IceFinse field course

The weekend of 17-18. April five students from Bergen went to Mjølfjell for a weekend on working during winter in the arctic. Prior to the field work the students together with the other participants from Tromsø and Oslo, which could not join us in the field for Covid reasons, were working on their group project modeling the surface mass balance of Hardangerjøkulen, predicting the melt of Norwegian glaciers and track the precipitation sources of these. Over the week multiple lectures about all aspects of different field were taught and we all were eager to finally get out to the snow.

We left Bergen on Saturday morning by train and met Kerim at Mjølfjell, and started to head out with skis and snow-shoes. During the lunch break the students learned operating stoves in the field and got an introduction to snow-pit digging. Additionally, all of us really enjoyed the blue bird conditions. For the afternoon we split into three groups to dig snow pits in the surrounding areas. While at this altitude the lower part of the snow cover had already experienced substantial melt earlier this spring, the top was still powdery in the shade. Where the sun hit though we could observe an increasing wetting over the day. We also did Extended Column Stability tests.
After a short afternoon snack we headed higher up to find a camp spot for the night. Due to Corona restrictions everyone had his own camp spot. Tobias prepared a “ting” to sit together in the evening and discuss field work experiences and stories. At still quite warm conditions we enjoyed an relaxing evening.

Woken by the sun and coffee everyone was more or less ready for the next field day. Two more snow pits were dug at higher elevations. The weak layer of faceted crystals that was troublesome for most of the season was still present, though the tested stability was high. The measurements taken were shared to the public via regobs. After the last pit it was time to head back down to the camp. For the skiers this even meant a few nice turns. After we packed our tents we head back to Mjølfjell station and were surprised with waffles by Kerim. Everyone was happy about the successful field trip, and during feedback it was apparent that even more field work and field work planning should be done. Hopefully, we can fulfill this next year in a Corona free environment.


Text: Anne-Kathrine Faber, Kerim Nisancioglu, Tobias Zolles; photos: Tobias Zolles