It’s here! The translated and “peer-reviewed” version of “Ninja goes south” is now printed… and about 2000 books are waiting (together with Petra Langebroek’s “Ninja goes to Groenland”) in the basement of the Bjerknes Centre to be distributed to school libraries in Vestland (as soon as the third and final book* is ready).
The project is financed by the Norwegian Research Council – and Petra and I are getting help from the communication office at Bjerknes, the “climate club” at Landås skole, Bergen municipality, and of course, the invaluable assistance from UiB-student Marte Klemetsdal, who is putting it all together!
I’m so excited to see this come through, and to actually hold the physical book in my hands! Slightly less excited about the typos that my daughter found in the book… but fingers crossed for a second edition where we can correct those – and there might be one! Bryggen museum has picked up on the Lego idea, and they are planning an exhibition later this year where Ninja (and I) will be part of a historical walk through Bergen and its scientific hubs. Ninja in a museum monter – I do look forward to seeing that!
While on sabbatical in France, I finally had the time to read all (or at least most of) the papers in my “looks_interesting”-folder on the desktop… one of them was “Warm Circumpolar Deep Water transport toward Antarctica driven by local dense water export in canyons” by Morrison et al (2020). The title tells it all: their model results showed that where cold, dense water flows down the slope, warm water was flowing in the opposite direction, i.e. up the slope and onto the continental shelf! About half-way through the paper, where the authors stated that they were “unaware of direct observations that can be analyzed to test our modeling results”, I stopped reading – not because the paper was not interesting, but because I was aware of such observations!
During my PhD (a decade and a half ago!) I worked with “local dense water export in canyons” and I knew very well that a ridge downstream of the Filchner Trough in the southern Weddell Sea is steering dense water down the slope – I also knew that this is a (relatively) well-sampled region of the Southern ocean… would the old (and not so old) data show the upslope flow of warm water suggested by the model?
I had just spent time downloading and organizing Southern Weddell Sea CTD-data from data bases and archives for another project, so I was set to go… and it did not took long before I sent an e-mail with figures to Jean Baptiste Sallée (whom I was visiting at LOCEAN in Paris) asking if he was in. It all fitted together so nicely – the temperature-profiles collected over the last fifty (!) years clearly showed that, above the slope, we found warm water higher up in the water column in the vicinity of the ridge than elsewhere. Water on the continental shelf in that region was warmer than the warm water intrusions further the east. While I had studied mooring data from the region for months, if not years, to learn about the flow of dense water on the slope, I had never really cared to look at the records from the instruments higher up, those that were placed above the dense plume. Now, these were the ones that mattered – and sure enough, the mean current had an up-slope component! We had observational evidence supporting the mechanism suggested by the numerical model! It took us a while to write it up – and some extra analysis and modelling to convince the reviewers – but the paper was finally published in Nature communications earlier today: “Observational evidence for on-shelf heat transport driven by dense water export in the Weddell Sea”!
Ninja has been on a new adventure! This time he joined me on the bike down to Landås skole and their “Climate club“ to hear what pupils in 6th grade had to say about “Ninja goes south“. We have now translated the book into Norwegian (thanks Marthe!), and I was eager – and a bit nervous! – to hear what the 65 “reviewers” had to say about it! In class last week they had all read, discussed and written about the book; what words did they not understand, what parts did they like best, what parts could be shortened and what did they want to know more about… While there were a few critical reviews (who either did not care about Ninjas and therefor found the book utterly boring, or who did care about Ninjas but found this Ninja not to be enough Ninja-like) most of them were very positive: We loved the pancakes! Can you write more books, please? We learnt a lot about ice shelves / seals / Antarctica / moorings.
I think an editor would have landed on “minor revision”… so I’m now re-working the book with their comments in mind: less text in each “bubble”, more information about the seals, explain these words and so on…. Fingers crossed that the next version will be accepted!
The classes seemed convinced the book will be a success – and, for the first time in my life – I was asked to write autographs! There was even a queue!!!
While visiting – I took the opportunity to introduced the ice-shelf game “Iceflows” (don’t blame me if you get addicted) …
…and off course to do my all time favorite melt-ice-cubes-in-salt-and-fresh-water-experiment!
Delayed funding, frozen grants… extra work, worry, uncertainty, and frustration… that’s just what I needed!
I haven’t managed to completely grasp the entire story and the background of the RCN* budget issues – as I’ve been busy trying to handle its direct consequences… how to get that student abroad to acquire the experience and access the labs he needs for his work when the mobility grant we were counting on is stopped? What about the instrumentation we were about to buy for TONe? the contract with the producer that we signed just before the red light was turned on over in Oslo? Can we still get it – and when? will it make the shipping deadline this autumn or will everything be delayed by a year? Or two or three? And what to prioritize – my instrumentation, or that of my colleague?
Those problems will most likely be solved – in one way or another – but what about my soft-money colleagues (and friends!) who depend on the calls and funding that is now being reduced, postponed, or removed? How many of them will have to leave science? Leave Norway?
What can be more suitable when Norwegian&Swedish royalties visit a new Swedish research ship than to have Irina from University of Gothenburg tell them about the Norwegian-Swedish collaboration in FJO2RD? Håkon (the Norwegian crown prince) didn’t know where Masfjorden&Lurefjord were located, but now he does! – and I bet Irina taught him a thing or two on foraminifera and fjord de-oxygenation too!
Well done Irina – we’re happy to have you on the team!
I’ve headed north to Tromsø (where winter and snow is still hanging around town but where the sun is up almost 24h a day!) to be part of the kick-off meeting for TONe, a large infrastructure project. In short – the Norwegian Research Council is paying for a lot of fancy and exciting instrumentation that is to be installed at and around the Norwegian research station Troll in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica.
Over the coming years, the Norwegian Polar Institute (who runs the station) and friends will install instruments to observe everything from the ionosphere&southern lights to seismic activity, pollution and birds.
I’ll be involved in two observatories: FIO (Fimbul Iceshelf Observatory) and MOMO (Multidisciplinary Ocean Moored Observatory). In FIO, we will drill through a few hundreds of meters of ice to renew the moorings under the Fimbul Ice shelf. These were installed in 2009 and they are still running! We will also put moorings on the continental slope north of the ice shelf (MOMO) so that we can connect what happens in the ocean with what’s happening in the cavity. I look forward to a lot of data – and a continued collaboration with Tore, Laura & Co in Tromsø!
On Saturday, 23/4 science and curious citizens of Bergen will occupy Marinerholmen in Bergen where the fair “OPPLEV” will take place. Together with the FJO2RD and CLIFORD team from the Bjerknes center I will use a fortune wheel, Lego, and candy fish to explain and illustrate deepwater renewals and de-oxygenation in Norwegian fjords… want to find out how? Then join us at Marinerholmen! (or stay tuned for an upcoming report here later!)
Last summer, we were excited to learn that the deep water of Masfjorden had finally been renewed – the deep fjord basin was replenished with new, oxygen-rich water, making it a much better place for fish to swim around in. We were equally excited when we headed up to the fjord last week (together with the paleo oceanographers), to recover the moorings that have been standing on the sill and in the deep basin for almost a year now. We were finally to learn more about when and how the renewal actually occurred!
The moorings were recovered without problems, and all looked good until Algot was to display the data on the screen. Were we expected to see the wiggly line displaying the current-meter record, revealing the strength and length of the renewal episode – there was only a straight line. Zero. A whole year of zeros, nothing but zeros. All the other sensors worked fine… but for some, still unknown reason, the velocity record was missing… the one record I had looked so much forward to seeing!
When it rains, it pours – especially if you are in Bergen. The second disappointment was waiting for a bit further into the fjord – one of the instruments that were supposed to record oxygen concentrations (and salinity and temperature) had leaked through a defect connector. The instrument (which is quite expensive) is ruined and the data is gone…
I guess we will just have to hang around another ten years or so for the next deep water renewal in Masfjorden 🙁
Snow, rain, and wind… the weather forecast was everything but promising when I left Bergen harbor together with a team of excited scientists last week onboard Kristine Bonnevie, our research ship. She headed northward towards the nearby fjords “Lurefjorden” and good old “Masfjorden.” The gear on deck was slightly different from what I am used to; the familiar mooring buoys and instruments boxes were accompanied by what I soon learned is called a “multi-corer” and a “gravity corer.”
These strange-looking creations are designed to collect mud – or sediments – from the ocean floor. As the sediment deposits chronologically, one layer at a time, they form an archive of the past. The deeper into the sediments you dive, the further back in time you go. Remnants of marine life deposited on the bottom – microscopic shells from foraminifera, for example – have incorporated information about the ocean properties at the time when they were living. Advanced bio-geochemical analyses can bring that information back. Or you can identify the shells – different species thrive in different conditions, some when there’s a lot of oxygen in the basin, others when there is little. If you know how to interpret the signals – you can turn what to most people looks just like mud into a historical record of fjord hydrography and learn how the oxygen concentration in the fjord basins has changed in time. To me, mud is mud, but luckily, we had Irina, Stijn, Agnes, and Dag-Inge, on board. They are paleo-oceanographers; they know how to turn mud into exciting science!
I almost forgot Mattia – our fresh PhD-student who arrived a couple of weeks ago to chilly and rainy Bergen from sunny Sicily. He will be working with the mud for the next three years.
Want to know how to involve students in the design of your oceanography class and to “co-create learning” – then read Mirjam and Kjersti’s recent paper “Co-Creating Learning in Oceanography“. They explain how to climb the ladder from “teacher controls everything” towards “student-staff partnership”, where the students have full control of their own learning. How far up the ladder you want to climb is up to you – and the students – but Mirjam and Kjersti give easy-to-include and adapt examples all along the way!
I’ll be teaching again this spring – helping Mari with the course in fjord oceanography – we’ll see where on the ladder we end up, but it sounds like a good idea to have the students determine the topic of their term papers based on keywords that Mari and I provide!