Arctic Snow School in Nunavut: Understanding the local and global importance of Arctic snow
Published on 29 Mar 2023
A delegation of students from 15 universities will take part in the International Arctic Snow School from April 1 to 8. This field training activity, which will be held at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), Nunavut, will aim to provide a better understanding of the dynamic processes controlling snow, its relation to climate and wildlife, and its importance to the local communities’ way of life in a changing North.
Developed under the joint leadership of the Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire des milieux polaires (Université de Sherbrooke) and the Sentinel North program (Université Laval), the School is the first initiative in the world to focus on Arctic snow from the innovative perspective of transdisciplinary collaboration.
Inuit students from Nunavut Arctic College will join the international student cohort. Participants will be mentored by senior experts and interact with representatives from northern organizations.
Snow as a driver of global change
The main objective of the School is to highlight the crucial importance of Arctic snow in climate regulation and in the design of climate models. "The changes taking place in the Arctic and impacting the entire planet are rapid, largely because of feedbacks related to Arctic snow, which has been little studied compared to alpine snow, whose properties are very different," says Florent Dominé, one of the school's mentors and a professor specializing in snow physics at Université Laval.
At the local level, snow plays an important role in directly influencing the way of life of northern populations. Snow-related changes affect transportation, wildlife, and traditional activities such as hunting, among others. "The convergence of academic and indigenous knowledge allows for a more complete understanding of the processes at work in the Arctic. This is why the School is planning opportunities for exchange with members of the local community," adds Alexandre Langlois, a mentor and professor at University of Sherbrooke, whose work focuses on the relations between human activity and climate change.
An initiative to train the next generation of northern specialists
The Arctic Snow School is part of Sentinel North’s series of experiential training activities. One of the goals of this research strategy is to help train a new generation of scientists capable of solving the complex problems of a changing North by building on the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration.
About Sentinel North
Through Sentinel North, Université Laval encourages the convergence of expertise, transformative research, the development of new technologies, and the training of a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers working to improve our understanding of the northern environment and its impact on humans and their health. The program is made possible, in part, by major financial support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, in addition to financial support from the Fonds de recherche du Québec.
Université de Sherbrooke’s Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Milieux Polaires (GRIMP), created in 2015, brings together 25 members whose objective is to improve the monitoring of surface state variables in northern regions such as snow cover, sea ice, permafrost, and Arctic wildlife. More specifically, GRIMP develops remote sensing algorithms and models capable of spatializing information over time across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. grimp.ca/
For information or interview requests:
Aurélie Levy, Communications Officer
Sentinel North, Université Laval
418-656-2131 ext. 404885
Isabelle Huard, Media Relations Officer
Université de Sherbrooke
819 821-8000 ext. 63395
Public Relations and Protocol Team