Category Archives: Environmental hazards

A month’s worth of rain …

By Ben Harvey Phrases like a month’s worth of rain fell in just one day are often seen in media reports of extreme precipitation. But what does this statistic actually mean? How rare is it to see a month’s worth … Continue reading

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Understanding Summer Flash Flooding

By Adrian Champion ‘Flash flooding’ is flooding that only lasts between a few hours and a day and typically has very little warning. There are many causes of flash flooding, from the meteorological conditions that lead to the rainfall that … Continue reading

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A PhD student’s overview of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2016

By David Flack Last week (18 – 22 April) 13,650 scientists from 109 countries descended upon Vienna for the European Geosciences Union (EGU) general assembly. This includes a range of different disciplines, not just those associated with meteorology and hydrology, … Continue reading

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Can specific extreme weather or climate events be attributed to climate change?

By Ted Shepherd Whenever an extreme weather or climate event occurs, scientists are invariably asked whether it can be blamed on anthropogenic climate change. The usual response from climate scientists has been that it is not possible to attribute the … Continue reading

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Predicting the airborne spread of hazardous releases in urban areas

By Omduth Coceal The threat of terrorist attacks, like the risk of accidents, is an unfortunate probability that we need to take seriously and be prepared for. A particularly challenging problem is to be able to predict the spread of potentially … Continue reading

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The melting of Arctic sea ice and the future of trans-Arctic shipping

By Keith Haines Most people will be familiar with news of the changing conditions in the Arctic where climate change seems to be at its fastest. The loss of sea ice each summer seems to show a rapidly declining trend, … Continue reading

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West Australian heatwaves and bush fires

By Mike Blackburn As winter begins in Reading and snow already blankets the Alps, turn your thoughts for a moment to the southern hemisphere where extreme heat and bush fires are among the concerns of Australian forecasters at the beginning … Continue reading

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Improving jet stream forecasts through observational experiment

By John Methven Weather systems developing over the North Atlantic and hitting Europe are intimately related to large-amplitude meanders of the jet stream, known as Rossby waves. Characteristic weather patterns grow in concert with the waves, and the jet stream … Continue reading

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The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew …

By Ray Bell In winter-time when the temperature gradient between the pole and the equator sharpens, the North Atlantic becomes a breeding ground for intense storms (extratropical cyclones). Occasionally associated with intense winter storms is a ‘phenomenal sea state’ (WMO … Continue reading

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Volcanoes as rain magnets

By Geoff Wadge When we have a very large volcanic eruption (as for example Mt Pinatubo in 1991) it gets global news coverage, not least because of its potential to perturb the climate. Whether smaller eruptions get widely noticed usually … Continue reading

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