651-4101-00L  Physics of Glaciers

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersM. Lüthi, G. Jouvet, F. T. Walter, M. Werder
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

AbstractUnderstanding glaciers and ice sheets with simple physical concepts. Topics include the reaction of glaciers to the climate, ice rheology, temperature in glaciers and ice sheets, glacier hydrology, glacier seismology, basal motion and calving glaciers. A special focus is the current development of Greenland and Antarctica.
ObjectiveAfter the course the students are able understand and interpret measurements of ice flow, subglacial water pressure and ice temperature. They will have an understanding of glaciology-related physical concepts sufficient to understand most of the contemporary literature on the topic. The students will be well equipped to work on glacier-related problems by numerical modeling, remote sensing, and field work.
ContentThe dynamics of glaciers and polar ice sheets is the key requisite to understand their history and their future evolution. We will take a closer look at ice deformation, basal motion, heat flow and glacier hydraulics. The specific dynamics of tide water and calving glaciers is investigated, as is the reaction of glaciers to changes in mass balance (and therefore climate).
Lecture noteshttp://people.ee.ethz.ch/~luethim/teaching.html
LiteratureA list of relevant literature is available on the class web site.
Prerequisites / NoticeGood high school mathematics and physics knowledge required.