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Navigating this blog

Welcome to ToThePoles blog. The posts here will be divided into six distinct categories: Cryosphere: posts about ice and snow including paper reviews and commentary, trip reports etc Adventure: posts about field work reports, logistics, stories etc from all kinds of adventures Science/Tech: posts about general science and technology including tutorials. Strong computer science, cloud … Continue reading Navigating this blog

Isolation: Talk for Midnight Runners

Last week an old climbing buddy called me up to invite me to his company's "Campfire Stories" series - the concept was that in this time of isolation and lockdown it might be cool to hear from someone who has spent plenty of time isolated in remote places to see if there were any transferable … Continue reading Isolation: Talk for Midnight Runners

Antarctica 2020

On 30th December I left the UK to work in the southern hemisphere for the first time. As part of the MicroMelt project, the aim was to gather samples and measurements from a selection of glaciers on Livingston Island, to better understand and quantify the role of microscopic life on glaciers in transforming and accumulating … Continue reading Antarctica 2020

New Paper: Glacier algae accelerate melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet

This week our new paper on the melt-accelerating effects of glacier algae on the Greenland Ice Sheet was finally accepted for publication. This paper was an absolute epic to get through peer-review - I might post about that later - but for now I'll focus on the paper content. I'm really pleased to see this … Continue reading New Paper: Glacier algae accelerate melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Some thoughts on AI risks

Since I've been working on my AI for Earth grant and with the UK AI for Good community I've been asked countless times about the potential threats of artificial intelligence to human civilisation. In some ways, nervousness and cynicism around AI technologies is not surprising, since the media generally focuses in on job security or … Continue reading Some thoughts on AI risks

AI Adventures in Azure: making use of blob i/o

As part of my AI for Earth software development, I am working hard on a system that simultaneously applies a supervised classification algorithm, and inverted radiative transfer model, an albedo calculation and an energy balance model pixel-wise over satellite imagery over the Greenland Ice Sheet. This is hugely computationally expensive and very memory hungry. I … Continue reading AI Adventures in Azure: making use of blob i/o

Monocle/Rolex “Perpetual Planet” Podcast

On a rainy day in December it was my pleasure to host the team from Monocle to record a podcast as part of the Rolex Perpetual Planet Pioneers series.  This was the second time I have been interviewed by Monocle (first one here), and both times I came away feeling that the questions were interesting, … Continue reading Monocle/Rolex “Perpetual Planet” Podcast

First view of 2019 field site

It’s an unusually warm 17 C here in Svalbard this week, and the glaciers are responding by shedding their winter snow rapidly. In this short drone clip you can see the areas where snow melt has exposed the glacier ice underneath and dirty streaks where debris has washed over the surface. I’m expecting these warm … Continue reading First view of 2019 field site

We all foot the bill for a warmer Arctic

This week Open Access Government published the third in a series of articles I have written about Arctic science. The first showed why it is critical to understand the past, present and future of the Arctic; the second examined AI and machine learning and their potential to help us to understand and predict Arctic change, … Continue reading We all foot the bill for a warmer Arctic