Researcher in the Spotlight: Povl Abrahamsen 

Povl, please introduce yourself. 

My name is Povl Abrahamsen. I'm a physical oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey

Tell us about your professional and academic career before becoming part of the OCEAN:ICE community.  

I first became interested in polar oceanography during a one-year stay at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) during a leave of absence from my bachelor's degree studies in Applied Physics at Columbia University. I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Geophysics at the University of Bergen, writing my thesis on measurements of sea ice thickness in the Barents Sea. Shortly afterwards I joined BAS, working on ice shelf-ocean interactions on the Autosub Under Ice project; I used this research toward my PhD in Oceanography at the University of Southampton, focusing on the ocean circulation beneath Fimbul Ice Shelf. I have worked on several Antarctic and Arctic projects at BAS over the years, but recently I have largely been working on coordinating some of our sustained (long-term) observations with moorings and CTD sections in the Weddell and Scotia Seas. This has led to participating in many oceanographic cruises to the Southern Ocean, particularly the Amundsen, Weddell, and Scotia seas. I have been using the data collected to study the variability and long-term changes in Weddell Sea Deep Water.  

What do you do within OCEAN:ICE? 

In WP5 I have designed, procured, and deployed two moorings in South Sandwich Trench, to study the export of Weddell Sea Deep Water through this deep outflow route. Much of the work so far has been quite technical - though hopefully we'll get an interesting and unique dataset from this rarely visited part of the world to study when we recover the moorings next year. These new data will be analysed in the context of long-term datasets collected by BAS and other project partners.  

In WP8, I am coordinating the semi-annual storyline meetings on bottom water and the lower cell of the meridional overturning circulation, spanning across work packages (though mainly involving WP1, WP2, and WP5). 

What have you enjoyed about OCEAN:ICE so far? 

When our original plans to deploy the moorings in South Sandwich Trench fell through last autumn, we had to find an alternative plan - and I ended up deploying the two moorings from a fishing vessel that was working near the study area. It was a very different experience from working on the research vessels that I'm used to, and the ship isn't really set up for that type of work, but ultimately the moorings were successfully deployed. 

Tell us about a skill or trait unique to you that you would like to share? 

When I'm not working at sea or at BAS, I play the cello (and occasionally the piano) in a local orchestra. 

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