary issues in the field of glaciology and climate change through guided reading of peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will develop:

  • An ability to critically evaluate the physical processes operating in glaciers and ice-sheets.
  • An ability to analyse the links between climatic changes and glacier and ice-sheet response.
  • An ability to effectively and fluently present original thoughts and concepts based on the relevant literature.
  • An ability to access relevant scientific information from a variety of different sources and extend the knowledge gained in the lectures through reading, and critical analysis of that material.
  • An ability to comprehensively summarise relevant information and develop a sustained reasoned argument.
  • An ability to access, download, analyse and interpret important remote sensing imagery.

Generic / Employability Skills:

The module will provide students with a very specific range of skills and abilities related to the field of glacier-climate interactions. It will also introduce students to a range of approaches for exploring glacier change. These include:

  • Field-based approaches to monitoring glacier mass balance, hydrology and dynamics.
  • Remote sensing approaches to monitoring glaciers.
  • Simple numerical models in glaciology.

More, generic skills that will arise from this are:

  • Enhanced numeracy skills and understanding of the use of numerical models.
  • Independent research skills.
  • Problem analysis and task prioritisation.
  • Time management.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on the assessment will be provided as detailed written comments on returned work. Detailed comments giving generic information on good practice, relevant to the whole class, will also be provided and disseminated via the VLE. A dedicated troubleshooting class will also be provided shortly before the assessment hand-in date, to enable students to address any final issues relating to their assessment.

Indicative reading

Bamber, J.L. and A.J. Payne. 2004. Mass Balance of the Cryosphere: Observations and Modelling of Contemporary and Future Changes. Cambridge University Press, 662pp

Benn D. and D.J. Evans. 2010. Glaciers and Glaciation (2nd edition). Hodder Education, 816pp

Bennett M.W. and N.F. Glasser. 2009. Glacial Geology: Ice Sheets and Landforms (2nd edition). Wiley-Blackwell, 400pp

Cuffey, K.M. and W.S.B. Patterson. 2010. The Physics of Glaciers (4th edition). Academic Press, 704pp

Hambrey, M.J. 1994. Glacial environments. UCL Press, 302pp

Holden, J. 2010. An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment (2nd edition). Prentice Hall

Hubbard, B. and N.F. Glasser. 2005. Field Techniques in Glaciology and Glacial Geomorphology. Wiley-Blackwell, 412pp

Knight, P.G. 2009. Glacier Science and Environmental Change. Wiley-Blackwell, 544pp

Siegert, M.J. 2001. Ice Sheets and Late Quaternary Environmental Change. Wiley-Blackwell, 248pp

Van der Veen, C.J. 1999. Fundamentals of Glacier Dynamics. Balkema, Rotterdam, 462pp

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.