1st European Snow Science Winter School, 8-14 February 2015, Sodankylä, Finland

The cryosphere forms an integral part of the climate system of the Earth. The
cryosphere contains up to 75-80 % of the freshwater supply and in the Northern
Hemisphere, seasonal snow cover extends to 49% of the total land surface in midwinter.
The cryosphere affects the climate system through its influence on surface energy
balance, moisture flux and atmospheric circulation over both seas and land surfaces.
Monitoring of seasonal snow cover properties is therefore essential in understanding
interactions and feedback mechanisms related to the cryosphere.
However, as a complex and highly variable medium, many essential properties of
seasonal snow cover have traditionally been difficult to measure. Applications in diverse
fields such as hydrology, avalanche forecasting and Earth Observation from space
would benefit from improved quantification of snow cover properties, in particular related
to the snow microstructure. The past 10 years snow science has seen a rapid change
from a semi-quantitative to a quantitative science. Understanding physical and chemical
processes in the snowpack requires detailed measurements of the microstructure. The
most important quantitative techniques are micro-tomography, BET gas adsorption, and
applicable in the field, reflection measurements in the infrared spectrum, near-infrared
photography and high-resolution penetrometry. The goal of this course is to teach and
use these modern methods in a winter school. The modern methods require more
experience and know-how to achieve high-quality results, the proposers and lecturers
feel this a highly required activity. The premises at Sodankylä made available by the
Finnish Meteorological Institute offer an excellent opportunity to investigate the snow
properties of the arctic tundra and taiga. Arctic tundra and taiga present one of the most
important boreal snow covers, and as such are very important to understand.

Any graduate student or post-doc working on snow or in some snow related field is welcome to
participate. Those fields may cover Glaciology, Hydrology, Oceanography, Geography, but also
Biology or Chemistry as well as Engineering or Material Sciences.

Course structure

In this workshop we will teach the state-of-the-art snow measurement techniques. The focus
of this workshop lies on field measurements, combined with lessons in the classroom. Field
measurements will be done in small groups of 3-4 students. Each group of students will have to
prepare a report describing the methods, results and interpretation. The course corresponds to 3
ETCS-Points.

The topics covered are:
– Snow deposition, metamorphism and settling
– Microstructure of snow and mathematical representation
– Physical properties of snow
– Optical properties of snow
– Snow measurement methods: traditional and modern
– Snowpack and land-surface modelling
– Snow climatology and hydrology
– Aspects of field safety and field organisation

Convenor: Dr. Lemmetyinen Juha, Helsinki, FI (juha.lemmetyinen@fmi.fi)