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!