Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Climate change... What about climate change?

My trip to the ICTP conference on the role of e-infrastructures on climate change research has already provided some surprises. First I flew in a propeller-powered plane, which was a turbulent flight to say the least. Second, my guesthouse is next to a clear-blue sea and third, they have breakfast, lunch and dinner available – what more could you ask for!

Now, where’s the beach... I mean, the next presentation on scientific computing’s role in climate change.

... I’ve found the first presentation room – the Leonardo Building – and our booth with all our e-Science Talk posters and memorabilia boxed-up. I arrived here by shuttle, but I’ve heard there is a scenic walk which I will do at some point. Oh wait, I have to set-up and unpack everything now.

But, before that the first delegates to arrive were welcomed by Alberto Masoni, EU-India Grid coordinator and INFN research director, and he encouraged them to think about how e-infrastructures can help climate change research. We were all then provided with an ice-breaking ‘drinks and nibbles’ evening.

This allowed me to have stimulating conversations with Diego Carvalho, coordinator of the GISELA grid, about his work in trying to teach GISELA’s not-so-technical users on how to use the grid. He said that it can be challenging trying to identify general competences that worked across various communities, as each user is different.

Another interesting fact I learned today was from Joseph Intsiful, a climate scientist from the African Adaptation Programme who highlighted that scientific data shows the majority of natural disasters and human deaths, as a result of climate change around the globe, are due to hydrological effects – the movement, distribution and quality of Earth’s water. I said “Really” and he said, “The data is out there to support this”. Let’s see what else I’ll learn at the conference.

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