How not to communicate climate change: Lessons learned from the movie “Frozen” #scipoem


As this poem’s hero was chosen
Olaf, the snowman in Frozen
who dislikes the cold
(or so we’ve been told)
despite d’pending on it to stay frozen

He’s telling the world how excited
he is and how super delighted
of temperatures warming
but without informing
himself ‘bout whether he’ll be blighted

His friends, knowing better, don’t tell him
Which I actually find to be quite grim
Like when sci’ntists hush
Beat about the bush
That conditions for life are about to dim

Exactly what we see performing
In the movie with the warming
We experience daily
That people gaily
Neither communicate – nor hear! – a warning

“Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a —
Happy snowman!”*
Are you really sure, man?
No, Olaf, you’ll just be a puddle!

*Lyrics from the song “in summer” from the Disney movie “Frozen” (2013)


Not an infographic, not SciArt, yet strangely satisfying: I drew my CV :-)

I’ve recently become interested in making infographics for science communication purposes. As in: I’ve been wanting to learn how to do it, but I’ve never gotten around to actually do it. So when I was asked for a one-slide CV the other day, I thought great! Let’s make it an infographic! Two birds, one stone: I get to try out something new for my #SciCommChallenge, and I end up with a cool CV. So today I will tell you the story of how that CV came to be.

First, I started out brainstorming what I wanted to include in the infographic, and what kinds of icons I could use to visualise my skills and expertise with. I quickly ended up with the idea of using a time line that wasn’t linear, but rather organised around the different cities I had lived in for my studies, my Master thesis, my PhD thesis, my PostDoc, my job post PostDoc, and the PostDoc position I am currently on.

When I started sketching, I realised that it would be very difficult to a) come up with ideas for simple icons that showed “physical oceanography”, “mentoring”, or “goal orientation”, and b) to either find those icons online (in c) a style that I liked and d) freely available). Plus I didn’t have a graphics software available beyond PowerPoint. So the idea of sketching the whole thing seemed attractive.

I quite liked the sketch above in pen because it gave me a lot of flexibility with my less-abstract icons, but I wanted some color. So I settled on the design below, now in pencil:

This design I then filled in in water color. That was the first time since 2003 that I had used water colors (as I could see from the top sheet of my sketch pad, which was dated), and despite being a little apprehensive about it, it went quite well (if I say so myself).

So this is the finished product:

That picture was taken on my couch with really bad lighting, but I like how it turned out with the warm background of the paper. I also scanned the CV the next day, but it came out really weird, so I decided to stick with the photo.

The whole process of drawing this CV was really interesting to me.

For example, I had a drawing of a light house in the CV right from the very first sketch. For a while I didn’t really know what to do with it — I really liked it in the picture, but it didn’t seem to serve any purpose. Yes, I want to live in a light house eventually, but how was that relevant for a CV that was supposed to highlight skills and achievements? Until it occurred to me: The light house does actually reveal a lot about me: That I am really goal-oriented. I didn’t even realise it, but my goal-orientation had been on my CV all along, and that had been important to me without me being able to verbalise why! But now that I consciously included it, it all fell into place.

Or the process of drawing those goblets below the time line, for when I won a scholarship and a fellowship. Is it over the top to draw them like I won the world cup (or the Triwizard Cup)? Maybe. But it’s probably the first time ever that I have acknowledged to myself that both were achievements that I can actually be proud of.

I like how the theme of research ships, sailing ships, light houses dominates the whole CV. When I look at it, I feel like it represents me very well, like it captures my “why”, and creating it felt like things were falling into place. And even though I did not submit that CV in the end, to me, the whole process was definitely worthwhile and empowering.

And it definitely motivated to draw more. Stay tuned for some really cool SciArt to come as soon as I have found a good way to digitalize it! :-)

A #SciPoem about sitting on a rotating tank all day long

Are you following our updates from the 13-m-diameter pool on a merry-go-round? If not, you definitely should! Because it is super exciting, but also because this poem will make a lot more sense then…

A Coriolis Rondel
Turning and turning and turning
All day on a merry-go-round
Spinning, free from the solid ground
Isn’t that ev’ry child’s yearning?

Some people’s stomachs start churning
Solid ground, seems so much more sound
Turning and turning and turning
All day on a merry-go-round

Fluid dynamics, exploring
Ocean currents’ driver, be found
Theory developed on that ground
All day, because we love learning
Turning and turning and turning

More about this research: Go check out our blog from the 13-m-diameter rotating tank in Grenoble!

“What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you in your line of work?” and other fun questions in our “ask me anything!” event HAPPENING NOW!

Come ask us anything on here, on the #OceanAMA, on reddit! :-)

Or tell us about the weirdest thing that has happened to YOU in your line of work!

“A brief history of climate in the Nordic Seas” — A #scipoem

A brief history of climate in the Nordic Seas*

Understanding of climate change
explaining a record’s full range
playing the cause-and-effect game
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

data: proxies or direct obs
predicted future poses probs
relationship is not the same:
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

mechanism seems to differ
Gulf Stream currently seems stiffer
than in future or past, we claim,
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

Understanding of climate change
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

*based on an article by Eldevik et al. (2014). Form is a “kyrielle sonett”

Greenhouse Gases — A #SciPoem

Greenhouse Gases

Air around us: full of water
Vapour, clouds or rain
Warmer air holds
more. A feedback.

CO2 belongs in the air
Volcanoes or
Breathing cattle
Not burnt fossils

Natural sources for methane
Ampl’fied by us:
Farting cattle

Soil cultivation produces
nitrous oxide
Burnt biomass

Chlorofluorocarbons are
synthetic stuff
reg’lated now

Those five main components changing
Changing climate

“Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”: A #SciPoem

“Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”

This quote’s source: the IPCC
On what in total ninety-sev’n
Percent of scientists agree
The evidence of climate change

Risen by more than one degree
The av’rage surface temperature
Since anno nineteenhundr’d. See?
The evidence of climate change

The oceans have absorbed some heat
And have become a lot warmer
Espec’lly in the surface sheet
The evidence of climate change

Combined, four-hundred k-m-square
In Greenland and Antarctica
Of ice did melt, flowed off somewhere
The evidence of climate change

And everywhere around the sphere
Glaciers are retreating. Andes,
Himalayas and everywhere
The evidence of climate change

Satellite observations show
Northern Hemisphere snow cover
Was much more five decades ago
The evidence of climate change

Sea levels rising by the flow
Accumulated in the sea
Of all that melting ice and snow
The evidence of climate change

Not changing levels of the sea
But its own area and height
Arct’c sea ice declines rapidly
The evidence of climate change

Intense rainfalls destroy down streams
Temperatures are at record highs
The weather reaching new extremes
The evidence of climate change

Getting sourer through and through
Ocean waters acidify
When oceans absorb CO2
The evidence of climate change

“Grubletegninger” — using sketches presenting alternative explanations of a situation to spark discussions

In my personal #SciCommChallenge, one thing on my things-to-try list were “grubletegninger” — pondering sketches, or sketches to ponder. It’s a format developed in Norway and there is quite a collection available at (And that my sketches below happen to be on a Norway-themed note pad is pure coincidence :-))

The idea is that the sketch of a situation is given, along with a couple of people who each give a statement explaining the situation. For example on the topic of whether a sundial can be used in both hemispheres, the characters state things like “yes, you just have to position it the other way round”, “yes, if you swap the numbers”, “no, because the sun moves in the opposite direction”, “it will work, but with a 12 hour offset”.

This can then be used to spark discussion in a student group. Since many possible misconceptions are made explicit on the sketch itself, it is easy for students to identify with one of the answers and explain why they think that it is the correct one. It is also useful to use answers to argue against, to use them as a starting point for experimentation, to bridge between school science and the real world. I really like this format and think it could be a very useful tool in science outreach, too!

And I think making many different possible answers explicit is actually the most important feature of this tool. My first Grubletegning-sketch (which I did based on a vage memory and before checking out the website) is not nearly as good for sparking thoughts and discussions as it could be if it was laying out different lines of argumentation!

Of course, in the end it is not very different from a multiple-choice exercise, with the different distractors giving the different answer options. But how much more appealing is it when combined with a nice sketch, and actual people (albeit sketched ones) giving the answers, rather than your teacher giving you one correct answer and a couple false ones, and not telling you which one is which? I think this might actually be an excellent tool in outreach to engage people in discussions.

And I am looking forward to coming up with situations that could be used for grubletegninger, and to actually sketching them in a slightly nicer way than I did above. I am trying out a sketch pad next weekend, there might be a huge increase in the quality of graphics on this blog in the near future ;-) Or not, we’ll see ;-)

Response of the ACC to climate change #scipoem

The response of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to recent climate change*

Around and around the southern pole
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current, inspiring
Around and around the southern pole
Seemingly without a goal
Going east, east, east, untiring
East, east, east, admiring!
Around and around the southern pole

Around and around the southern pole
To “the mightiest of all ocean currents” people bowed
Around and around the southern pole
In the Southern Ocean playing the most important role
Despite going slowly, it has never slowed
Enormous amounts of water have flowed
Around and around the southern pole

Around and around the southern pole
Up to 2 kilometres wide
Around and around the southern pole
2 to 4 km deep the flow, no shoal
putting Atlantic, Indic, Pacific, side by side,
connecting them with an enormous tide
Around and around the southern pole

Around and around the southern pole
No continents are in it’s way, by winds the whole is driven
Around and around the southern pole
Blending the world’s oceans’ waters in its endless stroll
Oceans that otherwise are riven
Its importance for climate is given
Around and around the southern pole

Around and around the southern pole
As climate changes, so does the driving wind field
Around and around the southern pole
But studies show that on the whole
Despite the ocean being exposed to winds without shield
In total no changes to the current are yield’d
Around and around the southern pole

*Inspired by an article by Böning, Dispert, Visbeck, Rintoul & Schwarzkopf (2008). This poem’s form is called “rondelet”.

Ask me anything! on October 18th #OceanAMA

Hi! I am Mirjam. We are investigating ocean currents in a 13-m-diameter swimming pool that sits on a merry-go-round. Ask me anything!

I will be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” event!

I am a member of Elin Darelius’ team of scientists. We are investigating ocean currents near Antarctica — by doing scientific experiments in a 13-m-diameter rotating water tank in Grenoble, France. Ask me how experiments in water tanks can tell us something about ocean currents; how we usually observe ocean currents from ships; what it is like to work with an international team in a foreign country; how you become an ocean scientist; anything else you want to know! Looking forward to hearing from you! :-)

To ask me anything, you can either leave comments below or head over to my page on OceanAMA and ask questions there. I will be answering them from Grenoble on October 18th!