Student seminar

Mesoscale dynamics seminar in Ustaoset

For the first time, an obligatory student seminar for the course Mesoscale Dynamics was held in one of the UiB cabins in Ustaoset on the Hardangervidda.

Clemens Spensberger

As the topic was set to mountain meteorology the decision was made to go to the mountains and have the seminar in the environment it is focusing on, resulting 4 days of nice weather, interesting presentations and a lot of good food!

The preparations began on Sunday 29th April by shopping groceries for the upcoming days. At around 4 o'clock 8 students, the teacher Thomas Spengler and the course assistant Clemens Spensberger met at the train station in Bergen and headed towards Ustaoset. After arriving at  the University's hut Ottesheimen, the day ended with a nice dinner, some games and "hyttekos" (Norwegian phrase for having a good social time in the cabin). In addition the first manual measurements were taken. For that purpose cup anemometers (for wind measurements) and an Assman psychrometer (for temperature and humidity measurements) were brought along.

On Monday 30th May the seminar started after a short introduction by Thomas Spengler with 3 presentations regarding mountain wave induced rotors and sub rotor vortices and the influence of mountains on frontogenesis. During an extended lunch break some of the participants went for grocery shopping for dinner and meals the next days while others took the chance to use the perfect sunny weather for a nice spring ski trip. The second major point on the agenda for this seminar was to do assignments which consisted of exercises about downslope katabatic winds and gap flows. The Monday afternoon was reserved for solving the exercises and preparing presentations of the solutions. Throughout the whole day manual measurements were taken. The day ended with a combined barbeque and Greek dinner, introduced by Konstantinos, a Greek exchange student taking the course, followed by a social gathering in the living room.

As the 1st of May is a public holiday, everybody had a free day and enjoyed the still perfect sunny weather, either with another skiing trip or just sitting in the sun and eating ice cream. In the evening everybody joined a very nice meal with a lot of different Chinese dishes made by Qi, a Chinese PhD students also taking the course.

On the last day of the seminar there were more presentations by the students about different mountain meteorology related issues like katabatic winds, up valley winds, coastal jets in Spitsbergen, south westerly flows over southern Norway and orographically induced precipitation. The lunch break was used for packing and tidying up the cabin. Afterwards the solutions of the exercises were presented and discussed. Finally there was a little summary with some feedback and suggestions for next year’s seminar. All the students took the train back to Bergen at around 6 pm, whereas Thomas and Clemens stayed until Thursday for cleaning the cabin.

In conclusion it has to be said that the 4 days seminar was a big success and very fruitful. On the one hand the scientific outcome of the presentations and exercises was very valuable and on the other hand the personal benefits from presenting articles and learn how to improve the presentation style was great. In addition, we got to know each other much better and realized that we can learn a lot from each other. Having a seminar like this is recommended and should be considered also for other courses at the GFI.

Written by: Stefan Keiderling.

Course information: GEOF328 - Mesoscale Dynamics