ATMS 514/ESS 535
  Ice and Climate

Formerly Ice and Climate Modeling

Spring 2009!
Click here to go to Spring 2011 class page
T and Th 11:30-12:50  ATG 610

Instructor: Cecilia Bitz
Office ATG 502, Phone: 3-1339, email:
Office hours by appointment

This course will cover the principles of cryosphere and climate interactions and polar climate dynamics.  Topics include glaciers, ice sheets, snow, and sea ice in the modern climate, and their role in climate change, sea level rise, the Pleistocene ice ages, and snowball Earth. Relatively simple modeling exercises will be employed to learn about climate dynamics and ice sheet and sea ice sensitivity to climate change.

The course format will be a blend of lecturing, journal article discussion, and student special topic reports. Approximately five homework assignments will be given, some using simple models (provided by the instructor).  Students will be lead discussions of journal articles in pairs. Each student will also choose an additional topic and lead a class presentation on that topic. The presentation may be based on a critique of a paper or group of papers, analysis of data, and/or a simple modeling project. The project should be summarized in an approximately 5-page written report. There will be no exams. The grade breakdown is approximately:
   Homework assignments 40%
   Journal article discussion (leading and participating) 20%
   Project (written and presentation) 40%

Prerequisite: ATMS 501, 511 or ESS 532 would be helpful, but are not required. No previous modeling experience is needed.

Reading will be from a variety of journal articles and books that I will place on hold at the library.

Password protected class readings

Energy balance model files for download

2009 Schedule


Tu: Introduction 
Th: Meet without Cecilia to organize class exercise
Exercise for Thurs
Just Core 607
Original data
Required: Enderton and Marshall for 4/7
Recommended: Stone 1978 for 4/7, Global Outlook for Ice and Snow Highlights (Ch 1) for general background

Tu: Meridional heat transport and Discuss Enderton and Marshall
Th:  Energy balance modeling
HW 1 Energy balance model exercise,
Model information
Required: Cecilia's  lecture notes for 4/9
Roe 2009 pages 1-10 for 4/14
Haywood and Valdez (2004) for 4/16

Tu: Feedback and brief history of ice in the Pliocene
Th: discussion of Haywood and Valdez (2004) about Pliocene
Evening lecture by David Archer , author of "The Long Thaw"

Required: Bitz and Roe (2004) for 4/21
Recommended: Thorndike (1992) for 4/21

Tu: Sea ice feedbacks and thermodynamics basics
Th: Sea ice albedo feedback discussion of Winton paper
Optional Thurs evening lecture by Jessica Lundquist on PacNW Mountain Snow in Kane Hall, 120, 7pm
Optional Fri talk and video presentation by  Norbert Untersteiner, Father of sea ice thermodynamics, Applied Physics Lab, 6th floor 1pm
sea ice model exercise
Required: Winton (2008) for 4/23
Recommended: Eisenman and Wettlaufer (2009), especially relevant to homework

Required: Serreze et al 2007 for 4/28, Lindsay and Zhang (2005) for 4/30
Tu: More on sea ice
Th: Discuss Lindsay and Zhang 2005

Required: Joughin et al 2008 and Nick et al 2009 for 5/5

Tu:  Ice Sheets: Guest lecture Ian Joughin
Th:  Glacier mass balance basics
ice sheet model exercise
Final Project
Proposals Paragraphs due 5/14
Required: Marshall 2006 for 5/7
Recommended: Paterson 1994 chapters 3 (for reference mainly)

Required: Oppenheimer 1998 for 5/12

Tu: Glacier dynamics and stability
Th: Discuss Alley et al 2005

Required: Alley et al 2005 for 5/14
Kehrwald_etal2008.pdf for 5/19
Recommended: Barnett_etal2005.pdf for 5/19

Tu: Snow on land
Th: Permafrost

Recommended: Clement and Petersen 2008 for 5/26

Tu: Permafrost, Global ice and climate problems
Th: paleoclimate ice problems 

Required: Ruddiman et al 2005 for 5/28
Recommended: Ruddiman 2006 for 5/28

Tu: Sudent Presentations
Th: Student Presentations

Turn in papers

Nothing Finals week

Useful books

"Paleoclimatology" by Crowley and North
"Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery" by Imbrie and Imbrie.
"Physics of Climate" Peixoto and Oort
Pierrehumbert, R. in preparation. Climate on Earth and other planets at a rather basic and yet thought provoking level. It not finished yet and so it free online for now!

Suggested additional Topics
Glacierizations: Initiation of an ice sheet
Ice daming and flooding
Rapid climate change
Contribution of CO2 to ice-age climate
Oxygen isotopes in ice and ocean
Climatic effects of snow
Bedrock depression and rebound
Role of topography in onset of ice ages; mid-Pleistocene transition
Clouds in the ice age
Albedo feedbacks
Instability of West Antarctic ice sheet

Examples of previous students' projects
   Sea ice - Tony Beesely, Mark Wensman, Bill Lipscomb
   Oxygen isotopes - Kurt Cuffy, Christine Massey
   Cause of CO2 variations - Eric Steig
   Ice age ocean circulation - Robert Pincus, Von Walden
   Changes in Antarctic mass balance - Bonnie Light
   Ice sheet surface energy balance - Dave Morse
   Younger Dryas - Ken Young
   Bedrock depression and rebound - Tony Gades, Steve Fox
   Topographic changes - Jacobian, Ash Mahesh
   Topography ice age initiation - Doug Clark
   Mars polar cap - Rob Boime
   Cloud feedbacks in climate - Tracy Furutani
   Albedo Feedback - Jennifer Francis
   Initiation of an ice sheet in GCM by Milankovitch - Harry Stern
   Modeling of mass balance - Andrew Bourdreaux
   Climatic effects of snow - Donna Calhoun
   CO2 clouds - Gary Hansen
   Snowball earth - Llyd Wells
   The climate of Mars - Alison Anders
   The Younger Dryas - Jennifer Kay
   The AO and the Odden - Ignatius Rigor
   Ice and clouds - Trude Storelvmo