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7th EGU Snow Science Winter School 2023

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29 January-4 February 2023, Davos, Switzerland

Special topic "Snow measurements in the field and laboratory"



Covering up to 49% of the total land surface in midwinter in the northern hemisphere, snow is a crucial component of the cryosphere. Snow plays a key role in our environment, with social and economical implications such as the climate change, natural hazard, tourisms, etc. How does snow behave and interact with its surrounding largely depends on its microstructure, which varies widely from light dendritic snowflakes to small rounded grains or dense melt crusts. Measuring and characterizing snow is essential.

Great advances have been made over the past 15 years toward more quantitative, objective characterization of snow, allowing for a better, more physical description of the processes; they came along with new measurements techniques. These improved quantification methods of the snow cover must be spread to the cryosphere scientists community, and beyond, as beneficial to many applications in this field, e.g. hydrology, climatology, avalanche forecasting or earth observation from space.

The 7th EGU Snow Science Winter School will teach these modern techniques of snow measurements. The school consists of a field training complemented by theoretical lessons. It includes the practice with some of the state-of-the-art snow measurement techniques (specific surface area by reflection and spectroscopy, near-infrared photography, high-resolution penetrometry, micro-tomography, etc). A special focus will be on laboratory measurements using X-ray tomography. The course participants will learn sampling, transport and processing techniques of their samples, with hands-on lectures.

Target audience

Graduate students or post-doc working on snow or in some snow related cryospheric science. 

Course structure

The focus of this school lies on natural and artificial snowpack field measurements combined with theoretical lessons in the classroom. Students are supervised by a team of lecturers, experts in various snow-related fields and from different countries worldwide.

Field 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 of the data they will have collected over the week, in addition to other inputs that could be provided (modelling data for example). We expect that the participants have prepared on self-learning material before the field course, submitted 5 weeks before the start of the course.

The course corresponds to 3 ETCS-Points. To receive full credit, a report taking 40 hours of work must be handed in and will be evaluated.

Organizing committee

- Martin Schneebeli (WSL-SLF) - snow instruments and snow stratigraphy

- Anna Kontu (FMI) - field measurements and remote sensing, Arctic snowpack

- Juha Lemmetyinen (FMI) - microwave remote sensing and snow

- Marie Dumont (CNRM, CNRS et Meteo France) snow and impurities

Lecturers and field teachers

- Neige Calonne (CNRM/CEN) - snow microstructure

- Giulia Mazzotti (WSL-SLF) - snow-forest-radiation interactions

- Nick Rutter(Northumbria University) - Arctic snowpack

Additional lecturers will be filled in soon.

Course cost

450 CHF including accommodation, meals and social events.


Due to the limited number of places, admission to the course is a two-step process.

1. Application is now closed

2. Registration - You will receive an invitation for registration, based on the evaluation made by the committee, until November 21, 2022. Please register until November 30, 2022, otherwise your place will be given to another applicant.


The Snow Science Winter Schools are a joint project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, and Météo-France-CNRS/CNRM.

This year the local coordinator is Martin Schneebeli, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF.

Administrative question and contact information

Location and travel information

The course will be in Davos, Switzerland, in the buildings of the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF with direct access to field sites and lodging at the close by Youthpalace Davos. Davos Dorf can be reached preferentially by train

Important information

As the course is to a great extent based on field and cold laboratory work, participants must:

  1. bring their own winter gear, suitable for snowy and cold conditions (warm and wind-proof clothing (onion principle), snow boots, thick gloves/mittens, warm underwear, etc)
  2. be healthy enough to undertake the field day (1 hour hiking with snow shoes)
  3. have a valid travel and health insurance. Currently (September 2022) no COVID-certificate is necessary for Switzerland.

Provisional sponsors


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