Every two years a group of PhD students disappear into the geological wilderness for the RSES Student Field Trip. In 2014, students spent two weeks camping in the Australian outback investigating the regional geology of Central Australia. After many discussions and presentations about exotic and tropical locations, the student cohort settled on a geological road trip around Tasmania. Here is a quick overview of the geological history of Tasmania and some of the cool sites we managed to visit.
This week’s blog post is coming from Jennifer Wurtzel, who is currently on a boat analyzing sediment cores from the ocean floor in the Western Pacific Warm Pool!
I am currently serving as a Physical Properties Specialist on Expedition 363 aboard the JOIDES Resolution. As part of the Phys Props team, I help run instruments that scan our sediment cores for physical characteristics (e.g. density) right as they come on board so that the “Stratigraphic Correlators” can identify patterns in the core, which will be used to guide the coring process.
A field trip takes student blogger Jesse Zondervan to a classroom in paradise on the Great Barrier Reef. This was originally posted on the ANU Science student blog.
By Jesse Zondervan
In a silent group of people, I stand in the dark on a white beach. I listen to sea turtles digging their nests. Torches are not allowed because they may blind the turtles or scare them away to waste their eggs in the sea.
Heron Island is our one-night stopover to One Tree Island, a research island on the Great Barrier Reef, where we’ll be doing a field course for ten days.
By Sarah Andrew
*yes that is a Modest Mouse reference.
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend the 4th International Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World (AKA Ocean Acidification Conference) in Hobart, where over 300 scientists from around the world came together to discuss the implications of changing ocean chemistry and where our research needs to go next. A recurring theme in this conference was the realisation that scientists need to make a huge leap with experimental design (a bit more about this later) in order to start truly understanding the complicated aspects of such a dynamic environment.
Could there be anything more frustrating to a climate scientist than an educated, seemingly reasonable person declare they don’t believe in climate change?
To me it feels a bit like this:
The science is now overwhelmingly clear on climate change; it is happening and humans are responsible. Yet, in 2013 60% of Australians thought that ‘there are too many conflicting opinions for the public to be sure about climate change’ (The Climate Institute, 2013).
It seems like we are back to the good old science communication problem.
-by Louise Schoneveld
Last week I snuck into the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science’s scientific paper writing workshop, held here at the ANU. I thought I would share a few of the nuggets of wisdom I learnt during my 3 days at the workshop. I am not a climate scientist but was lucky enough to score a place in this workshop.
Back in June of 2013, I sailed across the Great Australian Bight (the area of ocean below Australia) on the RV Southern Surveyor. One cold and windy night, myself and several other scientists scrambled out onto the deck with an expensive, large, yellow, plastic float. We
threw released it over the side of the boat and watched it as it disappeared into the night.
By Ben Nistor
ANU Summer Scholarship at RSES
As the mid-year holidays approach I start thinking ahead to summer. After a hectic start to the year (despite trying to “lighten the workload”) and consecutive summers of full time employment in big cities away I intended to give myself a holiday. This year I would head home and put my feet up. Haha, well that didn’t happen…
According to a recent study¹, Earth has narrowly missed entering into a new glacial. And the reason why? CO2 levels were too high.
But the CO2 that ‘saved’ us from a rather more icy existence is not the product of the mass burning of fossil fuels you are probably thinking of now. The CO2 we are talking about here was already in the atmosphere before the industrial revolution began (~1850).
In an effort to develop a more planet friendly lifestyle, one thing I’ve been doing for the last year or two is buying compostable or degradable bin liners.
I don’t actually compost at home, so the bin liners go straight to landfill, but I thought that at least they’d still break down a bit more quickly and be better for the environment.
I was wrong.
By K. Holland
Everyone knows the importance of foraminifers transcends science. We’ve searched from the sea floor to the photic zone to bring you these calcifers that have an uncanny resemblance to your favourite Aussie stars. You’ll have to sea them to believe it!
Last week the leaders of almost 200 nations came together in Paris for the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties. On Saturday, 12 December 2015 these leaders reached an agreement that will signal the end of the use of fossil fuels, with the aim of rapidly replacing coal, oil and gas with clean energy sources worldwide.
Climate change is a global problem that requires all nations to come together to be a part of the solution. Australia equates to 5.15% of the world’s landmasses and 1.3% of greenhouse gas emissions, the 13th largest emitter in the world per capita out of 195 nations.
The 196 parties of the UNFCCC are coming together next week with the aim of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will likely keep global warming below 2˚C. Check out my last blog post on COP21 for more information.
Next week one of the world’s biggest and most important diplomatic events will take place. But what is the UNFCCC COP21 and why should we care?
Understanding the Acronyms
UNFCCC stands for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, this refers to the selection of leaders from 195 nations and the European Union who have come together with the aim of reducing the impact of human actions upon the Earth’s climate system.
The Conference of Parties (COP) is the leading body of the international convention. COP21 is the 21st annual gathering for the UNFCCC leaders and is to be held in Paris, 30 November – 11 December 2015. Continue reading “COP21: Paris Climate Talks”
Every year the Italian city of Urbino plays host to the Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology (USSP), bringing students from all over the world together to learn from some of the leading scientists in the field.
So this July Rose and I said a sad (ha!) goodbye to the Canberrean winter and got on our flights to join USSP 2015 for the Italian summer. Continue reading “Pizza, Pasta and Paleoclimate”
By Kate Holland
PhD candidate Kate Holland teams up with a small crew of scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to make small gains in our current understanding of how planktic foraminifers record information in their calcium carbonate shells.