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IPY blogging from the Arctic

27.06.09

Two weeks into the IPY Polar Field School in Svalbard, the 24 students have gained valuable knowledge of polar issues. A series of lectures in Arctic natural sciences have been combined with field excursions in and around Longyearbyen, which have been documented in the students' IPY blogs.

Text: Melissa Rohde , APECS

The students have settled in nicely to their new home for the duration of the IPY Polar Field School – acclimating to the colder-than-usual weather (for most), fostering new friendships, and expanding upon their breadth of knowledge on polar issues.

Over the past two weeks, the students have attended a series of lectures at UNIS on Glaciology, Marine Biology, Terrestrial Biology, Permafrost, Oceanography and Climate Change. In addition to these lectures, the students have also been partaking in field excursions in and around Longyearbyen.

Adventdalen
UNIS Professor Hanne Christiansen shows the field school students some of the permafrost instruments in Adventdalen.

The students were able to apply much of the content covered in the lectures on their recent excursions to Adventdalen, Bjørndalen and Isfjorden. Permafrost measurements were taken at Adventdalen, while terrestrial biological samples were collected to investigate the native plant and invertebrate ecology along Bjørndalen. The students were picked up at Bjørndalen to continue their remaining marine biology fieldwork in the Isfjorden.

Almost all work and no play
It hasn’t been all work and no play, as the students partook in a midsummer bonfire party on the beach, and were able to explore more of Svalbard on their own during their free day. Many of the students took the opportunity to go on a long hike around Longyearbyen, while another small group of students took a day cruise to Pyramiden, the abandoned Russian settlement in Billefjorden.

The students have been blogging about their Polar Field School experiences, both on the official IPY webpage and on the UNIS web.

The IPY Polar Field School concludes July 3.

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