AGF-210 The Middle Polar Atmosphere (15 ECTS)

Aurora over Kjell Henriksen Observatory

E-mail study@unis.no to apply

ID:
AGF-210
CREDITS:
15 ECTS
START DATE:
13 August 2018
END DATE:
3 December 2018
COURSE PERIOD:
Autumn semester (August–December), annually.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
None
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Book chapters, hand-outs; Ca. 400 pages
COURSE COSTS:
Fieldwork, ca. NOK 1000 (5 days x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
8/16 students
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue, non-programmable calculator
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
As soon as possible

INSTRUCTORS:

Noora Partamies
Noora Partamies
Associate Professor, Middle atmospheric physics

Course requirements:

60 ECTS within the fields of mathematics and physics or a related discipline. Students applying for the course combination AGF-210 / AGF-223 will be prioritized.

Academic content:

This course will lead to basic understanding of key properties and processes of the polar region stratosphere and mesosphere, the polar middle atmosphere. These include radiation, chemistry, dynamics and circulation, particle precipitation, aerosol physics and wave activity. The propagation and effect of planetary and gravity waves will be described. In particular, the importance of waves in connecting the middle atmosphere and the troposphere will be discussed. Special attention will be paid to how radar, lidar, optical and rocket instrumentation can be used to investigate the middle layers of the atmosphere.

The students will get an introduction to the physics of dust/aerosol particles and their role in formation of the noctilucent clouds, polar stratospheric clouds and mesospheric radar echoes. Measurements of stratospheric and mesospheric ozone will be introduced during a visit to research facilities in Ny-Ålesund, and radar measurement techniques will be discussed in detail while touring the radar sites nearby Longyearbyen. The fieldwork at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO) will be related to airglow observations.

Recommended combination with this course is AGF-223. The course can also be combined with AGF-213.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Be able to explain why all parts of the Earth’s atmosphere must be considered in climate studies and long-term weather forecasts.
  • Be able to describe how solar particle influx, UV radiation and meteoric smoke particles can affect the chemistry and dynamics of the atmosphere.
  • Have obtained a solid overview on how different remote sensing and in-situ measurement techniques can be used to study the middle atmosphere.

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Have experience in examining the effects of radiation, chemistry, solar particle influx, aerosols and waves on the middle atmosphere using theoretical calculations and available measurements.
  • Have the ability to analyse atmospheric data, using specialised software and by writing scripts in Matlab or other similar programming languages.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • Describe the key processes in the middle atmosphere
  • Describe the driving forces of the middle atmospheriv processes
  • Explain connections between the middle atmospheric phenomena and processes in the upper and lower atmosphere.

Learning activities:

The course extends over a full semester. Initially, students attend two days of compulsory Arctic survival and safety training.

Through interactive lectures with experts in different topics the students will achieve basic knowledge about key physical processes and theoretical tools necessary to understand the observations during the fieldwork. Exercises will include visualising and interpreting measurements and solving theoretical problems to understand the physics behind the observed phenomena. During the field trips the students will be introduced to a full range of scientific instrumentation and measurements techniques commonly used within the field.

Total lecture hours: Ca. 70 hours.
Total seminar hours: Ca. 40 hours.
Fieldwork / excursion: 4–6 days.

Compulsory learning activities:

Fieldwork and written report. Web-based exercises.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

Assessment:

Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
Written exam  5 hours 100%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.

Application deadline: As soon as possible

To apply, send an e-mail to study@unis.no stating which study programme you are currently enrolled in and which UNIS course(s) you would like to apply for. We will then ask for the needed documentation. First come, first served for qualified applicants!

Aurora over Kjell Henriksen Observatory

Northern lights dance above the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO). Photo: Njål Gulbrandsen/UNIS

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CONTACT INFO

The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Fax: +47 79 02 33 01
E-mail: post@unis.no / webmaster@unis.no
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454

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