Hey, it’s me, Clara! Last week I was able to participate in a winter school on snow field methods and microwave modeling of snow and wanted to share some impressions here. Using bus and train I traveled to the research center of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in Sodankylä in the Finnish Lapland where the school was held. We were about 40 graduate and PhD students from all over Europe, North America and Australia, looking at snow from different disciplines: Physics, Chemistry, Climatology and Remote Sensing.

The program included a theoretical part with lectures and a practical part of application in the field. Lectures were given by lecturers form WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, FMI, the University of Northumbria, Oulu University and Météo-France and included a wide range of snow-related topics: Characterizing snow packs in different regions of the world and under different climatic conditions, snow physics and microstructure, microwave and optical remote sensing as well as modeling of snow, snow isotopes and snow-forest interactions.


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In addition, there was plenty of practical application in the field. Within small groups we sampled snow-pits for stratigraphy, density, temperature and specific surface-area of the snow particles. We were able to use a variety of high- and low-tech snow sampling devices. In a project we then used our measurements to model a passive and active radar signal using the SMRT model and compared it to the measurements of an on-site radar sensor.

I am very grateful for the learning experience and had great fun meeting people at different stages in their studies, spending time outside, talking about individual research projects and enjoying Finnish sauna.


author: Clara Vydra