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New research strengthens evidence for climate change increasing risk of wildfires

New scientific publications reviewed since January 2020 strengthen the evidence that climate change increases the frequency and/or severity of fire weather in many regions of the world.

Climate pledges ‘like tackling COVID-19 without social distancing’

Current global pledges to tackle climate change are the equivalent of declaring a pandemic without a plan for social distancing, researchers say.

University of Exeter nominated for four “Oscars of higher education”

The University of Exeter has been nominated for four “Oscars of higher education” which honour the best teaching and research in the country.

£1.2 million grant for researchers tackling flood and landslide hazards

A project to reduce risks related to landslides and floods has received £1.2m funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Ocean carbon uptake widely underestimated

The world's oceans soak up more carbon than most scientific models suggest, according to new research.

Glacial lakes 50 per cent bigger since 1990

The amount of water in glacial lakes worldwide has risen by about 50 per cent since 1990, researchers say.

Little Miss Homeless out to raise awareness

A book about Little Miss Homeless has been created to raise awareness of women's homelessness. 

Software firm highlights Exeter 'success story'

The University of Exeter has been chosen as a "customer success story" by a global software company for inventive use of technology called GIS (geographical information system).

New research highlights ‘challenging nature’ of vested interests in the energy transition

Pioneering new research has highlighted some of the political difficulties with the UK’s energy transition, in particular around vested fossil fuel interests.

Exeter project on Newton Prize shortlist

A project jointly led by the University of Exeter has been shortlisted for a prestigious prize worth up to £500,000.

Government says beavers can stay in their Devon home

After years of uncertainty, England’s first wild breeding population of beavers for 400 years has been given the permanent right to remain in their East Devon river home.

Small trees offer hope for rainforests

Small trees that grow up in drought conditions could form the basis of more drought-resistant rainforests, new research suggests.

How governments actively resist a World Heritage ‘In Danger’ listing

 A study published today finds that governments worldwide have repeatedly resisted the placement of 41 UNESCO World Heritage sites on a list of “World Heritage In Danger”.

Waste industry under pressure during COVID-19 outbreak

The impact of COVID-19 on the UK waste sector will be investigated in a new project led by the University of Exeter.

Palm trees most abundant in tropical forests in the Americas

Palm trees are more than five times more numerous in tropical forests in the Americas than in comparable Asian and African forests, a new study shows.

Exeter in global top five for research on green space and public health

The University of Exeter has leapt into the top five institutions in the world for research output on the links between green space and public health.

‘Gatekeepers’ of biodiversity hotspots facing COVID crisis

Impoverished communities and diverse ecosystems in Colombia are under threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say.

Awards for Exeter climate scientists

Two Exeter climate scientists have received prestigious awards from the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS).

Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon, study shows

Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows.

Less than a quarter of Cornwall’s voluntary sector operating as usual amid COVID-19 crisis

Cornwall’s voluntary organisations have been adapting services to support more vulnerable people for longer during the Covid-19 crisis.  

Story explores complex tale of Colombian forests

The impact of social and political systems on Colombian forests is explored through a short story from a collaboration between Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Hay Festival.

Warm springs increase risk of severe summer droughts

Warm and sunny springs – like the one just seen in the UK – can create conditions that pave the way for severe summer droughts, a new study has shown.

Rivers help lock carbon from fires into oceans for thousands of years

The extent to which rivers transport burned carbon to oceans – where it can be stored for tens of millennia – is revealed in new research.

Climate could cause abrupt British vegetation changes

Climate change could cause abrupt shifts in the amount of vegetation growing in parts of Great Britain, new research shows.

Tropical forests can handle the heat, up to a point

Tropical forests face an uncertain future under climate change, but new research published in Science suggests they can continue to store large amounts of carbon in a warmer world, if countries limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Chemical composition of bedrock limits vegetation growth in karst regions, research shows

Scientists have revealed the critical role that the chemical composition of bedrock plays in limiting vegetation growth in some of the world’s most barren and rocky terrains.

Look beyond rainforests to protect trees, scientists say

Temperate and tropical dry forests – not just rainforests – are home to thousands of unique tree species, a new study reveals.

 

‘Near-unlivable’ heat for one-third of humans within 50 years if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut

Areas of the planet home to one-third of humans will become as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Unsustainable soil erosion in parts of UK

New research demonstrates unsustainable levels of soil erosion in the UK.

‘Uplifting’ project nourishing Amazon people and soil

Thousands of trees have been planted in former rainforest land in the Amazon, nourishing the soil and providing impoverished Brazilians with food and increased incomes.

Plant root hairs ‘unrecognized heroes’ that hold the soil together, research shows.

The tiny hairs found on plant roots play a pivotal role in helping reduce soil erosion, a new study has found.

Electric cars better for climate in 95% of the world

Fears that electric cars could actually increase carbon emissions are unfounded in almost all parts of the world, new research shows.

Tropical forests’ carbon sink is already rapidly weakening

The ability of the world’s tropical forests to remove carbon from the atmosphere is decreasing, according to a study tracking 300,000 trees over 30 years, published today in Nature.

Ocean changes almost starved life of oxygen

Chemical changes in the oceans more than 800 million years ago almost destroyed the oxygen-rich atmosphere that paved the way for complex life on Earth, new research suggests.

Nine new staff join Global Systems Institute

A University of Exeter research institute has been boosted by the arrival of nine new staff.

Trial finds benefits to people and wildlife from beavers living wild in English countryside

A major five-year study into the impacts of beavers on the English countryside has concluded that the water-living mammals can bring measurable benefits to people and wildlife.

Power of older people could save villages

Older people could hold the key to revitalising rural communities, researchers say.

People power key to new wildlife havens

People power will be the driving force behind new wildlife havens in three Cornish towns.

Climate scientist receives prestigious ERC funding award

One of the University of Exeter’s most talented climate researchers has received a significant funding boost from the European Research Council (ERC), it has been announced.

Arctic sea ice can’t ‘bounce back’

Arctic sea ice cannot “quickly bounce back” if climate change causes it to melt, new research suggests.

Atlantic circulation collapse could cut British crop farming

Crop production in Britain will fall dramatically if climate change causes the collapse of a vital pattern of ocean currents, new research suggests

Plant life expanding in the Everest region

Plant life is expanding in the area around Mount Everest, and across the Himalayan region, new research shows.

Nine climate tipping points now “active”, warn scientists

More than half of the climate tipping points identified a decade ago are now “active”, a group of leading scientists have warned.

Meeting the challenges facing fisheries climate risk insurance

Insurance schemes with the potential to improve the resilience of global fisheries face a host of future challenges, researchers say.

University experts feature in prestigious ranking of world’s most influential scientists

Leading climate, environment and health academics from the University of Exeter have been recognised as being amongst the world’s most influential researchers, according to a prestigious new ranking.

Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon

Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in the oceans, but we are only just beginning to understand their full potential.

Exeter scientist up for award alongside Greta Thunberg

An Exeter scientist has been nominated for a climate communication award – alongside environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Climate change could drive British crop farming north and west

Unchecked climate change could drive Britain’s crop growing north and west, leaving the east and south east unable to support crop growing, new research suggests

Widespread drying of European peatlands in recent centuries

Many of Europe’s peatlands are currently the driest they have been in the last 1,000 years, new research shows.

Bean tree plan to protect Amazon

Amazon deforestation could be slowed by planting bean trees that would keep soils fertile and help smallholders make a living.

Bid to reconstruct richness of prehistoric oceans

Scientists are reconstructing the world’s “pristine” prehistoric oceans.

‘Great West’ can lead world in tackling climate change

The ‘Great West’ can lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change.

New international project will investigate hidden costs of floods communities

The University of Exeter will lead an international project to investigate the hidden impact of adaptation measures designed to protect flood-prone communities worldwide.

Devon's Net-Zero Task Force hits the ground running at its first meeting

The first step in Devon’s journey towards carbon neutrality was taken today when Devon’s Net-Zero Task Force met for the first time.

Food proves to be the magic ingredient in changing Cornish lives

New research from the University of Exeter shows that the Food for Change programme, which uses growing, cooking and trading activities to inspire change, is making a huge difference to people’s lives across Cornwall.

Scientists strengthen cooperation, U.K. now shares responsibility with Norway for developing ocean greenhouse gas measurements

The U.K. will join hosting the Ocean Thematic Centre within ICOS, a European research infrastructure measuring greenhouse gases on the atmosphere, land and oceans. Long-term measurement of the seas is important since the oceans take up about one quarter of the carbon dioxide humans release to the atmosphere, reducing the rate of climate change.

Impact of climate change on global banana yields revealed

Climate change could negatively impact banana cultivation in some of the world’s most important producing and exporting countries, a study has revealed.

Rainforests can only absorb CO2 as long as nutrient stores last

How much carbon dioxide can tropical rainforests absorb?

Gulf between UK fracking industry and public opinion laid bare as less than 1 in 10 people say regulation of shale gas extraction is too strict

A major new public attitudes survey on fracking shows people have low trust in the energy companies involved and want decisions taken at a local level.

Sustainable land management key to reducing Amazon wildfires, study shows

The unrelenting deforestation of the Amazon region could lead to a dramatic increase to the risk of destructive wildfire outbreaks, research has shown.

Explore nature’s mysterious hidden worlds

Delve into the hidden world of microorganisms, discover the strange creatures that lurk in the deep ocean and the frozen continent, and be amazed by secretive glowing animals at this year’s Science in the Square.

Plate tectonics may have driven “Cambrian Explosion”, study shows

The quest to discover what drove one of the most important evolutionary events in the history of life on Earth has taken a new, fascinating twist.

Universities have alerted us to the scale of the climate crisis – now they must lead in showing society how to solve it

Calum Harvey-Scholes, research associate in Energy Policy at the University of Exeter, writes for the Conversation UK

Armed conflict risks could be heightened by future climate impacts, study shows

Climate change could heighten the risk of future outbreaks of armed conflict and civil war, a study has said.

Exeter climate scientist appointed MBE

A leading climate scientist has been appointed MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Rapid retreat of Arctic coastline revealed in images from the air

Extreme erosion of Arctic coastlines in a changing climate – up to a metre a day – has been revealed with drone surveys.

Fishing among worst jobs for health

People working in the fishing industry have among the poorest health of all workers in England and Wales, new research suggests.

Climate emergency debated at University of Exeter

Hundreds of people gathered to discuss climate and environmental issues at the University of Exeter last night.

Why my fears about climate change made me cross the line that separates academia from activism

James Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Global Systems at the University of Exeter, writes for the Conversation UK 

Call for evidence on climate change extended

The Committee on Climate Change has extended the deadline on a call for evidence to identify relevant published information about the risks and opportunities facing the UK from climate change.

Are winter wildfires actually due to climate change?

Professor Richard Betts, Chair in Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter and Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre, writes for the Conversation UK

Natural resources valued differently by men and women, study shows

Men and women value, access and use resources from the natural environment in distinct and different ways, a new study has shown.

Faster CO₂ rise expected in 2019

With emissions already at a record high, the build-up of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere could be larger than last year due to a slower removal by natural carbon sinks.

Small trees are among the oldest in Congolese rainforest

Forest giants have long been considered the oldest trees in tropical forests, but new research shows small trees can also be very old, and can even grow older than the big ones.

Local focus could help tackle global problems

People’s love for their local areas could be harnessed to tackle global environmental problems, researchers say.