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Médéric Lorry

PermaMeteoCommunity - UNIS

Hello! My name is Médéric Lorry. I had the pleasure of working at the University Centre in Svalbard for my long research internship within the PermaMeteoCommunity project. My tenure with the research team spanned from February 6, 2023, to July 9, 2023.

In France, I worked on a project about the assessment of the risk of the degradation of the permafrost by some actors that are involved in the Alps. The warming of the permafrost is an emerging risk that is yet to be included in the law. By involving citizens to raise awareness of this risk and to come up with solutions, this project aimed to create a movement to lead the way up to new regulations. This led me to join the PermaMeteoCommunity project, in Longyearbyen which aims to develop resilience in Arctic communities by investigating permafrost and the landforms of the Longyearbyen valley. Understanding the links between reliefs and permafrost is essential to appreciating the mechanisms that can lead to landslides and debris flows in the Arctic. First, my job consisted of drilling shallow boreholes of about 3m along the valley, drivable by snowmobile in winter, to get frozen cores and log them. Then, back to the lab, I measured some parameters such as gravimetric ice content, excess ice, grain sizes and density. These two aspects of my work, in the field and in the lab were something that I strongly appreciated. Finally, based on these findings, I could help with the understanding of the relationship between the active layer and top permafrost in the lower slopes of Longyeardalen valley and the landform variability.

What I really enjoyed was being fully integrated into the project, I could attend meetings, freely exchange views with colleagues, and be involved in an array of activities. I had the privilege of participating in an educational cruise with students and assisting at a conference with residents. This gave me insights into the broader implications of our research and how it was perceived by the community. Furthermore, aiding in a practical course enabled me to interact closely with students and refine my communication skills. Each of these experiences gave a greater sense of purpose in my work. In summary, my internship with the PermaMeteoCommunity research project was an enriching experience, a blend of academic learning and practical exposure that impacted my academic trajectory. The experience I garnered cemented my determination to further my studies in this domain.

I strongly recommend this opportunity to any student eager to embark on a rewarding research journey and I want, again, to thank Knut Tveit for his great implications in the technical aspect of my internship and our constructive discussions. I'd like to extend my gratitude to Hanne Christiansen for all the support and dedication but also, ensured that I had the resources and that every detail of our work was well-organized.

To provide further information about UNIS, the university consists of a big building in the city of Longyearbyen at 78° N latitude and several cabins around the main island. This makes very nice views from our offices. Student life is important here to overcome the frozen climate of Svalbard. Bonfires, festivals, and sports events are organized to stay warm and keep a nice sharing spirit, don’t be shy to ask to join students WhatsApp groups or Facebook groups. If you have questions, please reach out to Hanne Christiansen for my contact details.

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