climate change

Geosciences column: Playing back the Antarctic ice records

Satellites are keeping tabs on the state of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, and have observed considerable declines in ice extent in many areas since records began, but what do we know of past sea ice extent? Ice cores keep an excellent record of climate change, but until recently, ice cores have not been used to quantify patterns in past sea ice extent because few reliable compounds are preserved i ...[Read More]

Geosciences Column: How curbing HFC emissions could reduce warming

Carbon dioxide is without a doubt the most famous of warming culprits. But would reducing emissions of this greenhouse gas be enough to mitigate climate change within this century? A recent paper published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics focuses on a less known substance that, if phased out, could avoid as much as 0.5 °C of warming by 2100. Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) have an interesting history ...[Read More]

Geosciences Column: Rainfall and Climate – a Dynamic Problem

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” – John Updike Rain quenches the thirst of soils and vegetation, fuelling ecosystems and much of the world’s agriculture. Whether it ruins a day on the beach or destroys a season’s harvest, it makes humans deeply aware of their vulnerability to the vagaries of the atmosphere. It’s important to understand ...[Read More]

Sussing out sea level rise

Ocean thermal expansion, that is, the increase in water volume due to temperature alone, is relatively well understood – as is the retreat of both mountain glaciers and ice caps. While most models simulate these effectively, there is little understanding of how both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to climate change. This is because the full extent of ice-ocean interactions is n ...[Read More]