India’s monsoon and Surrey’s green fields

I got back from a couple of workshops in Princeton in America yesterday. They included a talk by an author of this paper on how we appear to be changing the summer rainfall  that India relies on to grow the crops to feed its billion people. On my doormat I found an election flyer by the Guildford’s save the greenbelt party. There is an election in the UK the week after next. They want to stop house building on green fields in the Guildford area. I don’t doubt their sincerity, and green fields are something we all enjoy. But when you read about the changes in rainfall that crops required by a billion people, this does look a bit parochial.

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Climate change

Climate change

On Tuesday I went to one of the general evening physics run by the local group of the Institute of Physics, mainly Paul Stevenson and others on the committee. Future talks here. It was on climate change and the figure that really stood out for me in the talk is above. It is taken from the newly released physical science bit of the 5th report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Basically it shows the temperature averaged over the whole of the Earth and over a decade of time, as a function of time. I.e., the average temperature in the 1980s, in the 1990s, etc. The y-axis is in ºC and is I think the difference in temperature in a decade relative to the average temperature between 1961 and 1990.

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