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the complete climate system, it will be critical to take full advantage of the recent data available and to link it to historical reference data.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


HASSEG Conference in Hobart

The HASSEG workshop started with an APECS workshop on 4 July in Hobart. I have been invited to act as mentor for one of the sessions: applying for research funding for the COMNAP Research Fellowship. In this group we were 3 mentors: Alan Hemmings who is reviewing applications, one successful SCAR applicant and me. The discussion was good and the interested young researcher will be – hopefully – one of the successful applicants for the future.  The COMNAP fellowship was a great starting point for me personally what lead into the work I am doing now for the NSC-DS.


Lighthouse logbooks with important weather information for the NSC-DS project.

Another week in the archives

It is great to work in these archives here. I could lots achieve here and the people are so nice and helpful. I learned a lot this week and I am glad that I could find lots of material for the project (NSC-DS). Lighthouse logbooks are fascinating – and there are so many different kinds of it. That is all very informative. I like it.



One example of the many pages I viewed and imaged

The imaging of the pages is sometimes a bit tricky (format is unusual to our paper formats today) but it works – takes only a bit more time.

It is great to be here!

Archive stay at Maritime Museum for NSC-DS project

Since Wednesday (22 March) I am in Auckland to meet Drew Lorrey (my boss at NIWA) to discuss further progress for the NSC-DS which ends for me at 30 June 2017. However, this does not stop me to continue the work in searching logbooks to collect weather data. The Maritime Museum has logbooks but mainly in diary format what is not of use for our project.


NSC Deep South

I submitted my report for the NSC DS. I assessed 46500 images of logbooks, registers, and correspondence to gather weather information. The oldest logbook was from 1770 and the youngest from 1887. The material was partly very poor quality what made the reading challenging. However, there was some information useful for the project. It was an interesting research. I assessed many convict ships on their way to Australia. Gives one an interesting insight of populating the continent by the Europeans.

The next stage is the search for more logbooks here in NZ. Some archives, museums and libraries have material but many I contacted have no logbooks in their collections. That means: searching harder to find what we need.

One little example of the images I worked with:


Back from the Antarctic


Open sea on the way to Antarctica

It is now one month that we have been to the Antarctic. New impressions shaped my picture of Antarctica. But now is time to concentrate on writing and the “normal” work again.

I will submit another Marsden Fast Start proposal and work already on that.

I have started to work as part time employed subcontractor for NIWA for the National Science Challenge. I assess logbooks and have to catalog them for the weather modeling system which is a focus from that project. Logbooks are a valuable source of information on social conditions on board and data such as weather conditions. The material I have to work with are logbooks which were traveling to Australia and New Zealand. I started with the systematic search for data and learned already a vast amount about ships, what happened in the colonies and many more details. The first set of data is dated from the 1840s on.

Another work I will finish soon is a book chapter for the Routledge handbook for Polar Regions. I wrote in a former post about it, but I am close to finish the first draft. Exploring and mapping Antarctica is the theme of my chapter. It is exciting to work on that and it will bring new insight into the history of Antarctic exploration.


Crater Hill in the Antarctic with a wind turbine for Scott Base

History Seminar Talk

Busy times! One of the reasons is preparing talks and lectures for ANTA 102.

I give a talk at the History Seminar series on  Wednesday, 18th March, 12-1pm in Arts Lecture Theater A8 which is only held during the term time.

The talk is on my preliminarily results on the COMNAP project. I was rewarded with an COMNAP research fellowship in 2012/13 and this research is still going on. It turned out that there is so much more material which has to be processed to get a solid database on historic weather data. An article will be published in Juli with some of the results of my research so far in the Polar Journal.


Me with a modern weather station in the Antarctic at the PCAS course 2014/15.