GEOS 615 Overview

Class projects

Course schedule


GEOS 615, Sea Ice (3 CR), Fall 2012

Time & place: Mondays 4.30-6.00pm REIC 138, Thursdays 9.45-11.15am, REIC 207

Instructors & contact information:

Hajo Eicken, Geophysical Institute & Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, UAF
Phone: 474-7280
Office: West Ridge Research Building (WRRB) 104E (office hours: ad-hoc/by appointment)

Class outline:
Sea ice plays a major role in the climate system, is an important habitat for a wide range of biota, controls the exchange of heat, matter and momentum between ocean and atmosphere in the polar seas and is of great significance to Arctic indigenous communities as well as in a broader socio-economic and geopolitical context. This course provides an overview of the geophysics of sea ice as pertaining to growth and decay of an ice cover, its properties and the different functions it serves in the environment.
In recent years, Arctic sea-ice change has figured prominently in the public's imagination and has led to a surge of interest in sea ice as a material, as the tangible product of key energy exchange processes and as a provider of important services to people and ecosystems. In the class we will examine these issues in more depth.
These concepts will be applied in a class project, centered around questions concerning sea-ice conditions and sea-ice use in the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea regions.
The course is primarily addressing graduate students in the fields of geophysics & geology, marine & atmospheric sciences, cold regions engineering and related disciplines. However, students with a different disciplinary background or advanced undergraduate students are also encouraged to enroll (please check back with the instructor prior).
A course schedule can be found here.

Expected outcomes:
• Students will gain an understanding of the fundamental sea-ice properties and processes in the polar and sub-polar regions and learn to apply them to evaluate overarching problems in the context of climate and ecosystem change
• Students will be familiarized with key concepts and techniques employed in the study of sea ice, including analytical and numerical models of ice growth and decay, models of key ice properties derived from sea-ice phase relations, strengths and drawbacks of remote sensing techniques and other relevant methodological approaches
• Students will synthesize their knowledge about sea-ice properties and processes in the context of services delivered by the sea-ice system
• Building on the case study of sea ice, students will gain deeper insight into one key aspect of present-day climate change and the challenges inherent in analyzing and forecasting such change and its impacts
• Students will develop a grasp of key issues underlying information transfer and application of sea-ice geophysics concepts to applied problems such as shipping in the Arctic or related issues
• Students will develop their ability to communicate effectively in oral and written form by presenting results of their class project amongst their peers and generating a product in the form of, e.g., a report, manual or web page

Grading policy: Grades will be based on the mid-term (20%) and final exam (20 %), as well as a class project (50%, includes two presentations and a report), and class participation (10%), which is based on attendance and contribution to discussion in class.
The following letter grade system will be used: A+ for better than 95% performance (number of total possible points) summed over all categories, A >90 to 95%, A- >85 to 90%, B+ >80 to 85%, B >75 to 80%, B- >70 to 75%, C+ >67 to 70%, C >63 to 67%, C- >60 to 63%, D 50 to 60%, F <50%.

Required reading: Reading assignments for each lecture will be listed in the course schedule and include textbook chapters and scientific papers. Note that the course does not require purchase of a textbook; however, the textbook by Thomas and Dieckmann (2010, details below) is recommended and students are encouraged to consult references listed below.

Note that all these texts below will be placed on reserve for the duration of the semester at the Keith Mather Library-GI/IARC.


Special needs. Students with learning or other disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to visit the Disabilities website and make an appointment with the Office of Disability Services (474-5655). Please meet with the instructor so that the appropriate accommodations and supports to assist in meeting the goals of the course can be made in collaboration with the Office of Disability Services.

Academic integrity. Those enrolled in this class are subject to the Student Code of Conduct as outlined in University Regents' Policy on Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Last update: 29 Sept 2012

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