Taking a break

The summer period is traditionally a time to get a lot of work done. Perhaps it’s a bit paradoxical that just when the weather is at it’s nicest I shut myself away inside and start coding, compiling, pre and post-processing and analysing data. It’s also of course the time when the office and my meeting calendar is (usually) at it’s quietest. July is the holiday month in Denmark, most of my colleagues seem to take 3 weeks off and I have become accustomed to the same. It’s incredibly important and reviving to take the time off. I always come back re-energised and revitalised, and this year I feel like I need it extra much. In late July, the BBC starts to broadcast the Proms concerts from the Albert Hall and it’s perfect music to listen to while coding.

Testing equipment prior to field studies at Qaanaaq in North West Greenland this year

This summer I have a lot of simulations planned for the PROTECT project on sea level rise, particularly climate simulations in Greenland but also surface mass balance in Antarctica. I have 3 projects funded by ESA (the European Space Agency) under their climate change initiative, which both need some attention. I will (be trying to) assimilate satellite observations of ice surface temperature on the ice sheet and sea ice concentration in the Arctic into our climate models to improve Arctic climate simulations. It’s going to be fairly challenging to get the system working.

Then I need to also spend some time working on the Greenland ice sheet data too, after our papers from the last 2 years that gave a kind of health check to the ice sheet. We also showed how much melt could be observed compared with what climate models were expecting, and clearly something somewhere is going quite fast…

After several years of general overwhelm (and if I’m honest a small side-helping of procrastination), I finally have a long-awaited paper coming out on Antarctic Surface Mass Balance and a model intercomparison, hopefully in the next few weeks. Then there is a proposal as part of a Horizon Europe consortium in progress and preparations for our newly funded Horizon 2020 project PolarRES – due to start on the 1st September. Finally, the data we collected in Qaanaaq as part of the National Center for Klimaforskning (more on these projects in a later blog – hopefully!) needs to be processed, analysed and put to good work.

My DMI colleague Andrea Gierisch measuring snow density in a snow pit on an outlet glacier from the Qaanaaq ice cap, I was scribe!

There are several other papers coming out shortly on which I am a co-author too, so, busy times.

I very often take a break from social media at this time of year too (not always!) and so it is this year. I have an extra long summer holiday this year as I have some old leave to use up and although I find myself working the first week, I intend to use the rest of the time to reconnect with the family. I have also been finding it increasingly hard with a fractured work day and many many different commitments to do the focused work that I enjoy so much. I’m slightly reviving this blog for a bit more detailed engagement and stepping back a bit from Twitter for the summer. I don’t promise to not check in at all. but you won’t see me around much!

One thing I will be finalising is the Bat Girl and Ice Man comics I made for my children while I was in Greenland this year – some reformatting and the remaining translation into Danish is still required so I will be using the train trip to the mountains this year to do that. Many thanks to Andrea especially for proof-reading and ideas and also to Steffen and Marianne as well as our friends in Qaanaaq, Gustav, Peter and Qillaq for being models in the story!

Pulling up a mooring from 1000m of water is hard work and a team effort, south side of Inglefield Bredning

Of course, the machine keeps on rolling forward. The Polar Portal is still online and working well with full near real-time information on Arctic cryosphere and the Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance. The melt season is in full swing, and melt area is pretty wide, but the losses have been balanced to some extent so far by late spring snow and rain on the ice sheet – a reminder that we always need to remember a large amount of the melt refreezes in the snow pack.

Anyway, this is basically a long post to say, see you in mid-August and take it steady…

Sled dogs on the sea ice of Inglefield Bredning, alongside a sea ice lead that forms each winter season at this point.

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