Student Pages
Postgraduate course

IceFinse - Arctic climate research and fieldwork

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeGEOV328
  • Number of semesters1
  • Resources

Place of Instruction

UiB, Department of Earth Science. The course is held as an intensive course with field work over 10 consecutive days at the research station at Finse (preferentially during April).

Objectives and Content


The course gives an introduction to Arctic climate research. The course provides a basis for understanding the underlying physical processes that govern Arctic climate variations on different time scales, including a special focus on glaciers and ice cores. The main purpose is to give the students insight into all parts of the research process, from planning to data collection, analysis and presentation. The course will give the students a starting point in order to proceed with their research-based master's theses.


The course is based on basic scientific methods to understand the past and present climate changes in the Arctic. The academic content of the course is based on the lecturers' ongoing research.

Practically the course consists of three components 1) Pre-work, 2) Fieldwork, 3) Presentation.

 1. Preliminary work - practical preparation and introduction to the scientific method

The course starts with an inspection section one week before the field work. Here the students are divided into groups, each of which is given responsibility for reviewing 1-2 scientific articles and presenting them on the field course. Here also questions about equipment, packaging and safety will be clarified.

2. Field course - teaching, data collection and analysis

Here we will hold lectures, collect data and ice cores from the glacier and analyze and discuss the results in project groups. The field course contains a combination of a theoretical part with teaching, a practical part with fieldwork and group work with a focus on analysis and interpretation of collected data.

Based on current climate research, students will learn to design and work with relevant research questions. The students will gain insight into modern research methods by collecting data and analyzing these and comparing them with existing research data. In addition to field data, the students will work with data from numerical ice sheet and climate models that cover the area.

Most of the time is devoted to field work with the researchers outside in the field. Depending on the weather and available equipment, the students will participate in drilling and analyzing ice cores from the glacier. Ice cores are one of the most important climate archives the researchers have, with invaluable data on historical climate changes.

3. Presentation - data analysis, interpretation and presentation

The course concludes with research reports. After the field course, the groups will deliver a 10-page project report from the field work. The report must contain presentation and analysis of the data obtained. Here the students get training in analytical and numerical methods to answer their research questions and hypotheses. In addition, methods from SciSnack (http://www.scisnack.com/) are used to develop students' competencies to communicate research in writing to peers and the public. Each group will have a researcher from the course as supervisor. Finally, all students gather for an oral presentation (about 30 minutes + question).

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student should be able to

  • explain the basic physical elements of the Arctic climate system
  • understand the external climate change drivers and cause of Arctic climate variability
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of ice dynamics.
  • Recognize climate change and assess how these affect glaciers in the Arctic
  • Understand how ice cores are analyzed to provide unique knowledge of past and present climate change.


The student should be able to

  • plan and perform field work and process and interpret data
  • Use ice core techniques and analyze ice core data
  • evaluate data from numerical ice flow models and regional climate models
  • Interpret research data and discuss their application to study climate processes
  • Strengthen their skills in research methods - including oral presentation, scientific writing, and discussion

 General competence

The student should be able to

  • Use critical thinking and physical understanding
  • demonstrate interdisciplinary understanding of links between different research areas
  • present and discuss research strategies and critically evaluate methods in relation to the results
  • Communicate the research results to the public, in writing and orally

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Background in geoscience, climate dynamics, glassiology and numerical methods will be an advantage.

Access to the Course

Open to all students at the University of Bergen.

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Teaching is given in the form of classroom teaching, fielt work and colloquia work. In addition, the students wll present a presentation of a submitted scientific article that will be presented on the course, as well as deliver and present a written assignment/report of a chosen topic withing the course. An overall work effort is expected with lessons, field work and report writing of approx. 125 hours.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Mandatory presentation of scientific paper. Mandatory handing in and presentation of report/assignment.

The compulsory assignments are valid for the teaching semester.

Forms of Assessment

The assessment for is evaluated based on:

  • presentation of scientific paper (30%)
  • written and presented report/assignment (70%)

Grading Scale

A-F or passed/non passed

Assessment Semester

Assessment only in semester with teaching

Reading List

Will be made available by 1st of December for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Course Coordinator

The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact studierettleiar@geo.uib.no

Course Administrator

The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program


Contact Information

The student coordinator can be contacted here: