By Lindsay Dixon García
Ulf Erlingsson, PhD has led a long and distinguished career as a scientist, inventor and human rights activist. He has been a key player in events and discoveries that have taken him from his native country of Sweden, behind the Iron Curtain, to Central America and finally the United States. Dr. Erlingsson is an innovative thinker, and is always planning his next project or researching a scientific hypothesis. His strong international presence as a physical geographer and activist are due to his natural curiosity and passion for human rights that have been present since he was a very young boy.
Born in Knislinge, Skåne, Sweden in May of 1960, Dr. Erlingsson grew up with two main interests: science and activism. From a very early age, he was organizing people in his hometown to protect and defend the environment and promote sustainable development. His intense compassion never faltered, and at the age of 19 he began his university studies; converting his passions into a career. Dr. Erlingsson graduated from Lund University with a BSc in geosciences, and then continued his studies obtaining a PhD in Physical Geography from Uppsala University. His dissertation topic was on the geomorphology of the bottoms off the coast of Österlen, Skåne, Sweden. In addition, he completed post-doctoral studies in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dr. Erlingsson has been an active researcher in the field of Physical Geography, and his research and findings have been published in numerous respected, peer reviewed academic journals (see Selected Bibliography).
In his professional life, Dr. Erlingsson has been at the forefront of the study of coastal sediment transport, spill monitoring, subaquatic geomorphology, as well as interaction of glaciology, hydrology and climate change at the end of the last ice age. As a senior partner with AB Hydroconsult, the Swedish government called on him to serve as their expert to supervise spill monitoring from dredging operations for the Øresund connection. This was the most ambitious spill monitoring effort ever undertaken. Another noteworthy project includes developing a custom sub-bottom profiler to carry out an especially challenging bottom sediment mapping in Örserum Bay, with geostatistical analysis of the polluted volume of organic material.
While working with AB Hydroconsult, he has also served as a consultant in Central America. Of special importance was the mapping of natural disasters and development of a GIS for regional planning in Nicaragua. As technical coordinator, he performed hazard mapping of northwestern Nicaragua with regard to risk for inundations and mass movements. His implementation of the GIS decision support system brought a new technological perspective to development and planning in the country. In Costa Rica, Dr. Erlingsson conducted investigations of sedimentation and erosion in reservoirs using side-scan sonar, a sub-bottom profiler and bathymetric surveying.
During the course of his practice and research, Dr. Erlingsson found solutions to existing problems and developed a variety of tools and software programs. His most important invention is the SediMeter™, a microprocessor-based measuring instrument. The tool was designed to be used in low-energy environments and provides very high resolution. Over the past 30 years, he has continued to develop and perfect the SediMeter™ tool into what it is today: The highest resolution instrument for measuring sedimentation, erosion and sediment transport in streams, lakes and the sea.
A few years after moving to the U.S., he left AB Hydroconsult and founded Lindorm, Inc. in 2006, where he remains as CEO and President. The company is dedicated to the research, development and manufacturing of instruments and samplers for sediment study, as well as related consulting services for the global market.
Amid his work designing 21st century oceanographic devices, Dr. Erlingsson also continued his research into geographical topics which paved the way for fascinating discoveries. One such discovery was the “captured lakes.” He hypothesized that a captured lake under the Laurentide ice sheet (which covered Canada) was drained catastrophically through the Mississippi and that this boosted the Gulf Stream and reinvigorated the North Atlantic circulation. As a result, this triggered the Bølling warm phase at the end of the Ice Age about 14,600 years ago. This was perhaps the strongest climatic warming recorded and one of the largest sea-level rises. If the hypothesis holds up to scrutiny, it could explain why all Ice Ages have come to an end.
Dr. Erlingsson also researched the Atlantis myth by combining state-of-the-art geographical knowledge with Plato’s original Greek text into a clear-cut, scientific analysis. He made the prediction that if the sunken city of Atlantis had a historic counterpart, it would be a meteorite impact crater on the bottom of the North Sea near the southwest end of Dogger Bank. Prominent archaeologists have written about the Doggerland and petroleum geologists have confirmed the existence of a meteorite impact crater of the right dimensions and at the right location; confirming Dr. Erlingsson’s hypothesis. Hi hypothesis can be found in the book titled, “Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land,” published in the United States and Japan.
Perhaps Dr. Erlingsson’s greatest accomplishment, and certainly the closest to his heart is his participation in the fight for democracy and freedom throughout the world. Despite much opposition, he has persisted in his mission to free citizens from the chains of communism, injustice and despair. Protecting the human rights of individuals no matter their location or circumstances is what truly matters to Dr. Erlingsson. He was instrumental in reconnecting universities from behind the Iron Curtain with the outside world again. He led a project to establish GIS labs in the newly liberated Baltic States after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since 2011, Dr. Erlingsson has been a material figure in the non-violent opposition of Presidents Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela. He took the initiative to launch both Operación Libertad Venezuela and Fuerza de Paz Venezuela, which are voluntary peacekeeping forces composed of exiles with the purpose of preventing chaos from developing the day the dictatorship finally falls.
Dr. Ulf Erlingsson has forged his way in the world through the dawn of many new technologies, while still making an important impact on the lives of his fellow citizens of the world. He never lacks passion, and pursues every hypothesis and every dream with with an attitude of unlimited hope and possibility.
- Erlingsson, U., 1991: A sensor for measuring erosion and deposition. Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 61, Nr. 4, pp. 620–623.
- Jansson, M.B., and Erlingsson, U., 2000: Measurements and Calculations of Sedimentation in a Flushed Reservoir resulting in a sediment budget. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management, Vol. 16, pp 279-306.
- Erlingsson, U., 2004: Atlantis From a Geographer’s Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land. Lindorm Publishing. ISBN 0-9755946-0-5. 112 pp. (Also published in Japanese, Hara Shobo, ISBN 4-562-03878-0).
- Erlingsson, U., 2005: A geographic comparison of Plato’s Atlantis and Ireland as a test of the megalithic culture hypothesis. Atlantis 2005 Conference Proceedings, Greece.
- Erlingsson, U., 2007: Comment to “Outburst flooding and the initiation of ice-stream surges in response to climatic cooling: A hypothesis”. Geomorphology Vol. 86, Issues 1-2, pp. 214-216.
- Erlingsson, U., 2008: A jökulhlaup from a Laurentian captured ice shelf to the Gulf of Mexico could have caused the Bølling warming. Geogr. Ann. 90 A, Nr. 2, pp. 125-140 .