#WaveWatchingWednesday

Another week, another #WaveWatchingWednesday! Here are my collected Instagram posts from my wave watching Insta @fascinocean_kiel.

Even quick glimpses of water make me happy: #WaveWatching from the train! And even from the train, we see gusts of wind as darker, rougher patches of the water.

This is what a storm flood looks like at low tide. #fail. Somehow my work schedule and the tidal cycle didn’t match well today…

I always love mornings at the water side!

Clearly the sheltered side of the fjord today with long waves coming in from somewhere else, but hardly anything happening locally here. But higher surface roughness on the other side as can be seen from a darkening towards the horizon!

But: nice waves in the atmosphere today! Cloud stripes are often due to air oscillating up and down and clouds forming and disappearing as atmospheric conditions change with height. Check out all three pics to see those cloud stripes from different angles!

Today: slightly more water than normal, hence the swimming pool where the rigid part of the pier is flooded between the two pontons.

Can you spot the turbulent wake of where the ferry just sailed out of the picture to the right? It’s the very bright stripe across the water. On the left side of the picture you see a line of darker “feathers” of the V-shaped feathery wake (you know, the V with the ship at its tip, the 2D Mach cone…).

Also very nicely visible today: Lots of reflected waves everywhere, especially parallel to the straight edges of those harbour basins. Weird mixture of no wind (thus smooth water surface) yet enough waves to cause these reflections. But also maybe just the right water level so waves hit a ledge that is always just slightly submerged and then falls dry, thus causing those waves. Who knows? I’m just guessing, didn’t bother looking at it closely enough to find out…

Saturday stroll. These cliffs change a lot over time — se how the old footpath is gone?

Watching gusts of wind play on the water

Tide lines on the beach

Waves getting bent towards the shore

Good morning on this windy Sunday! Fascinating to watch how even over relatively short distances of open water there is such a transfer of energy to make waves this size!

Sneak peak at powertools making eddies! That’s going to be some awesome #KitchenOceanography for @sciencenotes5x15 when it’s done! Picture will then be by @davidcarrenohansen and will look quite differently! I’m just documenting the “making of” here because who would not be curious about that? :D

Plastic cubes and freezer frost standing in for fresh water and salt water ice in a #KitchenOceanography photography concept test for @sciencenotes5x15. Very curious what a professional photographer, @davidcarrenohansen, will make out of my experiments!

And that’s it for last week’s wave watching! Have you done any wave watching lately? If not, you should definitely take it up some time!

Telling ocean science stories on social media

This is the blog version of our iPoster for the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting. “Our” means the fun team consisting of Torge Martin, myself, Elin Darelius, Yasmin Appelhans — my #KitchenOceanography and science communication buddies! :-)

Torge is presenting the poster in San Diego today, but since none of us others could be there (and maybe you can’t see him present, either), here we go! (Or, alternatively, see it in all it’s glory as iPoster the way it’s meant to be)

Training students to communicate science

Why communicate science?

We believe that “science isn’t finished until it’s communicated”(Sir Mark Walport). Scientists have a moral obligation to society to not only answer scientific questions, but to make their findings available to the public, who funds the research in the first place.

Why train students?

Better learning

By giving students the opportunity to talk in layperson’s language about concepts they are currently being taught, we are providing them with a learning strategy that helps them think about the concepts in a different way and better connect it to preexisting knowledge.

Career development

Talking about specialized topics to laypersons is a skill that students will utilize throughout their lives, whether as future researchers or teachers, politicians or citizens. Learning this skill already at university is beneficial for their career development.

Authentic connections

Reaching any audience is easiest when the person reaching out has a good grasp of the interests, habits, life styles of that specific audience. For an audience of young adults, the most authentic narratives are thus told by students, “relatable heroes”. Even audiences that might not be intrinsically motivated to seek out content on ocean sciences can be reached with ocean education and outreach topics when met where they like to spend their time.

How to train the students?

The setting

We train Bachelor students in Climate Sciences in communicating with a lay audience in a clear and easy to understand, yet entertaining and engaging way. Mandatory, peer-reviewed course reports, for example on training cruises on research vessels, or on hands-on experimentation in fluid dynamics laboratories, are specifically written for the purpose of communicating science content as well as students’ enthusiasm and passion for the subject.

The training

For different courses, different training concepts were used. For example, science journalist Dr. Yasmin Appelhans gave a presentation with practice opportunities plus feedback on finished products in a GFD class at GEOMAR.

Connecting on popular platforms

Why Social Media?

We use Social Media as a tool that enables communication with young audiences in a space they come to for entertainment and community. Rather than trying to establishing a profile and build a community of followers ourselves, we make use of guest posts on, and takeovers of, selected popular accounts. We thus reach a broad audience that might, once exposed, find themselves interested in the topics and might pursue that interest further on other channels, such as our blog. We discuss our experiences with this approach as well as chances and potential pitfalls.

What Social Media?

Instagram

Instagram is the most frequently used social media platform in the age range of our students and target audience. We therefore use guest posts and takeovers on accounts that our target audience follows, for example

@nordicpolarsciences, made by and for Master- and PhD students in Nordic Polar Sciences at the University of Bergen.

@kieluni, the official account of Kiel University, Germany.

@doktorwissenschaft, a famous German science communication account for a young audience.

Youtube

Another hugely successful platform in our target audience’s age range is Youtube, and movies are a way to elaborate in much more detail on science concepts. One example is the noteworthy collaboration with DoktorWissenschaft on bringing oceanographic phenomena to an audience of young viewers.

Blogs

We also use blogs to

  • create a lasting archive of our social media outreach efforts on a platform we fully control
  • reach more traditionally-minded science audiences (e.g. colleagues, funders)
  • reach audiences we have already established on those platforms and that are hard to transfer to e.g. Instagram

In addition to guest posts, we use three blogs for slightly different reasons.

“Teaching Ocean Science” is hosted by GEOMAR’s OceanBlogs and was initiated by Torge Martin to document the project “Dry Theory to Juicy Reality” as well as other teaching innovations at GEOMAR, through blog posts written both by instructors and students.

“Scientific Adventures of Elin Darelius & Team” documents Elin Darelius & her team’s scientific life as well as teaching improvements. Posts are written both by instructors and students.

“Adventures in Oceanography and Teaching” is Mirjam Glessmer’s blog where she gives science communication & education advice, especially focused on “kitchen oceanography”. Posts are mainly written by her. We use this blog to reach other ocean educators and share our experiences.

Science Stories

Most of our science stories are related to doing experiments in water tanks to simulate the ocean and atmosphere. Since the mathematical descriptions of ocean and atmosphere dynamics are difficult and unintuitive, we use those tank experiments to give students a tangible experience with the processes as well as the opportunity to manipulate conditions and get a better grasp of the matter at hand.

Within the project “Dry Theory to Juicy Reality”, students wrote science stories using very individual and unique approaches ranging from a diary style

…to the fictitious story of Romeo and Juliette, two water drops that go through a lot of drama caused by cooling in a rotating water tank, simulating atmospheric instabilities…

…to the historical approach of how a process was understood over centuries of research…

…and to detailed physical explanations of Rossby waves.

Our team

Dr. Torge Martin (Kiel, Germany) teaches Ocean & Atmosphere Dynamics

Dr. Mirjam S. Glessmer (Kiel, Germany, and Bergen, Norway) works on improving ocean science communication and education

Dr. Elin Darelius (Bergen, Norway) teaches different topics within oceanography, both in lecture theatres, in the lab and at sea

Dr. Yasmin Appelhans (Kiel, Germany) gives workshops on how to effectively communicate science

Thanks!

#SciCommSunday: How your audience changes the more Twitter followers you have

As my Twitter @meermini was quickly approaching 1k followers last week, I’ve been reflecting about who is following me and why. And on whether what I assume about my audience is influencing my tweeting behaviour. And I remembered an article I had read a while back by Coté and Darling (2018):

“Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the choir or singing from the rooftops?”.

The question being discussed in the article is whether Twitter mainly serves scientists for inreach (“preaching to the choir”) or outreach (“singing from the rooftops”). Turns out that this typically depends on the number of followers an account has. There is a point at around 1k followers when scientists’ accounts typically start reaching audiences beyond other scientists and are therefore starting to be more useful as an outreach tool (outreach being defined in the article as reaching an audience of mainly non-scientists).

This doesn’t seem too surprising: Most scientists, when they start out on twitter, first follow people they know personally. Those are likely mostly scientists from within, or close to, their own speciality. But as the network grows, at some point the pool of those is “used up” and the network has to eventually expand to people who aren’t so close to that speciality any more, or even within science. I have certainly observed this for my account at just below 1k followers, probably enhanced by starting a non-academic job about a year ago that opened up a whole new world (and network) on and off Twitter.

Did the number of followers influence your tweeting behaviour, and if so, how?

I started out tweeting in the microblogging sense that I wanted my parents to be able to see pictures of my life in Norway without me having to email them. At that time I didn’t have any followers, nor did I follow anyone, so I would tend to not count this as actually “using Twitter”. But my handle @meermini still stems from that time. Nowadays I would probably choose something else for professional use… ;-)

After a little while, I began to realize the potential of using Twitter professionally, and I started following more people and reading more on Twitter. I was still mainly a passive user. I remained passive for several years, only at some point starting to have my blog automatically tweet the title and link to new blog posts as they were published. But for the longest time, I didn’t even bother to modify the tweet and really just tweeted out the title & link. This is not the best communication strategy, obviously, but it did help build an audience slowly and steadily, mainly of people who were really interested in my blog and thus my core topics.

As more and more people became interested in my kitchen oceanography stuff, I eventually started modifying the automated tweets to contain more than just the title of the blog posts, and I started thinking about what images to use as featured images on my blog, since they would be tweeted with the link & title. But I would only do it when I had time and mental space for that. I still put a lot more effort into the blog posts themselves than on advertising them on Twitter.

These days I am aware of how many people potentially see my tweets (but there are those rare times when it doesn’t register at all, too). I use the automated tweets that post with scheduled blogposts, as well as Twitter in general, a lot more purposefully now. I now pretty much always modify the automated tweets to include more information than just the blog post’s title. I also try to always include a picture in tweets. Either there is one in the blog post already that I think works well, or if there isn’t, I go find one. Sometimes I include hashtags in those pictures to make it easy to see at first glance what the post is about. I schedule blog posts (and thus the automated tweets) for specific days, so I can use meaningful hashtags on Twitter, like #SciCommSunday (that I am using for this post, btw) or #WaveWatchingWednesday or #FlumeFriday, and thus reach specific audiences.

I also try to put topics of my blog posts into context for people who aren’t in my own little #KitchenOceanography and #WaveWatching bubble. By, again, using hashtags, but also by just writing more generally about what the blog post I am linking to is about. And also when tweeting without it being automated tweets from my blog, I am definitely thinking about whether people will be able to put this into context if they aren’t exactly in my field.

So for me, things have definitely changed as I got more followers, but also as I recognized more how powerful Twitter is in terms of creating — or finding — conversations around topics I care about.

What would you recommend for when you are starting out Twitter? Do it your way or start out with a strategy?

Obviously, it depends on your goal. If you want to reach a large and non-scientists audience fast, you should probably think about a strategy and put efforts into writing nice tweets that match what your target audience would be interested in and how they would like that information presented.

But if you are just dipping your toes into Twitter, I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing what I did, and just feeling your way into it. Yes, your audience won’t grow as quickly, but maybe that means that it’s growing at a rate you are comfortable with. And if it’s too much of a hassle to tweet — just take a break, the world won’t end and neither will your career. And I am a strong proponent of the “you can only know what you are potentially missing out on for networks that you are a part of”: Even if you don’t want to spend a lot of time on Twitter, even checking in or tweeting once every couple of months is better than not doing anything at all. And who knows, you might realize that it is of more benefit to you than you thought it could be, and start spending more time and effort there. Or not. Only one way to find out!

For me, having those automated Tweets from my blog was a great way to recognize how many people were really interested in my topics, and as I recognized their interest, realizing that I wanted to present that information in a nicer, more appealing way. And I am grateful to have this platform for my topics now: Both within the ocean community, and then also — noticeably! — more and more beyond it!

#WaveWatchingWednesday

Another recap of a week on my wave watching Instagram @fascinocean_kiel. Enjoy!

Best thing for my mental health: Running along the waterfront. Bonus if it includes wave watching as it does today: See how in the reflections of the lights there are zones where the water is almost mirror-like (those are the sad zones: no waves) and then there are dark zones with hardly any lights reflected (where the breeze roughs up the surface) and then there are those in-between zones, where you can see individual waves. Lovely evening!⁠

How is it that I am sooo happy to be home and at the same time this view makes me long to be back at sea?⁠

Meetings at GEOMAR are always a welcome opportunity for me to take the slightly longer way along Kiel fjord for some wave watching. Today see how waves close to the boat house have a completely different direction than those closer to the shore?

That’s because the ones closer to the shore are the reflection of the other wave field.

This might not be so surprising to people who don’t look at Kiel fjord as much as I am, but what is the Sweden ferry doing there? Why is it turning on its way into port rather than out? The seagull seems as confused as I am… :-D

But: enough reason for more wave watching (not that I ever need more reasons to wave watch than just wanting to do it…). This corner between the sea wall and the solid structure of the pier is always great for reflections and interferences! Can you spot the two wave fields, the original and reflected one?

Well hello, thanks for making these beautiful waves for me, little buddy!

A wake approaching the pier! How do I know? Because there isn’t any wind here (which I could feel, but which you can also see because there are no ripples on the water) and the wavelengths are too short (and the waves too far in the fjord) for the waves to have traveled here from a distant storm somewhere in the Baltic.

Also, if you quickly turn your head (or look down to the next pic), you can juuust catch the Sweden ferry disappearing around the corner into the mouth of the fjord — she’s the one who made the wake (and it only arrived at the shore when she was already this much further along!).

Good morning!

This is an interesting wave field: Inside the inner harbour, therefore relatively sheltered from the wind and big waves. Yet windy enough to create all these ripples on the waves that made it into the harbour! (And don’t you just love the sun? Yep, yesterday’s picture…)

Lovely day for a swim in the sun! And with such bright light, reflections on the surface are so strong that you can’t look into the water from this angle (which you could on the picture I posted a couple of days ago on an overcast day!)

Here the waves making it into the sheltered, inner harbour are reflected on the straight edge of the sea wall and make this beautiful, very regular wave field. See the ring waves radiating from that pole? The thing in the lower left corner is some reflection on my phone’s lens, it’s not on the water…

Love the tiny ripples on the waves, and the contrast between the “sea state” outside and inside the harbour basin!

And this is what it looks like when you look from the edge of the harbour basin downwind. From the right, waves are travelling around the edge of the wall, but new wave ripples only start forming quite some distance downwind of the wall!

For comparison: Looking into a similar direction from a pier that rests on poles and lets the waves run through underneath almost undisturbed…

Storm Sabine is making waves!

Monday’s “pop up beach” pictures (the strong west winds had pushed the water far out of Kiel Bight!) are in a separate blog post

But then Tuesday: Windy day again! Can you spot the different wave fields? I see three:
1️⃣The long waves with crests more or less parallel to the shore that come out of Kiel fjord
2️⃣The short waves with crests perpendicular to the shore that come from the direction of Kiel locks and sneak around the corner
3️⃣The wind wave field that is generated right here: smooth surface right off the shore that then becomes rougher and rougher the longer the fetch gets
Unfortunately I missed the white caps (or, to be honest, I preferred to watch from the inside & didn’t take pictures when the weather was really interesting, hail and all…

Pop-up beach walk

Strong west winds aren’t the best for traditional wave watching on the east coast, but we got beaches in places where we usually don’t have them! Pretty exciting, especially since I’m on a home office day (luckily the trains to work don’t run regularly because of the storm, so I got to squeeze in some beach time before work!).

Below, you see where the big storm drain runs into Kiel fjord. You might remember it, because it’s the one that the fluorescent dye tracer comes out of whenever the city’s heating systems leak. Except that usually there is a lot more water around here…

So this is a pretty unusual perspective!

Also walking underneath these bridges is usually not recommended.

But it’s pretty cool to see these familiar structures from a very different perspective!

Something I found super interesting about this picture is this little groove that has formed underneath the edge of the bridge. What it shows us is that it has rained a lot at a time when the water was already gone, because that’s how this groove got formed! if there was still water around when the rain ran off the bridge, a) any “impact” of drops would have been dampened a lot by hitting water and b) waves would have acted to remove the groove and shape the sea floor in whatever other way they liked. So fun to discover these things! A bit like playing detective :-D

Maybe rubber boots would have been more appropriate…

Definitely interesting perspectives from down here!

But: Breaking waves on the beach! That’s not something we see a lot around here!

And finally a better look at the obstacle these stilts are there to keep boats off of.

It’s definitely a very different experience to my usual walks along here!

And even some rock pooling today!

#WaveWatchingWednesday

Here is another #WaveWatchingWednesday with last week’s recap of my wave watching Insta @fascinocean_kiel! Enjoy!

Opening my mom’s fridge, I went „WHAT IS THAT SUPER AWESOME LAYERED SAUCE???“. Turns out this was accidental #KitchenOceanography. The sauce was blended when it went into the fridge, then separated and formed layers. Density stratification!
Unfortunately I have to report that the internal wave experiment (that obviously had to happen!) didn’t go so well, too much damping. Layers just veeery slowly return back to horizontal…

The flood is coming in quickly! Most waves reach further in than the one before did, thus reshaping the look of the beach. Footsteps of dozens of people enjoying their stroll — first just blurred a little, then soon gone completely. Covered in foam, shells, then water. Until, a couple of hours later, the water recedes again, each wave leaving fresh, smooth sand for someone to be the first to have walked on that part of the beach, until the whole beach is covered in footprints again. Am I the only one who finds this strangely poetic?

My sister pointed out the waves from the fountain on the left meeting the wind waves coming in from the right, and that ended up being almost as exciting as a bunch of lambs born only the night before!

Not wave watching, but how cute are these little lambs???

#WaveWatchingFromTheTrain

I really like this view of Hamburg!

Finally! Back home to blue skies and wave watching! Today: seaward winds, thus hardly any waves on this side of Kiel fjord. But can you see the breeze offshore where the sea surface looks rougher?

Sunny lunch break!

Oh a seagull making waves!
But what causes the waves that seem to be radiating from the lower right corner of the picture? Check out the next pic!

It’s other waves from a distant ship ⛵️hitting the corner where the beach meets the seawall and radiating from there!

And that’s it for this week! Have you been wave watching lately? If not, what’s your excuse?

For #SciCommSunday: On the power of hashtags

Often completely underrated by people who start using twitter: The power of hashtags.

In this post: Very brief intro and then the three main purposes for which I personally use hashtags.

Hashtags: make your tweets easily findable

Marking a keyword in a tweet with the #-sign turns it into a link which, if clicked, takes you to a list of all other occurrences of this keyword marked by the #-sign, too. Hashtags are therefore a great way to make sure your tweets are seen by the relevant audience, or to make sure you see everything anyone else ever tweeted and marked with a specific hashtag.

Hashtags can be very broad (for example #science) or they can be very specific (like my favourite hashtag, #KitchenOceanography). And there is a whole spectrum in between those two extremes. Going from broad to more specific, one could use hashtags like #OceanScience, #Oceanography, #PhysicalOceanography, #OceanographyLab. Each of those is targeting a smaller audience, but one that is probably more specifically interested in what you are sharing (if you are writing about kitchen oceanography). Which hashtags to use therefore depends really on who you want to reach with a tweet: a larger, broad audience or a smaller, more focussed one.

I personally use hashtags for three main purposes:

Finding & building my community using hashtags

#CTDAppreciationDay, on January 22nd, is an amazing example of how social media can bring a community together around a common passion, in this case an oceanographic instrument.

This year’s #CTDAppreciationDay was the 5th annual event of its kind. From what I understand, it was started out of a combination of frustration and boredom at sea (but I might be completely off here. The first mention that I can find and that I am basing my interpretation on is this one here). But no matter why it was started, it definitely caught on: Oceanographers of all disciplines use the instrument, and clearly many people appreciate it a lot. So on this year’s #CTDappreciationday, about 200 tweets used that hashtag on Twitter. Nearly all of those tweets were either reminiscing of a particularly noteworthy moment at sea working with the instrument, a pretty sunset or rough weather, or were showing the many different applications of the instrument.

While those tweets are definitely enjoyable, for me, using this specific hashtag more is about finding “my people” than the content of the tweets themselves. Just following the hashtag #CTDAppreciationDay, I found about 40 new people to follow on that one day. All those people share my passion for fieldwork and appreciation of CTDs, and tweet about stuff related to the oceanography. I also gained 22 new followers that same day plus 19 more over the next two days (can’t be completely sure they all found me via that hashtag, but many of them followed me back after I followed them). As I don’t go to conferences any more, twitter is my main way of meeting new oceanographers, and this hashtag worked super well!

Which hashtag could you use to find “your people” — people that you don’t know exist yet but that share your passions?

Finding relevant tweets to a topic using hashtags

I love lab experiments. #FlumeFriday is a hashtag used on Fridays to mark posts that show some kind of experiment in a flume (a channel filled with water; in oceanography labs typically used to generate waves in or to have a stretch of controlled flow; both often combined with experiments on sediment transport, coastal protection, flows under different conditions). So in short: #FlumeFriday is super exciting for me! And it’s a hashtag that I both follow (because it’s so cool! Also I am always looking to learn more about tank experiments, what people work on in that area, what techniques they use, what their experiences are, …) and actively use (because I know that people following that hashtag are interested in tank experiments, even though mine are usually a lot more small-scale than most other people’s).

Another example of hashtags I follow are conference hashtags, whether I am there or not. For example #OSM20, the hashtag of the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020,y is one that I will definitely follow since I wish I could be there!

Are there topics for which you would like to be notified each time someone tweets about them? What hashtags would people use for those topics?

Curating a collection of tweets using hashtags

There are two hashtags that I use with my work all the time: #KitchenOceanography (which was actually first used by my friend Geli at a time when I really didn’t know how to use Twitter well) and #FriendlyWaves. Both are super specific. #KitchenOceanography is about the oceanography-related experiments that you can do using only household items (check out posts about that here). #FriendlyWaves are posts in which I explain pictures of waves that my friends sent me.

Over the last months, pretty much all uses of those two hashtags were somehow related to me and my work. Which is really awesome: People who now look at those hashtags because they are curious what exactly is hidden behind those two terms find two projects that I am really passionate about, and also see that I am dominating those hashtags. So in a really positive way, I use those hashtags to “mark my territory”. And if someone else should start using them more frequently, I know there is a great new friendship in the making!

What hashtag is so super specific to your interests and work that you can make it your own, make it part of “your brand”?

Giving it a side eye: Why we use high-walled tanks on our rotating table #FlumeFriday

Inspired by a recent twitter comment on how our tanks are higher-walled than those usually used on the DIYnamics rotating tables, today I’ll talk about why we went for those.

Full disclosure: Mainly for practical reasons (see below). BUT: having high-walled tanks is really helpful for many experiments because they make it a lot easier to observe the vertical dimension. Even though oceanic flows are largely 2D and thus a shallow tank should be enough (and it is for many purposes!), if you look at representations of sections of oceanic properties, the vertical dimension is always stretched to make the important 3D features visible. That’s basically what we are doing here, too: In order to make the point that rotating flows are largely 3D, we blow up the vertical dimension so people can actually observe that claim. Plus then there are all those cases where rotating flow actually isn’t 2D!

For which experiments might a high-walled tank (or a higher water level) be helpful?

For example the Ekman layer experiment. If you want to see the bottom boundary layer thicken over time as friction propagates upwards through the water column, you need to look at it from the side and over a certain period of time, so the water needs to be deep enough to be able to see parts of the water column that are already affected by friction, and then the upper part that isn’t and that’s still in solid body rotation.

Or if you want to observe the difference between rotating and non-rotating fluids, the extra height helps to show that rotating fluids are 2D whereas non-rotating fluids are 3D. So just to make it easier to observe that structures are really 2D, it helps to stretch the vertical axis.

For example of thermal forcing in rotating and non-rotating cases (And yes, I see the irony that i am showing a top-view of the rotating case. But observing by eye and taking pictures in which you can actually see what you saw by eye are two very different things).

Or non-rotating vs rotating turbulence (check out the movie in the linked blog post; makes it much clearer than the picture below).

Or those cases of rotating fluid dynamics where we force the flow to become 3D by mean tricks like slow rotation on a sloping bottom

In reality, there were other reasons, too: Firstly, we couldn’t find cheap options that matched all our requirements (We wanted something that had a diameter close to the maximum that we could fit on our rotating tables, that was cylindrical, had a flat bottom, had clear walls and would be robust enough to use with students).

Secondly, I own a glass vase with a similarly high walls that we used as tank on our prototype of the rotating table. I still use it at home, but we didn’t want to go with glass for the tanks we use all the time with students & for outreach, for obvious reasons. But since we were happy with the dimensions of the vase, we just went with it. Never change a running system, right?

And a practical reason: Emptying a high-walled tank by carrying it to a sink and throwing out the water there is much less likely to make a mess than emptying a lower-walled tank with the same water height in it. Waves created by moving the tank is all I am saying…

And also I think observing vertical structures develop in fluids is always fun! :-)

#DryTheory2JuicyReality featured in our university’s newspaper!

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks at #DryTheory2JuicyReality with our new rotating table, our seminar presentation last week, attending BOOT in Düsseldorf, and more, all in the name of science communication.

Super nice to see our efforts recognized in print: Our project was featured in the university newspaper! Read about us here in German and in English!

Click to read the article on the university’s website

#WaveWatchingWednesday

Another summary post of my wave watching Insta @fascinocean_kiel! Enjoy!

What is going on in the picture below? Just from looking at the picture I could only guess, but luckily I took dozens of pictures of that location with slightly different angles and at different times, so I could figure it out!

To the right of this picture, there is a groyne. Some of the higher waves, like the one whose crest is perpendicular to the beach (looking like it’s wiping out all the smaller waves) make it over that groyne. Most don’t, so they get bent around the groyne and approach the beach with crests more or less parallel to the beach, like we would generally expect waves to behave. And there you have it: a really weird-looking wave field!

It’s so fascinating to observe water interact with obstacles, not only because of what waves are created (although that’s definitely awesome!) but also because of what water does to things that try to stop it.

Take for example groynes, those structures that are built into the sea perpendicularly to the beach. Their purpose is to regulate beach erosion by breaking up the current along the shore and creating pockets of calmer water where sand falls out and accumulates on the beach rather than being taken downstream with a current. There are many different kinds of groynes for different purposes. Those that always stick out of the water or those that are submerged, those that are completely closed off and those that let a little water and sediment through. And I find it so interesting to look at structures and ponder why specific design choices were made.

In this picture, the groyne is old and either eroded or was designed for a coastal shape that has changed since: high waves manage to flow around the landward end of the groyne, eroding the beach there. Looks cool, but not so cool for coastal protection…

But it makes it even more interesting to come back to that beach soon to see how things develop: very close by old groynes were being pulled out of the sand as we walked past, so there will very likely new coastal protection measures in place next time I visit! What do you think what they will look like?

Next, I went to the trade fair “BOOT” in Düsseldorf for a long weekend. Super exciting! Here are my posts from that huuuuge trade fair on water sports:

#WaveWatching of a different kind these days thanks to @deutschemeeresstiftung and #loveyourocean: #TheWave at #BootDüsseldorf2020. I have to make time to talk to one of their technicians who are surely around… (Edit: In the end I didn’t manage to track one down. I saw where they were sitting, but there were too many layers of security between them and me…)

Then: hotel breakfast #WaveWatching.
Here is how you do it: take a latte glass (the glass, not a glass of latte. That would obviously work, too, but I have posted about that soo often by now that it isn’t as exciting any more ;-)), two coffee crema and then pour a little milk in. Voila: diffusive layers form! That’s a really nice example of double-diffusive mixing where heat and milk diffuse at different rates. And if you disturb the stratification, for example by moving the glas, you get internal waves!

Fascinating how different people have such different perspectives on water.
Mine today was one I am not very familiar with: mainly through microscopes, trying to adjust them in such a way that visitors at the #loveyourocean booth of @deutschemeeresstiftung could get a good look at plankton. This would then lead the conversation to food webs, microplastics, and more. Very different from my usual topics, but definitely fun!
Also: taking pictures with your phone through a microscope is a lot more difficult than you would imagine!

(Yes, I know there are microscopes that take proper pictures…. But where is the fun in that?!)

Pretty impressed by the effort people at #bootdusseldorf2020 put into creating fun environments to try different water sports. Indoor pools with wind machines, live grass and bushes and stuff! And also impressive how different the moods are in different areas of the congress center. Pity it’s already over for me!

Also super awesome: the THW‘s rescue divers. And how air bubbles rapidly increase in volume as they rise to the surface :D

For this month’s #SciCommChall, I show you the contents of my trusty handbag. You see it in the picture here and in my profile picture. Wherever I go, it goes. And there are surprisingly many things in there that I carry with me for my #SciComm! Check out the blogpost!

Not really wave watching, but close enough: the light installation on this church’s steeple shows how low the cloud cover was two nights ago. Looks very cool, me thinks! Even cooler than on clear nights where you don’t get the projection on the clouds and the light just disappears into space (or wherever)

Yay! A little #WaveWatching on my way to a meeting in Berlin. Can you see which direction the waves are coming from? Check out how the ring waves are traveling from the buoy!

On a work trip, combining scouting locations of interest in terms of #biodiversity with (surprise!) #wavewatching. Luckily the duckies were cooperating and making interesting waves in their feeding frenzy. I especially love the splashing as the jump up and down the stone edge of the pond!

I think these ducks are so pretty! Remind me of a tiny figurine I owned as a child and that — I remember that vividly — had a glued-on part where something had broken off when it fell down…

And that’s it for this week’s #WaveWatchingWednesday! See you next Wednesday! :-)