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?

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

Why climate science needs more lunatics

Dr Jan Zika, NERC Independent Research Fellow in the Department of Physics and a Grantham Affiliate explains why we need brilliant climate scientists now more than ever before. In 1560, our moon did something that it does only every generation or so. As it circled the Earth at a stately pace of one rotation per 27 days, it found itself directly between us and the Sun. … Continue reading Why climate science needs more lunatics

Where can we best tackle the ocean plastics problem?

Following recent research suggesting that 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic,  Department of Physics undergraduate Peter Sherman investigates how we could clean up our oceans. There is a lot of plastic in the ocean, and the situation is only getting worse. Within the next decade, oceanographers predict that there will be ten times more plastic debris in the ocean than today. Marine plastic is known to have … Continue reading Where can we best tackle the ocean plastics problem?

Measuring sustainability in our oceans

In the first of our series of blogs on sustainability, SSCP-DTP student Michael Burgass explores how we can measure ocean health. Oceans contain 99% of the space occupied by life on our planet, hold 97% of the planet’s water, produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and regulate the earth’s climate. More than 40% percent of the world’s population lives within 100 km … Continue reading Measuring sustainability in our oceans

The case of our missing trash

by Dr Erik van Sebille, Grantham Lecturer in Oceanography and Climate Change Our oceans are filthy with plastic. Most attention so far has focused on the bottles, carrier bags and other junk floating in the middle of our oceans. Some say that we ought to go out there and clean the stuff up. But a series of recent high-profile studies suggest that this stuff is only 1% … Continue reading The case of our missing trash

Ocean heat uptake – checking the facts

By Dr Flora Whitmarsh, Grantham Institute The recent slowdown in global temperature rise has led to suggestions that global warming has stopped. In fact, the Earth system is still gaining heat, and the slowdown was likely caused by a series of small volcanic eruptions, a downward trend in the solar cycle, and increased heat uptake of the ocean. Writing in the Telegraph, Christopher Booker claims … Continue reading Ocean heat uptake – checking the facts

The TROPICS research cruise from Tenerife to Trinidad: Tracing oceanic processes using corals and sediments

 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 … Continue reading The TROPICS research cruise from Tenerife to Trinidad: Tracing oceanic processes using corals and sediments