Antarctica at 200: why the ‘climate decade’ must secure the future for Antarctica

Following an Imperial Lates event focused on what the future may hold for Antarctica, Richard Knight, former student on Imperial’s MSc Environmental Technology course, blogs on how vulnerable the continent is, how its sensitivity to climate change threatens the world, and how to protect it.   This year Antarctica celebrates its 200-year anniversary, marking two centuries since it was discovered. Since then, humanity’s interests have largely shifted away from exploiting the continent’s rich aquatic life and mineral … Continue reading Antarctica at 200: why the ‘climate decade’ must secure the future for Antarctica

patches of fire burn on a grassy field in a dark landscape with trees in the background

Spreading like wildfire; the double-threat of changing landscapes and climate

Wildfire is the single greatest terrestrial disturbance agent on Earth. Satellite data suggest that in an average year, wildfires burn a total area of around 3.5 million km2, an area around 15 times larger than the UK. While some of these fires are purposefully controlled or are manageable, and can have benefits for ecosystems and livelihoods, other fires burn uncontrollably, with sometimes devastating consequences for safety, livelihoods, wildlife and climate. Continue reading Spreading like wildfire; the double-threat of changing landscapes and climate

Watercolour painting of krill bioluminescence. (c) Wikimedia commons

9 things you need to know about krill and why they are essential to the health of the ocean

Watercolour painting of krill bioluminescence. (c) Wikimedia commons Imperial’s Dr Emma Cavan, lead author of a recent Nature Communications paper on the role of krill in influencing the environment, and the University of Tasmania’s Professor Steve Nicol, author of ‘The Curious Life of Krill’, blog on why krill are so much more than they seem. Krill – a crustacean that looks a bit like a … Continue reading 9 things you need to know about krill and why they are essential to the health of the ocean

Volcán de Colima: Insights from Mexico’s fiery volcano

Jack Anderson, a Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP research postgraduate based at London’s Natural History Museum, describes his fieldwork on the highly-active Volcán de Colima in Mexico, and explains the significance of his research. As my Aeroméxico flight begins its descent into Colima, I eagerly position my phone in preparation to capture a first glimpse of its formidable volcano. I am greeted … Continue reading Volcán de Colima: Insights from Mexico’s fiery volcano

Don’t blame plastic, blame poor waste management

Grantham Affiliate Chris Cheeseman, Professor of Materials Resources Engineering at Imperial College London, considers what’s behind the plastic pollution crisis, and why designers and engineers are fundamental to developing a long-term solution. Plastics are fantastic materials. Thanks to their amazing range of properties and inherent durability they have an enormous number of applications and we, as a society, have come to rely on them. They … Continue reading Don’t blame plastic, blame poor waste management

Plastic waste floating in a canal in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

When it rains it pours: How can cities save the ocean from plastic pollution during heavy rainfall?

Charles Axelsson, a PhD researcher at Italy’s Ca ‘Foscari University, studied his Master’s at Imperial College London, where he worked closely oceanographer and climate scientist Dr Erik Van Sebille. In this blog, he considers the impact of urban plastic pollution on marine environments, and how policy and local action can help coastal cities save the ocean from plastic. We are a planet of urban, coastal … Continue reading When it rains it pours: How can cities save the ocean from plastic pollution during heavy rainfall?

The boat in Greenland

Into the Ring of Fire: Arctic adventures to predict the impact of climate change

  Dr Michelle Jackson, Research Associate and Ecologist at Imperial College London, is working on ‘Ring of Fire’, a four-year, NERC-funded research project that investigates the impact of rising temperatures on freshwater ecosystems. Here, she discusses the challenges of fieldwork in the Arctic and the results that make it all worthwhile. Our planet is warming at an unprecedented rate. Year on year, temperature records around … Continue reading Into the Ring of Fire: Arctic adventures to predict the impact of climate change

Big oceans, big IT: Modelling plastic pollution in the ocean

Department of Physics undergraduate Thomas Stokes reflects on his recent research placement at the Grantham Institute. Approaching a new project can be a daunting prospect. This is especially true when you’re trying to model real-world systems; given how mind-bogglingly complex the ‘real world’ can be, it is easy to feel dwarfed by the problem at hand. Oceanographers, however, can’t afford such anxieties – they deal … Continue reading Big oceans, big IT: Modelling plastic pollution in the ocean

A beginner’s guide to shaping global climate policy at the World Meteorological Organization

SSCP-DTP student Stephane Mangeon (Department of Physics) explains why you can expect to hear a lot more about the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Geneva, proudly standing on the banks of the Rhone river and the stunning Lake Geneva, is famed for its banking industry and for being the home of the uber-rich. But Geneva is also an international hub for diplomacy and development, reaching broader horizons than its home … Continue reading A beginner’s guide to shaping global climate policy at the World Meteorological Organization

It’s a small world: How air pollution in Europe can affect rainfall in India

Grantham PhD student Dilshad Shawki explores the latest research unpicking the influence of human activity across the globe on the South Asian monsoon. Each summer the South Asian monsoon drenches the Indian subcontinent, as strong moisture-laden winds from the Indian Ocean deliver over 70% of the region’s annual rainfall in just 3 months. As such, the monsoon’s bountiful rain is crucial to the economy and … Continue reading It’s a small world: How air pollution in Europe can affect rainfall in India