Course Information

Course Information

Course content
The course is intended to provide glaciology graduate students with a comprehensive overview of the physics of glaciers and current research frontiers in glaciology. Key topics include, but are not limited to:

(Note that not all topics may be covered depending on instructor availability)

  • Remote sensing in glaciology
  • Glacier mass balance and glacier meteorology
  • Response of glaciers to climate change
  • Glacier dynamics, surging and tidewater glaciers
  • Ice-sheet modeling, Inverse modeling
  • Glacier hydrology
  • Glacier geology
  • Current research frontiers in glaciology

A focus will be on modeling, quantitative glaciology and remote sensing.
The course will not be given for official university credit, but in case credits are needed students can sign up for an ‘individual study’ course. Students can get a participation certificate upon request after successful completion of the course.

Course location
The course will be held 5-15 June 2018 including 9 full days at the Wrangell Mountain Center in McCarthy, and 2 days of travel from Fairbanks to McCarthy and back. McCarthy is located a (very scenic) roughly 11 hour drive (including breaks) south of Fairbanks in the Wrangell Mountains, south central Alaska. See Practical information for details.

Course duration
The course program starts in the morning of 6 June and ends at night on 14 June. We will offer transport by van from Fairbanks to McCarthy (5 June, 7 am from UAF campus) and back to Fairbanks (15 June, arriving around 7 pm; we will then have a pizza party in Fairbanks that evening to 'round off' the course). We will arrive in Fairbanks in time for any flights out of Fairbanks after 10 pm (no guarantee, but 99% likely). Alternatively, course participants can travel to and/or from McCarthy on their own and spend time before or after the course in McCarthy.

Course organization and program
Lectures will be given each morning. Material will be consolidated in computational exercises in the afternoon. In addition, each student will work on a glaciology computer (or field) project as a member of a small team (2-3 students) together with an instructor and will present the results during a ‘mini-conference’ at the end of the course. In addition, all students will present their own research on posters during a half-day poster session. One full-day and one half-day field excursion to the glaciers nearby will be organized. In general, the course will be organized in a workshop-type style providing ample opportunity for scientific discussions and interactions among the students and instructors, and to foster collaboration. Note that the course is not a field course. Except for the 1.5 day field excursions, the course is entirely theoretical (though some of the student projects may involve some minor field work).

In summary, the program will include
a) daily lectures (4 hrs) in the morning
b) daily exercises (2 hrs) in the afternoon
c) work on group project in the afternoon (2 hrs)
d) 1-full day excursion to Kennicott glacier and a shorter excursion to the glacier tongue
e) a half-day poster session where students present their results
f) an evening lecture in Kennicott to the broader public
g) a 'mini-conference' where students present their results from the group projects
h) one free afternoon.

Principal organizer
Regine Hock, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Andy Aschwanden, Ed Bueler, Mark Fahnestock, Regine Hock, Martin Truffer (UAF),
Kelly Brunt (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
More external instructors are currently being recruited.
Guest lecturers: Mike Loso (National Park Service), Vladimir Alexejv (UAF)

All instructors are expected to be present during the entire length of the course to guarantee close interaction between students and instructors. Also, each instructors will design and supervise two student projects and prepare a summary of their lectures.
More information for instructors is summarized here

Course admission / eligibility
The summer school is open to 28 graduate students worldwide targeting primarily (but not exclusively) early stage PhD students. Students must be enrolled in a PhD or MSc program during the time of the course (In exceptional cases we will accept students who are not yet PhD or MSc students but who can provide convincing evidence that they will be enrolled latest by the beginning of the fall semester 2016). First-year postdocs (or 2016 PhD graduates) may be considered if a strong point can be made why this course is needed. Prior detailed knowledge/background in glaciology is not a prerequisite but preference will be given to students with stronger math/numerical background. Due to our funding sources roughly half of the students will be recruited from US affiliations (no matter nationality).

Course prerequisites: Graduate standing (PhD or MSc student); some university level math and physics is highly recommended. Preference will be given to PhD students in their early stage of their program and those with a strong numerical background.

Application deadline: 20 January 2018
Students will be notified by the beginning of February.

Course material
All lecturers are expected to compile a summary of lecture notes. These together with their presentations will be made available on the homepage after the course.

Course expenses (including accommodation, meals, transport Fairbanks - McCarthy, course material) are largely covered by external grants (thanks to the sponsors listed below). However, currently we don't have enough funding to cover all costs and therefore need to collect a course fee of roughly US $200 per person.
Travel to and from Fairbanks is not covered. All students are expected at this point to cover their travel to and from Fairbanks themselves. However, we have some limited funds to provide a few (partial) travel grants mostly for international (non-US based) students.

The course is sponsored by
(Confirmed sponsors; more sponsors may be added)

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