Sea ice field work training on the Sørbotn

Peacefully I wake up this morning. It is already light outside. WHAT? LIGHT? WHY? AND WHEN?

I check my mobile phone – the clock shows 8:01. SH**!!! At 7:45 we were supposed to meet at the Norwegian Polar Institute, at 8:00 we were supposed to leave there for a field work training on the sea ice. But not me. I have overslept!

We – that’s 5 instructors and round 20 participants of the Sea ice field work training arranged by the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. I realise that my colleague M. already tried to reach me and ring back. I tell her that I will take my own car and hopefully make it to our destination with only a small delay.

Our destination – that’s Sørbotn, the southern tipp of the fjord Ramfjorden where the training will take place on the sea ice of the frozen fjord.

I manage to dress, make tea and pack in 20 minutes thanks to previous day’s preparation and a fondness for packing lists. Although I take it easy while driving (safety first!) I arrive less than 10 minutes late while the preparations are still in progress.

We are split in two groups. Our group will do measurements of ice and snow depths first and take ice core samples after lunch break. I won’t go here into details too much, because I’m a newbie to all this and I do not want to write half-understood nonsense. I’ll have to look up some details of today’s stuff later.

Although I drill holes in the ice, help calibrating the GEM2 device, measure temperatures in a freshly taken ice core and use a MagnaProbe to measure a transect of snow depths I have a lot of time to take photos, too. So, let’s just start with this.

Being on the ice with a bunch of nice people is not only a lot of fun but it will help me in doing my job at the polar institute. Part of it is to manage scientific data. The deeper my understanding on collecting data the better I can do my work. The most interesting thing today was observing the coexistence of advanced sensor technology paired with GPS tracking and the usage of rulers, pencils and paper as in the early days of polar research.


There was one thing I wasn’t involved in: The usage of a remote-controlled underwater drone. We clearly could see some fishes and jellyfish (do you spot it on the 1st image below?) on the live display. I know that it’s used for research, but I would love to have it just as a toy.

Hopefully this was not the last time that I was involved in field work this year. And perhaps we’ll be lucky with the weather again next time. For while we had calm conditions and even sunshine, wind drove heavy snow squalls over Tromsø just some hours after we called it a day.

3 comments to “Sea ice field work training on the Sørbotn”

  1. Annika Kramer 2022-02-10 20:31

    Ein vielversprechender Beginn!!!

  2. Johanna 2022-02-11 19:24

    Die Unterwasser-Küchenmaschine gefällt mir:-))

  3. way-up-north 2022-02-14 19:29

    Annika Kramer Ja, macht Lust auf mehr. Habe ich heute auch kundgetan.

    Johanna Ich dachte zuerst an ’ne Nähmaschine. Aber Küchenmaschine trifft es noch besser.

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