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Global change in the Arctic - practical effects and their evaluation

We will perform a PhD course in the summer of 2019 with the main elements on Svalbard.

The course will be divided in four parts.

1) An introduction will be given in the form of lectures before the course by the course leaders:

Jonas Åkerman: Historical aspects of climate change and research at Svalbard.

Veiko Lehsten:Practical evaluation of climate change at the landscape level, including an exercise in generating digital
                        elevation models using drones

Micael Runnström:Threats to the arctic ecosystems: Tourism before, now and tomorrow

In a seminar after the introductory lectures students will develop an own project which they will carry out on Svalbard in small groups (see below) in discussion with the course leaders.

All introductory lectures can be attended via Skype as well.

2) During field work in to Svalbard, the course leaders will demonstrate the effects of global change in a high Artic permafrost environment and how they are evaluated during a number of excursions from Longyearbyen and from the Isfjord radio station, where our department have a research history since 1972.

            Glacial retreat:
                                   at Trygghamna we will show arctic primary succession on land area which have been cleared for
                                   different durations since the local glacial retreat starting at 1936.

             Vulnerability of the landscape:In a number of day excursions we will demonstrate how both climate change but also
                                                             tourism has changed the landscape. This will build on the long term research of
                                                             Jonas Åkerman and will include
                                 changes in biodiversity (expansions of species ranges),
                                 changes in soil formation (depressions due to tractor use),
                                 changes in erosion rates (due to longer time of de-frozen soil),
                                 changes in hydrological properties of the landscape
                                 changes in the active layer depth

             Cultural changes: due to the replacement of the mining based economy to a tourism based economy

3) Within a small scale project the participants will record effects of global change in the arctic and evaluate them in small groups (2-3). Here we offer a wide range of opportunities:
           Evaluating effects of tractor use by evaluating highly resolved 3d models taken in the area using a drone.
           Evaluating effects on biodiversity
           Evaluating effects on cultural changes using interviews
           Evaluating effects on erosion rates
           Evaluating effects on hydrography
           Weathering of limestone
           Evaluating evidence of tourism impact

While we offer this range of projects we are open to other ideas that will fit to the student’s research theme. Last time students measured atmospheric exchange of vegetation and plant productivity and we are open to all practically feasible small scale projects. The projects have to be developed and the project idea has to be presented in Lund to assure their feasibility in the field.

4) After the trip, the students will continue working on their recorded data and will present their work in an open institute seminar.


The course is limited to 15 students and places will be given on a first come first serve basis, with priority given to CLIMBECCO PhD students and PhD students from the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science.

Costs: The course is free of charge (excursions etc.). The studends have to cover their transport to Svalbard as well as the stay at the hotel at Longyearbyn and Isfjord Radiostation. While a flight ticket to Svalbard (return) costs ca 5000 SEK, the costs for the hotel are 22000 SEK, (13 nights all meals included). A proportion of the hotel costs need to be payed upfront to the hotel.

Last application date: of April. However, for practial reasons of booking flights and to assure your place please apply ASAP to veiko [dot] lehsten [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se. All questions please contact also Veiko Lehsten.

29 June 2019 10:00 to 11 July 2019 13:00
Lund University and Svalbard
veiko.lehsten [at]

About the event

29 June 2019 10:00 to 11 July 2019 13:00
Lund University and Svalbard
veiko.lehsten [at]