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How does air quality affect crop productivity? Is it a myth that aerosols actually cool our planet? Are humans at the root of climate change? Join Flossie, Amy and Regan as they help us discover more about the sensitive links between humans and Earth's climate in a fascinating array of talks.
Poor air quality threatens tropical plants and crops
Flossie Brown (PhD Student)
Utilising some of the first ever measurements of ozone damage to tropical trees, we predict substantial damage is occuring to plants in the Amazon. The magnitude of this damage varies each year depending on fire activity, a major cause of ozone pollution in South America. Fire activity may increase in the future under a changing climate, increasing the risk of ozone damage to the Amazon. Other sources of ozone include industry and transport, which occur in cities. Plant damage from these sources is more important in influencing crop yields (we present sugarcane as an example).
Into the clouds: the role of aerosol pollution
Amy Peace (Research Associate in Climate Science)
It is well known that greenhouse gases warm the planet. Did you know aerosols (groups of tiny particles in the air) can cool the planet? Aerosols can modify the properties of clouds and cause more sunlight to be reflected back to space. Emissions of aerosols from human sources increased throughout the industrial period but are projected to decline this century. In this talk we will investigate the role of aerosols in climate change, why aerosols are a notorious source of uncertainty in climate modelling, and if we can look to volcanic eruptions to improve our understanding.
Detecting impacts of human-caused climate change in UK weather and climate
Regan Mudhar (PhD Student)
2022 was another year of “unprecedented” weather. Almost every month was hotter than average, putting it on track to be the UK’s warmest on record. In March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that: “Human-caused climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.” The research that informed this conclusion is the remit of scientists who specialise in “detection and attribution”. Using UK-specific examples, I will describe how these scientists look at what is changing around us and pinpoint whether humans are at the root.
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