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Mangroves and mud: Investigating past sea level

Dawn had already broken when our plane touched down on Mahé island, lighting up the cloudy shifting sky and the turquoise waters lapping at the runway’s edge. From my plane window I could already see sheer cliffs of pinky-grey granite rising up from the narrow coastal plain, covered in lush tropical vegetation. I was sleepy, but excited to be here. Mahé is the largest island of the small island nation of Seychelles – a tropical archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. I was visiting for three weeks to begin the field work component of my PhD research. My destination: the mangroves that fringe the western...

Coastal flooding around the UK coastline

Coastal floods, driven by extreme sea levels, are a major hazard both nationally and globally, with wide-ranging social, economic and environmental impacts. Nationally, it is estimate that £150 billion of assets and 4 million people are currently at risk from coastal flooding in the UK [1]. Coastal flooding is rated as the second highest risk for causing civil emergency in the UK, after pandemic influenza [2]. Combined with fluvial flooding, it is responsible for at least £0.25bn in annual economic damages [3]. Coastal flooding is a growing threat due to accelerating average sea-level rise and possible changes in storminess associated with climate change [4] as well...

COP22: Action COP

COP 22 was hosted by King Mohammed VI in Morocco in November 2016. Around 500 heads of state and government ministers attended. It was the first meeting after the implementation of the Paris Agreement. COP21 was seen as a breakthrough for devising a global climate manifesto; the Paris Agreement. COP22 was seen as ‘action COP’, where the logistics of the Paris Agreement were firmed up. We have selected some of our favourite triumphs and outcomes of COP22. In no particular order:     Useful links: Marrakech Action Proclamation Under2 Coalition Climate Vulnerable Forum Green Climate Fund Global Climate Action

Oxygen Isotopes in Speleothems

Stalactites and stalagmites (also called speleothems) are found in cave environments across the planet (see Figure 1). They form as water from the surface percolates into the ground and drips into the cave. Speleothems can be extremely sensitive to changes in climate and environmental conditions and they record these changes as variations in their chemistry. An excellent review of speleothem formation and their use for palaeoclimate reconstruction by Prof. Ian Fairchild can be found here, so this article focuses on the way that oxygen is stored in speleothems and how we can use this as a record of past climate conditions.   Why and how do we use oxygen isotopes? Oxygen...

COP21 by numbers

As world leaders reach a landmark deal aiming to curb global emissions of greenhouse gases, and keep temperature rise below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, we take a look at the COP21 vital stats.