Course Programme March 27-April 3, 2003.


The timings of each parts of the course are subject to weather. The general principles will be to perform fieldwork when the weather allows, with theoretical lectures for poor weather. In good weather we will leave for the glacier after breakfast, taking packed lunches, returning in time for the evening meal. Some of the field equipment planned to be used may not be working and indeed repairs may have to be made by students (with help!). Most of the evenings will be spent in data analysis of the fieldwork carried out during the day, and on short presentations given by the students on their own research fields.


Additional evening activities are possible:

If the Tarfala Station has working video facilities, films will be shown on avalanche safety, crevasse rescue techniques, Ice borehole and bedrock studies, and Greenland deep ice core drilling.


The library is a major resource containing many general glaciology works, and detailed historical documents on the natural history of the glaciers in the Tarfala area.


Small quantities of beer and soft drinks are available at reasonable cost from the station bring Swedish cash to pay for these before leaving the station.


There is a very nice sauna at the station that can be used.

Skiing on slopes near the base is possible. Note students doing these activities do so at their own risk and must be well experienced in wilderness skiing and be properly trained and equipped for avalanche rescue.


The basic outline of the course is as follows:


Day 1 Travel and getting set up at the Tarfala Station.

After dinner: Orientation lecture on the history of the research station and research done over the last 50 years (multivision show).


Day 2 Glacier travel in safety: how to work in safety. Use of axes, crampons, avalanche transceivers and snow probes, crevasse rescue. This will take place on the glacier and will occupy much of the day.


Day 3 Lectures: Mass balance principles and field techniques

Ice core drilling and ice core chemical analysis,

Radar sounding theoretical principles


Field work demonstration of ice drilling, radar operation and geodetic GPS


Days 4-7: Students split into small groups and focus their field work. Groups focus on one or more of the following subjects.


A) Mass balance measurements on glacier using traditional techniques, and digging of snow pits for mass balance and subsequent computation.

B) Snow pit stratigraphy and snow metamorphism: identification of seasonal features.

C) Geodetic survey training with precise GPS of glacier stakes to study glacier flow.

D) Studies of the glacial ice internal structure folding, moraines and ice fabrics from ice core thin sections.

E) Steam drilling methods and work on the hydrology of the firn area.

F) Radar surveys of the cold surface layer and snow cover of the glaciers around the station.

G)              Ice coring and DEP conductivity analysis of a core form the firn area. The ice core can be compared with internal horizons from the radar and stratigraphy representing winter/summer layering

H)              Snow accumulation measurements in the Tarfala Valley



Each student will take one method as the subject of his report to be completed after the event. The report should emphasise the practical research value of the data collected on the course, rather than be simply an exercise in technique


Day 8. Packing of equipment, final data handling and organization of report writing. Return to Nikkaloukta by ski and snow scooter.