HASSEG video released

The HASSEG conference was held in Hobart in July 2017.  Now a video about the conference has been released.  I am in it with a part of my presentation Geographical Societies, mapping, and interests in the Antarctic (time in the video 13:29 – 14:15). This video gives a great overview of the content and the quality of the presentations.

Click on this link and the video should appear. Enjoy!


Antarctic, 2014 – an inspiration for my historical research


Exhibition in the EPS library

An exhibition in the EPS (Engineering Library University of Canterbury) is open since last week until the end of October. It promotes the Antarctic Collection which is on permanent loan at UC since 1999. Last weekend was the Season Opening and IceFest.

The display shows the history of the last 60 years in the Antarctic and New Zealand’s involvement in Antarctic science. The artwork is provided by Adele Jackson, an artist and Ph.D. candidate at Gateway Antarctica.  A handout gives more information to the display.

Christchurch is one of the 5 Gateway Cities

Gateway Antarctica is the research unit at the UC

Antarctic Collection holds valuable information (books, reports, etc.) on Antarctic expeditions and research events.

Antarctic History is important to understand the current situation in the Antarctic (from the first scientific/research events to the Antarctic Treaty and the current situation with new team players (e.g.: China, Korea, India, Malaysia) who are establishing stations in the Antarctic.

Come along and see the exhibition:

Oct 09
Oct 10
Oct 11
Oct 12
Oct 13
Oct 14
Oct 15
EPS 8am – 9pm 8am – 9pm 8am – 9pm 8am – 9pm 8am – 6pm 10am – 5pm 10am – 5pm
 Opening hours of the EPS library.

Display in the EPS library.

Some images from the Whaler’s Bay at Stewart Island

The artefacts left behind when the Whalers left in 1932 are still to see today. It is a heritage site and of great value for resesarcher of maritime history and for the history of whaling in the Southern Ocean.



Propellers from the ships on the shore



Part of an engine used at the base



Part of the slipway





Public Talk – Cashmere Friendship Club

19 September: I gave a public talk in the Cashmere Friendship Club in the afternoon. 3 men have been to the Antarctic in the 1980s and 1990s. They were astonished how much has changed about the gear and the health and safety procedures. It was interesting to talk to them about it. My presentation was well received and I could once again talk about my passion: Research and Antarctic.


Weddell Seals – picture from 2016


Work at Stewart Island

4 – 8 September I was in at Stewart Island to collect images from whaling logbooks in the Rakiura Museum. It took some preparation time but I found some data in the end. The Museum is run by volunteers and so it took some time to arrange the meeting. I had also the chance to see the Norwegian Whaler’s Base – it had nothing to do with the whaling process as such but the whaling ships were repaired there when they came back from the Ross Sea. The business closed in 1932. It is a very interesting part of the whaling history in the Southern Ocean.

Now I am cataloging the images and write my final report – my work ends for NSC-DS at 29 September 2017.


One of the whaling logbooks in the Rakiura Museum


Some new material for NSC-DS

I was today at the museum at Stewart Island and found some material for the project. However, most of the whalers’ logbooks are back in Norway. When they were out for the catch, they were often not very keen to write down their position – so sometimes the information is a bit on the thin side.

I saw also the Whaler’s Base. It was interesting to learn that in a short time the whalers built a great Base but it was not profitable enough to sustain. It ended in 1932 in Stewart Island. It was closely linked to the Ross Sea Whaling.


POLAR2018 – SCAR OSC in Davos, Switzerland, in 2018

Next year is the SCAR OSC in Davos in Switzerland.

POLAR2018 –Where the Poles come together
A SCAR/IASC Conference
Davos – Switzerland
15 – 26 June 2018
Call for Abstracts – Open Science Conference

This is the session which I will convene at this conference. If you are interested in submitting an abstract to this session, my fellow convenors and I would be pleased to meet you in Davos next year.

SH Social Sciences and Humanities & AC Atmosphere, Climate

 Session Number SH-8

Session Title
Data science for polar environments – discovery, rescue, and mining
 Session Description

This session brings together two communities who recover and interpret historic information, the users of environmental data and the community applying new data mining methodologies to that data. While observational data near the poles are still sparse, the quantity of data from historical records, satellite observations, reanalyses and climate models is growing constantly. To improve our understanding of the complete climate system, it will be critical to take full advantage of the recent data available and to link it to historical reference data.

Contributions on improving understanding and modeling of the Polar climate system through data rescue, data mining and machine learning methods are welcome. Studies that develop and implement new data‐mining methods for climate diagnosis in the atmosphere, ocean or cryosphere are encouraged, but submissions that integrate information from multiple components of the climate

system are particularly welcome. Historic records are vital for a better understanding of changes in Polar environment such as climate, landscape, flora and fauna. Recent advances in image and data processing, digitizing, and crowd sourcing allow placing this information in a better spatio‐temporal context. Abstracts from historians, humanities and GIS researchers dealing with the recovery, visualization, and interpretation of information from indigenous narratives, log‐books, maps and diaries are welcome.

Lead Convener: Ursula Rack
Email: ursula.rack@canterbury.ac.nz
Affiliation lead-convener: Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Co-convener 1: Adrian McDonald
Email: adrian.mcdonald@canterbury.ac.nz
Affiliation: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Co-convener 2: Thomas Mote
Email: tmote@uga.edu
Affiliation: Department of Geography, University of Georgia, USA
 Co-convener 3: David B Reusch,
Email: david.reusch@nmt.edu
Affiliation: Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech, USA
 Co-convener 4: Petteri Uotila
Email: petteri.uotila@fmi.fi
Affiliation: Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland
Co-convener 5: Clive Wilkinson
Email: c.w.wilkinson@uea.ac.uk
Affiliation: Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia, UK

Submit an abstract


Today’s data collection in the Antarctic