Breckenridge in June


Welcome to Denver

I’m on the road again, so I thought it was time to update the blog. This time I’m in Breckenridge, Colorado. The land of ski resorts that stay open until the 4th of July. I’m attending the annual meeting about the Community Earth System Model, which I use to study the Greenland Ice Sheet in an effort to improve modeled projections of ice loss and sea level rise.

The altitude wasn’t kind to me last time, so I spent some time in the Denver airport hydrating as much as humanly possible and preparing myself for the worst. Naturally, I passed the time working. I still need to prepare the talk I’m presenting on Wednesday.



Last time I was in Breckenridge was two years ago about this time. On the first official day of summer, to be exact. “Breck” is west of Denver via a 2 hour shuttle ride from the Denver airport. The ridge takes you up into the mountains, maxing at 11,000 ft, before coming back down to Breckenridge at about 9500 ft. Last time I did this, it snowed on the way. On June 21.

No such luck this time. I was half hoping for a bit of snow on the ground this morning since it got below freezing last night, but there was none to be found. What we got instead was a wannabe thunderstorm and an otherwise beautiful day. I can’t complain too much about that.

I felt fine the first night so I headed down to the 9600 Grill for dinner and to work on a vision for my talk. Near the end of eating, a fellow Haverford physics major recognized me. He was a few years behind me and is now doing atmospheric climate modeling of clouds. Small world! The Haverford climate modeling contingent is growing by the day. I can think of 7 of us off the top of my head, mostly former physics majors. In fact, the 4 of us here this week were all physics majors.  That’s pretty impressive for such a small school, I’d say. Especially when you consider that there’s no research program at Haverford that does stuff like this, so it’s not like we’re intentionally popping out climate scientists. Bottom line: we really need a group photo and an article in the newsletter.



Things didn’t start til 1pm today which was a nice chance to get some work done in the morning. Although I woke up at 5:30am so I would’ve been totally ready for an 8am start for once. Oh well. Instead I went to the fitness center which was found to be a high-altitude mistake before settling into writing some code. They don’t tell you when you’re 5 that scientists spend half their lives writing code.


They also don’t tell you scientists get to travel and collect ENORMOUS nametags. A fellow modeller compared this one to a sandwich board.

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