An AGU Reunion


After spending the past five days at the AGU Fall Meeting, it’s now time to take off the fancy blue nametag and head back to St. Olaf for final exams. The meeting was a whirlwind of talks, posters, and conversations with scientists from all over the world, representing fields ranging from paleoceanography to hydrology to geodesy. During Friday’s poster session alone, I talked to someone using Simpson’s Diversity index to model global crop production, someone researching isoprene emissions from tropical rainforests, and someone studying the effects of musk ox grazing on carbon cycling.

While it was great to learn about what’s happening in all of these fields, I have to admit that most of the talks that I sought out were about Arctic system science. I found myself reminiscing about the landscape of larch trees, the crunch of lichen as I walked through Y4, and the network of lakes that looked like big inkblots as we flew over Cherskiy. I miss that place.

(l-r) Karin Sather, Heidi Rodenhizer, Ellen Squires

(l-r) Karin Sather, Heidi Rodenhizer, Ellen Squires



Presenting our poster reminded me about how important Arctic research is, too. And I felt really proud to be a part of it. I also felt proud to call myself a member of the Polaris Project. As a group, we had a strong presence at AGU, and each Polaris presentation was attended by a large crowd of familiar faces. We come from many different places—the Netherlands, Fairbanks, Cherskiy, Washington, Minnesota—but we all have this incredible shared experience. We were brought together by a love of science and a willingness to chase it all the way to the Arctic. And, if AGU taught me something, it’s that the science we love—Arctic system science, that is—is not going away anytime soon.