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5th Snow Science Winter School

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17-23 February 2019, Hailuoto, Finland


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 5th Snow Science Winter School will teach these advanced techniques, as micro-tomography, measurement of specific surface area by reflection and spectroscopy, near-infrared photography and high-resolution penetrometry. You will learn:

  • State-of-the-art snow measurement techniques especially on sea ice
  • Understanding the physical processes responsible for the evolution of the snowpack
  • Understanding snow - sea ice interactions and modeling

Target audience

Any graduate student or post-doc working on snow or in some snow related field, this year especially in sea ice measurements and modeling, is welcome to participate. Those fields include everybody interested in cryospheric sciences. 

Course structure

The focus of this workshop lies on snow on sea ice and arctic snow, field measurements and snowpack models 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, and a comparison between field measurements and snow modelling results.

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

Course cost

Approx 350 Euro 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 closed

2. Registration - You will receive an invitation for registration, based on the evaluation made by the committee, until November 15, 2018. Please register here until November 30, 2018 otherwise your place will be given to another applicant.


The Snow Science Winter Schools are joint project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Administrative questions and contact information

snowschool(at)slfto make life hard for spam


- Martin Schneebeli - snow physics and field measurements
- Alex Langlois - field  measurements and snow modeling
- Anna Kontu - field measurements and remote sensing
- Eero Rinne - field measurements and remote sensing
- Ioanna Merkouriadi - modeling and field measurement

Preliminary program

Will follow soon

Travel Information

The 5th Snow Science Winter School will be organized on the island of Hailuoto, near Oulu, Finland. The airport to fly to is Oulu (OUL). Several flights by Finnair and Norwegian service the airport via Helsinki (HEL). Another option is to travel by train from Helsinki to Oulu: check train schedules and prices

We recommend arrival on Sunday 17th February on one of the following flights: AY437 12:50 (HEL) - 13:55 (OUL) or AY439 14:15 (HEL) - 15:20 (OUL). Or by train: Intercity 23, 09:24 (Helsinki) - 14:54 (Oulu)

We reccommend departure on Saturday 23rd February on one of the following flights: AY436 10:30 (OUL) - 11:30 (HEL) or AY 438 14:25 (OUL) - 15:20 HEL). Or by train: Intercity 24, 11:55 (Oulu) - 17:35 (Helsinki).

Bus transportation is organized from Oulu airport and railway station to Hailuoto on February 17th, and back to Oulu on February 23rd. The bus ride from the airport to Hailuoto takes about 30 minutes. The bus times are the following (we reserve the right to changes, depending on arrival times of participants):



Oulu train station

Oulu airport


Sunday, Feb 17



ca. 16:30



Oulu airport

Oulu train station

Saturday, Feb 23rd




Naturally, participants are free to organize their own travel as they wish. For other arrival times, you can consult also public transportation from Oulu to Hailuoto.

Accommodation is in the Arctic Lighthouse Hotel on Hailuoto island. Rooms will be shared by two persons. We have made room reservations and the accommodation is included in the registration. There is no need to make your own reservation.

All meals are included in the price of the Snow School (breakfast, lunch, dinner). The meals are organized at Arctic Lighthouse Hotel or in the field. However, participants are also free to bring additional foodstuffs for field trips. For those who wish, a shopping trip to a grocery store in Hailuoto can be organized during the week.

For dietary restrictions, please inform the local organizing team riitta.aikio(at)fmito make life hard for spam, cc: eero.rinne(at)fmito make life hard for spam and anna.kontu(at)fmito make life hard for spam before the start of the school.

Notification: when you have booked your travel, please inform the local organizing team riitta.aikio(at)fmito make life hard for spam; cc: anna.kontu(at)fmito make life hard for spam; eero.rinne(at)fmito make life hard for spam so we can confirm the bus transportation. If you require an alternate way to get to the site, let us know and we will try to accommodate. For late/early arrivals, it is also possible to rent a car (AVIS, Europcar, Budget, etc. at your own cost) from either Oulu train station or Oulu airport. In case of delay/changed travel schedule, please inform the organizers as soon as possible!