Desierto norte de Chile

Monday, November 27, 2006

Istanbul social events

Here is a group photo of our dinner table at the Tuesday night Turkish buffet. Good foods, and good friends. Could you ask for a better combination?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back from CCME2006 in Istanbul

One word can easily describe my just-finished week in Istanbul: wow. I am full of many thoughts that have I have yet to process. But needless to say, I loved Turkey. The conference was both informative and entertaining. Climate change has many dimensions that I have only begun to grasp; CCME did a great job exposing me to the complexities, and I hope that the seeds of research that were planted this week will generate in the coming months. Here are a few highlights of my time:

1- Meeting people and making new friends. Absolutely tops of this list, and easily my favorite activity while there. I befriended conference participants from Turkey, Iran, the UK, Germany, Italy, and Romania. I also had the privilege of meeting and interacting with some of Istanbul Technical University's student volunteers (ITU was our host institution). Have I mentioned yet that Turkish people are some of the most welcoming and hospitable people on earth? Seriously, I kid you not. As someone who enjoys engaging communities, I have so much to learn from Turkish people. Selfishness and individuality have yet to settle into their culture, and it shows! I was always treated with respect and welcome, and I returned with some cherished gifts.

2- Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul, with Gurol, Burcu, and Ahmet. We enjoyed a glass of nice Turkish tea and shared a water pipe. Good times!

3- Dr. Toros's family. His gracious hospitality to welcome me and share his home with me will be long remembered. I was not able to stay my last night in Turkey at the Macka campus guest hotel, so Dr. Toros offered his home to me. I arrived late in the evening Friday 24 November, and we shared tea, a nice snack, and chatted. We woke in the morning and ate a very tasty breakfast composed of foods from his family town of Mersin. After eating, we (Dr. Toros, myself, his family, and his neighbor and children - yes 7 people, 1 car!) drove to Istanbul's great shopping district - the Grand Bazaar - and then he took me to Ataturk Int'l Airport for my flight back to Austria. His children, Abdullah and Asude, were very entertaining. Asude even taught me some Turkish phrases.

4- Visiting the boys' home. This short half-hour was probably the most significant and memorable of all my time in Istanbul. I was their honored guest, answering their questions and sharing many laughs. We talked about my family, my life, their homes, They presented me with the scarf of a local sports team, Galatasaray, as a parting gift. I will remember their hospitality and energy for a very long time. What a testimony to hospitality!

5- I mentioned above that I had the chance to meet and befriend several Turkish students. We enjoyed our free time together, discussing Turkey, Istanbul, history, meteorology, and generally sharing life. (You know it's one of my favorite things to do!) Thank you to Deniz, Yilmaz, Burcu, Gurol, and several others (whose names I didn't catch, sorry!)

6- Boat tour of the Bosphorus. During our two-hour ferry ride, we saw Europe and Asia, and many spectacular buildings along the waterfronts. We also passed beneath two famous bridges spanning the two continents.

When I get more time in the next week, I will try to post several of the 200+ pictures I took. I leave you with a passage from Isaiah that vividly describes my visit to Istanbul. The last part describes my heart for this great city. Peace.

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
"Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you."

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

This year I celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday while at the 1st International Conference on Climate Change and the Middle East. Where is this conference held, you may ask? It's in Istanbul, Turkiye (Turkey). Coincidence? Probably not! Anyway, I am having a great time and learning much about Turkish culture and people. Merhaba and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CCME 2006

Hello from the 1st International Conference on Climate Change and the Middle East. I present my talk Thursday afternoon; until then, I am enjoying the many diverse talks on the various (ecological, geological, biological, economical, and meteorological) impacts of climate change on this region of the world. I will try to post a photo later this week. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 13, 2006


I share with you a quote from a friend's blog that resonates well with me tonight:

He has placed eternity in our hearts. There is always a choice to look beyond the temporal upsets each day. Extract the precious from the worthless, he says. Would that I could remember that more often!

Friday, November 10, 2006

netCDF is starting to make sense (and other updates)

The past two weeks I have been incredibly busy. From job applications to lecture preparations; local research projects (ReLoClim) to exploring Graz and surroundings, life has been fun.

Today I had my first breakthrough with a dataset format, netCDF. I found a great support website,, that should give me a good place to start as I try to work our local ERA-40 dataset. Celebrate with me here, as I have been looking for this type of help for about two weeks!

Also, the 'severe and unusual weather' class is going very well. I am modifying the lectures from when I taught the course at OU, incorporating more physics and mathematics. On Wednesday, we covered frontogenesis from the perspective of both Petterssen and Bluestein, and I think it was sufficiently complex to give my students an appreciation for the complexity of meteorology. Thursday's lecture was fun, as we started talking about thunderstorms. Our remaining topics? Supercells, tornadoes, hail, hurricanes, winter storms, and ENSO/climate. The last day of class (14 December) is rapidly approaching. It's almost over, wow!

This afternoon, I am boarding the train to Praha (Prague) to visit Zach in the Czech Republic. I'm looking forward to having a great time with him - and to seeing what his crazy life in CZ is all about. I'll try to post a photo or two when we return (I still owe photos from Budapest, and one from St. Radegund [a local day hike last Wednesday]).

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