AT-832 Physical Environmental Loads on Arctic Coastal and Offshore Structures (10 ECTS)

Fieldwork set-up on Breinosa, Svalbard

Autumn semester (September–November), annually. Cancelled in 2020.
10 ECTS with AT-323 and AT-332
Letter grade (A through F)
Books: Irgens, F. (2008): “Continuum mechanics”. Newman, J.N. (1977): “Marine Hydrodynamics”. Sanderson, T.J.O. (1988): “Ice mechanics. Risk to offshore structures”. Løset et al. (2006): “Actions from ice on Arctic offshore and coastal structures”. Dempsey and Shen (2001): “Scaling Laws in Ice Mechanics and Ice Dynamics”. Scientific papers (provided).
10/20 students (AT-332/832 in total)
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue. Non-programmable calculator
April 15, 2020

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a relevant PhD programme. Basic knowledge of mathematics and physics at master level.

Academic content:

The course introduces students to modern physical and mathematical models describing physical environmental loads on coastal and offshore structures in the Arctic. The course includes descriptions of physical mechanisms of the environmental loads on the structures in ice free and ice season and an introduction to corresponded mathematical models. The course is subdivided into two parts based on hydrodynamic analysis of the environmental loads and analysis of ice actions on the structures based on the methods of solid mechanics.

The main focus of the first part of the course is on the models describing propagation of surface gravity waves, wave actions on fixed and floating structures, drift of floes and icebergs, sediment transport, effects of ground water migration and soil permeability in the coastal zone. Fieldwork is organized in the area of Longyearbyen harbour and focused on the investigation of waves and sea current actions on floating structures and sediment transport. Laboratory work is performed with the UNIS wave tank. PhD students can be involved in laser scanning of coastal structures and data analysis.

The main focus of the second part of the course is on the models describing ice behaviour under thermal and mechanical loads, bearing capacity of the ice under static and moving loads, and ice actions on offshore and coastal structures. Lectures also include formulation of codes for the design of offshore constructions in ice conditions and probability methods for the estimates of risks due to long term exploitation of offshore structures. Laboratory work performed in the cold laboratory of UNIS is focused on investigation of ice strength at laboratory scale. Fieldwork on full scale strength of fresh ice is organized on a lake near Longyearbyen depending on weather conditions.

Seminars include analytical exercises and numerical simulations by Comsol Multiphysics, MatLab and Wolfram Mathematica.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Understand and be able to use specified phys.-math models describing propagation of surface gravity waves, wave actions on floating and fixed structures, sediment transport, permeability of soils and saline ice, ice rheology and behaviour under static and dynamic loads, ice actions on coastal and offshore structures.
  • Have basic knowledge of ISO standards and probabilistic estimates of ice loads on offshore and coastal structures, methodology of ice strength tests at laboratory and full scales.

Upon completing the course, the students will have:

  • Experience in modelling with Comsol Multiphysics.
  • Experience in performing ice tests in the cold laboratory of UNIS.
  • Experience from fieldwork in the coastal zone of Svalbard fjords in the ice free season.
  • Experience to work with laser scanner.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Have Arctic survival and safety experience from fieldwork on land and sea during winter/ice season.
  • Be able to conduct research work, independently and in groups, in a cold laboratory and in the field.
  • Have competence in preparing reports and presenting results in seminars.

Learning activities:

The course extends over 6 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AT-332.

Seminars include mathematical exercises, performing of results of field and laboratory work and exercises for exam preparation. Each student should prepare a report/manuscript with research paper structure (3000-5000 words, including introduction, text, references, figures, tables and conclusion) on lab- and fieldwork. Reports can be individual or group.

Total lecture hours: Ca. 35 hours
Total seminars hours:
Ca. 10 hours
Laboratory and fieldwork:
Ca. 7–8 days

Compulsory learning activities:

Seminars, presentations, laboratory work and fieldwork, preparation of two written reports on lab and fieldwork in the first and the second parts of the course.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.


Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
Written report 1 20%
Written report 2 20%
 Written exam  4 hours  60%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Only the final grade will be reported, based on an average of the grades from the examination parts.

Application deadline: 15 April 2020

Fieldwork on a lake, Svalbard

AT-332/832 fieldwork. Photo: Nina Ganicheva.

Fieldwork set-up on Breinosa, Svalbard

AT-332/832 fieldwork on a lake on Breinosa. Photo: David Wrangborg/UNIS.

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


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