Scientia Issue #112

May 30, 2017 | Issues

FROM CLIMATE CHANGE TO THE COSMIC WEB

I am delighted to present this enticing new edition of Scientia, which covers a range of important research areas, from geology to climatology, and from aeronomy to astronomy.

Mitigating disaster is one pressing theme that pervades this edition, and we start off by featuring research devoted to predicting devastating seismic events. Here, we showcase the work of two scientists, who are developing creative ways to forecast volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

The lion’s share of this edition is dedicated to perhaps the greatest disaster humanity will ever experience – anthropogenic climate change. Thousands of scientists across the globe are working to accurately quantify the impact of climate change, so that we can predict and hopefully mitigate its most damaging effects, such as sea-level rise, extreme weather events, droughts, flooding and crop failure. Because of widespread denial in the face of this global disaster, this type of research is extremely important, in order to further highlight that our greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of global temperature rises. In this edition, we feature the work of many research teams, each striving to predict or mitigate the severity of this imminent global disaster. Predicting future sea-level rise, managing flood risks, quantifying the effects of vegetation on the climate and mining graphene for the renewable energy sector, are just a few of the many research projects showcased here.

Next, we focus on another danger, which lurks beyond Earth’s atmosphere – space weather. Space weather disturbances, caused by fluctuations in the solar wind, can cause a huge array of problems here on Earth, such as widespread electricity blackouts and satellite damage. Because of our heavy reliance on satellites for communication, GPS and air traffic control, many scientists are dedicating their research efforts to devising ways to forecast space weather events. In this section of the edition, we showcase the latest research in this area, and feature an exclusive interview with last year’s president of the AGU’s Space Physics and Aeronomy section.

From near-Earth space, we venture deeper into the cosmos, with our last section dedicated to the mind-blowing field of astronomy. First, we meet Professor Philip Diamond, Director General of the Square Kilometre Array – set to become the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Next, we introduce Kimberly Arcand, Visualisation Lead for NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, who makes science more accessible to the public by improving the ways we visualise astronomical objects. To close the edition, we introduce Dr Bart Wakker, who uses the famous Hubble Telescope to find the Universe’s hidden matter, which resides outside galaxies and forms the filamentary structures of the Cosmic Web.

 

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CONTACT

Published in the UK, by Science Diffusion ltd
ISSN 2059-8971 (print)
ISSN 2059-898X (online)  
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Meet The Team…

 

DIRECTOR
Nick Bagnall 
nick@sciencediffusion.com

 

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Nelly Berg 
nelly@sciencediffusion.com  

PUBLICATION MANAGER
Nick Powers 
npowers@sciencediffusion.com
Brett Langenberg 
brett@sciencediffusion.com
Marie Serrano  
marie@sciencediffusion.com
Tom Render 
tom@sciencediffusion.com  

DESIGN MANAGER
Mimi Jones
 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS 
Carol Marzuola, MSc
Rebecca Ingle, MChem
Jessica Bristow, PhD
Chris Harrison, PhD
Ingrid Fadelli, BSc, MA
Joseph Pastorek, MD, JD
Matthew Aitkenhead, PhD
Stephen Nottingham, PhD

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Scientia Issue #112 Contents

 

 

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GEOLOGY – MITIGATING DISASTER AND FUELLING RENEWABLE ENERGY

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THE EUROPEAN GEOSCIENCES UNION
An exclusive interview with Bárbara Ferreira of the EGU

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TAKING THE EARTH’S PULSE – LISTENING TO SEISMIC NOISE
Dr Taka’aki Taira
Using ambient seismic noise to detect changes related to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

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UNDERSTANDING VOLCANOES TO HELP PROTECT PEOPLE
Professor Ken Sims
Investigating past volcanic activity, in order to predict eruptions 

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MINING CARBON TO DECREASE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT
Dr Andrew G. Conly
Identifying and analysing minable graphite for use in the renewable energy sector

 

 

 

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CLIMATE CHANGE – HUMANITY’S GREATEST CHALLENGE

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THE ICE CLOUD AND CLIMATE PUZZLE
Dr Joyce E. Penner
Incorporating the effects of atmospheric aerosols and gravity waves into climate models

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THE POLAR VORTEX: MESHING AND STRIPPING THE GEARS OF THE ATMOSPHERE
Professor Darryn W. Waugh
Investigating how polar vortices interact with the atmosphere and impact our weather

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DOES CLIMATE AFFECT THE WORLD’S VEGETATION – OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND?
Dr Michael Notaro
Studying how the climate can be influenced by variations in vegetation

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INTERPRETING ANCIENT SHORELINES
Dr Ken L. Ferrier
Quantifying the importance of river sediment in past sea-level rise

 

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THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF ICE SHEETS: UNDERSTANDING THE PAST AND PREDICTING THE FUTURE
Dr David Pollard and Dr Robert DeConto
Creating models to predict Antarctic ice sheet melt and sea-level rise

 

 

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OBSERVING AND PROJECTING GLOBAL SEA-LEVEL CHANGE
Professor David Holland and Denise Holland
Combining measurements with models to understand how disappearing ice sheets will impact sea level
 

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DESIGNING DEVICES FOR EXPLORING SPACE AND INVESTIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE
Dr Jekan Thangavelautham
Developing low-cost, sustainable solutions for extreme environment exploration

 

 

 

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TRACKING THE SOURCE OF MOUNTAIN STREAMFLOW
Dr Stephanie Kampf
Identifying areas most vulnerable to losing persistent winter snow and how this affects streamflow

 

 

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A FAIR APPROACH TO FLOODING
Dr Neelke Doorn
Achieving a fairer distribution of flood-related risks between different countries and individuals

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USING NATURE TO PROTECT US FROM… NATURE
Dr Iris Möller
Developing ways to protect coastal areas from flooding by studying the protective properties of marshlands

 

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UNCOVERING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN OCEAN SALINITY AND TERRESTRIAL RAINFALL
Dr Raymond W. Schmitt
Investigating how salinity levels in the ocean’s surface can be a predictor of rainfall on land

 

 

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MORE WATER, MORE FIRE? THE SURPRISING LINK BETWEEN INCREASING GLOBAL HUMIDITY AND SEVERE WILDFIRES
Professor William Lau
Understanding the link between climate change and worsening wildfire events
 

 

 

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MEASURING HOW THE EARTH EXHALES
Dr Merritt N. Deeter
Using NASA satellites to measure atmospheric carbon monoxide released from burning the Amazon
 

 

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TAKING A HARD LOOK AT AIR POLLUTION SO WE CAN ALL BREATHE EASIER
Dr Albert A. Presto
Understanding the geographic distribution of pollutants released from our modern technology

 

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FORECASTING THE WEATHER . . . IN NEAR-EARTH SPACE

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AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION – SPACE PHYSICS AND AERONOMY
An exclusive interview with Professor David Sibeck, the 2015–2016 president of the AGU’s SPA section

 

 

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Protecting the Earth by Predicting Space Weather
Dr Jian Du-Caines
Exploring the interactions between Earth’s atmosphere and near-Earth space
 

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Earth Interactions with Space – Do We Finally Understand Them?
Dr Jesper W. Gjerloev
Using dynamical network analysis to quantitatively categorise space weather events

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From THEMIS to ELFIN: Exploring Near Earth Space
Professor Vassilis Angelopoulos
Probing near Earth space with NASA’s THEMIS, ARTEMIS and ELFIN satellites 

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VISUALISING THE INVISIBLE

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THE SQUARE KILOMETRE ARRAY: THE WORLD’S LARGEST RADIO TELESCOPE
An exclusive interview with Professor Philip Diamond, Director General of the SKA Organisation

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SOMEWHERE, OUTSIDE THE RAINBOW
Kimberly Kowal Arcand
Making science accessible to the public by improving how we visualise astronomical objects

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USING THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE TO INVESTIGATE THE UNIVERSE’S HIDDEN BARYONS
Dr Bart Wakker
Searching for the invisible baryonic matter that resides outside galaxies