IRTG Travel Grants Programme

PhD candidate Melanie Lauer spent a week at Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal in Irina Gorodetskaya’s group

The IRTG travel grant gave me the opportunity to visit Irina Gorodetskaya, one of my supervisors, at the University of Aveiro in Portugal beginning of July. As part of her Mercator Fellowship within (AC)³, Irina investigates Atmospheric Rivers in the Arctic. Atmospheric Rivers are long and narrow structures that transport anomalous huge amounts of water vapor and heat from the lower latitudes towards the polar regions. Previous studies have shown that they produce significant amounts of rain and snow and impact the surface energy budget. However, their effect on the Arctic climate system is still unclear.
In order to analyse, in how far ARs affect the Arctic climate system, they must first be detected. Within the project E04, we are using the global detection algorithm by Guan & Waliser. Furthermore, the detection algorithm by Irina Gorodetsakya is planned to use. This algorithm was developed to detect ARs in Antarctica. However, in order to apply her algorithm for the Arctic, some adjustments need to be made. Together with Carolina Viceto, a PhD candidate of Irina, I worked on these adjustments. We have tried several approaches, but none has brought the expected success. However, these approaches can be excluded in the future. Carolina and I also had a personal exchange about our work, which was very productive and helpful for my future work.
During my stay, I shared the office with other people from the working group. This allowed me to learn about their work which was mainly related to ARs in Antarctica. Of particular interest was the master thesis of one student who also focuses on fronts which are detected by Michael Sprenger from the ETH Zürich. As I am also interested in cyclones and fronts in addition to ARs, I was in contact with Michael Sprenger after my research stay who kindly provides me with the data.
Although we were not able to complete the algorithm during my stay in Aveiro, I was able to gain new insights for my further work through the personal exchanges.


A list of all funded travel grants can be found on the IRTG page here.