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Sunday, 28 June 2009 14:11
IPY Polar Field School- June 28thWritten by lizthomas
Kapp Linné Day 2. After a pleasant night’s sleep at Basecamp Isfjord Radio, we woke up to a wondrous breakfast of meats, veggies, caffeine and Gnutella. We were given a nice introduction to the history of Kapp Linné by the owner of Basecamp and how it has evolved into what it is today. Soon enough, our lunches were packed, rifles gathered and we were back on the tundra road for another day’s lesson in geology, permafrost, and how to avoid getting your shoes soaked while hiking. ...
Saturday, 27 June 2009 12:48
IPY Polar Field School- June 27thWritten by lizthomas
Today was the first day of our excursion to Isfjord Radio on Kapp Linne, which is on the west coast of Spitsbergen. We started off the day by picking up our Regatta suits and goggles before we were transported to the docks and our polarcircle boats. After a fun, bumpy two hour boat ride we arrived at our landing site. On the way there we saw lots of puffins and the spectacular, but foggy, southern coast of Isfjorden! In the next few hours we walked 10 km through 500 million years...
Tuesday, 23 June 2009 12:42
IPY Polar Field School- June 23rdWritten by lizthomas
It was a long and full day in the fresh air of Svalbard. Our day began with a bit of a glitch as the cruise ship came in early blocking our marine research boat from leaving the docking area. Plans were altered and we all started out the day with a stunning 10 km ride west of Longyearbyen along the fjord to Bjorndalen. In Bjorndalen we were shuttled by zodiac boat along the water to bypass a river, and arrived at out terrestrial study site. Birds seen before the field work even began included: arctic skua, black-legged kittiwake, arctic turns, black guillemots, northern fulmars, Brunnich's guillemots, common eiders , a king eider, and hundreds of little auks. A pretty impressive selection of arctic birds! During the morning and into the early afternoon we hiked up the sl...
Monday, 22 June 2009 10:18
HIking with the IPY Polar Field School- June 22ndWritten by lizthomas
Hiking Today was our first and only free day and it came as a welcome break from lectures. The group consensus was for some exercise along the mountains surrounding Longyearbyen. We assembled early, much to some peoples despair, and began our climb up the sloppy muddy ridge at the south end of the beach end of town. The track turned to loose rock and then we were soon in snow. The weather was grey and we ascended into the cold cloud eventually coming out into clear skies. The jackets went away and the shades and sunglasses came out. 'Waterproof' shoes proved otherwise. Hiking in snow was a brand new experience for at least one member of the group and a bit out of the ordinary for a number of us. We summated mt Trollsteinen (~850m), took in the fantastic view of the Svalbar...
Sunday, 21 June 2009 10:12
IPY Polar Field School- June 21stWritten by lizthomas
We were a little worse for wear following the midsummer party at the beach the previous night but managed attentiveness throughout the days lectures. Mostly. We studied the arctic marine ecosystem, zooplankton, the arctic cod and the polar bear. I have studied very little biology previously and felt I gained a lot from this introduction. I particularly enjoyed the polar bear lecture given by Jon Aars as he spoke with practical experience about the study of these fantastic animals in the wild with particular emphasis on the Svalbard population. The marine biology talks were also interesting and I look forward to the lessons being reinforced in the field next week. However, by the days end the brain had reached saturation. ...
Saturday, 20 June 2009 12:37
IPY Polar Field School- June 20thWritten by lizthomas
20.06.09 Midtsommerfest Because of the Friday gathering the day before, some of us had a hard time getting up this day, but in the end we all made it to the university on time. It was the first biology day, and the focus of the lectures was the challenges that come with living in an arctic environment, especially at sub zero temperatures. The lectures were awesome, so we had no problems staying awake through a long day (maybe not everyone will share our (biological) opinion on the lectures). After lunch we headed out in the hills close to Sukkertoppen to look at some representatives of the beautiful flora of Svalbard. Some of us got really wet from the melting snow (leading to some -barefooted students), but it was obviously worth it - the flowers were great. We fini...
Friday, 19 June 2009 12:19
IPY Polar Field School- June 19thWritten by lizthomas
Friday 19th of June The day began at 9:15am with lectures on oceanography. The first was with Helen Johnson from Oxford University who gave us an overview of oceanographic principles. She gave us a few ideas about possible future scenarios depending on climate change impacts on thermohaline circulation. She focused on the importance of high latitude circulation, especially the region near Svalbard. This is where warm Atlantic Ocean currents flow into the Arctic Ocean. She is working on an IPY project called Arctic/Subarctic Ocean Fluxes (ASOF). The project is attempting to quantify the flux of freshwater output through the Nares Strait which is located between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. The next lecture was given by Yngve Kristofferson from the University of Bergen. He ...
Friday, 19 June 2009 08:37
Espanoles en los polosWritten by David Carlson
The third day of the IPY field school kicked off with another brisk stroll down to UNIS. Weather conditions were much clearer and warmer; the sun even popped its head out every now and again to see how the IPY students were getting along. The first lecture of the day was given by Prof. Hanne Christiansen, giving a thorough background on the Geology of Svalbard. Following Prof. Hanne Christiansen was a series of lectures given by PhD student Monica Sund covering glaciology and in particular the amazing glaciers covering the Svalbard landscape. It is very interesting to learn of the vast historical record that the geology of the region contains and the picturesque landscape made the task even better. Following the lectures and a brief lunch, the students met up at Nybyen for the geomo...
Thursday, 18 June 2009 12:34
IPY Polar Field School- June 18thWritten by lizthomas
Thursday, 18 June We woke up to a beautiful, sunny and warm day. The day started with a lecture about Permafrost with Hanne H. Christiansen. As 60% of Svalbard is covered by glaciers and the rest is periglacial environments, permafrost and the forms developed there is an important part of the science of Svalbard. The next lecture was about avalanches on which we did some fieldwork yesterday. The lecturer was Markus Eckerstorfer. Since avalanches are common on Svalbard a lot of research is provided on this field. After lunch we headed out to the field, in Adventsdalen. This was our first big excursion outside Longyearbyen and we had to carry rifles and signal pistols, which made it a little more serious. In Adventsdalen we measured the depth of the thawed layer on over 120 preset loc...