TSU and the MINES ParisTech will study the fluctuation of glaciers

Researchers at TSU’s Faculty of Geology and Geography and MINES ParisTech, a member of ParisTech, a consortium of leading engineering universities in France, have agreed to conduct joint research at the interface of IT, geology, and geography. The subject of study will be the fluctuation of glaciers - the buildup of ice, snow, and firn mass and their loss. Data on the cyclical nature of these changes will help to predict the process of the melting of glaciers, which is not only an indicator of climate change, but also a starting point for new natural disasters.

- MINES ParisTech is a member of the Paris Institute of Science and Technology (ParisTech), which unites 12 higher engineering and commercial schools in Paris and its suburbs,- says Artyom Rykun, TSU Vice-Rector for International Affairs. - The Mining School is engaged in preparing the elite among engineers for industry, especially in energy and mining. Collaboration with MINES ParisTech is of great interest to us because we and our French colleagues are developing areas where very good projects can appear at the junction of IT, big data, geology, and mathematical modeling.

An agreement has already been reached on joint research on glaciers, which are a repository of information about the past of the planet. Literate glaciologists can read them as a chronicle, identifying features of the climate at different historical stages of the Earth. In addition, glaciers serve as a litmus test of the changes that occur in the present. Understanding their cyclicality will make it possible to predict the future with high confidence - to predict changes in the level of the oceans, water temperature, and salt concentration in the seas.

A detailed discussion of collaboration took place during the spring school organized for the French delegation by the Siberian Institute of the Future (TSSW TSU). A group of 19 from MINES ParisTech visited the TSU high-mountain station Aktru in the Altai Republic, where scientists from the Faculty of Geology and Geography conducted field seminars, lectured, and introduced modern research methods. The students from Paris went on Aktru fieldwork using geostatistics to study mountain and polar regions.

- The head of the French group, Hans Heinrich Wackernagel, is a well-known expert in geostatistics — modeling the distribution of objects, phenomena, and processes in a geographic space,- says Alexander Erofeev, the expedition leader and scientist at the TSU Faculty of Geology and Geography. - The statistical method of kriging that Dr. Wackernagel is actively developing makes it possible to significantly clarify the forecast for changes in the balance of the Altai glaciers. This experience is very important for us, we would like to learn from it.

The French side, in turn, was interested in the means of geological education in universities in the Russian Federation, modern methods of prospecting and exploration of minerals, and modeling of exogenous processes associated with fluctuations of glaciers. Along with a joint project to study them, the Mining School of Paris plans to create with TSU a joint educational course on GIS (geographic information systems) and geostatistics.

- This course could be held in France and possibly in Norway, - says Professor Wackernagel. - Two of my colleagues and I are currently participating in Arctic research as part of the INTAROS Horizon 2020 project. We hope that there will be an opportunity for interaction between TSU and the Norwegian center that coordinates this project. In addition, of great interest to several groups of students of the Faculty of Mathematics MINES ParisTech are computer technologies and research in big data, which is being developed by the TSU Institute of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

TSU and ParisTech have already interacted in several ways. In 2018, the universities signed an agreement providing for the implementation of double-degree programs and the academic exchange of students and scientists with ENSTA ParisTech, School of Chemical Sciences Chimie ParisTech, and Telecom ParisTech High School of Telecommunications. Students of IIMSC and the autonomous master's program Translational Chemical and Biomedical Technologies were the first to enroll in ParisTech.

Photos by Alexander Yerofeyev, Hans Wackernagel, and Irina Sin