This course offered early career scientists and PhD students to gain practical skills of working safely and effectively in the polar regions. This presented itself as an ideal opportunity to learn how to apply my theoretical research ideas into practicality in preparation for grant applications. The course, hosted by NERC’s British Antarcic Survey polar experts, helped participants to translate their exciting scientific ideas into safe, achievable and effective field plans. A theoretical 3 day course element was held in The Univeristy of Cambridge’s Madingley Hall and then a practical 3 day element was carried out in Svalbard using NERC’s base in Ny Ålesund (79°N).
Aspects which were of particular interest to me included information on developing comprehensible and achievable field plans; legal, poloitical and environmental obligations; practical examples on logistical operations around your planned fieldwork; remote sensing resources; making your scietific equipment cold proofed for transit; field survey and collections and the use of small boats (look out for icebergs!). Above all else this course offered an appreciation for how much field work you can really achieve in the field under extremely cold conditions in comparison to much warmer temperate regions – much less!
The reality of global climate change was incredibly sobering while present in the Arctic – apparently Kingsfjorden has not experienced sea ice since 2006! A fact I find extremely saddening.
For more details on the course please visit the British Antarctic Survey’s website. This course may be run again in the near future so keep an eye on their training updates!