Our Students

  • Lois Anderson
  • Title: Ph.D. Student, Oceanography
  • Student Image

Taking down notes aboard the Porsild during a sediment-coring field trip.

 

The Rutgers Climate Institute fund helped support my attendance of the 2023 ACDC-GRISO Summer School on “Past and Future Changes in Greenland Climate,” a two-week program jointly hosted by the University of Bergen Advanced Climate Dynamics Courses (ACDC) and Greenland Ice Sheet Ocean (GRISO) science network. This course housed a small cohort of graduate students and postdocs from a wide range of disciplines at the Arctic Station in Qeqertarsuaq, Kalaallit Nunaat (known to some as “Greenland”). The course syllabus consisted of a mix of lectures, student research presentations, ship-board field activities, and small group projects that challenged us all to work on a problem well outside of our research discipline.

lois in glacier                                                             

Some sights and new friends from my time studying in Ilulissat & Qeqertarsuaq, Kalaallit Nunaat. (Top) Fellow students and I (rightmost in photo) used a bit of      free time to hike up to what remains of Lyngmark glacier. (Bottom) Incomprehensibly large icebergs at different stages in their transit from Sermeq Kujalleq, a marine-terminating glacier responsible for ~10% of the Kalaallit Nunaat ice sheet’s calving.

 

At Rutgers, my PhD work is focused on improving our understanding of the exchange of heat and freshwater between tidewater glaciers and the coastal ocean through Kalaallit Nunaat’s fjords – fjord oceanography in short. While important and ever-growing, this fjord-scale work is done by a relatively small pocket of the larger physical oceanography community. Attending the ACDC-GRISO summer school was likewise a wonderful opportunity to both meet other budding scientists in this subfield and gain insight into how our work may figure into other questions about the changing Arctic. This was also my and many others’ first time in Kalaallit Nunaat, an enormously impactful aspect of the school. Existing in Qeqertarsuaq, even briefly, afforded all sorts of experiences that just cannot be approximated in a classroom setting: witnessing icebergs flip, break, and melt from day to day at the shore, talking to residents about how much has changed since here since childhood – warmer winters, changing hunting and fishing practices, and huge upticks in cruise-ship tourism – and so on. Some of the most fruitful conversations and insights had during the program were answers to the sensory prompts all around us – simply going outside, or in town, and asking “why is ___ this way?” Now back in New Jersey, these experiences are reshaping how I think and speak about Kalaallit Nunaat.

In these ways, attending the ACDC-GRISO program helped me to build a more holistic view of my own work and of the changing Arctic, as well as a valuable and lasting peer network. I am grateful to the Rutgers Climate Institute for helping to make this travel possible and supporting a pivotal experience in my education. Qujanaq! (Thank you!)

lois image1

The ACDC-GRISO program brought together a small group of students studying different aspects of Kalaallit Nunaat’s climate for two weeks of lectures, field activities, and mini-group projects. These photos provide a peek into our lives those weeks – work aboard the Arctic Station’s Porsild (red ship above), a talk on atmospheric dynamics at the station, and lunch breaks filled with icebergs and sled dog puppies.