Ingrid Kjerstad,
Research coordinator, NPI

From the first snow cover has set in Ny-Ålesund Research Station for the winter technicians from AWIPEV, NPI and CNR join forces on snow sampling. The team gatheres data across a variety of parameters and properties of the arctic snowpack is provided to the larger scientific community.

Collaboration increases safety

While the snow is present, the cross-institutional team go out every Tuesday to assist each other on execution and safety. AWIPEV and NPI has a project-based cooperation while CNR has a separate project in close proximity to the AWIPEV/NPI site.

Photo: Hege Kråkeveik, NPI

For around 2 hours the team collets a range of samples for researchers in Italy, France and Norway – usually with their eyes and nose down in the snow.

During the winter the weather can be harsh and the visibility low. For several months it is also pitch dark. Living in the world of the polar bear makes it very important to always have eyes on the surroundings, which can be a challenge due to the weather conditions and the need for concentration on the work.

Going together enables the team to work continuously while taking measures that increases safety for all involved.

Photo: Hege Kråkevik

Collection of various samples

The weekly activity depends on the sampling plan, and the team conducts various tasks during the data gathering. They for example count the different layers of the snow, measure the temperature in every layer, identify ice crystals, in addition to collection of various physical samples that are analyzed at a later stage when the scientists visit Ny-Ålesund.

The data gathered go into projects that analyze (among others) black carbon in snow, microorganisms, chemo-physical properties, pollutant deposition and pollutant recycling.

To read more about the various projects that are involved in the sampling, take a look at the links in the box to the right of this page.

Project information

The University of Grenoble, France:
– Long-term interactions between snow and the atmosphere in the Arctic (ARCSNOW)
Click here to read about
the project in RiS

Ampere Laboratory(AMPERE), France
– Microorganisms living in the Arctic (MicroLife)
Click here to read more about
the project

National Research Council of Italy(CNR)
– Long-term monitoring program of the chemo-physical properties of the annual snowpack in Spitsbergen (SnowPRO)
Click here to read more about
the project in RiS

The Norwegian Polar Institute
Black carbon in snow (Black carbon in snow)
Click here to read more about
the project in RiS

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