Julia attends international Arctic Field School

Jul 03, 2018

Julia attended the Arctic Field School in Utqiaġvik, Alaska from 28 May to 09 June. This summer school is part of a three year program titled "INTPART Arctic Field Summer Schools: Norway-Canada-USA collaboration.” This international collaboration organized by University of Tromsø, University of Calgary, and University of Alaska Fairbanks is funded primarily by the Norwegian Research Council (NFR) and gives graduate students the opportunity to learn directly from researchers/professors, do field work and make new connections around the world.

For this two-week Field School, the students and researchers focused on Arctic coastal environments and the particular challenges associated with making field observations and remote sensing of the cryosphere. Out on the snow-covered tundra, students made observations of snow characteristics and depths. On the sea ice, in addition to observations, students operated equipment such as an ice core drill to make temperature and salinity measurements of ice cores. For the remote sensing component, they learned statistical methods to classify land, ocean and ice surfaces from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) products aboard polar orbiting satellites.

As part of the summer school, participants worked in groups to develop a relevant project, take measurements, analyze data, and present results. Julia worked with a group that ambitiously sought to combine observations, modeling, and remote sensing to understand properties of sea ice and its relationship to the local conditions around Elson Lagoon in Utqiaġvik. Julia worked directly on developing the 1D sea ice model and incorporating meteorological data.

A unique component of the field school was the presence of the Press! A local public radio reporter came with the researchers to develop short pieces on the changing Arctic climate and the field school itself.