Researchers from the University of Exeter have given their views on the COP27 climate change conference.
Twenty-one researchers from the University of Exeter have been recognised as leading experts in Clarivate’s annual highly cited researchers list.
Global carbon emissions in 2022 remain at record levels – with no sign of the decrease that is urgently needed to limit warming to 1.5°C, according to the Global Carbon Project science team.
A research project that will help the UK meet its biodiversity commitments and improve understanding of the effectiveness of biodiversity policies has been awarded a £1 million grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Earlier this year, an IPCC report found that the majority of all adaptation actions (changes humans will need to make in response to climate change) are water-related.
Earth’s vital signs have worsened to the point that “humanity is unequivocally facing a climate emergency”, according to an international coalition of researchers.
Oxygen levels in the Earth’s atmosphere are likely to have “fluctuated wildly” one billion years ago, creating conditions that could have accelerated the development of early animal life, according to new research.
With massive international focus on rainforests, the vital importance of tropical dry forests and savannas is being overlooked, researchers say.
Natural England and the University of Exeter have announced a new strategic partnership to boost nature recovery.
The final version of the Devon Carbon Plan has been published today by the Devon Climate Emergency partnership.
Efforts to activate "positive tipping points" to tackle the climate crisis have been boosted by a £1 million (US$1.15m) grant from the Bezos Earth Fund.
Scientists have used centuries-old clam shells to see how the North Atlantic climate system reached a "tipping point" before the Little Ice Age.
Multiple climate tipping points could be triggered if global temperature rises beyond 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, according to a major new analysis.
World-renowned experts will discuss the power of "positive tipping points" to tackle the climate crisis at the University of Exeter next week.
Analysing the charred remains of plants can confirm the locations of asteroid strikes in the distant past, new research shows.
Community growing schemes and mapping empty housing identified as key sustainability goals for Cornwall
Supporting community growing schemes and mapping unused properties to house local people have been identified as sustainability goals for the coming year by community leaders across Cornwall, according to a new report.
Growth of the Amazon rainforest in our increasingly carbon-rich atmosphere could be limited by a lack of phosphorus in the soil, new research shows.
Experts will meet next month to discuss catastrophic climate "tipping points" – and the power of positive tipping points to avert the climate crisis.
Global heating could become “catastrophic” for humanity if temperature rises are worse than many predict or cause cascades of events we have yet to consider, or indeed both. The world needs to start preparing for the possibility of a “climate endgame”.
University of Exeter researchers have paid tribute to scientist James Lovelock, who has died aged 103.
A new "resilience sensing system" can identify ecosystems that are in danger of collapse, research shows.
A new carbon capture project could pave the way for large-scale removal of carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere using the ocean.
Giving Living Wage Town status to Penzance would help improve the local economy and the reputation of the area, new research shows.
Climate change will increase chances of wildfire globally – but humans can still help reduce the risk
New research highlights how the risk of wildfire is rising globally due to climate change – but also, how human actions and policies can play a critical role in regulating regional impacts.
Investing in the environment and thinking more creatively about our reserves of “natural capital” should be at the heart of the government’s levelling up agenda, a new report suggests.
An audience at the Glastonbury Festival has heard how people power can tackle the climate crisis.
Festivalgoers can learn about climate change, space travel, plant power and much more at Glastonbury's new Science Futures area.
A new "Talking Deck" will help shape conversations at an Exeter wellbeing hub.
Climate change debates on Reddit don't happen in polarised "echo chambers", new research suggests.
New study maps financial ownership of more than $1 trillion of the fossil fuel industry’s projected ‘stranded asset’ losses due to low-carbon transition
Driven by technological, societal and political change, renewable energy technologies are progressively replacing fossil fuels.
Tackling the climate crisis can only be achieved by "placing people at the heart of climate action", researchers say.
Much of the "excess heat" stored in the subtropical North Atlantic is in the deep ocean (below 700m), new research suggests.
Two professors at the University of Exeter have received prestigious awards from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
A natural habitat's ability to withstand and recover from damage can be empirically monitored from space.
The origin of complex cells started without oxygen, new research suggests.
Seawater samples taken from a surfboard have helped scientists understand microscopic life in the waves, new research shows.
A five-year, £3.7m research project involving scientists from the UK and across Europe will assess the risk that climate change poses to peatlands, and improve methods of managing these important ecosystems.
University of Exeter researchers have commented on the new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Devon residents have one final chance to give their views on the Devon Carbon Plan before its publication this summer.
The Amazon rainforest is becoming less resilient – raising the risk of widespread dieback, new research shows.
The University of Exeter and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have signed an agreement to jointly investigate climate change tipping points.
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the need stop carbon emissions and adapt to "unavoidable risks", according to one of its Lead Authors.
The Breakthrough Agenda agreed at COP26 could help trigger positive tipping points to tackle the climate crisis, researchers say.
UK councils are being urged to sign a "motion for the ocean" – pledging to engage with citizens to promote ocean recovery.
The UK’s journey to net zero by 2050 is set to be bolstered by the social sciences, thanks to a major new investment from ESRC.
Global warming of 4°C by 2100 still cannot be ruled out, according to experts whose work informed a new UK government report.
Countries where people have more trust in each other have been more successful in bringing down waves of coronavirus cases and deaths, a new study shows.
Borgen Bay. Credit Mike Meredith.
Underwater tsunamis created by glacier calving cause vigorous ocean mixing
Scientists on a research vessel in Antarctica watched the front of a glacier disintegrate and their measurements “went off the scale”.
As well as witnessing disruptions on the ocean surface, they recorded “internal” underwater tsunamis as tall as a house, a phenomenon that has been previously missed in the understanding of ocean mixing and in computer models.
The team, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) researchers, report their observations today in the journal Science Advances.
Internal tsunamis are an important factor in ocean mixing, which affects life in the ocean, temperatures at different depths, and how much ice the ocean can melt.
Ice in Antarctica flows to the coast along glacier-filled valleys.
While some ice melts into the ocean, a lot breaks off into icebergs, which range in size from small chunks up to the size of a country.
A team on board the BAS research ship RRS James Clark Ross were taking ocean measurements close to the William Glacier, situated on the Antarctic Peninsula, as the front of it dramatically disintegrated into thousands of small pieces.
The William Glacier typically has one or two large calving events per year, and the team estimated this one broke off around 78,000 square metres of ice – around the area of 10 football pitches – with the front of the glacier towering 40m above sea level.
Before it broke away, the water temperature was cooler at around 50-100m in depth and warmer below this.
After the calving, this changed dramatically, with temperature much more even across different depths.
Lead author of the study Professor Michael Meredith, head of the Polar Oceans team at BAS, said: “This was remarkable to see, and we were lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
“Lots of glaciers end in the sea, and their ends regularly split off into icebergs.
“This can cause big waves at the surface but we know now it also creates waves inside the ocean.
“When they break, these internal waves cause the sea to mix and this affects life in the sea, how warm it is at different depths and how much ice it can melt.
“This is important for us to understand better.
“Ocean mixing influences where nutrients are in the water and that matters for ecosystems and biodiversity.
“We thought we knew what caused this mixing – in summer, we thought it was mainly wind and tides, but it never occurred to us that iceberg calving could cause internal tsunamis that would mix things up so substantially.”
Professor James Scourse, Head of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter, was Principal Scientific Officer on the RRS James Clark Ross at the time of the calving event, which was captured by a Sky News team on board at the time.
Two other scientists from Exeter have been central to the interpretation of the data captured, Dr Katy Sheen and PhD student Tobias Ehmen of the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science on the Penryn Campus.
"Often the most important and exciting discoveries in science are serendipitous – you happen to be at the right place at the right time with the right instruments and the right people – and because you know it's important you just make sure you tweak the work plan to make the most of what nature has offered you,” Professor Scourse said.
“We did that in Börgen Bay back in January 2020 and as a result we've produced the first data on a process that has implications for how fast the ocean is able to melt the ice sheets. This has implications for all of us."
As opposed to the waves caused by wind and tides, tsunamis are caused by geophysical events where water is suddenly shifted, for example by an earthquake or landslide.
Internal tsunamis have been noticed in a handful of places, caused by landslides.
Until now, no one had noticed that they are happening around Antarctica, probably all the time because of the thousands of calving glaciers there.
Other places with glaciers are likely affected also, including Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic.
This chance observation and understanding is important, as glaciers are set to retreat and calve more as global warming continues.
This could likely increase the number of internal tsunamis created and the mixing they cause.
This process is not factored into current computer models enabling us to predict what might happen around Antarctica.
This discovery changes our understanding of how the ocean around Antarctica is mixed and will improve knowledge about what it means for climate, the ecosystem and sea level rise.
Professor Meredith said: “Our fortuitous timing shows how much more we need to learn about these remote environments and how they matter for our planet.”
The research cruise on RRS James Clark Ross was part of the ICEBERGS project and was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
Date: 23 November 2022