Cosmos Briefing: Is COP26 a game changer?

Scientists say that 2021 is our last chance to stop the effects of climate change from fundamentally disrupting the weather patterns we’ve relied on for millennia. After a year’s delay due to COVID, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference — also known as COP26 — is about to begin in Glasgow, providing a crucial … Continue reading Cosmos Briefing: Is COP26 a game changer?

Neighbourhood watch: what are the other countries in our region doing about carbon?

While the Australian government continues to wrangle with their internal divisions over whether or not to set a target of net zero emissions target for 2050, our nation neighbours to the north are unveiling new policies and goals to tackle their emissions.   Malaysia has unveiled ambitious climate-reduction targets, Singapore is considering raising the price … Continue reading Neighbourhood watch: what are the other countries in our region doing about carbon?

2021 Nobel Prize-winners announced

Chemistry The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has just been awarded for the development of a precise new molecule-building tool. Benjamin List from Germany and Scottish-born David W.C. MacMillan jointly received the prize for this new tool, known as asymmetric organocatalysis. So what is it? Building new functional molecules is key to many types of … Continue reading 2021 Nobel Prize-winners announced

The uncomfortable balance between biodiversity and carbon capture

Two of the most pressing environmental problems of the 21st Century – climate change and biodiversity loss – are even more strongly linked than generally realised, scientists from two United Nations panels concluded in a report issued in June. That’s a concern, because it means that efforts to solve climate change can have unintended impacts … Continue reading The uncomfortable balance between biodiversity and carbon capture

What’s the difference between climate and weather?

One of the first things I get asked when I talk to school students is: “What’s the difference between weather and climate?” The answer – that climate is the statistics of the weather – doesn’t bring a lot of excitement to the classroom, so I use an analogy from a friend at the Bureau of … Continue reading What’s the difference between climate and weather?

Flash-flood phenomena found

New research has explained the drivers of extreme precipitation events around the globe. Extreme precipitation events (EPEs) cause destructive flooding around the world each year. In the tropics, the atmospheric processes that cause them were well known – they’re mostly associated with cyclones. But the mechanisms that form EPEs in dry subtropical regions are less … Continue reading Flash-flood phenomena found

You might have missed…

Body battery Engineers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, US, have created a wearable device that can draw electricity from the human body. The device, described in the journal Science Advances, is made from a combination of thermoelectric chips, liquid metal as wiring and a variety of carbon-based polymers. It can convert heat from the body into electrical … Continue reading You might have missed…

Year of extremes

In 2020, Australia’s climate had more plot twists than an episode of Tiger King. From bushfires that ravaged the country to extreme hailstorms, scorching heatwaves and home-threatening coastal erosion events, the nation saw it all. Now, scientists from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), have summarised the past year’s events in their Annual Climate Statement. Snapshot: … Continue reading Year of extremes

Not great news for the Great Barrier Reef

By Jon Day and Scott Heron, James Cook University The Great Barrier Reef is now in “critical” condition and the health of four other Australian World Heritage properties has worsened, according to a sobering report just released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is the global authority on nature. Its … Continue reading Not great news for the Great Barrier Reef

Climate reconstructed

Citizen scientists are transcribing historical weather journals to help scientists better understand Australia’s climate history. In 1896, there was a great celebration for the unveiling of West Australia’s weather observatory’s foundation stone in the Perth Park (now Kings Park and Botanic Garden). That year, Premier John Forrest said that the observatory: “… showed that in … Continue reading Climate reconstructed

Sombre state of our climate

If you’re looking for a bit of good news at the end of a tough year it’s probably best if you don’t seek it in the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and CSIRO’s latest State of the Climate report, just released. Key trends detailed therein include continued warming of Australia’s climate, an increase in extreme fire … Continue reading Sombre state of our climate

We need better weather warnings

More than 11,000 disasters have been attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards over the past half century, involving two million deaths, yet one in three people around the world are still not adequately covered by early warning systems. That is one of the key findings of the 2020 State of Climate Services multi-agency report … Continue reading We need better weather warnings