Snow is a fascinating high-temperature material and relevant for applications in glaciology, hydrology, atmospheric sciences, polar climatology, remote sensing and natural hazards. This course introduces key concepts and underlying physical principles of snow, ranging from individual crystals to polar ice sheets.
The course aims at a cross-disciplinary overview about the phenomenology of relevant processes in the snow cover, traditional and advanced experimental methods for snow measurements and theoretical foundations with key equations required for snow modeling. Tutorials and short presentations will also consider the bigger picture of snow physics with respect to climatology, hydrology and earth science.
The lectures will treat snow formation, crystal growth, snow microstructure, metamorphism, ice physics, snow mechanics, heat and mass transport in the snowcover, surface energy balance, snow models, wind transport, snow chemistry, electromagnetic properties, experimental techniques.
The tutorials include a demonstration/exercise part and a presentation part. The demonstration/exercise part consolidates key subjects of the lecture by means of small data sets, mathematical toy models, order of magnitude estimates, image analysis and visualization, small simulation examples, etc. The presentation part comprises short presentations (about 15 min) based on selected papers in the subject.
First practical experience with modern methods measuring snow properties can be acquired in a field excursion.
Lecture notes and selected publications.
Prerequisites / Notice
We offer a field excursion to Davos on Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Davos. We will demonstrate traditional and modern field-techniques (snow profile, Near-infrared photography, SnowMicroPen) and you will have the chance to use the instruments yourself. The excursion includes a visit of the SLF cold laboratories with the micro-tomography setup and the snowmaker.
Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)