Thin Ice

  • Factors besides CO2 - Myles Allen and Wally Broecker

    Myles and Wally explain how other factors in the climate system, such as dust particles, water vapour and clouds, can modify the effect on climate of rising levels of greenhouse gases - either decreasing or increasing the temperature rise. A consequence of this is that as dirty emissions from coal-fired power stations are cleaned up, the true greenhouse warming from our CO2 emissions is being unmasked.

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  • Views on business-as-usual - Matt Huber Myles Allen Tim Naish

    Matt, Myles, and Tim paint a picture of our future, in the next 100 years or so, if we make no effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions - the 'business as usual' scenario.

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  • Life in the Arctic - Sami view

    The Sami people of Finnmark have traditionally lived close to the land. They have noticed systematic changes in the climate over their lifetimes. Tom Frode, a Norwegian dog-sledder, interprets in English some of their observations.

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  • THIN ICE - The inside story of climate science

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  • Measuring atmospheric gases, Baring Head, New Zealand

    Katja Riedel and Martin Manning talk about how the levels of CO2 and oxygen in the atmosphere are routinely measured at the Baring Head clean air monitoring station in New Zealand. CO2 is rising and O2 falling.

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  • Climate change as seen by UN negotiators and scientists

    UN negotiators struggle to seek a global agreement for reducing global CO2 emissions to stabilise the atmospheric CO2 level and keep the global average temperature rise below 2°C. Climate scientists explain why this is important.

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  • How CO2 warms our climate - Myles Allen

    Myles Allen explains how the absorption of infrared radiation by the Earth and its atmosphere warms the Earth, and hence how rising CO2 levels increase average global temperature.

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  • How CO2 traps sun's warmth

    Hugh Mortimer and Neil Bowles explain how the absorption of heat by greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water can be measured with a spectrometer.

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  • How CO2 warms the climate - Ray Pierrehumbert

    Ray Pierrehumbert explains in terms of the physics of what happens high up in the atmosphere, how rising levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide result in warming of the Earth's surface.

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  • Taking the temperature - Myles Allen and Phil Jones

    It is measured daily around the world, but as Myles notes it's the long term temperature trends that are important.  Phil discusses the historical record  from weather stations world-wide, and proxy records going back thousands of years

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  • Shrinking tropical glaciers - Lonnie Thompson

    Lonnie describes his life's mission to retrieve the climate record in tropical glaciers from the world's highest mountains before they melt.

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  • The Polar Plateau Part 1 - Getting there

    Dan Dixon, PhD student,  describes his first flight in to join Paul Mayewski's team at the start of their 800 km over-snow ice-coring traverse from the head of the Byrd Glacier to the South Pole.

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  • The Polar Plateau Part 2 - Travelling across the ice

    Paul and Dan talk about the challenges of a 3 month over-snow traverse  for both vehicles and people at elevations at times exceeding 3000 m and temperatures below -30ºC.

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  • Digging a snow pit in Antarctica - Nancy Bertler

    Nancy Bertler and team dig a 4-m-deep snow pit for sampling layers of snow that represent the last 40 years or so. This is how they link modern instrumental observations with the record of past climate in the ice.

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  • The Polar Plateau Part 3 - Coring for climate history

    Paul and Dan explain the drilling process for recovering ice cores. At each station they core down ~200 m, recording climate back ~1000 years. Laboratory results indicate climate here is already changing.

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  • Analysing an ice core - Nancy Bertler

    Nancy introduces us to an ice core facility and shows how ice cores are sampled centimetre by centimetre for chemical and isotopic analyses for past temperature, wind, sea ice extent, snow source and other variables.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 1 Heading out to sea

    Lionel and Mike reflect on both the excitement and challenges in going to sea. They also talk about the main goals of their work, along with James Rae.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 2 On station

    Lionel and Liz explain the  CTD (conductivity-temperature-depth) instrument with bottles attached for collecting water at various depths. Niki shows us the temperature profile after the CTD is hauled up.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 3 Oceans and climate

    James and Lionel explain in a simple way what drives ocean circulation. Craig and Mike make some key points on ocean heat capacity and how it influences the pace of climate change.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 4 Thermohaline Circulation

    Wally and Lionel talk about the density-driven Thermohaline Circulation, and Craig introduces us to Antarctic sea ice, which helps drive it. Anders links the THC to changes in climate.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 5 Taking the pulse

    Scott and Craig describe the recovery and redeployment of a mooring left in the ocean to record temperature, salinity and currents at various depths through time. Lionel and Mike reflect on the results.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 6 Oceans and CO2

    Lionel and James explain how CO2 is taken up by the oceans. Lisa Northcote filters surface water to measure CO2 uptake by biota. Scott shows a coring operation to measure the rate at which this accumulates on the sea floor.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 7 Forests of the ocean

    Ros talks about her UK work showing the importance of abundant microscopic marine plants in the surface waters of the ocean taking up atmospheric CO2 and giving off oxygen like plants on land.

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  • Voyage to the Southern Ocean - Part 8 Out of our comfort zone

    Lionel talks about the natural climate cycles of the past he's seen in deep ocean cores back to 33 million years. He and James explain their discomfort at CO2 levels rising far above the pre-industrial 280 ppm.

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  • Ice Age cycles, temperature and CO2

    Deep cores into ice sheets have revealed an amazing record of Earth's glacial cycles every 100,000 years.  Tim explains how the melt is triggered by changes in Earth's orbit but amplified by rising CO2 levels.

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  • From beneath the sea floor Part 1 - The ANDRILL operation

    Alex explains how they drilled almost 1000 m through floating ice and ocean and another 1000+ metres into the sea floor to sample its sediments.  Co-chief scientists Tim and David give their reactions to the wealth of new data from the core on Antarctic climate millions of years ago

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  • From beneath the sea floor Part 2 - Viewing freshly drilled core

    We see the newly drilled core carried into the lab, and analysed for a range of chemical and physical properties. We also share the excitement of the scientists as they view this window into Antarctica's warmer past for the first time.

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  • From beneath the sea floor Part 3 - A warmer climate in the past

    Tim explains what they have discovered - periods between 2 and 5 million years ago when Earth's climate was only slightly warmer but the region was ice-free.

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  • The fossil record of warmer climates in the past - Martin Brasier

    Martin Brasier shows the types of fossils that characterised Earth in warmer climates of the past

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  • What past climates say about CO2 and warming - Matt Huber

    Matt Huber explains how the link between CO2 and past climates is a key factor to assessing future global warming.

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  • Trapping and storing CO2 -Martin Blunt and Daniel Koseli

    Martin in London and Daniel in Germany explain technologies for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning power stations by trapping, liquifying and storing it deep underground.

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  • Inside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

    Martin Manning talks about his role as head of the Support Team for the IPCC Working Group I (Science of Climate Change), and some of the conclusions in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007.

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  • Implications for future sea level rise - Stefan Rahmstorf

    Stefan explains why we should be concerned about climate change and especially sea level rise.

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  • Implications for the local residents - Katie Dugger and Brian Karl

    The Adelie penguin colony at Cape Bird, Antarctica, is doing well. However, as Brian and Katie explain, if the sea ice goes the way of ice around the Antarctic Peninsula, the colony will not survive.

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  • Implications for future climate - Malte Meinshausen

    Malte Meinshausen explains the problems of predicting global warming from rising CO2 emissions. His modelling suggests that we have a budget of about a trillion tonnes of CO2 for a good chance of keeping global temperatures below 2°C. To remain within it though, we must reduce CO2 emissions dramatically in the next few years and eventually to zero.

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  • Reflections on a warming planet

    Myles reflects on the consequences of rising emissions of carbon dioxide for our climate.

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  • Being a scientist - personal thoughts

    Dave Harwood defines science, Nancy Bertler and Ros Rickaby talk about what turned them on to it,  Wally Broecker reflects on what's  important about it for him, and Liz Sikes explains why she enjoys it.

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  • Changing attitudes over the last 100 years - Sir Lloyd Geering

    Sir Lloyd Geering is New Zealand's foremost religious thinker. He talks about changing attitudes in recent times. They should make it easier for us to deal with climate change, but there are still huge barriers.

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