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Environmental monitoring in the Arctic, with a particular focus on greenhouse gas flux studies

UArctic summer school – BEFLUX

ECTS credits: 5

Course parameters:

  • Language: English
  • Level of course:  PhD level, but MSc students as well as other participants from indigenous groups or local organizations working on the topic are welcome to apply.
  • Time of year: 12-22 September 2022.
  • No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 75/125
  • Capacity limits: 15 participants
  • ECTS credits: 5

The course consists of lectures and of hands-on training including analyzing existing observational data as well as obtaining own data from the field.  The course will focus on a wide climatic gradient from the southernmost part of the Arctic, Oulanka, Finland, to the high Arctic Zackenberg, Greenland. We will use an existing database consisting of more than 2000 ecosystem variables that have been monitored continuously for the last 25 years in Greenland. These data provide the basis for student projects looking at cause-effect relationships between climate dynamics and ecosystem responses with an emphasis on terrestrial greenhouse gas exchanges. The database also serves as background for hands-on training on validating ecosystem models and remote sensing imagery. The fieldwork will take place at Oulanka where practical measurements will follow the exact same methodologies as those used in Greenland. In addition, the course attendants will be exposed to see and test new techniques and instruments, such as drone based measurements and state-of-the-art automatic chambers methods. The practical fieldwork and collection of own data in Oulanka will be complemented with the comparison of these own data with other multiple years of C cycle observations and models from the boreal to tundra climatic gradient. This exercise provides the opportunity to study the complexities involved in measuring and analyzing data on ecosystem responses to different and changing climate regimes.


 This course provides the following for the individual student:

  • The student gets the basic knowledge about climate change as a scientific phenomenon, and how it interacts with and drives natural arctic ecosystems.
  • The student is able to summarize changes in the Arctic nature and the effects of climate change based on multiple years of monitoring data.
  • The student is able to look at climate change from an in depth perspective and make connections between the environment and climate and develop hypotheses about how changes will affect locally and beyond.
  • The student can understand differences between field measurement, laboratory and ecosystem modelling approaches and get hands-on experience with all.
  • Students can explain both challenges offered by climate change for natural ecosystem functioning, biodiversity and feedback mechanisms in the climate system.

Organized in a collaboration between University of Oulu, Aarhus, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki Universities, and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Lecturers include:

  • Professor Torben Røjle Christensen (University of Aarhus/University of Oulu)
  • Ass Professor Thomas Friborg (Copenhagen University)
  • Researcher Norbert Pirk (University of Oslo)
  • Post doc Efrén López-Blanco (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources)

Students accepted to the course will obtain a predefined travel allowance and the accommodation at Oulanka covered by UArctic.


Applications should include CV (max 1 page) and a short motivation letter (max 2000 characters) - upload the file (in word or pdf) during the registration process. Application deadline is 15 April 2022.

After evaluation, students will be notified if they are enrolled in the course, not later than 1 May 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Torben Røjle Christensen, e-mail: torben.christensen@au.dk

Please note

Application deadline is 15 April 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Torben Røjle Christensen, e-mail: torben.christensen@au.dk

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