Participation in field course in Zackenberg

by Cecilie Skov Nielsen & Andreas Westergaard-Nielsen

The 20th of August four PhD students from CENPERM went to Iceland to meet with additional six PhD students from the Nordic countries. We were to participate in the course ”High Arctic Permafrost landscape dynamics in Svalbard and Greenland” funded by Perma-Nordnet, Centre for Permafrost (CENPERM) at University of Copenhagen and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The final destination was set to the beautiful Zackenberg Valley in northeastern Greenland.

Suvi Zackenberg.

The course was a field course in geomorphological and biogeochemical methods. We spent the first day looking around at the area identifying landforms and processes. Then we were set loose and so we spent our two weeks there mapping the area, drilling permafrost cores and processing the cores. The course was designed so that we were expected to teach each other in the groups how to apply the different methods. This not only enhanced our learning outcome but also contributed to the good social connection in the groups. Despite hard work and the sometimes unfavorable weather conditions, we also had time for a one-night excursion to the nearby and very impressive delta Revet. Here we studied landscape and vegetation development in slightly different climatic conditions due to different wind patterns and proximity to the Greenlandic Ice sheet.

Suvi Zackenberg.

But all good things must come to an end, and at last we had to pack our stuff and say goodbye to Zackenberg and to our new friends. Back home at our respective Universities it is time to analyze our samples and start with the data analysis and reporting. We have learned a lot already and we will definitely learn more when bringing our results together in a report and finally presenting it at the Perma-Nordnet workshop held at CENPERM in February 2014. We owe a great thank to our teachers Bo Elberling and Hanne Hvidtfeldt Christiansen for this great opportunity and experience.

For more information, contact Cecilie Skov Nielsen or Andreas Westergaard-Nielsen.