For the past month I have been in Svalbard, demonstrating on the Glaciology course (AG-325/825) at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The course is aimed at Masters and PhD students who want a taste of the Arctic, consisting of four weeks of glaciology lectures and weekly excursions to glaciers in the local area. I have been supporting the logistical side of the weekly excursions, with the odd bit of teaching here and there. The course ran very successfully and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Here are a few photos from the course…
The sun rising over Rindersbukta, taken during the third week of the course. The sun first rose after the dark season in early March and has created beautiful lighting for the rest of the month…
…Like this. This was taken on the way back from our trip to Mohnbukta in the final week of the course.
Tempelfjorden. This year we unfortunately could not visit Tempelfjorden and Tunabreen glacier with the students because of the lack of sea ice (this picture was taken on a rekkie trip to examine the conditions for snow scooter travel). Sea ice normally forms in Tempelfjorden up to the ice front over the winter, but this year it has not formed. This also happened in 2006 and 2012. For the first time ever though, there is no sea ice directly in front of Tunabreen, which will have massive repercussions for the glacier’s dynamics.
During the course, I have been lucky enough to have come across four polar bears (safely and in a calm situation). This particular photo shows a male bear that we spotted in Rindersbukta. Shortly after this photo, a second bear was spotted nearby. Before this visit to Svalbard, I had only seen one polar bear (I have been coming to Svalbard since the start of 2014). This might be coincidence, but could also be related to the sea ice conditions and lack of sea ice in certain areas of Svalbard. Photo credit: Nick Hulton.
Another incredible view from one of our field excursions. I am often at the back of the student group on these excursions, making sure that the group is okay. I find it very relaxing being at the back as I can happily stop and take pictures like this!
Another picture from the back of the group, in front of Hayesbreen/Heuglinbreen. The students were especially enthusiastic to get up close and personal to the glacier front! As you can probably tell, I am a very (very very very) amateur photographer. For much better photos taken in Svalbard, I would definitely recommend checking out Frede Lamo who, as well as working in the logistics department at UNIS, is a professional photographer and very (very very very) good at taking photos of Svalbard wildlife and scenery.