The EarthTemp Network held its second annual meeting in Copenhagen in June 2013, discussing the theme "Characterising surface temperatures in datra-sparse and extreme regions" with a focus on high-latitude domains. 27 high-latitude researchers came from longitudes all around the globe to gather at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen.
The EarthTemp meetings are designed for networking and encouraging new collaborations between the participants. Several creative activities throughout the meeting helped participants to get to know each other and find connections.
We started with a "carousel" exercise: Five stations were set up around the room, each with a tought-provoking, but sufficiently general question (e.g. "Which data-sparse area or domain is least understood?" or "What is needed to make surface temperature data more accessible to users?"), and every participant got a randomized list of the stations they should go to. In the first round, four or five participants gathered around each of the questions and started discussing, writing down their ideas and comments on flipchart paper. After five minutes, a signal told everybody to move to the next station on their list. There they could see the ideas written by the previous group and were asked to comment, elaborate or contradict them, again making notes on the flipchart paper. As every participant had a personal randomised list of stations, they met a new set of colleagues in each round. After five more minutes, people had to move to their third station, then to the fourth, and finally to their fifth.
During this carousel activity, every participant met (almost) everybody else within a short time. Although we didn't ask people to introduce themselves in detail, you still got some impression of your colleagues' interests from the way they contributed to these small group discussions. A second, equally important aim of the activity was to help participants focus on the topic of the meeting - every participant had to think very actively about the five questions, and the brain was primed for the subsequent more detailed presentations, posters and discussions. Finally, although five minutes per question does not seem much, the carousel groupwork actually produced quite a few good ideas too.
Thanks to this intense networking activity right at the beginning, it is no surprise that the poster session and coffee breaks immediately featured extensive debates.
In plenary sessions, keynote speakers then presented overviews of the state of art, unresolved questions and ideas for future directions to a very captive audience. Kevin Wood (NOAA) discussed the synthesis of high-latitude datasets, Claude Duguay (shown in the next picture) looked at the variability and change of Arctic Land Surface Temperatures, Pierre Le Borgne gave an overview over polar Sea Surface Temperature changes, and Jacob Høyer described Sea-Ice Surface Temperature measurements.
A main objective of the EarthTemp Network is to identify gaps in our knowledge and develop action plans to improve our understanding. The first meeting (2012) produced a community paper that recommends ambitious steps for an integrated understanding of surface temperatures (it is currently in the open discussion phase of the EGU journal Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems, and comments from the community are are welcome). The second EarthTemp meeting focussed on turning some of these recommendations into action. A lot of time was scheduled for breakout groups, plenary discussions or other creative exercises that will lead to new activities.
In the "collaboration incubator" activity, each participant had to write five of their main interests on a piece of paper. Participants then moved around the room, and on an acoustic signal had to stop and speak to the (random) person next to them to compare their list of interests. This was repeated several times. In this way, some common themes were identified and participants discovered new links to colleagues they had not known before. After having found these common interests, participants then were asked to sit down with like-minded colleagues and write an outline of a possible collaborative research project. Of course this did not commit participants to actually doing the projects, but experience from last year showed that such an exercise still helped to establish concrete academic links between people who did not know before that they had something in common.
The scientific results and recommendations of the workshop will be published and communicated in due course.
Despite all this hard work, there was time to enjoy the sights of Copenhagen from a boat.
As organisers, we can say that it has been a very intense and demanding, but also enjoyable and productive meeting, in which all participants met many new colleagues and could forge new professional links. A big "Thank You" to all the participants: you made it a success with your ideas and your enthusiasm for understanding Earth's surface temperatures!
Another big "Thank You" goes to the Danish Meteorological Institute for hosting the workshop, and to the Copenhagen for its warm, friendly, welcoming atmosphere.