Polar2E Newsletter 4 | Spring 21

It has been 1 year since POLAR2E was created. A very strange and hard year, indeed. So strange, with many of us deeply buried in work and running faster than ever, others caring for close ones, that we completely forgot about the anniversary! But this year, that has run sometimes too slowly and others, too fast, has also shown that POLAR2E is here to stay. Even severely hampered by the cancelation of the field seasons of most POLAR2E scientists and students, our research activities continued and we have found new ways of networking and moving forward. Our students have managed to proceed with their research and even to make short internships abroad, we have implemented the Early Career Scientist Webinars, strengthened the team with the integration of the Instituto de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (ISCPS), consolidated the collaboration among researchers from different disciplines, had new proposals funded in national and international calls, strengthened the collaboration with international partners and worked hard to help organize the Arctic Science Summit Week 2021 in late March. There is still much more to come and we believe that with the foresight of the end of the pandemics, our lives and work will be back to normal, hopefully very soon. We invite you to read the newsletter and find out more about POLAR2E. For our students and early-career scientists, funding is now available for participation in international conferences.

Gonçalo Vieira, Ricardo Trigo and Zita Martins

Gonçalo Vieira, Ricardo Trigo and Zita Martins
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Arctic Summit Week 2021 held online with the co-organization of POLAR2E

After three years of preparation and jointly organized by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), the Ciência Viva, and the POLAR2E, under the scope of the International Arctic Science Committee, the Arctic Science Summit Week 2021 (ASSW2021) was held online from 19 to 26 March 2021. The ASSW2021 is the largest annual scientific and business conference on Arctic science, bringing together scientists, engineers, science managers, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and stakeholders, to present and discuss the more recent advances in Arctic science and its applications. POLAR2E has been involved with the organization of ASSW2021 since its inception, with João Canário being the Conference Chair and Gonçalo Vieira the Chair of the International Scientific Committee. But the involvement of POLAR2E was much larger, with several members in the Local Organizing Committee and also through the Technical Support Team, which counted with the participation of several students and POLAR2E members.

The ASSW2021 was an outstanding challenge for POLAR2E and for Portugal, and an excellent opportunity to showcase Portuguese Arctic science to the international community. The event had an overwhelming number of participants, with about 1,400 delegates from 37 countries, which participated in 36 business sessions, 82 science sessions, with around 700 presentations, 5 keynote lectures, and 2 IASC medalist lecture key-notes. It was an amazing event and only now, we start to fully grasp its whole breadth. The 168 hours of science sessions recorded on video can be viewed at the conference platform for those who have registered, for a period of over 6 months after the event.

The cross-cutting nature and the high quality of the science sessions held in ASSW2021 will surely have a lasting impact and we are sure that as a result the polar sciences in Portugal will also come out strengthened by this excellent event.
The Book of Abstracts is available online:

Book of Abstracts

MoU between POLAR2E and the Centre of Northern Studies and the Institut Nordique du Quebec

Under the framework of the Embassy of Canadá in Lisbon, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the College POLAR2E and the Centre of Northern Studies - Laval University (CEN) and Institut Nordique du Quebec (INQ). The MoU was signed on the 25 March in a virtual event that counted with the participation of several researchers of the signatory institutions, the Directors of POLAR2E, CEN, and INQ, the Presidents of FCUL, IGOT, ISCSP, and IST, as well as with the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, the Rector of the University of Lisbon, António da Cruz Serra, and the President of the FCT, Helena Pereira, hosted by the Ambassador of Canada, Lisa Rice Madan. The MoU aims at strengthening the collaboration between POLAR2E, CEN, and INQ, focussing on the research in the Canadian Arctic, an area where POLAR2E has several projects and Ph.D. students. To POLAR2E, this MoU is strategical and will surely be a strong base for its activities in the Arctic.

Sandra Balão, Professor at the Institute of Social and Political Sciences new member of IASC’s Human and Social Working Group

The College POLAR2E congratulates Sandra Balão for her nomination by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation as a national delegate at the Human and Social Working Group at the International Arctic Science Committee. This nomination is especially important since it is the first time that Portugal has a representative in this group, an area of extreme significance for the Polar regions. This is an excellent opportunity for Portugal to promote the strengthening of the human and social sciences in the Arctic, but also an opportunity for POLAR2E to both involve more social scientists in Arctic research, and to strengthen cross-cutting activities with the other POLAR2E polar teams, which have been traditionally more linked to the natural sciences.

Arctic Science Ministerial 3 with two professors from POLAR2E

The 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial took place on the 8 and 9 of May in Tokyo under a hybrid format. The organization of this important meeting of science ministers was co-hosted by Iceland and Japan. As explained in the event rationale, the ASM3 aims “to take action on coordinated Arctic observing and research in an open and transparent format which includes all Arctic stakeholders. The involvement of States, Indigenous participants, and international organizations for Arctic research shows a broad recognition at the government level of the urgent response and action needed”. The ASM3 was preceded by a series of a very interesting webinar series that can be watched online here. A ministerial statement will be made available concerning the decisions from the event. João Canário and Gonçalo Vieira were part of the Portuguese delegation to the event under the invitation of the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

More information here

A new video coordinated by Teresa Cabrita of POLAR2E promotes national science in the Arctic

The short video was presented for the first time at the opening ceremony of the ASSW2021 Science Conference and showcases Portuguese research in the Arctic and the work of the Portuguese Polar Program (PROPOLAR) and the FCT to support it. The video was directed by Teresa Cabrita, Executive Director of PROPOLAR, and counted with the participation of several members of POLAR2E, as well as other national organizations. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Watch the video here

Gonçalo Vieira and Ricardo Trigo talked about the changes in the snow in the mountains of Portugal

On April 29th Gonçalo Vieira and Ricardo Trigo, two of the three directors of our college participated in the interdisciplinary and interactive discussion about how the current climate changes impact snowfall in Portugal. The round table was promoted by the  National Museum of Natural History and Science (University of Lisbon) and coordinated by Cristina Branquinho, also a member of POLAR2E.

The talks were moderated by Gonçalo Vieira and focused on mountain ecosystems and cultural diversity, as one of the most sensitive and vulnerable systems to climate change. The full session can be viewed on the following link.

Watch the video here

Early Career Scientist Webinars are back in June!

Following a break of a few months for a zoom detox program, POLAR2E will restart the ECR Webinars and we look forward to the involvement of POLAR2E students and Early Career Scientists. The coordinator of the webinars is José Maria Fernandéz. Thank you, Chema, for your support!


PALEOGREEN - Glacial oscillations and climate variability in NE Greenland

The High Arctic has been among the fastest-warming regions on Earth during the last decades. In Greenland, such warming is having important implications on glacier mass balance and driving substantial geoecological changes in ice-free areas, but many effects are yet not understood. The project PALEOGREEN focuses on Zackenberg (74ºN, 20ºE), an ice-free area located in the NE of Greenland and addresses two main hypotheses:

  1. Glacier thinning rates recorded in nunataks (i.e. rocky areas surrounded by glaciers) and deglaciated coastal environments can be inferred since the onset of the deglaciation. Their comparison with recent/contemporary dynamics allows framing recent rates of glacier shrinking with the Late Pleistocene-Holocene record. 

  2. Ice-free areas include a large number of lakes in continuous permafrost terrain. A high-resolution geochemical, biological and physical characterization of the properties of sediment cores from some of these lakes will provide the climatic background driving glacial oscillations since their deglaciation.

PALEOGREEN researchers apply a multiple-dating approach combining absolute (cosmogenic, lichenometry, OSL, 14C) and relative dating techniques (Schmidt hammer, Equotip) at each site to reconstruct the spatio-temporal patterns of glacial advances and retreats since the onset of the deglaciation. 
The first results of the project provide new insights on the deglaciation of the Zackenberg Valley based on geomorphic evidence and 39 cosmic-ray exposure dates of erosive and depositional landforms. Data reveals that glaciers over 800 m thick filled the valleys and fjords at ca. 80 ka. The massive deglaciation of the Zackenberg Valley started at c. 14 ka, during the Bølling-Allerød, when ice thinning exposed the highest and intermediate slopes surrounding the valley floor and left moraine ridges to be subsequently shaped by periglacial dynamics. At the end of the Younger Dryas, by ca. 12 ka, a phase of glacier readvance favored the development of the lowest moraine ridges present in the slopes that are connected with the outermost moraine system at the valley floor. Within this moraine, a debris-covered glacier formed as a consequence of the intense paraglacial readjustment. By ~10.5 ka, the last remnants of glacial ice disappeared from the Zackenberg Valley floor. This chronology of deglaciation, with particularly rapid rates during the Bølling-Allerød and Early Holocene, is similar to other sites across NE Greenland. Lacustrine sediments collected during the field seasons of 2018 and 2019 are currently being analysed and will provide the climatic background of the glacial oscillations.
POLAR2E is a project led by the University of Barcelona and POLAR2E participates in it through the Zephyrus research group - Polar and Mountain Environments team at the CEG/IGOT.

By: Marc Oliva

FOCUS @ Polar2E Early Career Researcher 

Marta Almeida

Marta Almeida has a degree in Geology from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCUL), followed by a master’s in Mining and Geological Engineering at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). During her master, Marta’s got involved in different projects and associations, where is highlighted the groundwater study that she presented at 12º Seminário sobre Águas Subterrâneas no Departamento de Ciências da Terra da Universidade de Coimbra and the role as vice-president in the American Associations of Petroleum Geologists Student Chapter of the University of Lisbon from 2017-2018. She was involved in the first steps of the Polar2e college foundation as one of the first master students and part of the ECS Newsletter editorial team. Marta studied sorted stone circles through images acquired via UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) on the island of King George (Antarctica) and concluded the Master’s with an academic merit diploma.

Interview by Afonso Ferreira

Marta, how did you end up working in polar science? 🕵️‍♀️

My interest in the polar sciences started essentially during the degree in geology, however, at the time I was more interested in the geological aspect. remote sensing. The polar sciences caught my attention when choosing the thesis theme. I was curious to know more about the formation of these wonderful circles and chose the theme that addresses the realization of their characterization through ultra-resolution images obtained through drones.

Now that you finish your master’s, what recommendations do you have for someone who just enters university? 👩‍🎓
What I suggest is a piece of advice that I wish I had been told at the beginning of my academic career. First, look for summer internships and extracurricular activities, this will help a lot in your professional life. And second, you must not be afraid to take risks, within the field of earth sciences there is a wide range of professional possibilities, different areas of interest, and the possibility of combining different areas of knowledge.
I recommend looking for what excites you, the most important thing in a professional future is to do what we like, it seems a cliché, but if we stop to think about the amount of time a job occupies in our lives, it is crucial that it be doing what we really like it.
Experiment and study different areas during your academic journey until you find something you like, then focus your energy on exploring the field you like.

What are your current goals? ✔
In the future, I want to find a job in the field. Preferably a job in which I can combine my different areas of interest. My interest in geology is something that will always accompany me, and I also hope to be able to integrate part of what I learned in the field of polar sciences.

What steps have you taken to adapt your research amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?
In order to adapt to the pandemic situation, it was necessary to create a daily routine. Sometimes it is not easy to counteract laziness or the desire to do anything, but by making small daily goals it is possible to do things. In fact, the difficulties will not be the same for everyone, I am lucky to have a small space to work, it is not the most comfortable, but I believe that there may be much worse conditions, so motivation is important. We will not be motivated every day, but we have to take advantage of the days of motivation and get to work.

Last question: “Do you believe in extraterrestrial life”? 👽🖖
Yes, in fact, I believe. I believe that there will be a planet somewhere with the ideal conditions for the existence of extraterrestrial life. Do I believe that the sorted stone circles were made by extraterrestrials? Not that! It really looks like something from another planet, but nature does really do amazing things.


Other news from POLAR2E Early Career Researchers
The Ph.D. candidate Marcelo Fernandes is doing an internship at the University of Barcelona from April to July of 2021. During this time, he presented his work to the doctoral program of the Department of Geography, titled “Deglaciation chronology and post-glacial environmental evolution of the Upper Garonne Valley (Central Pyrenees). 
The small video of lab work of Ricardo N. Santos, a paleoclimate master student and member of the editorial team of Polar2e, was selected by the Technical Support Unit (TSU) to enter the repository of science-related videos of the IPCC-AR6 Working Group I report. The small video was edited by Marta Almeida (see the interview section) and was intended to be a lab "teaser" to be presented to the IPMA team member of the ENSO-PT project.
Ricardo is now at The University of A Coruña doing an internship, where he is learning a new methodology to apply to his paleoclimate studies. Soon a new small video will be presented! 👨‍🔬🧪
Watch the video here

Oliva, M., Fernandes, M., Palacios, D., Fernández-Fernández, J.-M., Schimmelpfennig, I., Antoniades, D., Aumaître, G., Bourlès, D., Keddadouche, K., 2021. Rapid deglaciation during the Bølling-Allerød Interstadial in the Central Pyrenees and associated glacial and periglacial landforms. Geomorphology 385, 107735.

Rodríguez-Mena, M., Fernández-Fernández, J.M., Tanarro, L.M., Zamorano, J.J., Palacios, D., 2021. Héðinsdalsjökull, northern Iceland: geomorphology recording the recent complex evolution of a glacier. Journal of Maps 17, 301–313.

Palacios, D., Rodríguez-Mena, M., Fernández-Fernández, J.M., Schimmelpfennig, I., Tanarro, L.M., Zamorano, J.J., Andrés, N., Úbeda, J., Sæmundsson, Þ., Brynjólfsson, S., Oliva, M., Team, A.S.T.E.R., 2021. Reversible glacial-periglacial transition in response to climate changes and paraglacial dynamics: A case study from Héðinsdalsjökull (northern Iceland). Geomorphology 107787.

Vieira, G., Palacios, D., Andrés, N., Mora, C., Selem, L. V., Woronko, B., ... & Goyanes, G. (2021). Penultimate Glacial Cycle marks the maximum glacier extent in the Iberian Peninsula: New evidence from the Serra da Estrela (Central System, Portugal). Geomorphology, 107781. 

Presentations POLAR2E at the Arctic Science Summit Week 2021
24-26th March 2021
POLAR2E at the vEGU 2021
19–30 April 2021
Santos, R. N., Rodrigues, T., Schefuß, E., Naughton, F., Oliveira, D., Ramos, A., & Hernández, A. (2021). Hydroclimate reconstruction of Western Iberia over the last 3600 years-insights from lipid biomarker and specific isotope signal (No. EGU21-8820). Copernicus Meetings.

Freitas, P., Vieira, G., Mora, C., Canário, J., Folhas, D., & Vincent, W. F. (2021). Ultra-high resolution assessment of potential impacts of vegetation shadows on satellite-derived spectral signals from small thermokarst lakes in the boreal forest-tundra transition zone (subarctic Canada) (No. EGU21-15405). Copernicus Meetings.

Fernández-Fernández, J. M., Oliva, M., Palacios, D., García-Oteyza, J., Navarro, F., & Schimmelpfennig, I. (2021). Post-Last Glacial Maximum ice thinning and glacier dynamics in the Hurd Peninsula ice cap (Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula) (No. EGU21-9957). Copernicus Meetings.

dos Santos, F. A. M., Farzamian, M., Esteves, M., Vieira, G., & Hauck, C. (2021). Development of Low Cost Autonomous Electrical Resistivity Monitoring Systems for continuous active-layer monitoring in harsh environment (No. EGU21-12883). Copernicus Meetings.

Mora, C., Vieira, G., Pina, P., Whalen, D., & Bartsch, A. (2021). Evaluation of PAZ satellite imagery for the assessment of intra-seasonal dynamics of permafrost coasts (Beaufort Sea, Canada) (No. EGU21-15632). Copernicus Meetings.
Raab, G., Dollenmeier, W., Tikhomirov, D., Egli, M., Vieira, G., Migoń, P., ... & Christl, M. (2021). Soil characteristics and erosion in the UNESCO Geopark Estrela, Portugal (No. EGU21-1671). Copernicus Meetings.

Gomes, H., Castro, E., Vieira, G., Mora, C., Echeverria, S., & Freitas, H. (2021). The Estrela UNESCO Global Geopark Science and Education Network for Sustainable Development (No. EGU21-12903). Copernicus Meetings.

Fernández-Fernández, J. M., Oliva, M., Palacios, D., García-Oteyza, J., Navarro, F., & Schimmelpfennig, I. (2021). Post-Last Glacial Maximum ice thinning and glacier dynamics in the Hurd Peninsula ice cap (Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula) (No. EGU21-9957). Copernicus Meetings.

García de Oteyza de Ciria, J., Oliva, M., Palacios, D., Fernández-Fernández, J.M., Schimmelpfennig, I., Andrés, N., Antoniades, D., Christiansen, H., Humlum, O., Léanni, L., Ruiz-Fernández, J., Jomelli, V. Chronology of the deglaciation of the Zackenberg area, NE Greenland. (No. EGU21-9198). Copernicus Meetings.
MIT PORTUGAL 2021 Call for Ph.D. Grants

Candidates must be conducting research in at least one of the four areas of focus for MIT Portugal: Climate Science & Climate Change; Earth Systems: Oceans to Near Space; Digital Transformation in Manufacturing; Sustainable Cities; and/or Data Science approaches/methodologies applied to the previous areas.

Between May 24th and July 2nd 
More info
Support from Polar2E for young researchers to attend international conferences

POLAR2E is opening a continuous call for applications for financial support for young researchers to attend international conferences. Applications are evaluated in March, June, September, and December each year. Applications to request financial support must be submitted at least 90 days before the international conference. The subject of the conference abstract must be associated with the research performed by Polar2E. Preference is given to participation in key international conferences in the strategic research areas covered by Polar2E. 

Find Out More
Editorial team
Afonso Ferreira
Bernardo Rocha
Lígia F. Coelho
Marcelo Fernandes
Marta M. Almeida
Ricardo N. Santos

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