Arctic Summer School 2016

Summer 2016 School - Effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and societies

The course is given as a joint activity of University of Helsinki, ICOS ERIC, Agricultural University of Iceland, University of Aarhus, Lund University, Estonian University of Life Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, University of Greenland, and Greenland Climate Research Centre. The course will be held in two locations, Nuuk and Reykjavík, July 4-14, 2016.

Objective of the course:
The aim of the course is to widen the perspective of students within natural science by presenting changes of the cryosphere in the Arctic, research on this topic and its effects on the local societies.

Research is becoming more and more interdisciplinary. To bridge research within different sciences, students in natural sciences and social sciences will be introduced from both perspectives. Working with scientist from different disciplines requires a different way of communication, both to other scientists, but also to the community.

Changes in the Arctic due to climate and its effect on the local society are used as an example. The change due to climate change in the Arctic is more profound than in other areas. Changes in e.g. sea ice cover, snow cover, permafrost, and glaciers are affecting Arctic ecosystems and consequently the people living in the area. On the other hand, the warming climate will also give new possibilities, e.g. forestation and agricultural activities in Greenland. Nevertheless, the change will lead to changes in living conditions: for example changes in wildlife will have direct consequences to hunting and changes in sea ice will have effects on fisheries. In this course students will be introduced to another aspect of the changes in the environment than their own field of science is giving. Natural science student will be introduced also to social science methodology. This will widen their perspective, and will be a base for an improved communication of their own research, presentation of research motivation and formulation of future research aim.

In order for research to contribute to a more sustainable development, it is critical that research results reach out to a wide audience. The aim of this course is to enhance the PhD students understanding of research-society linkages and to increase the capabilities of the PhD-students to communicate their research findings to different stakeholders.

Learning outcomes:
On completion of the course, the student...
Knowledge and understanding

  • will be able to summarize changes in the cryosphere and the effects on society, and
  • has obtained knowledge of methodologies in social and natural sciences.
Competence and skills
  • has improved her ability to communicate her research, and
  • has improved her ability to communicate with scientists from other disciplines.
Judgement and approach
  • has a wider knowledge of the methods used in social and natural sciences and a better understanding of scientific result from other disciplines.

Monday 4th (9:00 am) to Thursday 14th (noon) of July 2016

4-7 July: Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and University of Greenland
Addresses: Kivioq 2 / Manutooq 1, Nuuk
8-14 July: Agricultural University of Iceland, Reykjavík
Address: Keldnaholt, Árleyni 22, Reykjavík

The accommodation from Sunday, 3rd July to Thursday, 7th July will be organized in a guesthouse in Nuuk, and from Thursday, 7th July until Thursday, 14th July in a guesthouse in Reykjavík. The exact location of the Nuuk accommodation will be announced later.

The course programme includes four types of elements: lectures, workshops, project work in small groups, and excursions.

The lectures will cover the following topics:
  • Climate changes in the Arctic/Sub-Arctic
  • Changes in the cryosphere
  • Methodologies in social sciences
  • Visualization techniques, introduction to Carbon Tree and Carbon Portal
  • Marine science
  • Ecosystem-atmosphere interactions in Icelandic ecosystems
  • Data management
  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Flux measurement techniques and data analysis methods related to flux measurements
  • Science communication
Three half-day workshops during the course:
  • Interview technique as a research method
  • Changes in the climate as reflected by high school pupils in Greenland
  • eScience tools for presenting research results
Project work in two topics:
  • Effects of changing climate on local communities in Greenland (involving interviews of local people)
  • Data analysis of land-atmosphere interaction processes in Iceland
Two excursions:
  • Kobbefjord research station near Nuuk
  • Flux measurement sites in Iceland

Pre-course activities:
The students accepted on the course will get material to read and a pre-course task to be prepared before the course. The material and the task will be sent during May 2016.

The target group of the course consists of doctoral students and advanced master students across the natural science disciplines (including, but not limited to atmospheric physics, meteorology, chemistry, oceanography, physical ecology, geophysics, and physical geography). Therefore, basic knowledge of Earth system processes is expected.

Dr Antti Lauri from the University of Helsinki is the corresponding teacher. The list of other teachers includes

  • Dr Thomas Juul Pedersen (Greenland Climate Research Centre)
  • Dr Eija Juurola (ICOS-ERIC)
  • Dr Harry Lankreijer (Lund University)
  • Dr Steffen Noe (Estonian University of Life Sciences)
  • Prof Bjarni Sigurdsson (Agricultural University of Iceland)
  • Dr Lise Lotte Sørensen (University of Aarhus)
  • Dr Ditte Taipale (University of Helsinki / Estonian University of Life Sciences)
  • Dr Pelle Tejsner (University of Aarhus)

Credits :
5 ECTS, University of Helsinki (no grades – only Pass or Fail)

Exam and assessment:
During the course, the students will present their findings orally and after the course the groups will have to submit a report based on the results of the interviews and data analysis.

Other activities:
A dinner will be arranged for all course participants and teachers in the last evening.

The course fee is 1700 EUR. This fee covers:

  • All academic and social programmes during the course
  • Access to the course material (online/printed)
  • Accommodation in two-person rooms in Nuuk between July 3-7 (four nights)
  • Accommodation in two-person rooms in Reykjavík between July 7-14 (seven nights)
  • Flight from Nuuk to Reykjavík on July 7
  • Airport transfers in Nuuk and Reykjavík on July 7
  • Lunches on course days July 4-13 (ten days)
  • Final dinner on July 13
  • Excursions to Kobbefjord near Nuuk and flux measurement sites in Iceland
The fee does not cover:
  • Travel to Nuuk before the course and from Reykjavík after the course
  • Breakfasts
  • Dinners (except the final dinner on July 13)
  • Personal health and civil liability insurance (please make sure you have one!)
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, telephone, fax, photocopies, etc. during the course

The NordForsk project “Climate Whirl at High Latitudes” will cover the course fee for up to 10 doctoral students from Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Åland Islands), and the Atmosphere-Biosphere Studies (ABS) Nordplus network will cover the fee for up to 5 master students from universities belonging to the ABS network.

Furthermore, there is a limited number of travel grants available for participants from Nordic countries for the travel to Nuuk before the course and from Reykjavík after the course. The grant is fixed (1300 EUR).

Note! The students accepted to the course are advised to book the flights to Nuuk and from Reykjavík as early as possible! The course is organized in the middle of high season, and ticket prices may be very high if booked late.

There is unfortunately no Internet in the rooms of the guesthouse in Nuuk. There is Internet available at the course venues.

The organisers of the course cannot accept liability for personal accident or loss or damage to private property of attending students, which may occur either during or arise from the course. Participants are therefore advised to arrange their own appropriate insurance coverage.

Applicants must submit their application before 29th of February 2016 by filling in the online form.

For any questions/clarifications contact Antti Lauri at antti.lauri(at)

More information about the contributing and related projects and networks:

ABS (Nordic Master's Degree Programme in Atmosphere-Biosphere Studies)

CRAICC (Cryosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Arctic Climate)

eSTICC (eScience Tools for Investigating Climate Change)

DEFROST (Impacts of a changing cryosphere - depicting ecosystem-climate feedbacks as affected by changes in permafrost, snow and ice distribution)

SVALI (Stability and Variations of Arctic Land Ice)

iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem Atmosphere Processes Study)

Finnish Centre of Excellence (Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Meteorology of Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change )