Araon returns to the Amundsen Sea!

Araon is steaming south for a new expedition to the Amundsen Sea and it’s now out of range on  (unless you pay) … but @cisprague (Christopher Iliffe Sprague – one of two Swedish students on board who will hopefully recover the moorings Karen & co deployed two years ago) is still on Twitter so internet connections onboard must have improved since I was onboard in 2016… the icebergs look the same, though!

Have a happy cruise – and good luck with recoveries & science!

Araon in the Amundsen Sea. Photo: K. Assmann

Lava lamps and toothpaste for elephants –

Not much polar oceanography in this post… but a lot of colors, physics (or is it chemistry?) and most importantly, a lot of fun! so I thought I’d share the results of me and my daughters playing in the kitchen a few evenings ago. (not much homework this week!)

Guess what will happen? (you’ll find the answer at the bottom of the post)

Milk, food coloring and a bit of soap was supposed to create a firework of colors… didn’t work out (the dye just sank when we added the soap) but it got pretty anyway!

DIY-lava lamp! Sunflower oil, food coloring, water and some aspirin make the trick!

Impressive equilibrium… much easier than it seems! We even managed to put the match on fire!

Toothpaste for elephants? Didn’t know where to get hold on H202 stronger than 3% (which I found at the pharmacy) so our toothpaste was nothing like the crazy ones we saw on youtube… but definitely the children’s favorite!

…and yes, blue plus blue makes green!

Are you thinking of a PhD in physical oceanography?

Then come and join us! We are currently have one PhD position at the University of Bergen (apply here*, deadline 10/1, 4 years) and one position at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø (apply here, deadline 7/1, 3 years) open. Both candidates will work on processes related to oceanic heat transport and melting ice shelves in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica – an exciting topic! If you’ve got questions about the positions, then don’t hesitate to contact me!

*The position in Bergen is announced only in Norwegian since it includes 25% duty work related to the project “EkteData” which aims to increase the interest for math and science among high school students. The candidate must therefor speak a Scandinavian language.


Do you like Classical Music & the ocean ?

… and happen to be in Bergen 12 or 13 December, 2019? Then you shouldn’t miss out on the concert in Grieg Hallen where the Bergen philharmonic orchestra and researchers from University of Bergen joins up on the stage to take us on a cultural&scientific journey to the the depths of the oceans! You can read more about the concert series here (in Norwegian only).

On Friday I’ll be in the entrance during the pause together with a couple of “Nansen water catchers” and Snotra, one of UiB’s amazing gliders – see you there!



Seaglider deployment in the Iceland Sea. Photo: K. Våge


Congratulations Vår Dundas, MS!

Today Vår Dundas, MS successfully presented her Master’s Thesis “Oceanic heat transport towards the Getz Ice Shelf, Amundsen Sea”!She has been working with data from a mooring that we deployed in a trough leading up one of the iceshelf fronts of Getz ice shelf, just east of Siple Mountain in the Amundsen Sea.When we deployed the mooring back in 2016, we referred to it as the “boring mooring”-but Vår did a good job proving that it did not desrve that name! Thank you Vår for a very  nice presentation and all the hard work you’ve put into your thesis! Now you deserve a long and relaxing Christmas holiday, and then we’ll see what happens next!

Sensors Knut Barthel and Jenny Ullgren questioning Vår about her work.
Champagne (and Muffins) afterwards!

Today is Antarctica day!

Nadine just made me aware of this book on the Antarctic treaty  – written (by  J. H. Berkman & A. Pope) for children and illustrated by children from all over the world! It is available in different languages: Swedish, Norwegian, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese … and many more! Isn’t that the perfect way to celebrate Antarctica day?

You can download the pdf (or order a paper copy) here

Happy Antarctica day!

Swimming drones and new technology at NORCE

Swimming drones and cables that can measure everything from temperature to traffic intensity? Robots that can swim down and collect data from deployed instruments… and charge the batteries while it’s there? Souns like science fiction, but it is all happening at NORCE! Yesterday we visited Anne Hageberg and her colleagues at the marine technology department to learn about all the exciting stuff that they are developing. If things work out we will bring some of them on the next student cruise in March. That would indeed be cool!

Swimming drone I – the drone can be loaded with sensors and then programmed to swim where you want it to go… or controlled manually, if you prefer.

Swimming drone II – this demo-drone will hopefully soon be able to avoid crashing into things.

Nansen’s Memorial lecture

This is probably the first – and last – time I give a lecture in a long dress and high heels! Every year, on Fritjof Nansen’s birthday, the Norwegian Science Academy invites its members (and a few others) to “Nansen’s memorial lecture”. The title of this year’s lecture was “From cold to warm – Norwegian Oceanographic Research in the Weddell Sea” – and the presenter was me!

When preparing for the talk I learnt a lot about the first Antarctic research expeditions and the history of oceanography in Bergen, and I had the pleasure to have Arne Foldvik tell me his stories from the “old days” down south – I’ll try to share some of those with you here later, but first some photos from the festive evening in Oslo!

What melts first – ice in fresh water or ice in salt water? Most of the professors guessed wrong – if you don’t know the answer, then read earlier blogpost! (Photo: Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi/Thomas B. Eckhoff)
Explaining the origin of Antarctic Bottom Water to the Norwegian Science Academy in Oslo. Fritjof Nansen is the man on the painting just behind me! (Photo: Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi/Thomas B. Eckhoff)
Everyone giving the Nansen memorial lecture gets the Nansen Medal. I’m the 55th lecturer to receive one – but only the forth woman. (Photo: Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi/Thomas B. Eckhoff)

The presentation was followed by a very fancy dinner!

Arne Foldvik telling stories about expensive Champagne on long Antarctic cruises
Peter M. Haugan giving the “thank-you-for-the-meal-speach”.