Archive for the ‘Geo’ Category

Mt Etna

November 4, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I saw a volcano erupt for the first time. A lifetime ambition achieved- and it wasn’t even the best thing about last month…


Schumann Resonance

January 14, 2013

Also known, more poetically, as the Earth “breathing” or its “heartbeat”:



Is Our Weather Getting Worse…?

December 11, 2012

…Is the title of the Channel 4 documentary I’ve just finished watching.

I should be pleased in that it basically makes the same points I made in my last post. The recent weather we’ve been getting is exactly what we’d expect in a warming world: more heat leads to more moisture in the atmosphere, more heatwaves, more rain, more floods, and more unstable weather generally.

Only it’s a Channel 4 documentary, like The Great Global Warming Swindle, so I was predisposed to hostile suspicion from the start.

The 2012 UK floods and climate change

November 27, 2012

Well, it’s been raining a lot in the UK recently. Even more than usual.

Lots of footage of overflowing rivers, flooded homes, people being rescued from their abandoned cars. Lots of interviews with flooded home owners, officials from the Environment Agency, and excited weather forecasters.

But one surprising omission in the coverage I’ve seen:
No mention of global warming.


London’s volcanic winter, and finding causal truth

August 27, 2012

…unendurable cold, that … bound up the face of the earth, sorely afflicted the poor, suspended all cultivation, and killed the young of the cattle. 

Owing to the scarcity of wheat, a very large number of poor people died; and dead bodies were found in all directions, swollen and livid, lying by fives and sixe’s in pigsties, on dunghills, and in the muddy streets…

These quotes come from a thirteenth century Benedictine diarist, Matthew Paris, recounting conditions in southern England in 1258. (more…)

Why I’m no longer so fussed about climate change (although I probably should be)

February 20, 2012

I follow climate change issues intermittently in the mainstream press and on a shifting selection of blogs. But it’s dawned on me that I probably follow them less now than I did two, three, four or even five years ago. Leaving out the personal and professional factors, [*] here are a few reasons why I think this is the case:


When should the Anthropocene start?

June 5, 2011

As has been widely reported, there are serious moves afoot to define a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Although geologists have used the term informally for some time (Paul Crutzen, chemist and Nobel Laureate, popularised it in 2002), the evidence that humans will leave a lasting and significant footprint in the geological record is starting to look robust enough for formal recognition.

From this Guardian article:

The geological signal will be clear from industrial-scale mining, damming, deforestation and agriculture, as well as the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere and nitrates in the oceans. Even the presence of the first human-produced chemicals like PCBs, radioactive fallout and the humble plastic bag could be measured millions of years hence.

Reading between the lines of the various articles, it looks fairly certain this change to the geology textbooks is going to happen, sooner or later. The main debate seems to be around when to set the start date.

Ash cloud and swine flu anniversaries: lessons on the polarisation of risk

May 1, 2011

It’s roughly the second anniversary of the kicking off of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the first anniversary of the European ash cloud airspace closures.

There are some interesting parallels between these two events. Both were unexpected to some degree—in the case of the impact of the Eyjafjallajokull eruption, spectacularly so.

Christchurch and Japan earthquake visualizations

April 8, 2011

Amazing stuff.

Anthropogenic Climate Change, Health and the Tobacco Analogy

April 5, 2011

Consider this statement: smoking is bad for health, and so is fossil fuel-derived anthropogenic climate change.

What a mouthful.

There are many striking parallels between these two public health issues, and of course areas where the analogy breaks down. On balance though, and with all the usual ‘health warnings’ about arguing from analogy, I think it’s a useful comparison. Either way, it seems to come up fairly frequently in climate commentary circles, so perhaps it’s worth a dedicated post here.

So— I will proceed to mercilessly flog the analogy. Like this blog as a whole, this is mostly for my own reference and is subject to additions/amendment at any time. That said, suggestions welcome. I’m sure I’ve missed lots.