GEOG3529 - Signatures of glaciations and climate evolution: From the Pliocene to the Anthropocene


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment and written examination
Grade: Letters

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Home exam 60/100 4 hours
Assignment 40/100

Course content

This course looks at the long-term evolution of the climate system through the prism of waxing and waning continental ice sheets and glaciers. Specifically, the students will be introduced to the realm of the Earth´s inner and outer forces that drive changes in glacial and climate systems and how they affect and develop the Earth's surface (landscapes) through time. The course will highlight the links between changes in the Earth´s orbit, evolution of the ocean and atmosphere, inception and termination of glacial periods as well as crustal uplift and subsidence due to glacial isostasy and sea level changes. The mutually beneficial relationship between field-based investigations and modelling in current research topics in glaciology and climatology will be demonstrated in lectures, during the fieldwork and by means of practical exercises.

Learning outcome

A student who has completed this course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


By the end of the course, students will:

  • be able to define and describe major processes within the climate system (natural and anthropogenic) that drive changes in glaciers and ice sheets;
  • have introductory knowledge of the long-term changes in the Earth’s climate and cryosphere;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the landscape development by the glaciological and climatological processes;
  • show competence in describing and applying a wide variety of empirical data to diverse problems in research within the fields of glaciology, climatology and geomorphology;
  • be able to use these data to formulate scientific hypotheses and test them with simple numerical models and field investigations;
  • have an understanding of basic empirical modelling principles and model limitations.


By the end of the course, students will:

  • have basic knowledge of glacier safety rules and rescue techniques and be able to identify risk zones on glaciers;    
  • have experience with measurements of meteorological parameters and glacier geometries using ground penetrating radar, drones, thermal cameras, GPS and weather stations;
  • be able to apply simple models to explore underlying principles and processes in the glacial systems;
  • be able to articulate the impacts of human activities on the climate system and its tipping points in the light of long-term history.

General competence:

By the end of the course, students will:

  • have advanced presentation skills and improved ability to read and write scientific articles;
  • have experience with the preparation of a glaciological fieldwork, field data collection and model-based data interpretation;
  • demonstrate independent, critical thinking and be able to apply their knowledge to the current research problems in glaciology, climatology and glacial geomorphology;
  • be able to communicate knowledge about the processes driving climate evolution (both natural and anthropogenic) and glacial change to both specialists and the general public;
  • have the knowledge how to carry out scientific debates with peers from other disciplines and outside science.

Learning methods and activities

  • Lectures up to 20 hours.
  • Practical exercises: computer labs x 2 (4 hours).
  • Glacier safety training and equipment use: 8 hours. 
  • Glaciological fieldwork.
  • Student seminars (4 hours).

The compulsory assignment and the exam must be completed in English. Exceptions must be clarified with the lecturer responsible for the course.

Compulsory assignments

  • Mandatory attendance of the seminar, two labs, field training and fieldwork

Further on evaluation

The examination consists of two parts, a 4 hour written examination (worth 60% of the final grade) and practical assignments (worth 40% of the final grade). All parts of the exam have to be submitted and graded E or better in order to pass the course.

It is possible to retake parts of the exam. The written examination is offered both semesters. The assignment can only be taken in the semester the course is taught. Candidates wishing to retake the assignment part of the exam must register for classes and examination. Please note that mandatory activities and lectures may start prior to the registration deadline.

Specific conditions

Limited admission to classes.

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Required previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree, preferably within the discipline of geography. Other relevant qualification can be accepted upon approval by the Department of Geography.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2022
Extraordinary deadline for course registration: 2021-12-01

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Geography
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Geography


Examination arrangement: Assignment and written examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Assignment 40/100
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD Home exam 60/100





Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Assignment 40/100
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Home exam (1) 60/100





Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.
  • 1) Merk at eksamensform er endret som et smittevernstiltak i den pågående koronasituasjonen.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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