Software & Polar Research Workshop

 

The UK Polar Network are running a Software & Polar Research Workshop at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge: Tuesday 17th September 2013. Although we are currently still in the planning process, please save this date in your diaries and check back regularly for updates! Where:  Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge Lensfield Road Cambridge CB2 1ER  When: 17 September, 2013 (immediately preceding the UK Arctic Science Workshop) What: We want to bring together a group of 20-30 early career polar researchers for a day filled with topics on how software has and will play an important role in polar research and your research in particular. Session ideas right now include talks on how software has enabled unique and exciting polar research (whether controlling autonomous vehicles, or fusing large amounts of satellite data over Antarctica and Greenland, for example), a presentation on becoming ready to share your code, resources for software development best practice, tips on choosing the best computing tools for your research, and a collaborative session between workshop attendees. The event will also include a networking reception to allow participants to get to know each other and the presenters. Some funds will be available for travel to Cambridge and accommodation for the workshop, as well as possibly for the duration of the Arctic Science Conference, depending on demand. What Next: Over the next few months we’ll be forming the programme, confirming speakers, and setting up the registration process. To express interest in attending the workshop and receive updates, email allen.pope@polarnetwork.org. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see as part of the workshop, we’d love to hear that, too. The UKPN is always looking for volunteers who want to get involved, so let us know if you’d like to help organize this event (or a future one), even in a small role. How: This workshop is sponsored by the Software Sustainability Institute. Find out more about how they can help you do your research better at http://www.software.ac.uk/.  Look out for their resources as well as their fellowship scheme, which provides researchers at all career levels with funds to attend conferences, run events, and further the aims of the SSI.

Report on the WWRP Polar Prediction Project steering group meeting.

12-13th December 2012 European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) (Reading, England) The World Weather Research Program (WWRP) Polar Prediction Project (PPP) is a ten year initiative aiming to promote cooperative international research into polar weather prediction at hourly to seasonal timescales. As part of this project plans are being made for a Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) in 2017-2018, this will involve an intensive observation and modelling effort to improve polar prediction. Ella Darlington and Jonny Day attended this meeting representing APECS, who are being consulted on project matters related to outreach and education. The meeting was mainly concerned with finalising the project implementation plan. During the discussion on how early career scientists could become more involved in and contribute to the PPP, the following ideas were discussed:
  • Invite early career scientists to PPP events (not just workshops; but also steering groups, etc.).
  • Run mentoring sessions at SG meetings and PPP workshops.
  • Involve early career scientists in informal social settings such as icebreakers where they are encouraged to meet and talk with senior scientists.
  • Run skills training workshops to ensure that early career scientists are familiar with tools as well as operational in-house systems (e.g., models, and diagnosis and verification systems) and can more readily run models or analyse operational centre data. (Existing examples include twice yearly WRF workshops and verification workshops run by JWGFVR.).
  • Run summer schools.
It was agreed to:
  • Invite local APECS representative(s) to take part in the next PPP-SG meeting (tentatively Boulder, Colorado, USA in October 2013).
  • Run a mentoring session in association with the PPP-SG meeting.
In addition Jonny agreed to sit on the project steering group and YOPP planning committee to liaise with both the PPP steering group and APECS concerning the PPP education and outreach plan and its implementation. http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/wwrp/new/polar_prediction_research_project_main_page.html

Bangor Polar Symposium

Saturday 8th December 2012 School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University (North Wales) An informal one day symposium for early career scientists to present their work, network and gain advice on polar careers. Key note speakers include Dr Stephanie Wilson (Antarctic zooplankton) and Nick Hughes (Sea Ice).
If you would like to present your work or attend this exciting event then please submit your abstract by the 10th of November at http://www.polarsymposium.com/. £10 registration fee includes refreshments, buffet lunch and dinner.This event is supported by the UK Polar Network, Endeavour Society, School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University and Calegeo.

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.

Modelling In the Polar Sciences Workshop – April 2012

The use of mathematical modelling is becoming increasingly important in all areas of science. This spring, the UKPN will continue our highly successful programme of workshops bringing early career polar scientists together to meet and learn about specific areas of the discipline. This free workshop will focus on the use of modelling in the polar sciences. It will be held at the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April 2012. Following the format of previous successful UKPN workshops, we will be organising lectures and practical sessions that will cover a broad range of polar science-related subjects where mathematical modelling plays a role. These will to be led by a number of highly respected academics including Grant Bigg, Sheffield; Andrew Fowler, Oxford; Edward Hanna, Sheffield; Richard Hindmarsh, British Antarctic Survey; Richard Hodgkins, Loughborough; Pete Nienow, Edinburgh; Felix Ng, Sheffield and Ian Rutt, Swansea and more! As well as lectures and practical sessions, the workshop will include sessions on the basics of modelling, poster sessions where participants will be encouraged to present their work (modelling-based or otherwise), careers discussions, and a group dinner where we will get a chance to properly meet each other and enjoy an evening out in Sheffield! This workshop is aimed at early career polar scientists (Masters, PhD and Post-docs) who already make use of modelling or are interested in doing so, not just people who are already knowledgeable in the field. We aim to integrate the skills of students with modelling experience with those who wish to develop skills in this important aspect of research. It will be great to welcome a broad range of Polar Scientists to Sheffield in April! Please keep an eye on the mailing list and here on the UKPN website for more details regarding when you can sign up! For further details please contact: Jonny Kingslake - University of Sheffield Stephen Livingstone - University of Sheffield Amir Levy - Keele University and Iestyn Barr - Queen Mary University of London

School outreach opportunities in India!

In November 2011, UKPN member and Sheffield-based PhD student Sonal Choudhary visited her native India to enlighten young people at three different schools about the opportunities in polar science. Sonal’s inspiring campaign reached several hundred Indian schoolchildren, their teachers and representatives from Indian media organisations. Sonal informed her audiences in presentations on her research work and the broader importance of polar science, entertained with stories of living and working in polar regions, and answered questions from many newly-inspired polar enthusiasts about how to take up a polar science career, her motivation for choosing an unusual career and how she travelled from their small town, via the UK, to the high Arctic. We thank the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for funding these school visits. If you would like to run a schools visit, get in touch!

UKPN and APECS at AGU Fall 2011

Prior to the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting held in San Francisco at the beginning of December 2011, APECS and POLARTREC (http://www.polartrec.com/) hosted a Polar Information Station as part of the public engagement session undertaken at the conference. UKPN representatives Matthias Kunz, Sian Henley, Aisling Dolan and Allen Pope all helped out at the Polar Station. There was a display of Arctic tundra, a demonstration of how to make your own ice core and the gear so that children could feel what it would be like to become the next generation of Polar explorers! Over 250 people visited our Polar Station and much fun was had by all!  

Enthusing the next generation in San Francisco at AGU Fall

 

Polar outreach day in Leeds

On Monday 28th November 2011, UKPN member and University of Leeds PhD student Chris Williams educated and enthralled sixty children aged 7-8 about science and exploration in the Arctic region. Chris treated the budding polar enthusiasts to a fascinating photo presentation, lively discussions, real-life displays and interactive exercises to show the wonder and challenge of living and working in the Arctic environment. Feedback from the children and teachers was excellent and all participants went away with an appreciation of and fascination for the polar regions, and many future explorers were inspired!

Summary of UKPN at RGS Explore 2011!

In mid-November of 2011, Laura Hobbs and Thomas Perriment from the UKPN committee attended the Royal Geographical Society’s annual Expedition and Fieldwork Planning weekend – Explore. Set in the heart of London, the theme of the conference could not have had a less city feel to it; and with every lecture and workshop, it felt as though the doors to the world were opening a little more. After their own expedition-worthy journey from Plymouth to London, Laura and Tom set up their poster that would inform delegates and speakers about the UKPN, its aims and its benefits to early career scientists. Throughout the weekend, they were inundated with questions about the Polar Network, and people were amazed to find that this resource and wealth of information was available to them. They had a lot of interest in the workshops and outreachevents coming up this year, and I think it is safe to say that this interest will grow as word spreads throughout the expedition community. Laura said, "It was a pleasure to be part of such an exciting and inspiring event, and also great to meet many UKPN members, both new additions and those who have previously been involved." So what can we takeaway from Explore for the UKPN? Although predominantly explorers and adventurers, many delegates were interested in getting some scientific information to support their expeditions which may not have a research theme at their core. Thomas said, "The support available to expeditions and research trips in both physical and life sciences, as well as anthropology is vast, this is where the UK Polar Network can assist you and your team." Would you like to assist with expeditions and inform the team about research in the area? The interest in outreach work was quite frankly overwhelming… Let’s run with this and really put the UKPN out there in terms of engaging the future generation in Polar research. The Explore weekend is a great way to go about designing your own Polar expedition or research trip. The RGS and the staff are brimming with information, and their breadth of knowledge is incomparable and seems never-ending. If you have any ideas that you would like to discuss, please contact the RGS or contact the UK Polar Network can get you in contact with the right people

Summary of biology and ecosystems workshop

The workshop ‘High latitude biology, ecosystems and the future; A multidisciplinary approach’ organised by Coleen Suckling ran for 2 days mid November in the British Antarctic Survey. This was the first biology based workshop from the UK Polar Network’s career development series which saw twenty-three early career stage participants arrive to network in Cambridge. Excellent talks were provided by keynote speakers discussing multi-disciplinary science and future insights for the Arctic (Ray Leakey; Scottish Association for Marine Science), Antarctic (Andy Clarke; British Antarctic Survey) and acclimations and adaptations on the polar regions (Melody Clark; BAS). Some of which will soon be available to view on the APECS website (http://apecs.is/apecs-news/4533-ukpn-biology-and-ecosystems-workshop). The participants were given opportunities to network through producing media aimed talks on their fields. Using information generated from the talks and the skill sets of the participant’s mini-mock grant proposals were generated on mutually agreed important polar questions. Future insights on these questions were discussed to determine how approaches proposed to answer them today may change over the next decade. Interestingly the participants drew to similar conclusions – molecular and satellite applications will become increasingly important in the future! Participants also presented their work to each other through a poster session. Alan Rodger (Science Leader, BAS) closed the meeting with his inspirational talk ‘Where is environmental science going?’. He informed the participants that the 21st century is the century for biologists due to the urgency to understand the repercussions of rapid climate change on ecosystems and highlighted the importance on utilizing a multidisciplinary approach. The organizer would like to thank everyone who helped and participated in the workshop, particularly to the British Antarctic Survey.

Keynote speaker Andrew Clarke