WEBCAST 8: “Ice Camps”, 14th April 2020:
This webcast islooks at some of the issues related to building an ice camp.
WEBCAST 7: “Cryoconite”, 6th April 2020:
This webcast is an introduction to the topic that first got me into working in the cold. Cryoconite holes look simple but hide a deep complexity at every scale.
Level: intermediate (secondary school to undergraduate)
WEBCAST 5: “Silence”, 1st April 2020:
This is a short webcast on the theme of Silence, specifically looking at Erling Kagge’s book “Silence in the Age of Noise” which I happen to have recently re-read.
Erling Kagge on Fearne Cotton’s “Happy Place” Podcast
WEBCAST 4: “Biological Darkening of Ice”, 30th March 2020:
Level: Intermediate (Secondary school to undergraduate)
This is an introduction to a theme that has dominated my professional life for almost a decade in one form or another. The idea that microscopic life can not only survive on the surface of glaciers and ice sheets, but actually influence how rapidly ice melts – these invisibly small creatures collectively influence sea level rise.
Some of the papers mentioned in this webcast:
Cook et al 2020: Glacier algae accelerate melt rates on the SW Greenland Ice Sheet, The Cryosphere
Tedstone et al. 2020: Algal growth and weathering crust development drive variability in western Greenland Ice Sheet ice albedo, The Cryosphere
Williamson et al. 2020: Algal photophysiology drives darkening and melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet, PNAS
Williamson et al. 2020: Glacier algae: a dark past and darker future, Frontiers n Microbiology
Di Mauro et al. 2020: Glacier algae foster ice-albedo feedback in the European Alps, Nature Scientific Reports
Yallop et al. 2012: Photophysiology and albedo-changing potential of the ice algal community on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. ISME Journal
Uetake et al. 2010: Communities of algae and cyanobacteria on glaciers in western Greenland. Polar Science
WEBCAST 3: “A planetary supercomputer”, 26th March 2020:
Categories: Science, computing
We’ve gone off the deep end today with a much more abstract, thought-experiment of a webcast on the topic of the Planetary Supercomputer – is it a realistic proposition and why should we take warnings from the Hitchhiker’s Guide…?
Some associated links:
WEBCAST 2: “The colour of ice”, 24th March 2020
This webcast discusses why ice is not always white, what other colours it can be and why.
Level: Intermediate (Secondary school to undergraduate)
WEBCAST 1: “Inside the Glaciers”, 23rd March 2020
This webcast introduces the rationale behind – and experience of – exploring the giant cave systems inside the Greenland Ice Sheet in a series of expeditions funded by Moncler in 2017 and 2018.
Categories: Adventure, Science
Over the past week, schools and universities have shut, businesses have closed their doors and the covid19 chaos has spread relentlessly worldwide. Like many, I feel powerless to help – I’m not a doctor, I’m not a microbiologist or virologist or epidemiologist. However, I have been thinking hard about what I can contribute. With many at home from school, college, university and work, it could be a good time to share the few skills that I do have, for interest, entertainment and possibly to help some folk upskill in a new area. I hope some of this material can be used to quickly build out some lessons for teachers and home-schoolers and some potentially useful info for others.
In that spirit, I’m going to start a new webcast on this page – I will try to do a live broadcast on as many weekdays as possible, posting the link on this page in advance – and then upload the recording to this page too so it can be viewed any time. I plan to stick to four main categories of webcast:
1) Programming/Computer science
These will range from absolute beginner tutorials on how to get started and set up to some fairly advanced discussions and workshops in themes such as remote sensing, drone and satellite data, cloud computing, machine learning etc. Where possible I’ll back things up with notebooks and example scripts.
My work is mainly based around the changing Arctic and Antarctic, so I intend to create some materials on these themes. This will include broad level material about how the Arctic and Antarctic function in a changing climate, biodiversity, glaciology, climate change etc, but also some higher level material about applying technology in challenging environments, using drones in the cold, numerical modelling of ice and snow, etc. Hopefully there will be material suitable for generalists, laypeople, school and university students and scientists working in other fields.
A life working and playing in extreme environments has provided me with some unusual stories that might be entertaining to share on this platform. My initial ideas are to explain why I have spent the past two winters exploring ice caves deep inside the Greenland Ice Sheet, how to build ice camps to stay in for months at a time, and what it was like to climb 30 big walls in 30 days.
4) Lessons from Life on Ice
Finally, I plan to discuss some of the aspects of a life on ice that have changed the way I think about how to operate in the world, either in a personal or professional sense. I consult on these themes for various clients, tackling such topics as high-stakes project management, innovation, meditation, acting under pressure, growth mindset, being effective in extreme conditions, etc. I plan to incorporate some of these themes into the webcast.
Often times, the webcasts will cross over two or more of these categories, sometimes they might stray a little – I don’t know, but I am very keen to be responsive to the viewers and so I will open comments on the page and also take requests for topics and respond to questions via my Instagram (@tothepoles) where I will also announce the next day’s webcast and post little updates. My goal is that if you are not interested in one day’s webcast hopefully you will benefit from the next as the topics cycle, so keep checking in.
I’m not sure how this will work out, whether it will be popular or not, whether it will be useful or not, but it is something. Keep eyes peeled here and on Instagram to come along for the ride!
The first episode will cast live at 1500 GMT on Monday 23rd March – I’m kicking off with an adventure themed webcast about my 2017 and 2018 caving explorations “Inside the Glaciers”.
Keep safe, stay strong!