You can also view a slide show of Dr. Cottons's trip here.

International Conference: From Deserts to Monsoons; Crete , Greece

2 June 2008

I arrived on Friday 30 May after a long but uneventful flight. After spending 40EU or roughly $64 for taxi fare I arrived at a beautiful hotel complex. The units are two story clusters and my unit is a 2 nd story with a balcony overlooking the sea and the neighboring town of Hersonissos . It is quite nice. After checking in I walked around the area. It was warm and sunny with temperatures around 80F. There was barely a cloud in the sky. The island is quite mountainous and the mountains are covered in haze.

The grounds around the hotel have lots of flowers, with the walkways and even the highways lined with white and pink poisonous plants. The complex has two salt water pools and access to the beach. The beach is generally rocky with what looks like trucked-in sand overlying rocks. Being hungry I had lunch at the hotel snack bar which costs me over 20EU's.

I rented a bicycle and peddled into town which is about 3km to the east. The ride required climbing up a hill and then descending into town. The town is a typical beach town with lots of junk shops and restaurants. The area along the shore is lined with one open air restaurant after another. I had planned to rent the bike for several days but the seat was so hard that I returned it that evening. I then found a restaurant where the prices were much more reasonable than the hotel. I had spaghetti with loads of seafood, mainly mussels and shrimp. I also had a Greek salad and a carafe of red wine. I really enjoy Greek salads.

I slept reasonably well with only a few wide-awake hours in the night.

31 May

I rented a car, a little 1L Toyota 4-door. I drove west to the ruins at Knossos . They are a palace of the Minoan culture which predates Greek and Roman cultures. There are some restored frescoes and posts. It is interesting to see the level of this culture. I then drove on a windy road and ended up at a winery but they did not let me do any tasting and told me to come back on Monday!

So I drove westward along the .new federal highway.. It is mainly two lane limited access but in Heraklion there is a stop light at one intersection. This is not a big light and easy to miss if not forewarned by stopping traffic. Out of town the road winds along the coast in some sections resembling the Big Sur with nice cliff views. As I said the road is mainly two-lane with what looks like a wide bike lane. However, I quickly learned that when overtaken by a faster car the procedure is to drive in the narrow bike lane giving the passing vehicle room to pass without crossing the double center line. For the most part this system works well but once in a while you will encounter someone driving fully on your side of the double line head-on! I imagine there are quite a few head-on collisions.

Except in towns where traffic slows down to 40km/hr or less it was possible to drive at 90km/hr or more, even with the little Toyota . I thought I would drive south and then inland to an area with trails in the mountains on the map where there is supposed to be nice canyon views. But I quickly realized that my progress on the map was rather slow. Actually I found it hard to figure out where I was as I could not locate the names of towns on the map that corresponded to the road signs. Eventually I stopped and asked where I was on the map. I decided that there was no way that I could reach my desired destination. I stopped at a small coastal village called Georgiopouli where there was a ruin nearby. I asked woman about the ruin but she had no idea where it was and I couldn't find any signs for it. She had lived for several years in Colorado Springs ! I had my lunch of apple and orange by the seaside.

I then headed back east to the hotel. Finding the hotel was a major challenge as the town I thought would be have a sign was not listed so I drove on by the desired off ramp. I got off the next exit and after iteratively going back and forth finally located the windy side road that led to the hotel. Upon my return I walked along the beach area and later that evening drove into the neighboring town to have dinner of mixed fish. It was OK, not great.

1 June

I started the day by jogging along the access road to the hotel which climbed several hundred feet and then plunged downward toward the coast. I then ran along the beach area passing numerous hotels to get back to my room. After a large breakfast I drove eastward. While on the map it showed the highway continuing it came to an abrupt end where it was apparent the road had yet to be built yet the map indicated it continued. Rather than drive down to a coastal road I elected to drive inland over a windy, narrow mountain road. The road was wide enough for two cars to pass each other except when it went into small villages where it narrowed to not much wider than a Fort Collins bike path. If a car approached from the other direction I had to dive into the first slot I could find. At times I would encounter a car parked in the lane whereupon I would crawl past being glad I had a very small car. At one point I came to a pass where there were old stone wind mill structures. The road then descending into a beautiful mountain valley. At one point I had thought I would drive to the south coast but driving along at 20-40km/hr I made such slow progress that I gave up on that goal. You have to realize the road switched back up and then down with very sharp turns then you entered a town in the valley and slowed down from that pace.

I eventually found my way back to the coast the main highway. As before the road was very fast until it dumped me into the coastal city of Hora Stakion . I went into the city and plunged down narrow streets to the harbor area. This is a very pretty city with a lagoon with small, colorful fishing boats, and then a jetty area with tour boats. I sat on a bench and enjoyed my lunch of apple and orange. I decided to return after my lunch and headed back up another one-way street climbing steeply to the highway.

Again on the highway I raced back westward and ended up at a coastal village. After the village there was a sign for a ruin which I viewed from a distance. Eventually the coastal road gave me access to the highway where I had gotten off on my way eastward and headed west to my hotel. As I was getting used to the area I found the hotel without getting totally lost. I returned the rental car and took an afternoon nap. After that I registered for the meeting and we had dinner as a group at the hotel.

I got acquainted with a number of the participants. Zev Levin was one of the few attendees that I know quite well. Zev and I walked by Joe Prospero's room and we were invited over to have a beer.

2 June

After breakfast the meeting began at 0815. The talks range from observational studies like Joe Prospero's talk which concentrated on Iceland dust measurements to GCM studies of aerosol impacts by Terry Nakajima. Len Barrie gave a WMO overview dust and aerosol program overview. Joe Prospero gave an interesting talk showing large dust production along the fringes of glaciers over Iceland .

For the most part the talks were related to direct aerosol effects with little discussion of cloud effects.

The meeting ended for lunch at 3PM followed by free time until dinner at 8PM. I took a walk along the beach during the free time. A bus picked us up and took us along the narrow windy roads to a village and a restaurant where we sat outside beneath grape vines. The main course was a big junk of beef and potatoes but I got some tasty veggies. I hope this is not a trend for such fixed menu meals the rest of the week.

3 June

I took a jog around the neighborhood before breakfast.

The meeting began with an interesting talk by Krishnamurti simulating aerosol direct and indirect effects of aerosols on circulations over India . The response in terms of precipitation and rainfall was quite strong. It was not clear what indirect effects were considered, however.

I have a hard time understanding many of the talks. Many speak English with Chinese-, or Korean-, or Indian-accents and use slides that are totally incomprehensible. Very frustrating!

NC Hsu presented results with new MODIS aerosol algorithm called DEEP BLUE that is available on line. Aerosol retrievals are now possible over land. It can separate dust from pollution aerosol. Available:

T-C Tsay NASA GODDARD is a contact for NAMMA aerosol measurements. I know him well.

Zev and I walked into town and had a beer. It is over 6km round trip. We were bussed to another restaurant with a set menu which means I missed out on two courses again owing to it being meat. It looks like I will be stuck with this scenario everyday. But between breakfast and lunch I still get enough to eat.

4 June 3, 2008

Wang of MIT has incorporated an aerosol model including black carbon in NCAR CCM.

The session ended at 1330 and after lunch we were taken to Knossos . While I had visited it earlier, this time we had an English-speaking tour guide so it gave a different perspective. We then were taken to a museum in Heraklion where many artifacts from the civilizations in Crete can be viewed. This was followed by free time where we walked around town a bit. Then we were taken to a Greek restaurant with many courses with the final one being a large platter of lamb. For us vegetarians they provide stuffed peppers dripping in olive oil, not exactly great to eat!

5 June

After a morning jog, and breakfast, the session in which I am scheduled to talk began.

My talk ran over a bit and I had to delete sections of it. I will really have to cut it for my talk on this subject in Cancun .

We had a long, long dinner at a restaurant at the hotel that including Crete style dancing. The dinner started at 0800 and I left about midnight and dessert was still yet to go. While the main course was again meat, this time they provided me with fish. They also had a salmon appetizer. This was the best meal I had at the meeting. After the ethnic dancing they played some pop music and I danced a bit which really surprised a lot of the attendees.

Danny Rosenfeld stayed only a short time at the dinner as he was had a 10:00PM flight up to northern Greece where he was to discuss being involved in a hail suppression program there. Currently they are doing only ground-based seeding which is a total waste of money for hail suppression.

6 June

After 5 hours of sleep I began the long journey back to home with a taxi ride at 0630. It will be after 10:00PM when I finally will get home. Remember it is only 9:30 PM on 5 June in Colorado at the time of taxi pickup. So the travel time will be over 24h, if everything goes well. Ugh! Overall I don't think the quality of the papers was high enough to merit spending all this time and money attending this conference. Fortunately the organizers came up with the travel support for me; $2000 for airfare and another $2000 for hotel and meal expenses! This trip has convinced me that I will not attend the conference in Odessa which is another all expenses paid trip but the theme of the conference is not central to my own research. I plan on only attending conferences like the ICCP Cloud Physics Conference in Cancun which are central to my research areas from now on.