Summer job and master thesis opportunity


Summer student job/paid practice opportunity with sea ice samples

  • Time frame: June-December
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Application deadline: open ended
  • Local/internal candidates from UiT are preferred
  • Experience expected: work with cold environments, training is provided as part of the paid job/practice
  • This can be used for obligatory practice in the master programs by UiT: Energy, Climate and Environment; Geosciences
  • Paid: yes (ltr 38 – 51)

We are searching for a student to assist in sea ice sample analysis. The work will take place in a freezer laboratory at the Norwegian Polar Institute, in the Fram Centre in Tromsø, and will include analysis of sea ice samples collected in the Arctic Ocean. The applicant will receive training and supervision. The work will start in June, last for 6 weeks and it will be paid a weekly rate in correspondence with ltr 38 – 51 (approximately 9700 to 11700 NOK/week before taxes). The starting date is flexible.

The data obtained through the laboratory analysis is relevant for understanding of data collected by Earth observation satellites. The data may be used by the student for a master thesis in signal processing, radiative transfer modeling or climate modeling, following the completion of the summer job, if the student wishes.

For impression on the freezer laboratory work, you get a glimpse from this video on Youtube.

For additional information about the summer job, please contact Polona Itkin (polona.itkin(at)uit.no) and Johannes Lohse (johannes.p.lohse(at)uit.no).

Thin section of a sea ice samples with crystals visible. The scale bar on the right side is in cm. Photo by Polona Itkin.

Master thesis opportunity: Sea Ice Samples for Earth Observation Applications

Unlike freshwater ice, sea ice is saline and it freezes unevenly. The brine concentrates in pockets and channels. If sea ice survives the summer melt its structure is further complicated by brine drainage and melt-freeze cycles of snow that covers it. These features influence the light reflection from snow and sea ice surfaces. Data from space-borne radars and laser altimeters are widely used for understanding climate processes in remote areas like the Arctic Ocean. They are also valuable climate model validation data resources. Still, the ground data is scarce and radar signals are not completely understood.

Studying in situ samples of sea ice is a key piece of the jigsaw for better understanding remote satellite measurements of the ice cover.

In this project, you will use sea ice samples collected from several recent research expeditions to the Arctic (for example on the recent cruise of UiT to the Belgica Bank in the East Greenland Sea, and the large Norwegian collaboration the Nansen Legacy Project). There will be opportunities to collect your own sea ice samples during training days on fjord ice near Tromsø, and potentially the chance to join a field expedition to the Arctic. This project is twinned with the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø.

The candidate will first analyze sea ice samples in a freezer laboratory at the Norwegian Polar Institute to measure key ice properties such as: density, salinity, and microstructure. Training will be provided for these analytical methods.

Depending on the preference of the candidate several options are possible to make use of these sea ice sample records and to connect them with satellite remote sensing observations:

  • Sea ice samples will be processed and photographed. The photography can be analyzed by automatic detection of sea ice crystal size, orientation, brine channels and bubble content. The core of the master thesis project will be the development and testing of feature detection software.      
  • Sea ice crystal size, orientation, brine channels and bubble content and other ground data already collected (sea ice and snow salinity, snow grain properties) can be applied in a simple radiative transfer model to simulate the satellite radar signal. The core of the master thesis project will be sensitivity studies with the numerical model and comparison of its output to the earth-observing satellite products collected by our research group over the same locations in situ snow and sea ice samples were taken.
  • Sea ice density measured for the samples can be combined with other data collected in the field (sea ice thickness and snow depth, snow density) and related to the satellite products from radar and laser altimeters on earth-observing satellites. The core of the master thesis project will be to build a sea ice density database from several Arctic expeditions and compare it to satellite altimetry data of the sea ice thickness and snow depth in the European Arctic available from our research group.

The master student candidate will join the Earth Observation System group at UiT, taking part in research seminars, training sessions, and group social outings. The student will also benefit from collaboration with researchers at and supervision from the Norwegian Polar Institute.

For additional information about this master thesis opportunity, please contact Polona Itkin (polona.itkin(at)uit.no), Jack Landy (jack.c.landy(at)uit.no), or Mats Granskog (mats.granskog(at)npolar.no).

Sea ice coring sites (purple circles) at the landfast ice of the Belgica Bank (East Greenland Sea) between 27 and 29 April 2022. The satellite image in the background coves an area of approximately 30×20 km. The photo on the right shows how sea ice sample is extracted by ice coring.
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