Fieldwork training in Ramfjorden

Fieldwork training in Ramfjord in February 2021, seen by a drone that was flown by Adam Steer (Norsk Polar Instittut).
Fieldwork training in Ramfjord in February 2021, seen by a drone that was flown by Adam Steer (Norsk Polar Instittut). Click on the picture to see a video on NRK!

When sea ice forms locally near Tromsø, this creates a perfect opportunity to train, prepare and also test equipment before going into more remote locations. In early February 2021, cold and low snowfall conditions led to 40 cm thick sea ice forming in Ramfjorden. A group of 11 UiT and NPI researchers and students, from 10 different countries, took advantage of the situation with a plan to collect sea ice cores, measure snow depth, and make ice thickness observations. This was combined with cold weather flight tests for a new compact drone. The experience gained will all be used for upcoming expeditions to the Northern Barents Sea, Svalbard and other locations in the Arctic Ocean and is also important to understand and interpret satellite imagery. Now, you can find a video from our fieldwork training day on NRK!

The first day on sea ice!

For Wenkai, post doc researcher in SIDRIFT, this was the first day out on the sea ice and it was an impressive one:
“As a beginner sea ice researcher who has been working exclusively with remote sensing data, it’s simply breath taking to actually step onto sea ice and do actual measurements, to feel the connection with the subject of my study. Not to mention the fjord itself underwent some dramatic shifts in weather which made the place look more surreal, coming straight out of a movie.”

We are lucky to have a nearby outdoor office

Polona Itkin, researcher in SIDRIFT, summarises the day in her own words: “Besides being fun, sea ice field work is necessary. Satellite images are a fantastic resource that covers vast regions, any time of the year. With the microwave spectrum of light, we can even ‘see though the clouds’ and radar can ‘see where there is no sunlight’. Still, to really comprehend what we see on those images we need to spend at least some time also ‘touching’ our surfaces of interest. Sea ice and snow on a winter fjord is a prefect training place. Another advantage to do Arctic science in Tromsø!”

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