News

Safety course 2010 - check!

2010-01-25

As every year, the spring semester starts with a big winter safety course. For the third year in a row, the Cryoslope team was enrolled in the safety course, teaching avalanche safety. It was my second time, once again sick, and Stephan's first time and we think that we did a good job. We emphasized on teaching the students how to notice avalanche terrain and showed them certain tricks how to recognize avalanche danger. Still, we also had to teach them how to rescue an avalanche victim in a fast and effective manner, both theoretical and practical. That was Stephan's part and as a Master student with no teaching experience, he did a very good job! So now we can just hope that there are no accidents this season and all the students took something out of the lectures. Max

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old-finished, new-start

2009-12-16

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After 3 years of intensive field observations the Cryoslope Svalbard research project comes to an end. Since the start of the project in 2007 we have been gathering a vast amount of data. Avalanche observations, weather observations, images and additional measurements were conducted during the last 3. Some of the data has already been analyzed and will soon be published in scientific papers and on the webpage. Every end is the start of something new. Max Eckerstorfer who has been involved in the Cryoslope Svalbard project for the last 2 years will continue some of the observations. He started his PhD in January 2009 with the goal to build the basic scientific foundation for an avalanche warning service in Longyearbyen. Therefore he continues some of the Cryoslope field observations on the little round for 2 more seasons, focusing mainly on the areas Longyeardalen, Larsbreen and Longyearbreen, upper Fardalen, Gangskaret and Frithamn and lower Todalen. Max will focus more on snow pack data collection and will only store big cornice fall events and slab avalanches in the database. Therefore we still recommend to frequently visit the Cryoslope Svalbard project webpage since cornice fall avalanches the major type of avalanche, and slab avalanches accounted for all avalanche accidents during the last 3 years.

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thanks

2009-12-15

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Observations done…time to move. Since the last two years Max Eckerstorfer and Ulli Neumann have been observing avalanches, measuring meteorological and snow pack data and maintaining field equipment and installations within the project. While Max continues the avalanche observations its time to say goodbye for me. To sum it up in only a few words: I’m incredible grateful for the experiences I got and knowledge I gained working in the project. I’m deeply thankful to all my colleagues for the trust, joy, enthusiasm, respect and opportunities they brought into the project since I started. Thanks to Svalbard’s nature, who was and continues to be a great office. I will always look back with a smile on my face. Best of whishes. ulli

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financed by

Norklima, Norges Forskningsråd

news

Safety course 2010 - check!

2010-01-25

As every year, the spring semester starts with a big winter safety course. For the third year in a row, the Cryoslope team was enrolled in the safety course, teaching avalanche safety. It was my second time, once again sick, and Stephan's first time and we think that we did a good job. We emphasized on teaching the students how to notice avalanche terrain and showed them certain tricks how to recognize avalanche danger. Still, we also had to teach them how to rescue an avalanche victim in a fast and effective manner, both theoretical and practical. That was Stephan's part and as a Master student with no teaching experience, he did a very good job! So now we can just hope that there are no accidents this season and all the students took something out of the lectures. Max

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old-finished, new-start

2009-12-16

After 3 years of intensive field observations the Cryoslope Svalbard research project comes to an end. Since the start of the project in 2007 we have been gathering a vast amount of data. Avalanche observations, weather observations, images and additional measurements were conducted during the last 3. Some of the data has already been analyzed and will soon be published in scientific papers and on the webpage.

Every end is the start of something new. Max Eckerstorfer who has been involved in the Cryoslope Svalbard project for the last 2 years will continue some of the observations. He started his PhD in January 2009 with the goal to build the basic scientific foundation for an avalanche warning service in Longyearbyen. Therefore he continues some of the Cryoslope field observations on the little round for 2 more seasons, focusing mainly on the areas Longyeardalen, Larsbreen and Longyearbreen, upper Fardalen, Gangskaret and Frithamn and lower Todalen. Max will focus more on snow pack data collection and will only store big cornice fall events and slab avalanches in the database.

Therefore we still recommend to frequently visit the Cryoslope Svalbard project webpage since cornice fall avalanches the major type of avalanche, and slab avalanches accounted for all avalanche accidents during the last 3 years.

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thanks

2009-12-15

Observations done…time to move. Since the last two years Max Eckerstorfer and Ulli Neumann have been observing avalanches, measuring meteorological and snow pack data and maintaining field equipment and installations within the project. While Max continues the avalanche observations its time to say goodbye for me. To sum it up in only a few words: I’m incredible grateful for the experiences I got and knowledge I gained working in the project. I’m deeply thankful to all my colleagues for the trust, joy, enthusiasm, respect and opportunities they brought into the project since I started. Thanks to Svalbard’s nature, who was and continues to be a great office. I will always look back with a smile on my face. Best of whishes. ulli

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moonlight fieldwork

2009-12-07

A RECCO searcher is an instrument used in avalanche rescue to locate buried victims. CRYOSLOPE Svalbard adopted the method and used it to find buried “CRYOSLOPE victims”. The small yellow box in my right hand shows a shock sensor measuring acceleration (movement) in one axis. Mounted on rocks in avalanche paths they have been used to accurately record the occurrence of passing avalanches. With help of the RECCO instrument we could successfully locate the loggers under the autumn snow cover, download data and exchange batteries. Now they are ready to “watch” for avalanches again. Its simply a RECCO ge! ulli

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avalanche shorty seminar

2009-11-09

About 30 students and staff of UNIS participated at the CRYOSLOPE Avalanche Shorty. Increasing snow pack and challenging light conditions make it important to move with caution in the mountainous terrain around Longyearbyen. The seminar aimed to give participants hands on knowledge how to evaluate and minimize avalanche risks as well as how to use rescue techniques. The two hour long seminar was introduced by Fred S. Hansen, head of safety and logistics at UNIS. He presented a short movie from an avalanche accident that was filmed from the victim’s helmet camera and attracted the audience’s attention (see movie under: http://www.vimeo.com/6581009 ). Max Eckerstorfer, PhD candidate at UNIS, focuses in his research on snow avalanche controlling factors like meteorology and snow pack. He gave hands on tips and tricks how to evaluate and minimize avalanche risks. Nature gives a variety of hints and tricks and Max showed how to read and interpret those natural signs. CRYOSLOPES field coordinator Ulli Neumann focused on rescue techniques during his talk. Mental preparation of the rescuer, locating and excavation of the avalanche victims as well as first aid were the key points of the talk. The CRYOSLOPE Avalanche Shorty was well received and might become a tradition within the UNIS safety teaching strategy. We wish all winter travelers a safe and fun season. ulli

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Database maintenance

2009-10-19

CRYOSLOPE Svalbard has initiated the first systematic data collection on avalanche related events on Svalbard. All this data is stored in a data base CRYOSLOPE has developed. This data base is a logical structured record of all theese events and can be accessed by multiple users…also you. After 3 years of collecting field observations on related events the data base hosts relevant information of 730 events and includes more then 1500 images. Now its time for a database face lift and some maintenance. This includes check of already included events an adding historical data outside the projects time frame. To make the data even more accessable are we working towards including our database into the national avalanche data base, www.skrednett.no. To search our CRYOSLOPE database click following link: http://skred-svalbard.no/content.php?cat=6 ulli

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The snow is back

2009-09-16

…falling on to of the old one. While some land had the fortune to spend some time tanning in the arctic sun, some other has never been uncovered of the previous snow. We here at the CRYOSLOPE Svalbard field office are starting the 3rd and last autumn season. Also good things have to end some times. Even snow avalanches where few during the short summer, the CRYOSLOPE field team had been active, installing new instruments, maintaining existing ones, downloading and analyzing data. PhD student Markus Eckerstorfer is currently out of office, representing CRYOSLOPE at the German Geographer Day 2009 in Wien and the International Snow Science Workshop in Davos. We whish him save travels. While winter is moving closer and snow settles in the lower altitudes the field team will continue to maintain instruments and get the CRYOSLOPE database in shape for the project finish. To all a good autumn. Ulli

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Fresh data delivered

2009-05-21

Malte is a so called automatic weather station. After serving for several years recording temperature, wind and radiation on Bogerbreen its now employed at CRYOSLOPE. To improve our numerical avalanche model Malte will give us new insights in the climatic system of Bødalen. The station is located in the upper valley on the frontal moraine on Bødalsbreen. The relocation of Malte took 2 days and involved up to 12 volunteers. Thanks to all the supporters including Professor Doug Benn who made the station available for CRYOSLOPE. Thank you. ulli

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Unmanned avalanche observation

2009-05-18

For the first time in Svalbard’s history an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has documented avalanches. CRYOSLOPE in connection with Kolibri Geo Services mapped avalanches in Todalen, Longyeardalen and Bjørndalen. The images obtained revieal avalanches in great detail. The special resolution of the images vary from 3-10 cm. Spatial extend, depositional pattern and surface debris content can by derived from the images that could not be mapped by traditional means as from the ground. The data obtained is a very useful addition to the traditional observation CRYOSLOPE is performing. The aerial vehicle is remotely operated from the ground and has a wingspan of 2.6m. The vehicle takes images straight down (nadir) or sideways (oblique). You can find more details under www.geokolibri.com. ulli

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Meteorological campaign finished

2009-05-15

Been there, done that! The meteorological field campaign undertaken by Masterstudent Matilda Hallerstig is over and was a full success. Matilda spent in total 4 weeks measuring the radiation components and the wind pattern in great details. She utilized both weather stations CRYOSLOPE has set up at Gangskaret and at the seed fault. From now on Matilda will be more seen in her office analyzing the data. She wants to draw conclusions of what meteorological situation will course avalanches to happen. For that the CRYOSLOPE team whishes her good luck. ulli

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Radar measurements completed

2009-05-14

Radars are known to measure speed on the road or warn ships against collisions at sea. CRYOSLOPE Svalbard has adapted the method and has counted snowmobiles instead. As in the CRYOSLOPE avalanche field area snow mobiles are frequent, we wanted to know exactly how many people are traveling in avalanche prone terrain. The instruments, that where kindly provided by the Norwegian road authority has been measuring traffic in Todalen and Fardalen. The measuring period has been just over 2 month, during the peak of the avalanche / snowmobile season. The collected data will now be analyzed by CRYOSLOPE. ulli

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CRYOSLOPE IN VIENNA

2009-04-28

CRYOSLOPE is spreading over Europe. Lene Rubensdotter at the Norwegian Geological Survey is one of our project members. She presented her work at the European Geological Union in Vienna last week. Together with her coworkers Lene has studied landforms in the CRYOSLOPE field area in great detail. Some of these landforms are largely controlled by climate parameters. Examples are fans made out of coarse material accumulated in the valley sides known as colluvial fans. Depending on the climate different processes will shape and develop those debris accumulations in a certain way. Lene and her coworkers attempt to use those findings from their field studies as indicator for past or present climates. CRYOSLOPE will largely benefit from her findings, since they give us a possibility to indicate future changes in avalanche activity. Well done Lene. Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE AT KAPP LINNÉ

2009-04-27

The CRYOSLOPE field team visited Kapp Linné together with UNIS course Permafrost and Periglacial Environments (AG-330). During the 2 day long excursion lectures made us known with processes and landforms associated with permafrost. We visited also a permafrost monitoring site out at Kapp Linné. In order to map snow distribution the Cryoslope field team deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in connection with KOLIBRI GEO SERVICES. The aerial image mosaic obtained by the UAV from 650 m heights gives the researchers a good tool to follow up on snow distribution. Since snow is highly insulating it plays a major role in controlling active layer development and permafrost distribution. Thank you for two beautiful days. Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE TEACHES TEACHERS

2009-04-21

25 teachers has been visiting Svalbard last week. One stop on there busy schedule were the CRYOSLOPE Svalbard project. After a introduction lecture by the project leader Hanne Christiansen, they got informed about and arctic education movie that got produced on the island in 2007. After all teachers received a copy of the movie to spread over the country, it was time for some serious field course. It took a little until all the participants found themselves sitting on the snowmobiles. In Todalen had the teachers the opportunity to investigate the snowpack from real close. Prepared from the indoor lecture the teachers collected a variety of snow describing factors such as crystal structure, hardness, temperature and some more. Many found the work very interesting and promised to build such exercises into the teaching. CRYOSLOPE Svalbard is happy for such feedback. We hope that such practical education within the topic of snow will motivate and encourage pupils…our future glaciologists. Thank you for visiting us. Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE and a rockslide

2009-04-01

CRYOSLOPE not only present on Svalbard. Between 24th and 29th of March the CRYOSLOPE field team got send to support a permafrost related survey in Troms. Research and monitoring on an unstable rock section of Nordnesfjellet made measurements related to permafrost necessary. We collected about 200 ground surface temperature measurements under the snow surface. Those measurements will be used to identify the existence / not existence and extent of permafrost within the mountain. For the first time on Nordnesfjellet Kolibri Geo Services launched a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The aerial images and video footage retrieved by the UAV will help the researchers to map snow distribution and validate the reliability of the measured ground surface temperatures. Special thanks goes to Henning Hansen and the team of Fjellskred i Troms. We hope to come back one day. Ulli

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avalanches counts

2009-03-11

An avalanche itself is nothing dangerous...but... as soon as traffic is involved it becomes avalanche danger. CRYOSLOPE Svalbard started a first attempt to quantify how much traffic is exposed to avalanches. Two radar counters that register scooters are set out in upper Todalen and lower Fardalen. By doing both avalanche and traffic observations at the same time we are on a good way to get a meaningful understanding about avalanche danger in the area. ulli

Koordinates in dd.ddddd (map datum WGS 84)

Todalen radar counter Latitude: 78.10695 Longitude: 015.80271

Fardalen radar counter Latitude: 78.10541 Longitude: 015.31213

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MOVED IN

2009-03-09

Matilda Hallerstig and field assistant Borger Aamaas has moved in at Frithamn. For a period of 5 days Matilda will observe the weather very closely to make detailed observation. The additional instruments put out on Sunday will help her to correlate weather pattern to the occurrence of avalanches. Hope they have a good stay and loads of data.ulli

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Radars arrived

2009-03-09

Tore Leirstein from the Norwegian road authority has landed on Svalbard. With him he brought two traffic radars. The instruments should give us a possibility to quantify how many people are exposed to avalanche prone terrain. The instruments are programmed inside, equipped with batteries and will be installed somewhat later this week. Ulli

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Weather mast pimted

2009-03-08

Sunday and CRYOSLOPE is out in the field. Master student Matilda Hallerstig wants to know exactly. For the next 6 days, 2 different sensors will measure heat flux at Gangskaret. We went out to pimp the existing installation with incoming and outgoing short - and long wave radiation sensor and an instrument the can measure wind in 3 dimensions. ulli

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Direct radiation on snow

2009-02-26

Its not only that the snow receives some sunrays again it’s also us in the field that are more then happy about the return of the sun. Welcome sun ( : ulli

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Ortovox supports avalanche reasearch

2009-02-26

60 fieldwork days in avalanche terrain in 2008 made us re-think our safety strategies. Are we really well equipped and prepared for any worse case scenario? Ullis attendance at the snow science workshop in Whistler, Canada in September 2008 confirmed what we already knew. We needed to get better avalanche safety equipment, for us, the Cryoslopse field office and also for our masterstudents. Therefore we ordered 4 Black Diamond Avalung Bandit backpacks (makes you able to breath inside an avalanche), filled up with shovel, probe and bivouac sack from Ortovox. The well known Austrian company offered us a nice deal, we are well equipped now and happy and they get to know, if their gear works in harsh high arctic conditions. But anyway, let's hope for a accident free field season 2009.

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Matilda and Stephan

2009-02-09

Matilda Hallerstig and Stephan Vogel are both Master students at UNIS and both write there 1 year long master thesis’s under the CRYOSLOPE-project-umbrella. They have been with us on our regular field visit through Longyeardalen, Fardalen, Bødalen, Gangdalen and Todalen. We showed Matilda how to climb the weather mast on Gangskaret. As meteorological parameters are the main source of data, it is important for her to check the weather stations regularly. Stephan has his study site closer to Longyearbyen. He studies the slopes above Nybyen in great detail. Ulli

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Safety for master students

2009-01-28

Safety comes first at UNIS. Its important that especially master and PhD students who plan there own field work has sufficient knowledge about avalanche danger. CRYOSLOPE organized a whole day seminar including theory, practical training and exercises. The students got also a good view into the objectives of the CRYOSLOPE project. Everyone was back safe and sound after a full day of action. Thanks to the 12 participants. Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE teaches safety

2009-01-14

Just as the previous 2 years, CRYOSLOPE participated in the UNIS winter safety course 2009. With a record number of new semester students, UNIS opens the also the spring semester 2009 with an intensive, 6 day long safety course. Among other risks scenarios avalanche is an important topic. Max Eckerstorfer and Ulli Neumann from the CRYOSLOPE field office thought safety lessons to the students. Both avalanche mitigation, avalanche rescue and a practical exercise outside was part of the teaching. On the last day of the course all participants needed to show there gained knowledge in an avalanche rescue exercise. On that day many avalanche dummies has been saved. Thanks to all participants, has been fun teaching to you. Have a safe season. Ulli

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merry Christmas and a happy new year

2008-12-24

CRYOSLOPE Svalbard whishes everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. While some of the team members migrated south others celebrate up north and continuously watching out for avalanches. We hope you had a great 2008 and whish you all the best for the upcoming year 2009. Merry Christmas! Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE working group is growing

2008-12-22

The Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) invited all the participants of the CRYOSLIOPE Svalbard for the 4th project meeting to Trondheim on 10th of December. Hanne Christiansen, leader of the CRYOSLOPE SVALBARD project gave a concise overview over the project as well as an insight into the budget. Participants presented there work in progress, such as the modeling work of Ole Humlum, the geomorphological mapping by Knut Stalsberg and Lene Rubensdotter, meteorological research by Anna Sjøblom and last but not least the work done in the fieldwork office by Max Eckerstorfer and Ulli Neumann. Cryoslope Svalbard is very glad to welcome 2 newcomers into the Project. Both Master student Matilda Hallerstig Gender and Stephan Vogel choose to write there master thesis’s within the project. Both presented a very good and focused work plan. Matilda will have a closer look into meteorological factors that are responsible for triggering avalanches supervised by Anna Sjøblom. Stephan is going to closely study the avalanche activity on the Gruvefjell slopes behind Nybyen supervised by Hanne Christiansen. It is always great to see such enthusiastic young researchers and we are all looking forward working together as a small but growing working group. The participants focused further how to distribute workforce for the last project year starting January 2009 and the meeting finished with a fruitful discussion about how to continue outside 2009. Thanks to all participants. Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE in Todalen

2008-11-14

Due to enhanced snowfall the last couple of weeks, we enlarged our observations area. On Friday we used snow mobiles to make avalanche observations in Todalen, Bødalen and Fardalen. At Gangskaret we visited our automatic waether station and found everything Ok after our last visit in September 2008. We found good snow conditions in Fritthamn and inner Fardalen. Biside or regular snow pack and weather observations we also found a polar bear track, 2 - 4 days old in Fardalen leading up to passet. Ulli

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Field-team ready for winter

2008-10-28

On 11th of October a slab avalanche was observed above Sverdrupbyen in the Longyearvalley. The avalanche season has started and until today a number of 8 avalanches have been observed. Two avalanches on south and north facing slopes were closer investigated. Those avalanches release due to very littly binding between old remnant snow from the previous season and new snow. CRYOSLOPE whishes everybody a good and safe start into the winter season 2008/2009. Ulli

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CRYOSLOPE in Whistler, Canada

2008-09-27

International Snow Science Workshop Whistler 2008 and CRYOSLOPE was there. Between 21st and 27th of October, we proudly presented a potser highlighting our work, made important contacts, spread the word, learned a lot from colleques around the world to improve our work on Svalbard. We are happy and glad for the oportunity to come here. As usall we were the exots and the northernmost avalache monitoring progame in the world. Ulli

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this years first avalanche report

2008-09-11

While Nordenskiöldland still waits for the snow to come, further north avalanches have been observed. Jørgen Hagensli, Logistic staff at UNIS reported the first avalanches for this autumn season in Woodfjorden, northern Spitsbergen. As leader of the Longyearbyen Red Cross and active member of the Avalanche rescue troop he has an trained eye for snow. CRYOSLOPE says thanks for the observations. Ulli

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not just science

2008-09-05

Checking scientific field equipment is part of our work routine at CRYOSLOPE. Today we emptied sediment traps on Larsbreen. The installation collects a fraction of rocks, gravel and sand that avalanches carry down on there way to the valley. But rocks were not the only thing we found on our hike. We also returned with a variety of "plast samples", remnants of a human civilization on Svalbard. Ulli

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NGU and a backpack full of maps

2008-09-05

After 6 days out in the field Lena Rubensdotter and Knut Stalsberg from the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) are back in town, safe and sound. There backpacks were heavy loaded with new observations on slope processes. They finished the this years geomorphological mapping in upper Gangdalen, inner Bødalen and Todalen. Lena and Knut studdy landforms and the individual processes that formed them (geomorphology). There work will give a closer look inside of what processes dominated in the past and under the current climate. The final detailed geomophological map will be an important tool for CRYOSLOPE to determine the impact of climate change on slope processes such as avalanches and rockfall. Thanks to Lena and Knut, has been nice having you here on Svalbard. Ulli

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Thanks to Markus Eckerstorfer

2008-09-01

Between June and August 2008, Markus Eckerstorfer has been in charge as CRYOSLOPEs field coordinator. He has done a great job replacing Ulli Neumann during Summer who is now back in his position as CRYOSLOPE field coordinator. Just to name some of the tasks Markus accomplished for the CRYOSLOPE project: 1.) Analyzing 332 avalanche activities between 2007 and 2008 and condensed the outcome into a scientific paper and poster to be presented at the International Snow Science Workshop in Whisler, Canada 2.) Developing a virtual 3D outcrop model using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). The model will be used to immensely improve base map quality with in the field area. 3.) Coordinating and active participation in several field activities for geomorphological mapping involving Lene Rubensdotter and Knut Stalsberg from Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) as well as LIDAR scanning with Marc-Henri Derron, NGU.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment you showed working for CRYOSLOPE. Markus will not leave us too early, instead he agreed to continue as a volunteer throughout the autumn. Ulli

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Avalanche activity in Longyeardalen

2008-06-10

Due to rising temperatures and 24 hours of daylight, the avalanche activity in Longyeardalen increased during the last week. Mainly loose snow avalanches are released frequently, but we also observed 2 cornice falls which also triggered loose snow avalanches. These avalanches collect a lot of rocks, stones and rock dust on their way down and accumulate them in the depris. One of the cornice falls hit the pillar from the mine transport band and broke one leg of.

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Cryoslope gained the status of being an IYPE research project

2008-06-06

We are proud that we have been given the formal status of being an International Year of Planet Earth research project (IYPE)! The IYPE is a joint initiative by UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) as well as founding partners and a growing number of international partner organsiations from all over the world. The IYPE aims to ensure greater and more effective use by society of the knowledge accumulated by the world's scientists. This knowledge should be used to make the Earth a safer, healthier place for our children.

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It's a wrap!

2008-05-29

Field season is over! After 4 months of work in the field, the Cryoslope avalanche field season is over! We are proud to say, that we went on 60 field trips to observe and record avalanches. Luckily, we had no accident or any incident, everything worked perfect due to Ulli's long experience. Now it is time to analyse all the data we collected and prepare for the next winter field season!

Max

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Selected buildings in Nybyen protected against avalanches

2008-05-01

Three houses below Gruvefejell in Nybyen got protection against avalanche danger. The protection was a response after a evaluation of the avalanche situation by Sysselmannen and the red cross. A bulldozer where used to pile up snow mounds outside house 1, house 3 and house 5. The mounds are meant to absorb the energy of an avalanche from Gruvefjell before it reaches the buildings. They are about 3- 4 m high and placed in two rows with alternating pattern. The main course of such intervention is an fractured cornice above the above mentioned houses in combination with rather extensive snow accumulation west of Gruvefjell.

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Brand new web feature: AVALANCHE-REPORT-FORM

2008-04-03

We are happy to present our new AVALANCHE-REPORT-FORM on our web page. Ski, scooter and avalanche season is in full swing. Reports about avalanches are very important for our project. We therefore ask you very kindly to report avalanches to us. With the new feature it becomes very simple and quick to send us a report. Under the menu REPORT, follow the link and SUBMIT...done. thank you very much and we are looking forward to receive your reports. Ulli

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Fractures visible at an cornice above Nybyen

2008-03-25

UNIS student observed fracture in a cornice above Nybyen on 23rd of March 2008. Today the CRYOSLOPE field team had a closer look. The observed cornice is comparable to a bridge structure. Under the influence of gravity the unsupported snow in the cornice deforms. If the forces introduced by gravity exceeds the forces that bound the snow crystals together, snow will fracture. Those tensile fractures in the snow are signs of instability of the cornice. Be aware of avalanche danger and avoid traveling in run out zones.

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Back from avalanche and ski workshop

2008-03-10

For three days, avalanche and ski enthusiasts meet on Sjervøy, Northern Troms. With 40 participants the Avalanche and Ski workshop was a great oportunity to learn, exchange newest ideas about avalanche related issues and get new contacts. The Øytun Følkehøgskole was organicer of this workshop in 2008. CRYOSLOPE was among the participants. Back on Svalbard the freshly gained knowledge will help us to perform fieldwork even safer. Ulli

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The waether-stations master compleated mission!

2008-02-28

Mission completed! Stefan Claes, senior engineer at Unis set up CRYOSLOPEs second weather station. With the help of a good selection of weather station experts such as Roy-Erik, Frank, Tommy, Max and Ulli the unit was mounted in winds up to 12m/s. "Without very good preparations beforehand in the workshop, this could quickly turn in to mission impossible!" says Stefan. The 10m high weather mast is located 500 north of the new established seed bank on the way up to SvalSat. It sensors measure temperature, wind speed and direction as well as relative humidity. We wish the automatic station good luck on its rather scenic spot. Ulli

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Earthquake and avalanches

2008-02-21

Approximately 8 hours after the earthquake we started for an observation tour along the road network in Longyeardalen, SvalSat road and Gruve 7. Visibility has not been ideal. The result of the observation is one avalanche at Platåberget near the shooting range. The avalanche where triggered between 20th of February 14:00 and 21st of February 21st 2008 at 13:00. This means that the avalanche could or could not be triggered during one of the earthquakes. The fact that our observations covered only a very limited area, it can not be excluded that the earthquake triggered avalanche at other locations. Ulli

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Not new, but BRAND NEW! CRYOSLOPE's first automatic weather station is up and running!

2008-02-13

A great day to set up an weather station: 12 m/s winds and white-out conditions. Thanks to the UNIS-Logistics, Cryoslope engaged one out of two automatic weather stations today at Gangskaret. The weather data will hopefully increase our knowledge about the influence of the atmosphere on slope processes, such as avalanches. The station is equipped with 2 temperature sensors, 2 wind sensors and a relative humidity sensor. The tower is 10m high and sensors are installed at 4 and 10m heights. The size of the tower is necessary to estimate temperatures alt lower and higher elevations. The station is placed just west of the the pass between Todalen and Gangdalen. Thanks to Anna Sjøblom, Fred S. Hansen, Heinrich Eggenfellner, Stefan Claes and Roy-Erik Amundsen. We wish the weather station good luck and large amount of data output. Ulli

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Enthusiastic volunteer started in CRYOSLOPE project. Max is here!

2008-02-01

A frosty and snow rich welcome to Markus Eckerstorfer alias Max. Max is Austrian and started as a volunteer within the project in February 2008 for a 3 month long period. He is taken by the magic of snow, enjoys digging snow pits as much as he designs maps. With his knowledge of snow science and cartography he will most likely make his mark within the project. On top of all this Max is a great skier always up for a run up and down the mountain. A great guy! We wish him all the best for his stay on Svalbard. Ulli

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New face. Ulli Neumann takes over.

2008-01-23

New job brings new opportunities. I'm glad for the chance to work for the CRYOSLOPE project. As a geographer i like to discover spatial differences...and believe me nature has plentiful of those. Working with snow shows you the beauty day by day. No snow christal looks the same! Every avalanche is different.

My main focus are field observations of avalanches. Since 4000 eyes sees more then 4, I'm very glad for reports, comments and suggestions concerning avalanches or related issues. Maybe we meet during frequent field work or during my less frequent office days. I'm looking forward. Ulli

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Change of faces; Ulli takes over

2007-12-19

After a bit over two years with this project - from the first ideas and carrying the name "OSS" to the current "Cryoslope" project - I have had this unique and exiting job.

The time has come for me to say goodbye to Svalbard and the avalanches for now. A geographer and Svalbardian, Ullrich Neumann, will take over in January.

Merry Christmas and stay clear of the avalanches in the new year!

Jonas Ellehauge

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the weather connection is back!

2007-11-26

The mobile network antenna on Skolten is up and running again - which means that weather data can be transmitted from our weather stations at Gruvefjellet and Janssonhaugen.

That means that the wind history is up-to-date again - click "weather" on the left menu.

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On-line weather down - connection failure

2007-11-12

Apparently, the mobile telephone mast at the mountain Skolten is down - and we rely on that to transmit the data from our weather stations to our network. So for the time being we will have to do without on-line weather data. Let's hope that Telenor can fix the problem soon.

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Fresh auto-cam photos

2007-11-01

Tuesday we went up on "Platåberget" to offload data from the new model of automatic cameras for the first time. The camera had worked fine from Aug 17 to Oct 21 when it suddenly started to take photos every hour (instead of every 24h) - and stopped taking any more photos from Oct 22 at 0025h.

Details about the field work here.

Newsletter

2007-10-29

Do you wish to be notified when there are news or other changes on the Cryoslope site?

It is a low frequency newsletter - from once every 2-3 months up to as much as twice a month in peak season.

Sign up

by sending an email to Cryoslope with the subject 'NEWSLETTER'. Contact info »

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New sediment traps near Svalsat road

2007-09-11

New tarpaulins ("pressenning" på norsk) working as sediment traps were put out next to the road up to Svalsat Aug 29. Identical sediment traps were put there on Oct 24 last year. When we came back to check on them in March this year, they were gone!

We assume that someone thought they were trash and removed them. Please do not touch or change anything!

We have put a sign on some wooden planks weighed down by rocks next to the traps. The traps themselves are also kept down by rocks - so that the wind wont blow them away.

The purpose of the tarpaulins is to collect the rocks that come down from the slope further uphill. Once a year we go there to empty the traps for rocks and weigh all of them. Thus we know how much "debris" comes down the slope each year.

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New automatic cameras out

2007-09-10

A new model of automatic cameras has been purchased and put out in the field during the past couple of weeks. The camera boxes are produced by Harbortronics (http://harbortronics.com/detail.php?id=54) and feature e.g. a Pentax SLR camera. We hope to get better results in the long run with this solution - but we anticipate some start-up challenges the first season. Let's hope for the best!

We now have automatic cameras in the locations shown on this map. Click here for larger map. The new ones are in the following places: Two overlooking Longyearbyen and Longyearbreen, respectively - and one overlooking Larsbreen from Gruvefjellet.

You can read more about the cameras and how they are used by going to Hanne Christiansen's research web page (www.unis.no/research/geology/Geo_research/Hanne/Nivation.htm)

Note: The cameras are not on-line and have to be emptied manually about once a year.

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NGU scientists doing geomorphologic mapping

2007-09-07

Knut Stalsberg and Raymond Eilertsen from NGU have been doing geomophologic mapping for Cryoslope in the vicinity of Longyearbyen the last couple of weeks.

The aim is to find information about avalanche, rock fall and solifluction history in slope sediments. Understanding how slope failure has varied with climate in the past, is an important key in anticipating future changes in slope activity.

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Dynamic web site

2007-07-03

PHP and MySQL is now used for greater performance and easier maintenance of this web site. That is, it has finally been transformed into a "dynamic web site" - or database driven site.

You might not notice any great difference at first glance. Most content - including this article - is an entry in a database, and the pages are generated automatically from that data.

Cryoslope is currently working on putting the past two seasons' avalanche data into that database. For the next season this will mean that fresh data can be published as soon as it has been collected.

Some sample data are already available under the "data" menu section.

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W3C validated mark-up!

2007-07-03

We do everything we can to support World Wide Web Consortium's standards - http://w3c.org/. If you click the validation logo in the lower left corner, you will see the results of the validation test. Should the mark-up accidentally not validate - please inform Cryoslope and we will try to correct the error as soon as possible: Send an email including the full address line (URL) of the page which doesn't validate.

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The 'Big One' in Bødalen has come down again

2007-04-06

Last year it came on Dec 3, this year we had to wait until April.

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On-line details about the avalanches again

2007-04-04

We were overwelmed with the amount of data - now we're back!

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3 Large avalanches today at Nordenkiöld

2007-03-30

After the large number of avalanches earlier this week around Longyearbreen, you would expect that most of the snow had come down. But no, here's another three large ones today - one of them right on top of the skier released one from March 18.

The avalanche activity the last couple of weeks has been extraordinary - and OSS has not been able to keep up with a description of each avalanche. Sorry about that - but please keep reporting what you see!

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OSS in New Zealand and Brazil

2007-03-09

We use statcounter on this web site to keep track of our visitors. Surprisingly - as the map shows to the right - we have had visits from Sao Paulo and Christchurch today and yesterday, respectively.

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2007 Feb 14 - Wednesday, not Thursday Feb 15!

2007-02-23

After talking to one of the eye wittnesses from the incident, I learned today - Feb 23 - that the avalanche happened the day before. And that the news were on the Svalbardposten web site already the following day. We urge everyone to help yourself by helping Cryoslope/ OSS - remember:

  • Cryoslope/OSS is an observation system which only works if you tell OSS what you know.
  • Cryoslope/OSS is a free public service financed by Norges Forskningsråd and UNIS.
  • Cryoslope/OSS does not intend to compete with other news media.

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Weather problem fixed

2007-02-20

Ever since New Year the processing of weather data for the OSS site has become slower and slower. Today the problem was identified and fixed. The display of wind transport direction and history should now be as quick as data is available from the stations.

The reason for the time lag was that the number "2007" instead of "2006" confused one of the programs involved in the process - surprise ...

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Skier released avalanche

2007-02-20

The incident happened on Thur Feb 15 at Hjortfjellet. At the moment we don't know any details about the incident.

If you know anything about the timing or how it happened, please contact OSS!

OSS is eager to hear from eyewitnesses - your identity is safe with OSS!

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Full scale exercise Saturday Jan 20

2007-01-20

WITH SYSSELMANNEN, RED CROSS, AIRLIFT - volunteers are welcome!

The exercise starts at the Red Cross depot at 10:00 Saturday Jan 20 and is intended to go on to around 15:00.

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The first avalanche accident of the season

2006-11-01

App 2pm Sep 24 two skiers were on their way down the east side of Nordenskiöldtoppen when one of them released a slab avalanche about 400m wide, some 300m long and a crown face of app 0.5-1m. The first skier released the avalanche while the second skier was still standing over the place where the slab broke loose.

No injury or material damage. Whomp sounds where observed of the skiers during the trip. Both skiers brought avalanche beacons, shovels and probes.

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New web site

2006-10-30

November 2006 a new version of the OSS web site is launched. You may have noticed the new layout which is designed to look lighter and lead your attention to the most important elements on the site.

The most significant change to the structure of the site is the front page. This is based on feedback from users and is meant to briefly give you an overview of the most relevant information; recent avalanches and weather here and now. Behind the visible changes is a change of structure that makes maintenance and updating easier for the webmaster.

KISS is still the basic principle: Keep It Simple and Short!

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Presentation for 'Lokalstyret'

2006-10-23

October 23 a presentation about OSS was held by Project Coordinator Jonas Ellehauge for the local politicians at their monthly municipal council meeting. The aim is to make sure that decision-makers know about the project and to get some political feedback on it. And hopefully eventually have Lokalstyret join the project.

The following OSS personnel was present: Hanne H. Christiansen and Jonas Ellehauge.