Dr. Robert Ricker
Sea-ice Physicist at the AWI
Though Robert originally studied Physics, he eventually found it too theoretical. Accordingly, during his time as a student in Trieste and Jena, he got his first taste of satellite-based measurement, giving him the chance to directly apply his knowledge. Later, in the context of his doctoral studies, he began analysing satellite data at the AWI, in addition to spending a year in France to expand his horizons.
During his expeditions to the Arctic, he conducts e.g. aerial campaigns to validate satellite data. In this regard, he relies on a number of different measuring techniques to help him survey and accurately describe the ice conditions. After all, sea ice is by no means homogeneous; you can’t simply make general statements on its status. Instead, the individual findings and results have to be painstakingly interpreted before the dynamic processes involved can be employed in representative forecasts.
What’s the most exciting expedition you’ve been on so far?
Every expedition is unique, but for me personally, my first voyage on board the Polarstern was truly impressive. It was the first time I got to see first-hand the close collaboration you have on board working as a team. Those two months were definitely a refreshing change from the daily grind at the office.
In your opinion, what contribution does meereisportal.de make in terms of knowledge transfer?
It offers a unique way of conveying scientific topics that are otherwise hard to learn about, simply because the general public isn’t really aware of them. Especially climate change is a hot topic in the media, but since the coverage isn’t detailed, much of the information is either incorrectly communicated, or incorrectly understood. The neutral and objective coverage that we provide isn’t oriented on classical media interests or sensationalism, making it a valuable addition.
What made you choose to work on meereisportal.de?
Sea ice is an important indicator for climate change, and as a result, there is a growing interest in the effects of sea-ice retreat. But we still need to substantially improve our grasp of the topic before we can accurately gauge the consequences of climate change in the polar regions, and take appropriate measures on that basis.
With my work, I hope to …
Have fun and learn some interesting new facts.