Report on the UKPN Workshop: Modelling In the Polar Sciences

The UKPN Modelling in the polar sciences workshop ran from the 2nd to the 4th of April 2012 in the Geography department at the University of Sheffield. It was attended by 30+ masters students, PhD students and early-career researchers all interested in learning about mathematical modelling and how it is applied in the polar sciences. Participants enjoyed talks and practicals covering topics from ice ages to ice divides delivered by a range of highly respected academics. Felix Ng, Sheffield, began the workshop with an introduction to mathematical modelling providing a useful summary of the different types and uses of modelling, and sharing his love of the subject by describing the links between hydrodynamics and horse locomotion. Next, Michael Griffiths from the Sheffield computing department introduced us to the Sheffield supercomputer which we used to compile and run models during the rest of the workshop. Andrew Fowler, Limerick, then ran a computer practical where participants gained experience of modelling ice ages. Later in the afternoon participants got a chance to present their work in a poster session. Judges Felix Ng, Iestyn Barr, Queens Marys, and Ian Rutt, Swansea, chose Edward Gasson’s poster entitled ‘Modelling the onset of Cenozoic Antarctic glaciation’ as the winning of the poster prize which was presented at the end of the workshop.

Participants enjoying modelling ice ages during Andrew Fowler’s computer practical. From left to right: Jonathan Day, Leeds; Christopher Williams, Leeds; Eleanor Darlington, Loughborough; Aisling Dolan, Leeds.

The next day began with talks about the GLIMMER-community ice sheet model from Ian Rutt and Stephen Livingstone, Sheffield, and a practical run by Ian aimed at teaching students how to compile and run GLIMMER for themselves. That afternoon Richard Hodgkins, Loughborough, gave a talk and ran a practical on the modelling of the glacier hydrology using linear reservoir and time-series approaches. That evening the conference dinner was held at a local restaurant called The Milestone. The next morning Grant Bigg, Sheffield, and Pete Nienow, Edinburgh, presented interesting talks about the Arctic’s contribution to Heinrich events and hydrological observations in West Greenland. These were followed by a talk and practical run by Richard Hindmarsh, British Antarctic Survey, about ice divides and grounding line stability. The workshop provided an opportunity for young scientists to interact with each other and with some of the most respected and established academics in their respective fields. Everyone who attended took a huge amount from the event both academically and socially. I would like to thank all the people who helped organise the workshop, including but not limited to: Iestyn Barr, Jeremy Ely, Stephen Livingstone, Sarah Wrathmell, Tom Hurst, Amir Levy, John Owen. I would also like to thank Sheffield University for use of the Geography Department and supercomputing facilities and Foreign and Commonwealth Office for funding that made the workshop possible. Jonathan Kingslake, University of Sheffield.

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