Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Frozen Planet
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  (2300 words)  100%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  (2300 words)  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Outline the varied settings and principles of components of Earth’s cryosphere(s);

2. Explain and identify how cryospheric processes interact to produce different landforms and landscapes;

3. Assess the consequences of environmental change in Earth’s cold regions and the role played by the cryosphere in a changing climate;

4. Describe how cold climate indicators are preserved in the geomorphological and sedimentological record and how these may be used to understand extra-terrestrial landscapes.

Brief description

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to Earth’s cold regions and to the processes, landforms and sediments, and environmental issues that occur in these areas. Students will be introduced to the main components of the cryosphere, to core principles of geocryology and glaciology, and to contemporary environmental change in cold regions.

Topics will include (i) sea ice science, (ii) permafrost and periglacial environments, (iii) the fundamentals of glacierised regions, glaciology, and palaeoglaciology, (iv) hazards and ecosystem services associated with the cryosphere, (v) critical analysis of environmental change and issues in Earth’s cold regions, and finally (vi) evidence of extra-terrestrial cryospheres.

This module will make use of case studies to introduce students to the most recent published literature and current debates in the fields associated with cold regions science. Each session will consist of a lecture and may include a discussion of case studies related to the topic of that lecture. Assessments will be linked to lecture topics with expectations of wider, topical reading.


Module content will include:
1. Introduction to Earth’s frozen, cryospheric environments including some or all of the following: glaciers, ice sheets, ice shelves, permafrost, and sea ice.
2. Fundamentals of Earth’s glacial processes and landforms and associated geohazards.
3. Detailed case studies that develop understanding of cryospheric change over a range of Earth’s cold regions, which may include Alpine, high-mountain, Greenland or Antarctic settings.
4. Implications of the comparisons between Earth’s cryospheric landforms and those observed in extra-terrestrial environments.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A – a more conceptually focused module
Communication Written communication skills are developed in researching and writing for both assignments, with contrasts in writing style between group work and independent essay.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will learn how to improve their own learning and performance through the exercises related to all coursework assignments, with peer assessment and engagement with marking criteria in Group project, and through detailed feedback for the essay. Development of note taking skills is embedded within the ‘lecture’ format of staff-student contact time.
Information Technology Information technology skills are developed through the writing and presentation of all coursework assignments and submitting these to Blackboard. The Group work includes a need to engage with ‘design’ using PowerPoint (or equivalent). Marking criteria includes a “presentation” evaluation reflecting IT skills.
Personal Development and Career planning Awareness of personal development is embedded in the work associated with all coursework assignments, especially the group project involving team work.
Problem solving Problem-solving skills are developed by students in researching and writing for coursework assignments, and in the group project when negotiating the distribution and contribution of individual team members’ workloads.
Research skills Research skills are developed in researching and writing (e.g. scientific research problem identification, finding and evaluating information on a topic, summarising subject themes, and creating bibliographies).
Subject Specific Skills Subject-specific skills in glaciology, glacial geomorphology and sedimentology are developed throughout the module in lectures, as well as through independent study
Team work Team work is embedded within the group assignment set during the semester, and assessed via the use of a ‘group time sheet’ to assess individuals’ contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 5