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3rd Snow Science Winter School

12-18 February 2017, Sodankylä, Finland

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The cryosphere forms an integral part of the climate system of the Earth. Measuring the properties of the seasonal and perennial snow cover properties is therefore essential in understanding interactions and feedback mechanisms related to the cryosphere.

Snow is a extremely complex and highly variable medium, and all essential properties of seasonal snow cover are challenging to measure. Diverse fields such as hydrology, climatology, avalanche forecasting and Earth Observation from space benefit from improved quantification of snow cover properties, in particular related to the snow microstructure.

The past 10 years snow science has seen a rapid change from a semi-quantitative to a quantitative science. Understanding physical and chemical processes in the snowpack requires detailed measurements of the microstructure.

The 3rd Snow Science Winter School will teach advanced field techniques, (e.g. high-resolution penetrometry and casting of snow samples for micro-tomography), and relate these measurements to microwave and spectral albedo measurements. The site of the third Winter School, the FMI Arctic Research Centre, has a unique setup of ground-based microwave radiometers and optical spectrometers.

Target audience

Any graduate student or post-doc working on snow or in some snow related field, this year especially in remote sensing of the cryosphere, is welcome ot participate. Those fields include everybody interested in cryospheric sciences. 

Course structure

The focus of this workshop lies on field and laboratory measurements, combined with theoretical lessons in the classroom.

Field and laboratory measurements will be done in small groups of 3-4 students. Each group of students will have to prepare a report describing the methods, results and interpretation.

The course corresponds to 3 ETCS-Points. The winter school is listed in the coursebook of the doctoral school at EPFL Lausanne and the University of Helsinki. To receive full credit, a report taking 40 hours of homework must be written, based on the measurements during the course.


The housing will be in Sodankylä with direct access to the field sites. The 3rd Snow Science Winter School will be organized at the campus of the FMI Arctic Research Centre (FMI-ARC) in the Finnish Lapland. Scientific activities at the site date back to 1858, when the Societas Scientarum Fennica founded the first weather station near the community of Sodankylä (orig. Soađegilli in the Sami language), above the Arctic circle. Due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, the area is included in the boreal region. However, with regard to stratospheric meteorology, Sodankylä can be classified as an Arctic site, often lying beneath the middle or the edge of the stratospheric polar vortex and in the zone of polar stratospheric ozone depletion. Its strategic location, coupled with ready accessibility from all parts of the world, makes the FMI-ARC an excellent base for studying various themes of global change in a northern context. The location in Finnish Lapland is ideal for atmospheric and environmental research in the boreal and sub-Arctic zone. Snow cover at the site persits typically from October to May, making the site well suited also for snow-related studies.

The principal Arctic observation infrastructure of the FMI is situated in two main areas: the FMI-ARC headquarters in Sodankylä (67.368°N, 26.633°E) and the Pallas clean air research station (67.967°N, 24.117°E).

FMI-ARC hosts programs exploring upper-air chemistry and physics, atmospheric column measurements, snow/soil hydrology, biosphere-atmosphere interaction, and satellite calibration-validation studies. The site also hosts the main infrastructure of FMI for Earth Observation satellite data reception, storage and distribution. Today, FMI staff working at the site comprises of ~25 researchers, students, technical personnel and administration. The site hosts ample space for hosting training schools including guest housing, auditorium facilities, a canteen and several Finnish saunas.

More information:

Course cost and funding

approx 350 Euro including

  • Full accommodation at Sodankylä (including breakfast, field lunch and dinner) from Sunday, Feb. 12 - Saturday, Feb. 18 2017

Special funding support

COST HarmoSnow ( makes full funding available for 5-8 students from COST inclusiveness countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey)

Please indicate in the application when you plan to apply for COST funding.

Application and Registration

Application is colsed

Registration - You will receive an invitation for registration, based on the evaluation made by the committee, until November 22, 2016. Please register until November 27, 2016 otherwise your place will be given to another applicant.

As a pre-notification, the link to the snow school registration will be

For questions send an email to


The organization is with the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Anna Kontu and Juha Lemmetyinen (FMI), and Prof. Matti Lepparänta, University of Helsinki


Contact information

Preliminary program

will follow soon

Travel Information