Mountain Pine Beetles, Climate and the Carbon Cycle

From the early 1990s, high levels of tree mortality have been observed across large areas of forest in North America infested by species of bark beetles. The majority of the damage originates from the native Mountain Pine Beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae. The beetles burrow underneath the bark of the trees to lay their eggs, disrupting water … Continue reading “Mountain Pine Beetles, Climate and the Carbon Cycle”

Growing bio-fuels in Africa: Sugarcane in Ghana

The cultivation of bio-energy crops, such as sugarcane is a potentially lucrative activity.  But sugarcane is a thirsty crop, and the infrastructure required to refine it is expensive.  These issues raise serious questions about sustainability and profitability.  Nowhere is this more true than in Africa. Assessing the environmental and economic feasibility of sugarcane cultivation is … Continue reading “Growing bio-fuels in Africa: Sugarcane in Ghana”

Sudden Stratospheric Stirrings

For a stratospheric scientist, winter is a worrying time.  For most of the year we can enjoy whatever weather the atmosphere decides to throw at us, secure in the knowledge that none of it is our fault.  But occasionally winter throws in a surprise, and one glance at last weekend’s weather forecast tells you that … Continue reading “Sudden Stratospheric Stirrings”

2012 Hurricane season wrap-up

By Ray Bell The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on Saturday as a ‘very unusual‘ year with an abnormally large 19 tropical storms forming and curiously only 1 making it to Category 3 strength. A typical hurricane season has 12 tropical storms, 6 of which are hurricanes and 3 of which are major hurricanes. … Continue reading “2012 Hurricane season wrap-up”

The 2012 Antarctic Ozone Hole

A remarkable event occurs each springtime in the Antarctic (Sept-Oct-Nov) lower stratosphere – a dramatic depletion of ozone in a period of just a few weeks. It has not always been this way. Ozone amounts can be measured in many ways. One useful measure is the total number of ozone molecules above a square centimetre … Continue reading “The 2012 Antarctic Ozone Hole”

summer weather and food production

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that summer 2012 has seen some pretty unusual conditions. In the UK its officially been the second wettest summer (June, July and August) since records began with only 1912 being wetter. The only exception was the NW of Scotland with somewhat drier than average conditions. This of course followed … Continue reading “summer weather and food production”

Blood Rain for Halloween?

Last week you might have been forgiven for thinking there would be something spooky in the weather for Halloween, with several news websites were pushing headlines along the lines of: So what is ‘blood rain’ and was there any truth in these headlines? Every year, millions of tonnes of Saharan dust are lifted from the … Continue reading “Blood Rain for Halloween?”