The State of Glaciers and Ice Caps in the Arctic Region

When: 10-13 October 2019 | Where: Reykjavik (Iceland)
Contact: Þorsteinn Þorsteinsson

Cross-Cutting Activities

Please visit the Cross-Cutting Activities page for more information on upcoming activities co-sponsored by the Cryosphere Working Group.


International Summer School in Glaciology

When: 5 - 15 June 2018 | Where: McCarthy (Alaska) | Contact: Regine Hock

Nearly 30 graduate students from over 25 universities and a dozen countries as far as Nepal, India, Peru and New Zealand gathered in the small Alaskan village of McCarthy to participate in UAF’s fifth 11-day International Summer School in Glaciology. Steep ice-covered mountains provided the perfect setting to equip early stage PhD students with tools to address the expanding challenges in quantifying and modeling rapid changes in glaciers and ice sheets occurring in response to a warming climate, and to foster collaboration among students as well as established scientists in the field of glaciology. The eight instructors from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and three other US universities/institutions stayed for the entire period, offering plenty of opportunity for interaction between the instructors and students during and outside the formal instruction period.

Overall, the course was well received by the participants. The students left not only with a stronger background in glaciology, but also with a network of professional contacts from around the world. All course material is openly available here.

SCAR/IASC/CliC Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS)

When: 15 June 2018 | Where: Davos (Switzerland) | Contact: Edward Hanna

Prof. Edward Hanna of the School of Geography lead-organised an international research workshop on Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance - links between observational data and computer model simulations. This included some of the world-leading scientists working in this area. There were two keynote talks: Prof. Tony Payne (University of Bristol) spoke on "Challenges in making useful projections of the future sea-level contributions of ice sheets," while Prof. Andy Shepherd (University of Leeds) gave a very timely rundown of "Satellite observations of ice sheet mass balance." The latter talk was based on a major new research paper on Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance, 1992-2017, that Prof. Shepherd had lead-published in the journal NATURE the previous day. Other talks included the effects on ice sheets of limiting global warming to 1.5degC above pre-industrial levels by 2100 - an unlikely outcome but one that is highly relevant to study for an upcoming interim report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For more information please see the workshop website.

Workshop on Knowledge Gaps of Cryospheric Extremes

When: 25-27 April 2018 | Where: Helsinki (Finland) | Contacts: Jari Haapala, Veijo Pohjola

Extreme weather events commonly encompass phenomena such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. In cold regions, these are augmented with snow and sea-ice related extreme events, usually triggered by anomalous atmospheric or oceanic conditions.

Although extreme events are a core climate research focus, cryospheric extremes have not received much attention yet. The overarching aim of the workshop was to review our understanding of cryospheric extreme events in the past, present and future, and to identify research needs.

The workshop was hosted by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Around 50 participants from 11 countries attended the workshop to discuss ice and snow extremes in marine, fluvial and terrestrial settings, using meteorological, hydrological, glaciological, social, engineering and medical perspectives.

4th Snow Science Winter School

When: 11 - 17 February 2018 | Where: Col du Lautaret (France) | Contact: Martin Schneebeli

The 4th Snow Science Winter School (SSWS) brought together 24 students from many 13 countries. Organized by the Snow study center (CNRM/CEN - Météo France/CNRS) WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF from Davos, Switzerland, the Station Alpine Joseph Fourier (SAJF), the Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement (IGE/OSUG – CNRS / Grenoble INP / IRD / UGA), and the Finish Meteorological Institute FMI,, the snow school focused on modern snow measurement techniques and alpine snowpack detailed modelling. Traditional and modern field instruments were available for the students to get hands-on experience in the field, together with introductory lectures. Two full field days of exercise were organized close to Col du Lautaret and gave a first feeling for a self-organized expedition. The success motivated the lecturers to prepare a 5th SSWS that will take place in Finland in 2019.

For more information please see the SSWS website.

Network on Arctic Glaciology (NAG) - The Importance of Arctic Glaciers for the Arctic Marine Ecosystem

When: 22-24 January 2018 | Where: Obergurgl (Austria) | Contact: Thorben Dunse

The workshop integrated two special activities. The first, “Understanding atmosphere-glacier-ocean interactions and their implications for the pan-Arctic glacier mass budget” represents a long-term strategy of the Cryosphere Working Group and NAG. The second theme broke new ground: an IASC cross-cutting activity of the Cryosphere and Marine working groups of IASC, addressing “The importance of Arctic glaciers for the Arctic marine ecosystem”.

Interdisciplinary work requires that researchers from the involved disciplines get to know each other and learn to understand each-others scientific jargon. The IASC cross-cutting activity contributed in building a bridge between the cryosphere and biosphere community. NAG aims to elaborate this initiative in the years to come and work towards the involvement of members from other relevant disciplines, such as physical oceanography, ocean biogeochemistry, as well as terrestrial ecology.

The next workshop on the dynamics and mass balance of Arctic Glaciers and Network on Arctic Glaciology annual meeting will be held at Bardøla Hotel in Geilo, Norway, 20-24 January 2019. More information will be distributed via Cryolist and the IASC-NAG website until summer 2018.


The Frozen-Ground Cartoon

When: 11 December 2017 | Where: Québec (Canada) | Contacts: Frédéric Bouchard, Michael Fritz

How does a reindeer experience climate change? Can a turkey melt? And why is research in the Arctic better than holidays on the beach? Two artists and twelve scientists provide a completely new perspective on the Arctic.

The Frozen-Ground Cartoon is a series of brand-new comics about permafrost, funded by the International Permafrost Association (IPA) with additional support from IASC (Terrestrial and Cryosphere WGs). The project has so far produced 22 pages of comics through an iterative process of exchanging ideas between two artists and thirteen scientists. The comics are available for free download through the project web page The Frozen-Ground Cartoon, in English and Swedish, and printed copies have so far been handed out to school kids and general public in Europe and North America.

3rd Snow Science Winter School

When: February 2017 | Where: Sodankylä (Finland) | Contact: Juha Lemmetyinen

The Cryosphere Working Group organized a field-oriented training course for teaching snow cover quantification techniques at the Finnish Meteorological Institute Arctic Research Center. Contemporary fields method require significant experience and training to achieve high-quality, accurate results, necessitating a field training course. This week-long course was intended to train early career scientists to better utilize field techniques for in situ observations as well as ground-based remote sensing instrumentation, with classroom lectures to support the field activities. By learning advanced field methods in the early career stage, young scientists will help improve quality standards in the Arctic research community in the area of snow science.

Workshop Report

Network on Arctic Glaciology (NAG)

When: 23-25 January 2017 | Where: Bethel (Maine) | Contacts: Thorben Dunse, Prof. Martin Sharp

The 2017 annual workshop and open forum meeting of the IASC Network on Arctic Glaciology took place in Bethel, Maine, USA. 27 participants from 8 IASC member countries came together to discuss a broad range of topics in Arctic Glaciology. The meeting was organized by the IASC Network on Arctic Glaciology in collaboration with the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, USA.

The 2017 workshop featured three special sessions: (1) glacier-atmosphere interactions; (2) glacier-ocean interactions, including impacts on the marine ecosystem, and (3) the importance of calving (frontal ablation) for the mass budget of Arctic glaciers. In addition, presentations addressed topics such as glacier and ice cap mass balance, ice dynamics and advancements in methodology used to monitor glacier processes and glacier change.

Discussions continued outside the meeting room at joined meals, as well as on the local ski tracks and slopes. The open forum meeting provided an opportunity to discuss further activities and development of the Network on Arctic Glaciology.

The next Workshop on the dynamics and mass budget of arctic glaciers and the 2018 NAG annual meeting will be held in Obergurgl, Austria, 21 - 25 January 2018.

For more information please see the Network on Arctic Glaciology website

Abstracts and Programme

Workshop Report


For previous activities, please visit the IASC News Archive or browse our online collection of yearbooks, the IASC Bulletin.