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Intrepid Science
Welcome to Intrepid Science, the G+ page for Professor Chris Turney and his team.
Welcome to Intrepid Science, the G+ page for Professor Chris Turney and his team.

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+NASA has just made the most exciting announcement: the first ever discovery of seven planets orbiting a single star

Basically, +NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found something that closely resembles our very own solar system. It even has its own name: the snappy moniker TRAPPIST-1.

But what's really put scientists into palpations is that of these Earth-sized planets, three of them are in the so-called 'habitable zone', meaning they may harbour life. And at 40-light years distance (a mere 235 trillion miles) they're almost our neighbours.

Can't wait to learn more!

#NASA #habitableplanets #Spitzer #TRAPPIST1 #spacetelescope #exploration #science

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Fascinating +WIRED article on why the 160 kilometre break in the Antarctic Larsen Ice Shelf is being so keenly watched by Earth scientists. And it's not good news...

#Larsen #iceshelf #Antarctic #Antarctica #scientificexpeditions #science #exploration

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Flawed thinking through the ages! This is fast becoming a classic cartoon from the Buffalo News' Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Adam Zyglis. Beautifully done!

#climatedenial #climatechange #evolution #gravity #flatearthers #adamzyglis #buffalonews #globalwarming

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Please support an incredibly important science program

Regular +Intrepid Science followers will know that the team have been involved in developing the first drought atlas for Australia and New Zealand. Using rings of tree and coral growth has allowed us to reconstruct a year-by-year record of changing moisture availability over some 500 years, helping us better understand the changing drivers of droughts and floods. Friends and colleagues
Kathy Allen and Jonathan Palmer are looking to take the project forward using the public fund raising platform Experiment. Follow the link below and please provide whatever support you can. With your help, we can map changing climate extremes and hopefully improve future projections.

#ANZDA #droughtatlas #floods #drought #citizenscience #publicscience #experiment #treerings 

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105 years to the day the great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen led a team to be the first to reach the geographic South Pole...and it's being celebrated by Google as a doodle!

#Amundsen #doodle #GoogleDoodle #Antarctica #Antarctic #SouthPole

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With a series of deep cracks developing across the Brunt Ice Shelf, the British Antarctic Survey are having to relocate their base Halley VI . Fortunately the research station was designed for an event just like this. With ski-fitted retractable legs, Halley will be moved 23 km into the interior by April 2018. Arguably best known for discovering the ozone hole in 1985, BAS are hoping to minimise disruption of the science program.

#Halley #HalleyVI #BruntIceShelf #BAS

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Watch the hazardous migration of the plastic bag as it strives to reach the freedom of the seas. This is a brilliant spoof!

#plastic #spoof #plasticbag #migration #mockumentary

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Have the physical remains of Queen Nerfertari finally been identified? After years of research a pair of mummified knees are all of we have of what was famously the beautiful wife of Egyptian Pharoah Ramses the Second. It just doesn't seem right...

#ancientegypt #Nerfetari #mummification

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Central London tube map for tourists!

Have you ever wondered what there is to see at London's tube stations? It's a few years old now but still a classic!

#Londontubemap #centralLondonmap #Londonmap

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The Day After Tomorrow

New research suggests something like the movie The Day After Tomorrow may have happened in the past, with sobering implications for the future. In this blockbuster, melting Arctic ice led to dramatic cooling across the Northern Hemisphere, highlighting the paradox that in a warming world, some regions may indeed cool (or at least not warm as much as expected). Whilst no one is suggesting this could lead to a new ice age, climate model projections do suggest some parts of the world may respond differently to long-term warming. One of the big uncertainties is the impact a melting Greenland ice sheet might have across the North Atlantic. At a simple level, the world’s oceans are connected as though by one enormous conveyor belt. At one end of the loop, warm tropical waters popularly known as the Gulf Stream drift up into the North Atlantic where over the course of a year the evaporating surface delivers heat downwind equivalent to the output from a million power stations. It’s a major reason for the starkly different temperatures experienced along the northern 50th parallel; why Europe is over 15˚C warmer than Newfoundland and Labrador on the other side of the Atlantic. Eventually, however, this northward-flowing current becomes too cold and salty to stay afloat, and sinks, heading south kilometres below the surface. If enough of Greenland warms, the fresh water released by a melting ice sheet may be sufficient to dilute the surface ocean waters and stop the formation of salty, dense water, breaking the loop. One way to resolve future uncertainty is to look into the past when conditions were warmer than today. Regular +Intrepid Science followers will have read previous work we’ve done on the Last Interglacial but the short story is this was a period around 127,000 to 116,000 years ago when polar regions were some 2˚C warmer than present day - a potential scenario for the future [thanks to long-term changes in the Earth’s orbit, our planet received extra warmth from the Sun, triggering a host of changes that include less Arctic sea ice and carbon release from the oceans and permafrost, amplifying warming. These so-called ‘positive feedbacks’ are a real concern for future climate change but that’s another story].

By looking at the recent geologic record we can reconstruct what happened in the North Atlantic during the Last Interglacial. A few years ago, a great mate, +Richard Jones, and I produced the first global temperature reconstruction for the Last Interglacial (you can read the paper published in Journal of Quaternary Science ‘Does the Agulhas Current amplify global temperatures during super-interglacials?’ at With an international team of friends from the universities of Exeter, +UNSW Australia, +Lund University - LU Konferens and +Natural History Museum, we’ve now published a new study in the journal Geology called ‘Delayed maximum northern European summer temperatures during the Last Interglacial as a result of Greenland Ice Sheet melt’ (the paper can be accessed at Drilling some 5 metres of Last Interglacial lake muds in Denmark we’ve been able to extract fossil remains of what are known as non-biting midges (something referred to as ‘chironomids’). Chironomids are wonderful for reconstructing past climate. The surface lake water temperatures they inhabit dictate what species can exist at any one time. Some species thrive in warm waters, others prefer more frigid conditions. The practical upshot is by extracting the minute remains of chironomids preserved in the lake muds layer-by-layer, it’s possible to reconstruct how temperatures have changed over time. To our amazement we found the warmest temperatures didn’t happen at the start of the Last Interglacial but some 3000 years later. And when we compared our reconstruction to ocean and ice core records across the North Atlantic, we reached a startling conclusion. The summer temperatures mapped onto what was happening with the Greenland ice sheet: when Greenland was melting, summer temperatures effectively downstream over Europe were relatively cool. And when the Greenland ice sheet stopped melting, Europe warmed dramatically. Worryingly, recent work by +Stefan Rahmstorf at the +Potsdam Institute and colleagues suggest this may already be happening (

This work was funded by the +Australian Research Council (ARC) and we gratefully acknowledge their support.

The photo below is where the Greenland Ice Sheet meets the North Atlantic. Icebergs in high summer in Sermilik Fjord, one
of the largest fjords in southeast greenland. Helheim glacier, which drains into the fjord, has seen some of the highest acceleration of ice velocity recorded across the Greenland Ice sheet over the past decade (credit: +Chris Fogwill).

#globalwarming #climatechange #dayaftertomorrow #lastinterglacial #Stage5 #5e #Eemian #Greenland #GreenlandIceSheet #AtlanticMeriodionalOverturning #AMOC #conveyorbelt #chironomids #temperature #warming
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