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PolarRES General Assembly October 2023

9 October 2023

PolarRES partners meet in Utrecht, the Netherlands, for this year’s Annual Meeting!

The PolarRES General Assembly 2023 gathered in Utrecht for a 3-day programme filled with scientific updates, lively debates, and some fun social activities. It was great to meet after a year since the last meeting. This years’ host, Utrecht University, provided for an astounding venue for the plenary sessions, working group discussions and individual meetings among researchers. 

The programme of the first day provided many opportunities to mingle and catch up after several months of meeting online. Priscilla Mooney, the Project Coordinator, gave a warm welcome to all participants, followed by individual presentations of the project researchers, presenting their latest findings. The goal of these sessions was to make sure everyone is up-to-date with the latest developments across all work packages. Work Package 1 lead, Xavier Levine, shared interesting information on the variability of results between storylines: “We obtained different results of the enhancement of climate risks depending on the storyline – i.e. for temperature, wind”. During the presentation on Work Package 5, its lead, Willem Jan van de Berg, shared some interesting findings discovered as part of their research: “The 2023 maximum sea ice extent is the lowest in the 45-year satellite record, more than one million km2 below the previous record low maximum extent, set in 1986”. The day ended with working group meetings on early-career researchers, as well as equality, diversity and inclusion within the project. 

The second day started with the traditional poster session with a total of 12 posters, where researchers used their findings as a starting point for lively discussions. The day went on to a short presentation on the coordination and financial management of the PolarRES project, and an interactive WP7 presentation on communication and dissemination activities. The afternoon was a time reserved for panel reporting, as well as individual meetings between project members. The organisers saved the best for last, with a tour of the Oudaen brewery in the historical centre of Utrecht, followed by a sit-down dinner. This was a good occasion to blow off some steam and connect in a more informal setting. The evening outing was definitely a highlight of the trip, and much needed after the fully packed agenda of the previous days.

The annual meetings provide a great opportunity for all of the project members to connect and exchange ideas in person. This years’ edition can definitely be considered a success, thanks to all of the organisers and participants. We look forward to the next event in 2024! 

The Polar CORDEX Annual Meeting, which directly followed the PolarRES event, was attended by several of the same participants. The discussions at the conference focused on the topics of Arctic regional climate model simulations, processes and improvements, as well as Antarctica, including important processes being simulated in PolarRES, such as aerosol-cloud interactions, extreme precipitation and sea ice. Participants also ventured the question of why and how high resolution regional modelling can be useful to people affected by climate change.