On November 29th thirteen members of APECS Belgium gathered in the Belspo offices in Brussels to celebrate Antarctica Day. The morning started with all members introducing themselves to each other and to newcomers. The group, consisting of physicists, glaciologists, biologists, biogeochemists, a meteorologist and a few earth science professionals, was a good representation of the broad diversity in polar research disciplines Belgium is specialised in.
Morning presentations were held by Matthias Vraeghe and Sam De Ridder, who explained about the detection of neutrinos and cosmic rays by the IceCube neutrino observatory (http://icecube.wisc.edu/). Kristof Van Tricht presented his research on remote sensing of polar low elevation clouds in Greenland and Antarctica, and the morning session was closed by glaciologist Denis Callens, who gave us an overview of how ice fluxes in Dronning Maud Land are being investigated in the framework of global warming.
Additionally, two posters were presented, respectively dealing with paleoclimate and density calculations from ice cores (Morgane Phillippe), and Carbon and Nitrogen uptake rates in sea ice from East-Antarctic sites (Arnaud Laurent).
In the afternoon, past activities were evaluated in the context of ongoing and planned projects. Anton Van de Putte gave an extensive update about an exhibition that is planned in collaboration with the Belgian project “the New Belgica” (www.newbelgica.be), and final decisions were taken before the launch (http://apecs.is/news-feeds/apecs-news/6403-launch-of-a-story-contest-for-students-from-the-5th-and-6th-grade-in-belgium) of the Belspo-funded story contest for teachers and students. Finally, good progress was also made in the establishment of a legal framework for APECS in Belgium.