DEEPICE 1st annual meeting and Mid Term Meeting: 17-18 March 2022

DEEPICE 1st annual meeting and Mid Term Meeting: 17-18 March 2022

DEEPICE 1st annual meeting and Mid-Term Meeting will take place in Copenhengan and online, on the 17th and 18th of March 2022.

DEEPICE PhD students, together with other early stage researchers, will also participate to the Ice Core Analysis Techniques (ICAT) PhD School, in Copenhagen, as well as a one-week training school on snow sciences with many field activities, in Finse (Norway). This will be the first of the three DEEPICE training schools. 

Stories from the field

Stories from the field

Article written by Inès Ollivier, on the 23/02/2022

A few weeks ago, I came back from a field campaign in Antarctica, at the research stations Dumont d’Urville and Concordia. I left Europe on November 18th and two months and a half later I landed back in Paris. A lot of this time was spent in quarantine and travelling, and the rest working in the field and living the life on these two different stations.

I first arrived in Dumont d’Urville (nicknamed DDU), a French coastal research station located on a small island 5 km away from the continent, where I stayed for a month. I was working for a research program called ADELISE, aiming at studying the evolution of the water cycle and the modification of the water stable isotopes from evaporation to precipitation in the coastal region of Adélie land in Antarctica. One of the goals of this program is to better understand the origin of the snow surface accumulation in this region of the world and also to understand the recent climatic evolution through the study of water isotopes. In order to do so, several experiments and instruments have been set up and are operating all-year round, including snow surface sampling and a water vapor analyzer (PICARRO) measuring continuously the isotopic composition of the atmosphere. The analyzer was installed some years ago and needed relocation and maintenance this year. When I left, one of the winterover crew members took over and is now in charge of the instrument during the wintertime, when nobody can access the station for 8 months. I also got the chance to contribute to other research programs in the field, such as the preparation of a trench on the closest glacier l’Astrolabe, which was going to host a seismological station to measure and record the movements of the glacier; or measurements of snow accumulation across a field of stakes located on the continent close to shore.

Snow surface sampling in DDU and the caravan where the experiments are installed

New set up for the water vapor analyzer inside the caravan and snow accumulation measurement on the continent

Other than work, I got to spend my time taking part in the life of the station and enjoying the surroundings. We were about 60 people on the station, sharing social moments and places. For Christmas, we shared handmade gifts, a delicious meal, and had a nice evening. Especially while being away from home, it was nice to share a special moment and feel a bit of the Christmas spirit. I went on a great walk on sea ice during one of my days off to discover the surroundings of the station. We walked by a penguin colony, saw some juvenile emperor penguins, Adélie penguins (which are smaller than emperors), some seals and lots of birds. It was a beautiful day and it really felt like I was in a documentary! After New Year’s Eve, the chief of the station organized a bathing in the Southern Ocean. The water was close to its freezing point, recorded at -1.3°C, but it was one of the things I was so excited to do going there! So, we went to the ‘beach’, a nice area on the island where you can easily go in the water, and most importantly, go out quickly. We had very warm conditions for a few days, around +7°C during the day, and that really felt like summer. I was working outside in t-shirt, not being even cold. Few days later, a storm came, and that was a lot different … It became hard to even walk from one building to another! Overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent there, surrounded by a beautiful landscape just outside the window.

Christmas greetings from Dumont d’Urville 

The station at sunset and the Astrolabe glacier behind

Juvenile emperor penguins on sea ice in front of icebergs

Weddell seal and an Adélie penguin brooding its egg

After the work was done in DDU, I took a small plane for four hours, to get to the inland and French-Italian station Concordia, where I stayed for 10 days. The station is located 1200 km from the coast, at 3200 meters elevation. There, I was in charge of the reinstallation of another water vapor analyzer, the same model as the one in DDU. These measurements are used to understand the isotopic transfer function between the coastal region and the East Antarctic plateau, as well as interpret the isotopic profiles measured in the deep ice cores drilled in this region of Antarctica. The goal of my stay there was again to make sure everything was working well for the upcoming year, and characterizing the instrument by doing several calibrations. Besides that, I performed some intensive snow surface sampling, for three days and three nights, to capture the evolution of the snow surface isotopic composition on the diurnal scale. Part of my PhD project will be to use all these field data to understand how stable water isotopes are evolving in the atmosphere, the precipitation and the snow surface and how the atmosphere-snow exchanges are impacting the isotopic climate signal stored in the snow surface later transformed in an ice core.

Basler plane to go to Concordia

Instrument set up inside a buried shelter 1 km away from the station and the inlet of the sampling line outside

Snow sampling at Concordia

Because it is so high in altitude, and also because I got the covid vaccine in DDU right before leaving for Concordia, I spent the two first days after arrival resting and acclimatizing inside the station. Then I was very busy with my experiments, so I didn’t do much besides work. Nevertheless, I enjoyed spending time with people during meals and gatherings at night; and walking around the station to admire the purely flat and white horizon that is so special about this area of Antarctica. The weather was mostly good, cold of course, with temperatures reaching about -35°C and -45°C windchill (how the temperature actually feels because of the wind). Fortunately, we were very well dressed to cope with these conditions, with about 8 kg of clothing and heavy boots!

Concordia station

View of the station and its surroundings from the top of a 43 m high tower

Once the experiments were finished, I took a plane to return to DDU, where I spent one last evening on the station before boarding the ship. The next morning, we waved goodbye to the people staying from onboard, and we started our journey back to Tasmania. The way back took approximately five days and then we spotted the mountains of Tasmania. Some dolphins in Hobart’s Bay to complete the trip, and we were back to civilization. It took some extra days before we could go out of the ship and enjoy an afternoon in town before taking the plane back to Paris. After the last goodbyes in the airport, it was time to go home … this field mission was very enriching and a wonderful experience!

View of the station and its surroundings from the top of a 43 m high tower

One PhD position in structural glaciology at AWI available within DEEPICE project

One PhD position in structural glaciology at AWI available within DEEPICE project

ESR 7 PhD position is reopened for recruitment.

The Alfred Wegener Institute is looking for a PhD student to work on Microstructure and Air Inclusions in polar ice and to take part to the Innovative Training Network DEEPICE.

Applications are now open until the 15th of February 2022.

Apply on AWI website here.

More information about ESR 7 PhD project here.

A journey to the other side of the world

A journey to the other side of the world

Article written by Inès Ollivier, on the 29/12/2021

My journey to Antarctica began on November 11th, 2021, when I boarded a plane to Paris to spend a week with family and friends before the departure. A week later, I was back in Paris to catch the plane that would bring me to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It took 3 planes, two stopovers in Singapore and Melbourne, 17 000 km and approximately 30 hours of travelling to finally reach destination. Well, not quite yet… but a first step towards the white continent.

The purpose of this travel was to go on field mission for my PhD project. I stayed at the two research stations Dumont dUrville and Concordia to install and maintain instruments measuring the water isotopes in the polar atmosphere and collect snow samples to study the exchanges of water isotopes between the atmosphere and the snowpack at the diurnal cycle. These data will be used to better understand the water cycle dynamics in Antarctica and the climate signal imprinted in the snow.

I travelled with a group of about 40 people, scientists, technicians, some will be staying a year and others, like me, just a couple of months. In the empty airport, the authorities welcomed us already knowing that we would be only passing by before leaving for Antarctica. Hobart is one of the entry gates towards Antarctica, and France have historically been going through this town during polar expeditions, as of Jules Dumont d’Urville with his crew when they discovered the Terre Adélie.

After landing, a bus led us to a hotel in the city center, not so far from the harbor, where we spent the following two weeks in strict quarantine. Because of the covid pandemic, the French authorities put in place a period of isolation for each Antarctic expeditioner, to prevent the virus entering the continent and risking the lives of the people already on the station. There, the possibilities to evacuate a sick person are very limited, as well as the hospital capacities to treat severe illness or injury.

It was nighttime when we arrived in Hobart, so we couldn’t see much of the area, but at least the refreshing smell of wet eucalyptus in the air. Once at the hotel, the staff escorted me to my room, home for the next weeks. Starting from this moment, I was not allowed to go outside, to see other people, to get too close to the guards. Nevertheless, the room was very nice and comfortable, kind of a small apartment. A lounge area, with a couch and a coffee table, a corridor and a big double bed and bathroom. It was on the ground floor, and there was a window and a door close by the bed with a view on the outside. I could see some trees, and from time to time a guard passing by. Of course, I couldn’t open the door to enjoy outside, but I was allowed to open the window a bit to get some fresh air inside. The food was brought three times a day and deposited outside my room on a chair by the door. I had to wait a couple of minutes before opening the front door and grab the food that I could eat inside my room.


My hotel room, the view on the outside

During the following days after our arrival, we took a covid test and when the result came negative, we were allowed to go outside once a day, for 30 minutes, in a small, dedicated area. I enjoyed this moment, where I could walk a bit, and sometimes even do a bit of running! Otherwise, I kept myself occupied with work, reading, exercise or knitting. The first week went relatively slow, the challenging part was to not be able to go outside when I wanted, but during time slots fixed the day before. The second week flew by, and in no time, I was out!

A bus came to pick us up at the hotel and took us to the harbor, where we discovered the icebreaker that would take us to Antarctica: l’Astrolabe. It was not the first time I was seeing it, but still the same strong feeling of excitement to board it and ship towards the white continent. The marines warned us on the dock that it was going to be a rough crossing, the ship will be moving a lot, especially since it has a flat bottom to move through sea ice. We spent the first night in Hobart’s Bay, safe from the waves, and the next day we started moving towards south. A couple hours later, the waves were already 45m high, and I was not
able to stay longer at the bridge of the ship, so I went back to my cabin. I almost got sick, but layed down and didn’t go out for the following 26h. The doctor came and gave me some fruits to eat, the only food I had during that time. After this, I was feeling better, and hungry, so I went to dinner and could enjoy the rest of the crossing.


L’Astrolabe through the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic pack ice

A day before the arrival, we started to see some pack ice, sea ice broken into pieces. The ship went through it and continued its route. We passed by some big icebergs, saw some whales along the way, it was just incredibly beautiful. We arrived close to the continent at sunset, and spotted Dumont d’Urville just before going to bed. A last night on the ship, before setting foot on the ground!


The ship at Dumont d’Urville, Dumont d’Urville research station and an iceberg

Call for application: DEEPICE Winter school on snow sciences – March 2022, 20-26, Finse (Norway)

Call for application: DEEPICE Winter school on snow sciences – March 2022, 20-26, Finse (Norway)

12 November 2021

In the framework of the DEEPICE project, a winter school on snow-process sciences will be organized in Finse (Norway) in March 2022 (20-26).

The school will focus on snow-process sciences with theoretical and practical courses and exercises. It is aimed at PhD students who are involved in ice core climate record interpretation (and therefore will come after ICAT training school).

6 places are available for external students. Applications are now open until the 12th of December 2021.

In order to apply, please visit the dedicated page.