Snow Physics and Hydrology

10 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1GE056

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Earth Science A1F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 30 August 2018
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

120 credits with (1) 90 credits in earth science, or (2) 90 credits in technology or physics and 30 credits in earth science or Environmental Science. Dynamics of Earth Systems - Global Change, 10 credits.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe and quantifykey physical and chemical properties of the snow cover
  • Calculate the surface energy budget of the snowpack to estimate meltwater yield
  • Use tracers to estimate the seasonal smowmelt contributions to stream runoff
  • Perform runoff predictions from snow measurements using a hydrological model
  • Apply some remote sensing techniques to characterise snow cover properties
  • Discuss the importance of snow as an environment for life


This course offers an introduction to various aspects of the science of snow, including snow physics and chemistry, snow climatology and surface energy balance, snow hydrology, remote sensing of snow cover, snow cover pollution, and the ecology of snow-covered environments. The course involves the interpretation of real snow datasets and remote sensing data, along with the application of a hydrological model.


Lectures, practical exercises and a project.


Evaluation of the course is based on assignments (1 credit), participation in computer exercises (2 credits), written reports (3 credits) and a written exam (4 credits).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.