The Physical Geography of Svalbard

Glaciers cover about 60 % of the area of Svalbard, while the rest is underlain by continuous permafrost. In this geographical setting, the course introduces the most important meteorological, glaciological, geomorphological and hydrological processes on Svalbard.

The climatic conditions on Svalbard, the energy exchange at the ground surface, the ground thermal regime and the availability of water will be emphasized as essential factors controlling the distribution of glaciers, permafrost and periglacial landforms. Glacier mass balance, thermal structure and geomorphic activity of Svalbard glaciers will be covered, with emphasis on the interaction between glaciers and permafrost.

There will also be a discussion of geomorphological processes such as glacial erosion, glacial deposition, frost weathering, mass movement, permafrost deformation, and frost heave and contraction in connection with freezing and thawing. Also hydrological processes such as snow cover formation and ablation, surface and subsurface drainage of water, river flow and sediment transport will be discussed.

60 ECTS within general natural science, of which 30 ECTS within the field of geology/geosciences

Course details

Academic level(s)Bachelor
Language of instructionEnglish
InstitutionUniversity Centre in Svalbard
Begin date-
End date-
Registration deadline15.10.2014
ECTS credits15.0
Field schoolNo
Fields of studyPhysical science (broad programmes)Earth science
Teaching placeSvalbard
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