New Antarctic Infrastructure project in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

Troll is the Norwegian research station in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. It was established in 1989 as a summer-only station, and since 2005 it has been manned (and womened) also in winter and, hipp hurray, we just learned that the Norwegian Research Council has decided to support a large upgrade and expansion of the research infrastructure at the station!

I’m involved in the “ocean package” which involves a continuation of the sub-ice shelf moorings at Fimbul, APRES deployment (to measure basal melt rates), and open ocean moorings on the slope. Here you can read about how the ocean influences the Fimbul ice shelf and about ApRES recovery at Fimbul.

Many thanks to Christina and NPI who have put a lot of effort into putting all of this together – I look forward to (continuing) our collaboration!!

ApRES deployment at the Fimbul Iceshelf in 2019. Photo: Sven Lidström, NPI

Python, cartopy, and quiver

My Python enthusiasm was severly damaged yesterday as I (after a lot of head-scratching) realized that it is not my programming that makes things look strange, but an error in the cartopy* package – when plotting vectors (such as e.g. currents from moorings) in a map using quiver, the vectors are wrongly transformed and end up pointing in the wrong direction… when googling the issue I quickly found solutions and workarounds (thank you StackOverflow!) but still… if I hadn’t tried to plot my scale vector at a 45degree angle I might never have found out…

So, what else can I not trust?

Quite far from 45 degrees 🙁







* a Python package to e.g. plot maps

The book is here!

After a bit of struggling in InDesign and with a lot of help from Ellen and google I’ve managed to put the Ninja story together into a book – which is now available online! So if you were wondering what to ask for in your letter to Santa… wonder no more!

Not everyone could wait until Christmas…

Books are sold at “printing price” – no profit to me (but I presume amazon makes a cent or two).


The first of December is Antarctica Day – and since the day and the world seem a bit gloomy today, I thought I’d share a 100% omicron-free Antarctic penguin-party with you.

Penguin-party in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

I’m so happy…

… for my colleague, mentor, ex-supervisor, favorite feminist, and friend Prof. Anna Wåhlin who just got selected “rådsprofessor” (~council professor) by the Swedish research council! Along with the honor comes a grant of 50 MSeK (5 Million Euros) to be used in a research project on ocean – ice shelf processes in the Amundsen Sea during the next ten years – I’m sure Ran (the Swedish autonomous (unmanned) research submarine) will get to go on many nerve-wracking excursions under the ice shelves and that she will bring back a lot of exciting data and discoveries! Congratulations Anna – and thank you for involving me in your work – it is so much fun to discuss science with you!

Rådsprofessor Anna Wåhlin enjoying our freshly baked bread onboard RV Araon during a cruise to the Amundsen Sea in 2016.

To Python or not to Python…

… is not a question anymore. All our students learn Python, starting the day they enter the university (and even before), and when teaching you are expected to integrate Python and programming whenever possible.

Of course, it makes sense for the university to promote the use of a free, open-source software rather than a commercial product like Matlab, but for all of us old (and not so old) lecturers at the university who – like me – have done your data analysis and plotting since the beginning of time in Matlab, it is not an easy switch.

I took a Python course more than a year ago, and I’ve done a bit of Python here and there, but for a long time now, it has been one of those uncomfortable “have-to-do” but “not-right-now” things that keep accumulating at the horizon. Until a month ago, when a twitter-thread by a colleague (Thanks, Angelica!) who had decided to take the step (and who enjoyed it!) finally got me to dive headfirst into the Python world… so, I read a Python – book (Python for Data analysis by W. McKinney) and set my mental default “program-to- open-when-time-for-science” to Python (or Jupyter, Python is a programming language, not a program). I did not go as far as to uninstall Matlab, but I’m only using it for emergencies…

I quickly realized that I’m Google-dependent – whenever I don’t know how to do something – Google is there to help, directing me to Stackoverflow or one of the thousands of Python tutorials that are available online. It seems like (almost) every question has been asked before – and that there is an army of Python-enthusiasts out there ready to answer and help*!

Now, Matlab and Python have much in common – it is not like I’m starting to learn programming from scratch. Maybe more like learning to speak Norwegian (rather than Chinese) when your mother tongue is Swedish? You understand what the Norwegians are saying (i.e. you can read and  – at least roughly – understand code that others have written), but to write your own Norwegian text and to speak… hmmmm, not so easy! You quickly get used to all the small differences – like that you have to start counting on zero and not on one, and that you have to use # and not % to comment out lines – but get accustomed to all the different types of variables in Python, to build up a vocabulary of commands and to  “think” in a python way, rather than “translating” your Matlab – way of doing things will take longer time.

I’ve lived more than a decade in Norway – but my children still laugh if I open my mouth and try to speak Norwegian… hopefully, it won’t take that long to be fluent in Python!

“Hytte” office!

The Norwegian word “hytte” means cabin, and as a foreigner in Norway, you easily get the impression that *everyone* has (or has access to) a “hytte” (if not two or three). That is of course not true, but to “blend” in (end to enjoy lazy weekends away from home) my husband and I bought a “hytte” on an island not far from Bergen a few years ago.

With the kids away on scout camp this week, we took the opportunity to turn the hytte into “Hytte office”. With laptops, food, and an upgraded data deal with our mobile operator in the trunk we headed out to Øygarden earlier this week – and it’s amazing!

I do appreciate the changes in communication that the pandemic has forced upon us – from my “hytte office” I’ve participated in a Ph.D. defense in Paris (Congratulations, Ph.D. Lucie!), discussed figures and results from the Fimbul ice shelf with colleagues in Tromsø and checked in on what our seals in the Weddell Sea are up to… all while enjoying this wonderful view!

… it’s also a real treat to just step outside and munch a few blueberries (yes they are blue already!) while your Python script is munching away on the commands!

Have a nice summer!


When the winds are strong north of Siple islands during winter…

… the flow of warm water into the Getz ice shelf cavity is reduced! Wonder why? Well, Ph.D. Nadine Steiger (who successfully defended her thesis yesterday! Yippie and congratulations, Dr. Nadine!) nicely explains it in a newly published paper:

Intermittent reduction in ocean heat transport into the Getz Ice Shelf cavity during strong wind events (GRL)

Here’s a short version:

1) Eastward wind will (in the southern hemisphere) cause the surface water to move southward. (Oceanographers call this the “Ekman transport”). Water will hence pile up along the coast, along the green lines in the figure below.

Map showing winds (red arrows), Ekman transport (black arrows) and areas with coastal downwelling (green). Courtesy: N. Steiger

2) When surface water piles up along the coast, it will press down the warmer water below (Oceanographers call this “coastal downwelling”)

Ekman transport towards the coast will press the warm water deeper down. Courtesy: N. Steiger

3) The disturbance (i.e. the signal with depressed warm water) will travel along the coast (Oceanographers would call this a coastally trapped, internal wave. The wave is “internal” because the signal is traveling on the interface between two water masses, not on the ocean surface) and reaches the western Getz ice front 3 days after the storm! The figure below shows the observed temperature& salinity in the vicinity of the ice front, and below you see the wind and sea ice concentration. Each time the temperature at depth drops (marked by green triangles) there has been a storm just before!

4) When the wave arrives at the ice front, two things happen. Firstly the thickness of the warm water layer is greatly reduced (see above) and, secondly, the current changes direction so that the flow at depth is aligned with the ice front rather than to enter the ice shelf cavity like it normally does.

Observed mean currents (and temperature) during a) the cold events and b) the deployment period. Courtesy: N. Steiger

During the winter of 2016, this happened at least eight times – causing a reduction of the heat transport into the cavity by about 25%!

Well done, Dr. Steiger!!!

PhD. Nadine Steiger and a proud, ex. supervisor. Photo Andreas H. Opsvik





Good news from NFR!

What a morning! Scrolling through the newly published list of funded projects from the Norwegian Research Council while sipping your breakfast tea and finding this:

is even better than learning that Sweden qualified for the quarter-finals yesterday!

… and further down on the list I found this:

where I’m also involved!

I’m super excited to lead/join these interdisciplinary projects on Norwegian/Greenlandic fjords and climate change!

Masfjorden, here we come! The Bjerknes Center will fund our multi-disciplinary fjord project!

Yesterday the Bjerknes administration announced which of the “internal projects” they are to fund during the next four years – and I was very excited and happy to learn that our multi-disciplinary fjord project (led by Mari Myksvoll) was one of them!

Together with paleo-oceanographers and biologists, we will dive deep into the basins (and the mud/sediments) of Masfjorden to study how (and why) oxygen concentrations have varied in the “recent past” (the last 400yrs or so) and how that affects the ecosystem in the fjord.

I’m really looking forward to working locally – not only “locally” as in a nearby fjord, but also “locally” as in “together with colleagues in neighboring offices and buildings”! It’s is such a great team!

Proposal-funding-celebration outside GFI earlier today with parts of the new “Fjord-team”!