GEO9450 - Cryospheric processes in the Nordic region

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will give a theoretical and practical introduction into the central aspects of numerical modelling of permafrost, with emphasize on applications in the Nordic region. You will learn about the physical basics of atmosphere-ground interaction with respect to the energy transfer into the ground. In addition also the coupling of permafrost models with climate models will be treated, along with feedback mechanisms of permafrost changes into the climate system. We will focus on the thermal processes important for permafrost, and present both empirical equilibrium models and transient modelling schemes. During the course MATLAB codes and/or commercial version will be used. Furthermore, permafrost data as input for permafrost modelling is presented, and the status of a future Nordic permafrost database discussed.

The course will be structured with 3 hours lectures before noon and mostly practical lab after lunch break. At the end of the course a short combined excursion and workshop will be offered.

Learning outcome

You will learn about the physical basics of atmosphere-ground interaction with respect to the energy transfer into the ground. Having finished the course you will be able to run different types of models, and gain an improved understanding of which permafrost data is needed for doing the various types of permafrost modelling.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Recommended previous knowledge

Good basics in mathematics, physics and geosciences.


Lectures (27 hours), lab/computer training (21 hours), project work (individual) and work shop participation and individual presentations. The lab reports and the project report are mandatory.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Studies administration, email address:

General information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


Short (1-2 pages) reports from the lab work must be delivered. In addition each student has to do a project report after the course, to be delivered as pdf at latest 1.9.2012 to the Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo.

Both the lab reports and the project report has to be handed in and approved in order to pass the course.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

In this course any written exam questions or assignment questions may be available in English only.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

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