Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar

Studying the Arctic boundary layer at University Centre in Svalbard by Meghan Helmberger & Erika Schreiber, Graduate Research Assistants, National Snow and Ice Data Center


Abstract: The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) offers undergraduate and graduate courses in Arctic biology, geology, geophysics, and technology. For five weeks in February-March, 2018 we took a class focused on the Arctic boundary layer: attending lectures, deploying instrumentation, and analyzing the data taken over our weeklong field campaign. The data collection mostly focused on recording temperature, humidity, pressure, energy fluxes, wind speed, and wind direction in the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on Svalbard. This area is dominated by a major valley system with surrounding peaks up to 1000 m a.s.l., with the valley terminating in a fjord. During our time at UNIS temperatures ranged from 5oC to -20oC. The warmer temperatures coincided with a rain on snow event. Our class of twenty graduate students analyzed the data and saw that while generally driven at the synoptic-scale, weather in the region is strongly influenced by the surrounding complex terrain. Observations included evidence of cold pool formation, tip and low-level jets, and forced channeling of winds. In this talk we discuss some of these results as well as our overall experiences at UNIS.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018
11:00 am to 12:00 pm




  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public



East Campus, RL-2, Room 155