Proudly presenting: #SciCommChall – the science communication challenge!

It’s been a little while in the making, but now it’s official and I invite you to join our #scicommchall!

#SciCommChall is a science communicator community-based challenge with the goal to experiment with different science communication formats in reaction to monthly prompts. The aim is to non-competitively inspire each other to come up with fun ideas, some of which might be taken further and become part of our science communication portfolio.

The April-challenge is currently active, so now is as good a time to join as any!

The website, email address, and social media (Twitter @scicommchall, Instagram @scicommchall, Facebook page are all up and running, so pick your favourite mode of interaction and don’t be a stranger! And I would love for you to share #SciCommChall with your networks if you like the idea :-)

Below you see my personal interpretation of the March challenge (“Show us how you would sneak some science communication into a Brunch with your family and friends!”): As an Easter gift to my colleagues, I wrote Haikus about their research projects in KiSOC. Those little poems are on the outside of egg cups, on the inside I hid little explanations about the research projects. Check out other interpretations of that challenge on our website or social media! And join us for future challenges! :-)

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)


Seeing is believing — A #scipoem

Seeing is believing

Climate change communication
Needs a good vis’alization
Political protesters and
politicians should best be shunned
to avoid defens’ve reaction’.

Show behaviour in relation:
not one car, but road congestion.
action’ble steps that can confront
Climate change…

Use real people’s real emotion
unfamiliar, thought-provoking.
Not overwhelmed, but rather stunned,
that’s how people best understand
unconscious habits’ implication’.
Climate change…

*This poem is a „rondeau”, and it is based on the findings in the “Climate Visuals – 7 Key Principles for Visual Climate Change Communication” report (

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!

“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

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”.

#scipoem on an Darelius et al. article about ice shelves

“Observed vulnerability of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to wind-driven inflow of warm deep water”*

Let’s talk ab’t a favourite paper
“Observed vulnerability of Filchner-
Ronne Ice Shelf to
wind-driven inflow
of wa(-a-a-a-a)rm deep water”

An ice shelf is ice that is floating
on top of the sea as it’s flowing
down from a continent
this one is prominent
more ar’onl’ the Ross Shelf is coating.

In oc’nographers’ jargon, “deep water”
(as we learned by heart at my alma mater)
are defined by their propertie’
and live in the deep, deep sea
and currently they are getting hotter.

But “warm” is a relative measure
bathing in it would be no pleasure
it’s temperature typically
less than just one degree!
Go measure yourself at your leisure!

As winds weaken now during summer
warm water, like led by a plumber,
climbs up the continent
and can now circumvent
sills and reach ice from under.

If temperatures rise as projected
a lot of the ice will be ‘ffected.
Raising the lev’l o’ sea,
changing hydrography,
which needs to be further dissected.

Because of its climatic impact
which Elin has now shown to be fact
we need close observation
of deep water formation
so all changes can carefully be tracked.

*that’s the title of an article by (Elin) Darelius et al. (2016) which served as inspiration for this poem.

Tale of arctic melting and deep water formation #scipoem

Tale of arctic melting and deep water formation

Freshwater freezes long before saltwater does,
and it also floats on top of saltwater.
In the Nordic Seas, deep waters are formed.
If there is a lot of freshwater,
less deep water can be formed.
The sea freezes over.
Ice then insulates,
prevents heat flux,
shutting down

this is
too simple.
fresh water layers
are also the currents.
East of Greenland, to name one,
flows fast the East Greenland Current,
taking away all the freshwater
through the Denmark Strait south, and further south,
where the freshwater mixes with saltwater
until anomalies return decades later,
starting the circle again. Now what if Greenland melts?*

*I don’t actually have an answer to the question what will happen if there is a large input of freshwater into the Nordic Seas (which seems unavoidable under global warming when both Arctic sea ice and Greenland glaciers melt). My own research, interpreting measurements taken in the region between 1950 and 2000, shows that during that period the fresh meltwater got transported south, out of the Nordic Seas, as suggested in the poem (Glessmer, Eldevik, Våge, Nilsen, & Behrens, 2014). However, even the newest of those measurements are almost a decade old now, and the debate among experts about what will happen is wide open. Exciting times!