Ice Core Young Scientists workshop report

Pascal Bohleber1, Marie Cavitte2, Bess Koffman3, Bradley Markle4, Pavlina Pavlova5, Mai Winstrup4, Holly Winton6
 
1Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA
2Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas of Austin, USA
3Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, USA
4Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
5Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland
6Physics and Astronomy, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
 
ICYS Executive Committee icecoreys 'at' gmail 'dot' com
 
Group photo from the Ice Core Young Scientists workshop
Group photo from the Ice Core Young Scientists workshop. —Photo courtesy of the second IPICS open science conference (OSC)

Ice Core Young Scientists (ICYS) held a highly successful one-day workshop for early career researchers on 6 March 2016. The workshop was held in conjunction with the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS) 2016 second open science conference in Hobart, Australia. [See related article – Report from the 2nd International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences Open Science Conference] This was the first event of its kind for ICYS. Over 85 early career researchers attended the event, equivalent to about 40% of the IPICS conference delegation. In addition to providing professional development, the workshop offered a chance for early career researchers to get to know each other before the weeklong conference began.

The workshop kicked off with a plenary lecture by Nerilie Abram of Australia National University, asking the question "Why do we need more paleoclimate records from Antarctica?" Dr. Abram presented new research, currently in preparation by the PAGES Antarctica 2K group, showing that climate models currently do not accurately represent the climate in the Southern Hemisphere. She argued for additional ice core records from Antarctica and for improved integration of ice core and other paleoclimate proxy data.

The plenary was followed by a lively panel discussion on the future of ice core science. Eight panelists shared their views on what and where the next big ice core project should be, and what major questions the community can try to address using ice cores in the future. Major themes coming out of the discussion included: a) integrating data from multiple ice cores, such as the work by the PAGES Antarctic 2K array; b) filling in the latitudinal gap of paleoclimate records between the poles and taking advantage of other types of climate proxy records, such as those from corals and speleothems; c) enhancing the interaction with climate modelers, oceanographers, biologists, and others using ice cores to answer non-climate questions related to biology and ice dynamics; d) advancing technologies, such as rapid access drilling and in situ analysis down boreholes; and e) engaging the broader community in our science. Major questions centered on improving predictions for future climate, especially in regard to sea level rise, and understanding the role of Antarctica in the climate system.

The ICYS workshop included two rounds of breakout discussions focused on topics of great importance to early career researchers, but which are rarely taught in formal settings. Session topics included, "how to get your research funded as an early career researcher," "leadership techniques and being a principal investigator," "science, family and equality: negotiating the early career researcher career path," "initiating international collaborations," and "evaluating funding proposals." Each breakout group was facilitated by a mid-career scientist who shared their expertise and experience in these areas and led discussion. We were also lucky to have Michael White, an editor at Nature, discuss issues around authorship. Many thanks to all our invited speakers!

Our final plenary session was facilitated by Dr. Heidi Roop, of the Science and Society research group at Victoria University of Wellington. Dr. Roop studies the science of science communication, and shared insights on how to communicate more effectively with the public. We learned that "knowledge building" efforts, such as having community meetings and developing citizen science initiatives, are most effective in getting the public to understand, appreciate, support, and critically become involved with the science we do. We were able to fold these ideas into short outreach videos that we produced at the end of the workshop. These videos, called FrostBytes, highlight different aspects of ice core research. They will serve as a valuable resource for outreach and engagement, and will be made publicly available on the Climate and Cryosphere (CLiC) and Association of Polar Early Career Science (APECS) websites.

Finally, ICYS was given the opportunity to summarize the workshop during the IPICS conference closing session. We provided the broader ice core community with an early-career perspective on the future of ice core science.

PAGES generously supported six travel packages for early career researchers from developing countries to attend the workshop. Travel support for early career attendees was also provided by the US National Science Foundation, the IPICS 2016 conference sponsors, the EPICA Descartes Prize, and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core program. Lunch was kindly supported by Climate and Cryosphere (CLiC).

The first of its kind, the 2016 ICYS Workshop was successful in both building a more cohesive international community of early career researchers in ice core sciences, as well as providing those researchers with information and skills useful to their developing careers, the primary goals of ICYS. Many attendees remarked that simply meeting fellow early career scientists the day before the main meeting improved their conference experience and sense of involvement in the community. Participants were asked to provide feedback on the workshop and we received many positive responses, such as:

"Thank you very much for establishing this great event! The science communication part was most useful, we have very few opportunities to learn about it while it becomes a more and more important part of science."

"I enjoyed the panel discussion on the future of ice core sciences. As young scientists we are lacking knowledge of the big picture in research trends. It is really helpful to get some ideas from experienced scientists."

"The communication part was most useful. Scientists tend to forget how simple they have to keep a message for the average population of our planet."

"Heidi was great! Very useful, and I appreciate the participative aspects of it."

"You guys rock. Thanks for the hard work, thanks for pumping energy into the community!!!"