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 He first attended the Year of Polar Prediction Southern Hemisphere (YOPP-SH) meeting at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder (Colorado) on the 28-29 June 2017. In the meeting, various practical aspects were discussed regarding the implementation of observing and modeling experiments during the Special Observing Period, which will take place in austral summer 2018-2019. The gap between Southern Ocean operational and climate communities is large, perhaps even larger than in the Arctic. This has raised stimulating discussions regarding the optimal type, location and timing of observations to conduct in order to advance prediction capabilities in and around Antarctica. The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS, http://www.soos.aq/) is an initiative with aims close to APPLICATE’s. The meeting was followed by the 12th session of the Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP), of which François is a member. The need for better Southern Ocean reanalyses (ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere altogether) was stressed several times, as the current products largely disagree with each other. More information on the meetings can be found here.

Between July 3rd and 28th, François visited the teams of Prof. Cecilia Bitz (member of APPLICATE’s Scientific Advisory Board) and Dr Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, at the University of Washington (UW), in Seattle (Washington). He gave an introductory seminar on his research, covering also APPLICATE activities. Specific aspects such as the development of process-oriented diagnostics or the study of predictability in reanalyses drew particular attention from the audience. Afterwards, a 2-day symposium was organized on the general theme of “sea ice predictability”. Recent results on the topic were introduced by a wide range of scientists from across the United States.

During his stay at UW, François worked on the development of two diagnostics to estimate negative and positive sea ice feedbacks in the Arctic. Those diagnostics are useful to relate the mean state of CMIP5 models and their variability. He is currently preparing a research paper on the topic, and the diagnostics will be implemented in community tools such as ESMValTool within the next months.

Finally, François also visited the Applied Physics Laboratory of UW where the PIOMAS reanalysis is run. There he had the chance to discuss sea ice reanalyses and sea ice model development with Drs Jinlun Zhang and Axel Schweiger, including the development of a floe-size distribution model that will be part of APPLICATE.

This stay was a unique opportunity to share the initial results obtained within APPLICATE with a broader community. It was also a personal experience: working in a different team is always beneficial as one learns about new tools, datasets or techniques to answer the same scientific questions.

François’ trip to the US was supported by the University of Washington, WMO, SCAR/ASPeCt and the Belgian funds for scientific research (F.R.S.-FNRS).