Student Seminar

Mountain seminar in Mesoscale Dynamics (GEOF328)

Nine students attended a seminar at Ottesheimen in Ustaoset 12-15 April together with lecturer Thomas Spengler and teaching assistant Line Båserud to learn more about mountain meteorology.

Seminar group of GEOF328 course
Seminar group of GEOF328 course


The seminar was held in beautiful surroundings close to Hallingskarvet on Hardangervidda, which raised the chances of seeing interesting weather phenomena associated with mountains. Six of the participants chose to take an early train to Ustaoset to do some extra skiing, and Ustetind was ascended in shifting and fascinating weather ranging from snow showers and strong wind to blue sky and sunshine. When the rest of the class arrived in the evening, a tasty dinner was prepared at the hut.

The following days contained student presentations of scientific papers on various topics like lee vortices, gravity waves, flow blocking, and thermally driven circulations in mountainous terrain after a short introduction to mountain meteorology by Thomas Spengler. There was plenty of time for extensive discussion of the presented material as well as for constructive comments and feedback on the students’ presentations, which helped the participants to get more out of the content and improve their presentation skills. In addition to the presentations, the students worked together in groups to solve an assignment about flow through a gap and large-scale flow over a mountain. The results were presented by the groups on the last day.

There was also time for some joint skiing and walking in the snow during the stay, and the African student Musa from Uganda accepted the challenge to try skiing for the first time. While the upcoming meteorologists were outside, they used the opportunity to try to make sense of the weather, especially the clouds, together with Thomas. The evenings were spent in the hut playing card games, sitting in the sauna, singing along to Thomas playing the accordion and eating a lot of delicious food, which was the reason that some jokingly called the seminar the “eating seminar”.

All in all, the seminar helped to both expand the student’s knowledge about the different topics in the realm of mountain meteorology and improve their presentation techniques. The relaxing and social setting made it more comfortable to present the papers and the assignment results, and it was nice to get to know each other better on a successful and enjoyable trip.

Course information: Mesoscale Dynamics GEOF328