Report on Python programming course for climate scientists

From 23rd-25th of January, 21 students attended a Python course for climate scientists in the Bjerknes auditorium at Jahnebakken 5 in Bergen. The course was taught by Clemens Spensberger (an atmospheric scientist) and Albin Severinsson (a computer science PhD student), both with excellent expertise in Python. 4 students from Oslo attended the course, while the other 17 students came from Bergen – with most attending from GFI (12), followed by GEO (2), NORCE (2) and UiB geography (1).

The course lasted for three full days with sessions covering topics like basic Python usage, climate data handling and efficient coding. Each session started with interactive lectures where the lecturers explained relevant concepts and coded examples on a big screen while the students followed the coding in Jupyter Notebooks on their own computers. Afterwards, the students applied their new knowledge to relevant exercises while the lecturers were available to help them.

Most students experienced the course as having a good balance between basics and more advanced Python. Students got a good overview of the possibilities in Python, from simple plotting, to data analysis and code speed optimization. We can conclude that the course was a success: The course was full within 3 hours after opening its registration, and the feedback from the students was very good. Because of this, we are exploring the options to offer this course again.

Participants working on exercises. Photo: Kristine Flacké Haualand.

Text: Anne Morée and Kristine Flacké Haualand.