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It's always easy to blame the weatherman, but should we? Come and find out the ins and outs of the chaotic nature of meteorology, and how the scientists with their heads in the clouds cut through the fog.
Goldilocks and the Greenland Ice Sheet
Dr Ryan Neely (Lecturer: Observational Atmospheric Science)
Melting of the world’s major ice sheets significantly affects human and environmental conditions by contributing to sea-level rise. In July 2012, an historically rare surface melt event was observed across the Greenland ice sheet. I will show that the cloud conditions being “juuusssst right” played a key part in this event. The clouds were just thin enough to allow sunshine to penetrate through them and just thick enough to act as a blanket and trap heat from the ground. This combination pushed temperatures above freezing for the first time in 150 years.
The floods of December 2015: climate change or just bad weather?
Dr Cathryn Birch (University Academic Fellow)
Storms Desmond and Eva passed over northern England on 5th and 26th December 2015. With between 2 and 4 times the average rainfall, these storms contributed to one of the wettest Decembers on record. The period was exceptional and record-breaking but what was the cause? This talk will give an overview of the weather situation associated with storms Desmond and Eva and will discuss the potential role of El Nino and climate change in the severity of the storms.
How to Weigh a Cloud
Dr Jim McQuaid (Assoc. Prof of Atmospheric Composition)
At any time it has been calculated that there is 12,900 cubic kilometres of water floating around the sky in the form of clouds or as a weight that’s around 10 million million tonnes of water. High in the atmosphere it’s all about ice crystals whereas lower down water flips between a vapour and liquid droplets which we see as clouds. But, just how much does a typical fluffy cloud weigh? In this talk we will examine a number of ideas, some more crazy than others, culminating in the first ever time someone has actually weighed a cloud!