The Bjerknes Centre is a collaboration on climate research, between the University of Bergen, Norce, the Institute of Marine Research, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

Lecturers and students gathered at the Disko Island. From the Bjerknes Centre the following students participated: Morven Muilwijk, Andreas Plach, Anais Bretones, Alexios Theofilopoulos, Jonathan Rheinlænder, Karita Kajanto, Silje Smith-Johnsen

Learning the challenges in the cold Arctic

Ice-flow modelling, snow properties and isotope analysis, skiing in teams and crevasse rescue. On the west coast of Greenland, 15 PhD students were drilled in both science and how to execute field courses in harsh Arctic climates. 

Skitrip on Greenland

Before Easter 15 phd-students from 10 different nationalities participated in an Arctic field course organized by the CHESS research school. The course was held at the Danish arctic research station on Disko Island, located on the west coast of Greenland. During winter the fjord is covered in sea ice so the only way to and from and the island was by helicopter from Ilulissat.

After a magnificent flight with great views of Jakobshavn Glacier, icebergs and sea ice, the students were ready to start their own field work.

field work at greenland

Principal lecturers Kerim Nisancioglu (University of Bergen), Fiamma Straneo (Scripps Institute for Oceanography), Anne-Katrine Faber (University of Bergen) and Andreas Vieli (University of Zurich) gave introductory presentations about various topics such as ice-coring techniques and analysis, snow properties and isotope analysis, sea ice and ocean-glacier interaction, and ice-flow modelling. 

glacier practise

After a full day of glacier safety training by Silje Smith-Johnsen, where students learned skiing in rope-teams and crevasse rescue, different groups started their own projects. Some groups ventured out on the sea ice to do CTD measurements, and to study sea ice growth and lead formation. Other groups skied and snowmobiled up to Lyngmarksbreen glacier to take snow samples, dig snow-pits and drill ice-cores. During this unique course, they did not only learn to plan and execute different types of fieldwork, but they also got an insight on the changing climate system on Greenland.

Although weather was generally good with lots of sun, the students really experienced the harsh climate of Greenland when they were outside in temperatures colder than -25 on ski-trips often around 6-7 hours. A good lesson on how challenging it can be to collect data in the cold Arctic, and definitely a though and extreme, but great experience. 

Check out the instagram tag #icedisko for more impressions from the course 

Morven Muilvijk at Disko