By Dr Flora MacTavish and Dr Simon Buckle
In the press coverage of the recent floods, there has been a lot of discussion about whether the authorities could have been better prepared or responded more effectively. The National Farmers Union has called for the reintroduction of river dredging, although experts argue that dredging may be limited in its effectiveness. Local authorities have been criticised by experts for distributing sand bags rather than encouraging the use of more effective alternatives such as wooden or metal boards.
These are essentially tactical issues, however. It is the government and local authorities that have the vital strategic responsibility for fully embedding weather and climate risks into decisions on the level and focus of investment into flood defences and planning regulations about what can be built and where.
By Dr Simon Buckle
I just wanted to highlight the great event we held last week with Judy Curry at Georgia Tech on how we can use climate science to help us make better decisions – in business, government, health and development. Do have a look at the presentations from the really diverse group we managed to assemble in Atlanta, from international organisations, business, development agencies, NGOs and research.
A few points strike me as worth (re)emphasising:
- Climate models are extremely valuable tools for assessing climate change over the rest of this century, but even the most advanced climate models are not yet able to provide detailed information with sufficient confidence on the variability and change of regional climate in the next few decades.
By Siân Williams, Research postgraduate, Department of Physics and Grantham Institute for Climate Change
In 2009 a joint report between University College London and The Lancet stated, “Climate change is the biggest risk to global health of the 21st century”. The work highlighted extreme weather events, changing patterns of disease and food and water insecurity.
Now a second UCL-Lancet commission is underway. Last month, UCL’s Institute of Global Health hosted a launch event for the report entitled ‘Climate crisis: emergency actions to protect human health’.
The event was chaired by UCL’s Anthony Costello, head of the first Lancet commission.
By Torben Struve, Research Postgraduate, Department of Earth Science & Engineering and Grantham Institute for Climate Change
How to start a retrospective on two amazing months at sea? Probably at the beginning! In the beginning there was…an idea! The idea was to reconstruct abrupt changes in chemistry and ocean circulation in the Equatorial Atlantic Ocean to learn about global climate and deep-water habitats. The plan was to do so by collecting sediments, seawater and deep sea corals and analysing all of these for their geochemical composition.
Developing this idea into our actual scientific cruise, JC094, took several years of planning and preparation, led by principal investigator and chief scientist Dr.