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A polar bear on ice.

UK Arctic Science Conference: Experts from all over the world visit Loughborough to discuss the icy region that is becoming a hot topic

From atmospheric physicists to anthropologists, to political scientists and ecologists, more than 110 researchers from different fields and parts of the world gathered at Loughborough University earlier this month to discuss Arctic matters.

Conference attendees.

Researchers gathered at Loughborough University for the UK Arctic Science Conference.

The three-day UK Arctic Science Conference gave scientists an opportunity to share their research and enjoy workshops, lectures and networking sessions.

Loughborough University staff and postgraduates presented their work and discussed the UK’s foreign policy relationship with the Arctic, the impacts of minerogenic dust on lakes and soils in Greenland and the environmental response to the changing climate in Svalbard.

Several other lectures took place and covered a variety of topics such as conflict in the Arctic region, meteorology modelling, stomach contents of the snow crab and ‘snowball’ ecosystems.

The event, which was supported by the NERC Arctic Office, was formally opened by Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, former Chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee and an active member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Polar Regions.

It concluded with students from South Wigston, Humphrey Perkins and De Lisle Schools visiting the campus to talk to researchers and take part in several hands-on, Arctic-related experiments including simulating the effects of ice melt from land and ocean on sea-level and making their own mini, flowing glaciers.

Students experimenting with ice.

Students got to take part in hands-on experiments. 

Dr Richard Hodgkins, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and co-organiser of the conference, said: “If you’re wondering ‘why the Arctic?’ consider that Loughborough is closer to the Arctic Circle than it is to Malaga in Spain. In climate terms, the Arctic is not even our neighbour, it’s renting our spare room.

“After a remarkable Arctic summer of widespread ice melt, unprecedented wildfires and even a US Presidential inquiry into the availability of Greenland for purchase, we were pleased to be able to bring the UK Arctic community together to focus on this important part of the world.”

The conference, which took place from September 11-13, received sponsorship support from Campbell Scientific, RS Aqua, Xylem and the British Society for Geomorphology.

More information on the biennial event can be found on the dedicated website.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 19/46

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019 and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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