At the top of the world, an international field school for research students

Students at an Arctic field school in Utqiaġvik learn how to use an ice corer, June 2nd, 2018. The program is a collaboration between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Calgary and the University of Tromsø in Norway. (Ravenna Koenig/ Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Earlier this month, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) participated in an international field school in Utqiaġvik.

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The school gave early-career researchers a broad view of the Arctic coastal system and how it’s changing, along with some different methods for studying it.

It’s the second year of a collaboration between UAF, the University of Calgary in Canada and the University of Tromsø in Norway.

Brian Moorman from the University of Calgary is one of the instructors. He studies permafrost and glacier hydrology. But the professors teaching the field school come from a range of backgrounds.

“We have people that are atmospheric scientists, and we have people that are remote sensors that use satellites to view the world,” Moorman said. “And there’s people that get right down and dirty in the mud and sea ice.”

Those instructors taught students how to collect physical data in the Arctic, as well as how to use satellite and drone tools.

Cornelius Quigley is a student from the University of Tromsø and works primarily with satellites. He said that being out in the field with a diverse group of scientists was a departure from his usual work.

“In my area of research, you really do only speak to people who do what you do,” Quigley said. “But now at field school I’m working with people who are geologists, or people who have never seen satellite data, but still, they would have a different perspective on the entire thing.”

The first year of the field school was held on an icebreaker off the coast of Norway. Next year, it will be held in the Yukon Territory in Canada.