Monday, March 2, 2009

Springtime optimism

The beginning of this year has passed very quickly for me. I haven't had an inspiration to continue our blog until now. So, here it is: an update of the past few months.

I returned from my four-month research visit to Australia in December and had problems coping with the cold and short days of my native country. In addition to that, December has always been the shortest month at work for me: just a couple of seminars, an office Christmas party and then the holidays. It was no surprise that my research didn't really progress during December. I was, of course, full of optimism and sure that things would start advancing once the year 2009 arrives.

January always brings about perhaps the toughest time of the year: proposal writing time. This year, it was my job to write two and assist preparing a third funding proposal. I've learned the routine of writing proposals, but it still feels tough planning the work of others - it is easier applying funding to support my own work.

In February, I spent a week in Helsinki planning this year's scientific agenda with Pola, Janne and Matti. We are planning to find a new MSc student to work with seasonal LAI and/or phenology issues. There was also a lot of discussion on using (national) forest inventory data to create a LUT for boreal forests using forest reflectance models. Things are not supposed to be easy, but (at least for me) it was good to realize how many problematic steps are involved with the project...

Anyway, once the proposals were submitted (well in advance this year! :) ), I started to think of more scientific activities. I've attempted something I'm not so familiar with: forest albedo simulations. It has been motivating to do something different for a change. However, I don't know yet how things will turn out and if I get any useful results. I'm also hoping to do some work with spectral invariants and hyperspectral data later during the spring.

I guess the best thing about this winter-spring was realizing that (for once!) I don't have any old, unfinished projects still hanging around and reminding me of their existence every now then. I'm still surprised that I actually managed to finish in time everything I had planned for 2008. As we say in Finnish, I don't have 'to pull a sleigh full of rocks behind me' for the next couple of months. I'm feeling quite optimistic at work :)
PS. I'm also being quite optimistic when I call the season outside my window spring. We've just experienced a snow storm and there have been cuts in the heat supply - it is quite cold even indoors.

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