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Arctic Snow School

Physics of Arctic Snowpacks and Climate

April 1 to 8, 2023 – Canadian High-Arctic Research Station (CHARS), Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), Nunavut, Canada


Snow plays a critical role in Arctic and worldwide climates. However, Arctic snow cover challenges most sophisticated models, as those were initially developed to describe snow in temperate and alpine regions. Formation, accumulation, and metamorphism processes of Arctic snow are specific to polar regions and our knowledge on spatial and temporal variability of those processes is limited by a lack of data. This limits our empirical understanding of the physical processes governing the evolution of Arctic snowpacks and the surface energy balance of polar regions.

Hosted at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada), this field school aims to provide an advanced hands-on training to improve each participant's knowledge of dynamic and thermodynamic processes controlling snow cover and their relation to climate using state-of-the-art instruments and models. Exchange and roundtable discussions with Inuit community members will allow students to acknowledge the richness of traditional knowledge while acquiring a better understanding of the Inuit perspective on snow and how northern communities are confronted to issues arising from climate variability and change.

This school is a joint initiative of the Sentinel North program at Université Laval and the GRIMP laboratory at Université de Sherbrooke.

This school will be offered in English.

Applications are now over. Thank you!


Who is it for?

Approximately 20 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from all disciplines with a keen interest in snow and for whom snow is relevant to their research objectives will be recruited on a competitive basis. They will be joining with 10 members from various communities of Nunavut and Northwest Territories.

  • Program overview

    The school favors a multifaceted approach that includes lectures, discussions, and a strong hands-on component supervised by experts from various disciplines. The program will cover five main topics:

    1. Snow physics (basics on snowpack formation, physical properties of Arctic snow and measurement methods)
    2. Climate interactions (snow texture and roughness, albedo, etc.)
    3. Landscape processes (impact of shrubification on snow structure and ground thermal regime, snow redistribution and mass balance)
    4. Remote sensing (microwave and optical sensors, UAVs and new technologies)
    5. Indigenous knowledge (snow from an Inuit perspective)

    It is expected that every participant completes all preparatory readings prior to attend the school.


    Fieldwork operations

    A considerable portion of the school will be dedicated to fieldwork. Here is a preliminary list of scientific operations that the participants will experience:

    • Snow pit observations: impact of vegetation and topography
    • Measurement of snow physical variables: albedo, thermal conductivity, density, specific surface area, hardness, etc.
    • Demonstration of state-of-the-art instrumentation in snow measurement, including drones, sensors, etc.
    • Discussion and observation of snow in the field with Inuit community members


    Participants will also team-up to conduct one small field project investigating snow physical variables with various sensors of their choice.

    In addition to the scientific training program, the school will promote knowledge transfer through activities within the community of Cambridge Bay.

  • List of experts

    Neige Calonne, research scientist at the National Centre for Meteorological Research (CNRM), Snow Research Center (CEN), Grenoble, France

    Marie Dumont, head of Snow Research Center (CEN) and research scientist at the National Centre for Meteorological Research (CNRM), Grenoble, France

    Florent Domine, Takuvik Joint International Research Unit, CNRS/ Université Laval, Canada

    Cheryl Ann Johnson, researcher in wildlife ecology, National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada

    Alexandre Langlois, professor, department of Applied Geomatics, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

    Alexandre R. Roy, professor, department of Environmental Sciences, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada

    Scott Williamson, PhD., research scientist, Ecosystem and Cryosphere Research, Polar Knowledge Canada, Canadian High Arctic Research Station 


    Scientific support staff

    Caroline Dolant, postdoctoral fellow, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

    Marie-France Gévry, Sentinel North program manager, Université Laval, Canada

    Dan Kramer, postdoctoral fellow, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

    Josée-Anne Langlois, PhD candidate, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

    Mathilde Poirier, PhD candidate, Centre d’Études Nordiques & Takuvik Joint International Research Unit, CNRS/Université Laval

  • Application

    Candidates must provide the following documents:

    • Completed registration form
    • Résumé (including education, professional experience, and list of publications and communications)


    Selection process

    The organizing committee will evaluate applications according to the following criteria:

    • Relevance of the applicant’s field of research to the school’s topic
    • Applicant’s research and leadership ability


    To provide an interdisciplinary and integrative experience, the selection process will also consider the applicants’ disciplines and backgrounds. Individuals from all geographic regions, as well as underrepresented minorities, are encouraged to apply.

    Fluency in English is required. All participants are expected to attend the entire session.

    Individuals will be notified of the final selection by January 25, 2023.

  • Participation fees

    The registration fee for this course is $800 (Canadian dollars)

    This fee includes:

    • Registration for the school
    • Transportation from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay (round-trip)
    • Accommodation at CHARS from April 1 to 8, 2023 (multiple occupancy)
    • Dinners during your stay at CHARS
    • An attestation of completion from Université Laval (conditional to your participation)

    The fee does not cover:

    • Travel expenses to Yellowknife
    • Accommodation and meals in Yellowknife
    • Your food for breakfasts and lunches in Cambridge Bay
    • Your personal gear (winter coat, boots, warm mittens, goggles, etc.)


    Payment must be received in full by February 20, 2023. Payment details will be provided to selected candidates.


    Financial support

    A limited number of training fee waivers will also be granted based on merit and need.



université de sherbrook sentinelle nord

uqtr sentinelle nord logo

Sentinel North - Centre d'études nordiques CEN Logo
umi takuvik sentinelle nord

CNRM sentinelle nord

gouvernement du canada logo sentinelle nord


For further information, please contact:


École doctorale internationale sur la neige arctique sentinelle nord