BBC News just posted: “The volume of Arctic sea ice increased by around a third after an unusually cool summer in 2013. Researchers say the growth continued in 2014 and more than compensated for losses recorded in the three previous years. The scientists involved believe changes in summer temperatures have greater impacts on ice than thought. But they say 2013 was a one-off and that climate change will continue to shrink the ice in the decades ahead.
Turn up the volume
The Arctic region has warmed more than most other parts of the planet over the past 30 years. Satellite observations have documented a decrease of around 40% in the extent of sea ice cover in the Arctic since 1980. But while the extent of the retreating ice has been well recorded, the key indicator that scientists want to understand is the loss of sea ice volume. Researchers have been able to use data gathered by Europe’s Cryosat satellite over the past five years to answer this question. This polar monitoring spacecraft has a sophisticated radar system that allows scientists to accurately estimate the volume. The researchers used 88 million measurements of sea ice thickness from Cryosat and found that between 2010 and 2012, the volume of sea ice went down by 14%. They published their initial findings at the end of 2013 – but have now refined and updated them to include data from 2014 as well. Relative to the average of the period between 2010 and 2012, the scientists found that there was a 33% increase in sea ice volume in 2013, while in 2014 there was still a quarter more sea ice than there was between 2010 and 2012. “We looked at various climate forcing factors, we looked at the snow loading, we looked at wind convergence and the melt season length of the previous summer,” lead author Rachel Tilling, from University College London, told BBC News. “We found that the the highest correlation by far was with the melt season length – and over the summer of 2013, it was the coolest of the five years we have seen, and we believe that’s why there was more multi-year ice left at the end of summer.”
The researchers found the colder temperatures allowed more multi-year ice to persist north-west of Greenland because there were simply fewer days when it could melt. Temperature records indicate that the summer was about 5% cooler than 2012. The scientists believe that the more accurate measurements that they have now published show that sea ice is more sensitive to changes than previously thought. They argue that while some could see this as a positive, when temperatures are cooler it leads to an increase in sea ice, it could also be a negative when the mercury goes up. “It would suggest that sea ice is more resilient perhaps – if you get one year of cooler temperatures, we’ve almost wound the clock back a few years on this gradual decline that’s been happening over decades,” said Rachel Tilling. “The long-term trend of the ice volume is downwards and the long-term trend of the temperatures in the Arctic is upwards and this finding doesn’t give us any reason to disbelieve that – as far as we can tell it’s just one anomalous year.” The updated data has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.”
Brighton Science Festival started ten years ago, because… well, because everyone needs a science festival. It’s the best way to discover where we came from, deal with where we are and debate where we might go in the future. Yes, I know the shudder of terror that some people feel at the mere mention of the word ‘science’, but there is every reason to believe that can turn into a tremor of excitement. There are some extraordinary and inspiring science communicators out there, and we search all the festivals and publishers in Britain to bring the best to Brighton. The festival is for all ages, but the ones we are particularly doing this for are 12-14 year-olds. When they arrive in secondary school from primary school they are fired up with enthusiasm for science. Within two years they hate it. Why? The government has recognised the problem and fiddled with the school curriculum, trying to make it more user-friendly, but that hasn’t worked. There are two elements missing, which even the most energetic teachers (and I have met a lot of very, very keen teachers out there) have difficulty coping with: There is no spirit of discovery. Young people love to explore, experiment and create. They don’t mind making mistakes along the way. But the curriculum doesn’t leave time for mistakes. They have to get the right version in their books straight away, ready to move on to the next topic. There is no room for the spirit of discovery. Secondly, their parents don’t join in. Schools often have sports days, when all the parents come along. They have school plays; all the parents come along. When they have science days the school is deserted. So the Family Fun days are there for both parents and their children to play, experiment, discover and share the experience. One year, at the Family Fun Days, a big man entered the room with his two young children and surveyed the turmoil around him. Hove Park Upper School was heaving with a thousand mums, dads and kids, playing with sixty different kinds of science delight. In this particular room the challenge was to build a bridge across a 40 cm gap strong enough to support as many Mars bars as possible, using only four sheets of paper. Dad’s eyes lit up. He said, “Stand aside kids. This one’s for me”. For the next fifteen minutes he was immersed in the task, his children on either side, looked at him as if to say, “but… you’re a Dad, not an engineer.” As I watched I didn’t worry that the kids were being ignored. I knew that they were going to be engineers when they grew up. Why? because imitation is the key to career. What the parents enjoy, that’s what the kids will enjoy. Indeed, after a few minutes they were working on their own bridges, unprompted. The Brighton Science Festival is building its own bridges, between science and the people. You should come. Actually you should bring a demonstration of your own. In point of fact, if you care for the future of manufacturing in this country, you should become a sponsor. Get in touch to find out more. We hope to make science so irresistible to young students that the A-level courses are flooded with applicants. Already there is an increased uptake in Sussex. This is good. It means higher standards and better choice for businesses. Even for young people who decide to leave school at sixteen there will be an enduring interest in science and respect for scientists and engineers. Come to the Festival. Bring your family, bring your enthusiasm. Richard Robinson Director Brighton Science Festival – See more at: http://www.brightonscience.com/about-2/#sthash.pxmldRMC.dpuf
When more than 1 in 3 of people in the UK will develop a form of cancer within their lifetime, timely cancer diagnosis and therapy are critical to patient survival and quality of life.
After many years of development, the obscure technique known as dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) was launched in the world’s first clinical trial in San Francisco in 2011. Giving unprecedented access to cancer metabolism data, this emerging technique offers great promise for our understanding of cancer and our ability to act quickly.
In this talk, Debbie Hill brings together the low-temperature physics of DNP, magnetic resonance imaging, and explains how the race is – sometimes quite literally – on.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME, IT’S FREE & THERE’S NO NEED TO BOOK!
The Institute of Physics South Central Branch invite you to a talk by Drs. Hoeber and Skinner on 20th of November from 7 to 8pm at the Chichester Lecture Theatre on Sussex Campus. Promising to be an interesting discussion the event is free to all.
For more information and directions to the venue please visit the Sussex University website here.
So, from 9-18 March, National Science & Engineering Week will see art galleries, universities, schools and science centres around Brighton looking at the role science plays in our lives, from the fun and fantastical, to the serious and profound. Make sure your community knows what’s out there to get their brains round.
The IoP (Institute of Physics) are presenting an exciting free lecture entitled “Blasts from the Past” on the 24th of January 2012. Guest lecturer Prof. Nial Tanvir (University of Leicester) will be talking about “using distant explosions to explore the distant universe.
The lecture is free and open to all, non-scientists especially welcome! And begins at 7pm in the Chichester 1 Lecture Theatre on the University of Sussex Campus.
For more information please visit their website here