Imperial's Inaugural Lecture series provides a platform to showcase and celebrate the College's new professors. The inaugural lecture provides official recognition and celebration of the academic’s promotion to professor. A number of guests are invited to attend and students, other staff, and the general public may also attend the lecture. Inaugural lectures are preceded by tea and cakes for invited guests and often followed by a drinks reception, buffet or dinner again for invited guests.
Tea and cakes... I love being English.
Martin spoke brilliantly on how Antarctica is changing to an audience of about 150 people. For a crash course in "where we are now" I would say it is a must watch.
In 2012 I put together a storify using twitter and weblinks about the Greenland Surface Melt. In that story a bunch of climate scientists and I talked about whether the extreme melt seen in 2012 was a signature of global warming.
It is a clear and well written paper that shows using MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data from satellites that you need two things for a serious surface melt event: atmospheric blocking (which allows warm air from the south to go over Greenland) + warm surface temperatures.
The event in 2012 had both of those conditions whereas 2013 did not. The difference is striking in their Figure 1.
Their data set allows them to go back to 2000 and construct annual time series.
They find all of the features Ruth pointed out (shown in their Figure 4).
"that June-July 2007 had the most blocking days but did not have the largest melt, although 2007 has been identified as a large melt year in a seasonal sense"
The reason it did not have as much surface melt as 2012 is because the air temperatures brought over the ice sheet by the atmospheric blocking "barely reached 1.5 SDs [above the summer average temperature]". (SDs means standard deviations - basically a measure of how variable the temperature is about the mean.)
In 2012 the atmospheric blocking brought in "a long-lasting anomaly of 2–2.5 SDs [above the summer average temperature]". This is a bit bland but 2.5 SD's in this data set corresponds to temperatures ~6°C or greater above the summer average on the surface of Greenland. That is why the melt in 2012 was so large.
Häkkinen et al. (2014) make no comment in the paper about the future, or the impact of anthropogenic climate change on such events over Greenland. Looking at various assessments of the scientific literature (e.g the Arctic Report Card) we may draw our own conclusions about whether to expect more of these melting events.
But I will talk about the cover. Here is a screen grab.
I think it's beautiful. I love the way the golden light reflects on the young sea ice. In fact I think it is so beautiful that we used it on the cover of a book I partially wrote and edited for my employer in 2011.
So why did I use it? To me the polar bear is in its natural habitat. The bear is wandering over decaying sea ice and refrozen melt water. Our book is filled with the science of how and why the ice grows and melts, and what adaptations and strategies the animals use to survive, plus lots of other science. The polar bear's Latin name is ursus maritimus - which in English is "sea bear": open water and ice are part of their habitat.
This is what I talked about: What the poles are telling us about our world
It was brilliant to be asked to speak, and really enjoyed the fantastically well organized day. Many thanks to the hardworking large team who put it together, and in particularly James Dyke,Alison Simmance and Jonathan Akass.
[This is a post bringing together things I have done elsewhere whilst learning how to use this platform.]
Back in July 2012 the global news media went very big on a story on the Melting of Greenland.
I got involved in a discussion on twitter about it, with lots of context and decided to have a go at seeing if I could put together a “storyify” on it using the contributions of a wide range of outstanding climate scientists.