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Cold Environments

The location of cold environments &
why they are cold
Cold environments are found all across the world. They are categorised into polar glacial
regions, tundra regions and alpine areas.

Glacial areas are areas with high latitude. Usually between 60 and 90° latitude. In areas
that have a…

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Ice formation
For glaciers and ice sheets to form there must be a year-round thick mass of snow which is
compacted to form glacial ice. The snow that will make up the glacial ice undergoes a
sequence of conversion stages:

1. Snow accumulates over about a year. It has a…

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Factors controlling ice flow
Gravity is the downhill force that encourages ice to move. It controls the direction of the
flow (downwards). The steeper a slope is, the stronger the pull of gravity is.

For the ice to move it must overcome the force of friction between it…

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Positive budget
A positive glacial budget is when the amount of accumulation exceeds the amount of
ablation. You get a positive budget in winter months when it is colder. When the glacial
budget is positive the glacier gets larger and the snout advances down the valley.

Negative budget
A negative…

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Glacial retreat
You get glacial retreat when the zone of abration exceeds the zone of accumulation. The
glacial budget is negative. There will be higher temperatures and a low level of
precipitation. This means there will be a smaller input as there is less snowfall. The high
temperature means that…

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Then in winter they get a large amount of accumulation so over a year the snout of the
glacier will both advance and retreat.

Weathering and associated landforms
Freeze-thaw action/ frost shattering
Freeze-thaw action is when surfaces like rocks get weathered by repeated freezing and
thawing of ice. During times…

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will have a bigger volume, and therefore a greater erosive power. An example of a corrie
containing a tarn is Red Tarn in the Lake District.

1. A hollow is deepened by nivation, the combined effects of repeated freeze-thaw
weathering and the sediment is removed by the meltwater when…

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1. Firstly a corrie glacier leaves its source and descends down an old v-shaped valley
previously carves by a river.
2. As it travels down it erodes the valley through scouring. This process involves frocks
being plucked from the base and then used to erode the base be abrasion.…

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A fjord is a large open lake, filled with saltwater from the sea. It is surrounded by steep
cliffs. The shape of the ground below it however will be fairly flat as it has formed at the
bottom of a U-shaped valley.

1. A valley glacier flows across…

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Subglacial and supraglacial streams
Fluvioglacial landforms are created by meltwater from glaciers, largely through deposition
but also through erosion. Glaciers in temperate areas in particular loose a great deal of
water to abrasion in the summer months. The meltwater forms both subglacial and
supraglacial streams. Subglacial streams flow beneath the…


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