Susan Kaspari, professor of geological sciences and researcher based at Central Washington University, is participating in a Fulbright grant with UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø and field research in Svalbard. Her fieldwork includes taking ice cores across the islands to form records of the snow and its contents. From May 8-10, she visited Finnish researchers at the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute to discuss international research on particles in snow and their further implications on snow and glacial melt.

At the Arctic Centre, she presented on her research in Svalbard to start a body of research dedicated to the dust found in Svalbard snow. Black carbon deposits in snow are a popular discussion topic amongst climate change researchers, as they absorb energy from the sun, and thus contribute to accelerating snow melt and albedo change. Dust particles are more common in Svalbard snow, but less is known about them, including their type, size, and source.

Kaspari’s work ice coring in Svalbard has provided data from the 1700s to present about the deposits of dust and black carbon in the snow and ice. She hopes that this will enable future research to classify the dust particles and understand their relative contributions toward albedo reductions. As glaciers retreat in Svalbard, more land is exposed, constituting dust sources that can further increase the presence of dust particles in exposed snow.

Susan Kaspari also spoke with researchers at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Sodankylä and in Helsinki about their work related to snow and particle deposits. Her travel was supported through funding from the US Embassy.