This page is out of date - course information for SIO 115 Spring 2021 is all contained on Canvas.

Room 4301 Revelle Building 4000, IGPP

Mon/Wed/Fri 9-9:50 AM Winter Quarter 2020

Instructor: Helen Amanda Fricker

MESOM Room 202 (Scripps Polar Center)

IGPP, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Tel: 858-534-6145 Cell: 619-993-3569


Teaching Assistant: Philipp Arndt

Office hours: Mon/Wed/Fri after class by appointment.

Timetable & Syllabus

This is an interdisciplinary course on ice and its role in the climate system.  Throughout the course we will examine the Earth’s cryosphere, including glaciers, ice sheets, ice caps, sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow and permafrost.  We will cover the important role of the cryosphere in the climate system and its response to climate change.

Evaluation: The final grade for the course will be assigned in the following way:

  • Class attendance/paper discussion 25%
  • Homework 25%
  • Term project 25%
  • Final exam 25%

Course textbook (optional): The Cryosphere, Shawn J. Marshall, Princeton Primers in Climate

Most assigned readings are posted under "Timetable & Syllabus"

Homework and class attendance:

You are expected to attend all classes of this course.  There will be homework set each week, related to the topics that we discuss in class, which will count towards your final grade.  There will be lots of great stuff in classes – movies, guest presentations, great visuals, discussions of recent “cutting edge” papers – and it will strongly benefit you to be present.  If there is a genuine reason why you are unable to attend a class, please discuss this with me as the issue comes up.  I can be very understanding of your personal circumstances, as long as the reasons are genuine.  If you are unable to be physically present we could try to make alternative arrangements for you to attend class (such as Skype).

Term Project:

Because the cryosphere is so vast and varied, in this class we will have time to develop only a basic understanding of its key components and processes. The term project for this class is designed to allow you to deepen your understanding of one aspect of the cryosphere.  You will be required identify a component of the cryosphere, or a cryosphere interaction with some other component of the Earth system and carry out the following research project: reading the key papers related to the topic; summarize the state of knowledge; summarize what we don’t know; and make some recommendations for how the community could increase their understanding of this topic.  You could also use observational data from a scientific archive, a computational model, or some combination of the two to understand the topic.  The topic for your project should be identified by Week 6.  You will be expected to write a short (1500-2000 words) paper on the topic, and prepare and deliver a 10-15 minute classroom presentation in the final week.