Earlier this year I was awarded a grant from the INTERFACE network based at Purdue University to travel to Utrecht in the Netherlands to work with Dr. Karin Rebel on an ecohydrological model. The grant is aimed at facilitating collaborative exchange between modelers and experimentalists, and as I am more of an experimentalist but have questions more appropriately addressed using a model, the fit was great!
I arrived here on Sunday, just in time for Queen’s Day on Monday. The celebration of the Queen’s official birthday was quite a sight. There was a great deal of music, food, and beverages.
On Tuesday is was time to start working. So far I have been getting acquainted with the model: learning how it works and where improvements are needed. Just in the past day I have been incorporating a higher resolution DEM to make things a bit more realistic.
Everyone here has been very accommodating and friendly, and they all speak English. This is helpful as I have never so much as overheard someone having a conversation in Dutch until I arrived! The city of Utrecht is beautiful, full of canals lined with shops and restaurants, and surrounded by charming countryside. It is a much different view than from home, very flat! The flatness paired with perhaps the best bicycle infrastructure in the world makes commuting by ‘fiets’ very easy.
In the next two weeks I hope to continue working to improve and understand the model with the help of the experts nearby (Karin and students). Then hopefully this summer and next fall I can continue to fine tune and run some simulations to answer some questions!