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The IcePod is the podcast about polar science and the people. We'll talk to scientists who went on board Polarstern, the German research icebreaker, for the biggest research expedition in the Arctic. The IcePod is the official podcast of the Year of Polar Prediction www.polarprediction.net

The IcePod The IcePod

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The IcePod is the podcast about polar science and the people. We'll talk to scientists who went on board Polarstern, the German research icebreaker, for the biggest research expedition in the Arctic. The IcePod is the official podcast of the Year of Polar Prediction www.polarprediction.net

    The IcePod with RV Polarstern Captain Thomas Wunderlich – english Version

    The IcePod with RV Polarstern Captain Thomas Wunderlich – english Version

    Finally, it's there! As promised earlier, the short version of our The IcePod interview with Captain Thomas Wunderlich in English language is now available. Thomas Wunderlich took over the command of the German research icebreaker RV Polarstern for leg 4 and 5 of the MOSAiC expedition in June 2020.

    Thomas Wunderlich is one of currently three captains on board Polarstern; together with his colleague Captain Stefan Schwarze he made sure that scientists could carry out their work during the one-year drifting MOSAiC ice camp in the central Arctic. In this special edition of The IcePod, we we hear about how to pursue a career at sea, how to become the captain of the 39 year-old Lady Polarstern, and what is the role of a captain when the ship is not actively moving but just drifting through sea-ice floes.

    Wunderlich recalls the precious moment when he met his Captain colleague Stefan Schwarze somewhere at the sea-ice edge in June 2020 to take over the command of Polarstern out on the MOSAiC expedition to study the Arctic for a full year. He tells us about the uncertainty of the expedition under pandemic circumstances and about the good spirit kept on board to make sure the scientists can happily carry out their research. In October 2020, after one year in the ice, Thomas Wunderlich maneuvered RV Polarstern back home to Bremerhaven. The moment has been hilarious and very emotional when the vessel entered port on a sunny early October morning, accompanied by the many welcome-honking escort boats and happy-waving people at the quay.

    For the full episode with Captain Thomas Wunderlich in German language and all previous IcePod episodes go to e.g. Spotify, Apple Podcast, Castbox (no sign-up needed) or on our website theicepodcast.home.blog

    The IcePod is produced by the International Coordination Office of the Polar Prediction Project, a project initiated by the World Meteorological Organization to improve weather and sea ice forecasting in the polar regions. For any question or feedback, please contact polarprediction@gmail.com.

    • 25 Min.
    We Have to Move with the Weather – The IcePod with Karin Strand

    We Have to Move with the Weather – The IcePod with Karin Strand

    In the new episode of The IcePod, we meet with Karin Strand, Vice President of Expeditions of Hurtigruten, a Norwegian coastal ferry service and cruise line that offers expeditions to Antarctica.

    When Karin Strand began studying law in the late 1990s, she had no idea where life would take her. It all started with a student job in the summer; here she cleaned cabins aboard the ships of the traditional Norwegian ferry service that carries people from Bergen to Kirkenes in northern Norway. "Little did I know by the time", how much nature would become her profession. "During breaks at sea, I used to go out on deck and look at the coastline," she says. After graduating from law school, she decided to leave law behind and work for Hurtigruten on their ships instead. At the time, Hurtigruten had begun operations on the Chilean coast and in Antarctica which Karin was able to join as a purser to take care of passengers. She remembers well her first glimpse of Antarctica: while she expected it to basically be a copy of what she knew from the Norwegian coast, she quickly realized that Antarctica was "way bigger than myself". She has returned to Antarctica every year since, with the exception of last season when Hurtigruten had to temporarily suspend service due to COVID-19.

    When Hurtigruten established an outdoor program, Karin was offered the opportunity to join the Antarctic cruises as an expedition leader. Being an expedition leader requires three things: a good eye for logisticts, curiosity and passion. "This is much more than a job, it's a lifestyle", Karin explains. Today, as the Vice President of Expeditions, Karin is responsible for a fleet of six ships in Antarctica and the Arctic, including onshore expeditions and the onboard educational program. The latter has grown significantly over the years; Hurtigruten not only conducts Citizen Science projects, but offers scientists the opportunity to collect data during cruises.

    In her role, Karin is heavily involved into the planning the expedition itinerary. The team onboard uses several sources to check weather and sea-ice forecast, including windy.com (https://www.windy.com) and the Norwegian weather forecast from yr.no (https://www.yr.no). To make sure, we stay safe, "we usually go with the worst-case scenario", Karin explains. Better fog and wind forecasts would be very useful, and if there were a wish list, Karin would look for a combined product where information on sea ice, wind and ocean currents would be available from a single source, "because those are the elements that would stop us on our way.”

    • 1 Std. 4 Min.
    The Drake Lake & the Drake Shake – The IcePod with Nina Gallo

    The Drake Lake & the Drake Shake – The IcePod with Nina Gallo

    In this episode of The IcePod, we talk to Nina Gallo about her work as a tour guide in Antarctica and how she gets the most out for her Antarctica-loving passengers, even when the weather is unstable.

    Nina came to Antarctica about five years ago when she applied for a tour guide position in Antarctica. "Australia has a strong connection to Antarctica, and I heard about it when I was a kid in school," says the Australian writer and photographer. What she likes best about the Antarctic landscape is that it is "always surprising". After each of her trips south, you'd think Nina would be exhausted from a 24-hour job lasting several weeks, but no, she's always excited to just turn around and go back.

    Her work as a guide consists, on the one hand, briefing and preparing the passengers who have boarded in Ushuaia, Argentina, and are now finally entering Antarctica. On the other hand, she explores the untouched nature of the southernmost continent in Zodiacs with the passengers. In addition to the specialist knowledge she has acquired in various training courses, her intuition is important for exploring the area and assessing possible risks and dangers at an early stage.Because the weather is often difficult to predict, her expedition team uses some popular tools like https://www.windy.com/ and https://www.zygrib.org/ to plan their trips to the landing sites. "We go with whatever Antarctica has to offer" to make the trip as enjoyable as possible for passengers. "It doesn't matter what the weather is like in Antarctica, there is always something magical to see", says Nina.  

    Find more about Nina Gallo at https://ninagallo.squarespace.com/The episode with music is played at https://www.medialabnord.de/radio-livestream/ (Bremerhaven) on Saturday, 4 December 2021, 1–3 pm UTC (2–4 pm CET). For any question, send and email to polarprediction@gmail.com

    And here's the playlist from Nina:

    - Sunrise - Pillows – Alfa Mist, Emmavie
    - Wise Women – Moonchild
    - Nakamarra – Hiatus Kaiyote
    - Under Control – The Internet
    - Cool Change – Little River Band
    - The Storm – Boy & Bear
    - Sunset (Amber Navran Remix) – Ashley Chanel, Amber Navran

    The IcePod is produced by the International Coordination Office of the Polar Prediction Project, a project initiated by the World Meteorological Organization to improve weather and sea ice forecasting in the polar regions. For any question or feedback, please contact polarprediction@gmail.com.

    • 45 Min.
    The IcePod with Lasse Rabenstein and Panagiotis Kountouris – Let the Data Speak to You

    The IcePod with Lasse Rabenstein and Panagiotis Kountouris – Let the Data Speak to You

    In the first episode of The IcePod, season 2, we talk to Lasse Rabenstein and Panagiotis Kountouris. They run the start-up Drift+Noise Polar Services, which could potentially become the ‘one-stop solution for ice information'. 

    "If I were the captain of a fishing vessel sailing north of Svalbard..." – In this episode, Lasse and Panos tell us about their start-up company, which primarily aims to support shipping activities in polar regions fjnd a safe path through the ice. To that end, they are developing products such as an app that integrates various information, such as satellite data and ice-drift forecasts, to provide users with an easy-to-use solution, "so that the data speaks to you", Panos says. While a forecast is always subject to uncertainty, users need a truly accurate forecast; for them "the perfect product is a perfect forecast", he adds. However, "on a ship in the Arctic, you can still feel like you're back in the 1990s", says Lasse – low bandwidth is one of the issues Drift+Noise is trying to solve with its service. 

    As an intermediate provider that passes information from data providers to end users, there is a need to take care of customers – communication and user feedback are key to further improving the company's products. "And… it's really important to educate people by showing them what the innovations are", the company partners add. "Especially the new generations of captains and ice pilots will appreciate getting any information they need to run their operations."

    Here's the playlist from Lasse: 

    - Der Traum ist aus - Ton Steine Scherben

    - Child in Time - Deep Purple

    - Alles muss man selber machen lassen - Deichkind 

    - Nordisch by Nature - Fettes Brot

    - Verdächtig - Systemabsturz

    - Feed Your Head - Kalkbrenner

    The IcePod is produced by the International Coordination Office of the Polar Prediction Project, a project initiated by the World Meteorological Organization to improve weather and sea ice forecasting in the polar regions. For any question or feedback, please contact polarprediction@gmail.com.

    • 53 Min.
    The IcePod Season 2

    The IcePod Season 2

    In the first season, Sara Pasqualetto and Kirstin Werner of the International Polar Prediction Coordination Office invited participants from the MOSAiC expedition who spent a year drifting through Arctic sea ice on the German research icebreaker RV Polarstern. Guests on the podcast were able to share details from the MOSAiC expedition about their scientific work on the ice, as well as about life on board, insights that would otherwise have been left untold. The episodes were broadcast on the community radio station Radio Weser TV in Bremen and Bremerhaven and are still available on Spotify and other podcast platforms.

    In the second season of The IcePod, Kirstin Werner continues to invite podcast guests to bring along their favorite songs and get to know the guests a little better that way. In particular, the second season is about learning more about a range of activities in the Arctic and Antarctic that require good forecasts of environmental conditions. At high latitudes, reliable weather and sea ice forecasts are key to safe operations. However, data on weather and sea ice at the poles are still relatively sparse because these areas are difficult to access. As a result, accurate forecasts are still lacking in these regions. In Season 2 of The IcePod, Kirstin talks to Drift+Noise Polar Services, a start-up that turns forecast data into applied services. You'll also hear from Hurtigruten, a major coastal ferry service and cruise company in Norway, an Antarctic expedition leader, and a helicopter pilot working on Polarstern. Stay tuned and watch out for the next episodes of The IcePod.

    The IcePod is produced by the International Coordination Office of the Polar Prediction Project, a project initiated by the World Meteorological Organization to improve weather and sea ice forecasting in the polar regions. For any question or feedback, please contact polarprediction@gmail.com.

    • 2 Min.
    Bonus Episode Five (in German) – with RV Polarstern Captain Thomas Wunderlich

    Bonus Episode Five (in German) – with RV Polarstern Captain Thomas Wunderlich

    Surprise, surprise! After the final episode with Matt Shupe, we have another one for you. In this German edition of The IcePod, we talk to Captain Thomas Wunderlich who took over the command of the German research icebreaker RV Polarstern for leg 4 and 5 of the MOSAiC expedition in June 2020. 

    Thomas Wunderlich is one of currently three captains on board Polarstern; together with his colleague Captain Stefan Schwarze he made sure that scientists could carry out their work during the one-year drifting MOSAiC ice camp in the central Arctic. How to become the captain of the 39 year-old Lady Polarstern, and what is the role of a captain when the ship is not actively moving but just drifting through sea-ice floes? Not only we learn about the bunch of items Thomas Wunderlich always takes with him aboard when leaving for the north or south (we only mention 'night socks' here), but also we hear about how to pursue a career at sea, about the different marine officer grades and on the general aspects of seafaring in Germany and around the world.  

    'There are the dead, there are the living, and there are sailors', Thomas Wunderlich quotes an unknown source; his life is divided into six months at sea and six months at home each year, both being intensive times of living, and yes, Thomas Wunderlich also likes to be on land, using his spare time for work in the garden or to explore the beautiful Spreewald area south of Berlin, which is home for Captain Wunderlich. 

    Wunderlich tells us about the moment, many years ago, when for the first time he had heard that something called the MOSAiC expedition was discussed. And he revisits with us the precious moment when he met his Captain colleague Stefan Schwarze somewhere at the sea-ice edge in June last year. Yes, he can't deny, they gave each other a hug when he took over the command after leg 3. After all, in times when it is uncertain whether a MOSAiC expedition can continue even under pandemic circumstances, it was also his endorsement to expedition lead Markus Rex to keep on going, thanks to the brilliant logistic efforts that made seemingly impossible things possible. 

    There is one common goal at a research vessel, which is making the scientists happy by enabling them to do their research; for which both parties need to be treated overly respectfully on board, and this has worked out very well for Thomas Wunderlich's leg 4 and 5 of MOSAiC. "While we, the captain and crew, can take water samples, we cannot analyze them. But at the same time, if there wasn't us, the ship would still sit in Bremerhaven." In October 2020, after one year in the ice, Thomas Wunderlich maneuvered RV Polarstern back home to Bremerhaven. The moment has been hilarious and very emotional when the vessel entered port on a sunny early October morning, accompanied by the many welcome-honking escort boats and happy-waving people at the quay.

    If you miss the music, find Thomas Wunderlich's playlist on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0WL49FCRP76g5QR2cipqGe

    For updates and other materials, check also our website https://theicepodcast.home.blog/

    Music from https://filmmusic.io "Sweeter Vermouth" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

    Licence: CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/)

    Photo credit: Lianna Nixon

    Editorial responsibility: Kirstin Werner and Sara Pasqualetto

    • 1 Std. 30 Min.

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