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News Article | June 12, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A new study has found a previously undetected potential health risk from the high concentration of small particles found in a boomerang-like return of a volcanic plume. A team of scientists, led by Dr Evgenia Ilyinskaya at the University of Leeds, traced the evolution of the plume chemistry from the 2014-2015 Icelandic Holuhraun lava field eruption and found a second type of plume that impacts air quality. This second plume had circled back to Icelandic cities and towns long after the health warning about the initial plume had been lifted. Lead author, Dr Ilyinskaya from the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics at Leeds, said: "The return of this second, mature, plume, which we referred to as a 'plumerang', showed that the volcanic sulphur had undergone a gas-to-particle conversion by spending time in the atmosphere. This conversion meant that the sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels of the plumerang were reduced and within the European Commission air quality standards and therefore there were no health advisory messages in place. "However, our samples showed that the mature plume was instead very rich in fine particles which contained high concentrations of sulphuric acid and trace metals. The concentrations of these trace metals did not reduce as the plume matured and included heavy metals found in human-made air pollution that are linked to negative health effects. "On at least 18 days during the 6-month long eruption the plumerang was in the capital city of Reykjavík, while the official forecast showed 'no plume'." The fine particles found in the plumerang are so small they can penetrate deep into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems such as exacerbating asthma attacks. It is estimated that short and long-term exposure to this type of fine particles, from both human-made and natural sources, cause over three million premature deaths globally per year and remains the single largest environmental health risk in Europe. Dr Ilyinskaya is currently researching the possible health impacts of the plumerang in collaboration with the University of Iceland. However there is already anecdotal evidence suggesting adverse effects. Dr Ilyinskaya said: "We spoke to people living in Reykjavik who described a burning sensation in the throat and eyes when the SO2 levels would have been well within air quality standards but the particle-rich plumerang would have been over the city." During the six-month-long eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Office's daily forecasts of the plume dispersion accounted only for SO2 concentrations in the young plume. The mature plume was not forecast as part of volcanic air pollution monitoring. The study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, recommends that in future gas-rich eruptions both the young and mature plumes should be considered when forecasting air pollution and the dispersion and transport pattern of the plume. Co-author Dr Anja Schmidt, from the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science as Leeds, said: "The Holuhraun eruption caused one of the most intense and widespread volcanogenic air pollution events in centuries. It's estimated that the amount of sulphur dioxide released into the atmosphere was roughly two times that of a yearly total of SO2 emissions generated by the European Economic area. "It gave us a rare opportunity to study volcanism of this style and scale using modern scientific techniques. The data we have gathered will be invaluable to preparing for a potential future event and its impacts on air quality and human health." Anja Schmidt, University of Leeds Evgenia Ilyinskaya, University of Leeds Morten S. Riishuus, University of Iceland Mike Burton, University of Manchester Dr Evgenia Ilyinskaya and Dr Anja Schmidt are available for interview. Please contact press officer Anna Martinez at +44 (0)113 34 34196 a.martinez@leeds.ac.uk for further information. Understanding the environmental impacts of large fissure eruptions: Aerosol and gas emissions from the 2014-2015 Holuhraun eruption (Iceland) will be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters 09 June 2017 (DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.05.025) The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 31,000 students from 147 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group research-intensive universities. We are a top 10 university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and positioned as one of the top 100 best universities in the world in the 2015 QS World University Rankings. We are The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2017. http://www. The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world's top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. University of Oxford, University of Birmingham, Met Office, University of Cambridge, King's College London, Environment Agency of Iceland, Icelandic Meteorological Office This work was funded by the NERC urgency grant NE/M021130/1 'Source and longevity of sulphur in Icelandic flood basalt eruption plumes'. The research has also benefited from the funding of the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no. [279802]; European Community's Seventh Framework Programme Grant No. 308377 (Project FUTUREVOLC) and support from the NERC-funded Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET).


News Article | June 12, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A new study has found a previously undetected potential health risk from the high concentration of small particles found in a boomerang-like return of a volcanic plume. A team of scientists, led by Dr Evgenia Ilyinskaya at the University of Leeds, traced the evolution of the plume chemistry from the 2014-2015 Icelandic Holuhraun lava field eruption and found a second type of plume that impacts air quality. This second plume had circled back to Icelandic cities and towns long after the health warning about the initial plume had been lifted. Lead author, Dr Ilyinskaya from the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics at Leeds, said: "The return of this second, mature, plume, which we referred to as a 'plumerang', showed that the volcanic sulphur had undergone a gas-to-particle conversion by spending time in the atmosphere. This conversion meant that the sulphur dioxide (SO ) levels of the plumerang were reduced and within the European Commission air quality standards and therefore there were no health advisory messages in place. "However, our samples showed that the mature plume was instead very rich in fine particles which contained high concentrations of sulphuric acid and trace metals. The concentrations of these trace metals did not reduce as the plume matured and included heavy metals found in human-made air pollution that are linked to negative health effects. "On at least 18 days during the 6-month long eruption the plumerang was in the capital city of Reykjavík, while the official forecast showed 'no plume'." The fine particles found in the plumerang are so small they can penetrate deep into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems such as exacerbating asthma attacks. It is estimated that short and long-term exposure to this type of fine particles, from both human-made and natural sources, cause over three million premature deaths globally per year and remains the single largest environmental health risk in Europe. Dr Ilyinskaya is currently researching the possible health impacts of the plumerang in collaboration with the University of Iceland. However there is already anecdotal evidence suggesting adverse effects. Dr Ilyinskaya said: "We spoke to people living in Reykjavik who described a burning sensation in the throat and eyes when the SO levels would have been well within air quality standards but the particle-rich plumerang would have been over the city." During the six-month-long eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Office's daily forecasts of the plume dispersion accounted only for SO concentrations in the young plume. The mature plume was not forecast as part of volcanic air pollution monitoring. The study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, recommends that in future gas-rich eruptions both the young and mature plumes should be considered when forecasting air pollution and the dispersion and transport pattern of the plume. Co-author Dr Anja Schmidt, from the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science as Leeds, said: "The Holuhraun eruption caused one of the most intense and widespread volcanogenic air pollution events in centuries. It's estimated that the amount of sulphur dioxide released into the atmosphere was roughly two times that of a yearly total of SO emissions generated by the European Economic area. "It gave us a rare opportunity to study volcanism of this style and scale using modern scientific techniques. The data we have gathered will be invaluable to preparing for a potential future event and its impacts on air quality and human health."


News Article | June 13, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A new study has found a previously undetected potential health risk from the high concentration of small particles found in a boomerang-like return of a volcanic plume. A team of scientists, led by Evgenia Ilyinskaya at the University of Leeds, traced the evolution of the plume chemistry from the 2014-2015 Icelandic Holuhraun lava field eruption and found a second type of plume that impacts air quality. This second plume had circled back to Icelandic cities and towns long after the health warning about the initial plume had been lifted. "The return of this second, mature, plume, which we referred to as a 'plumerang', showed that the volcanic sulphur had undergone a gas-to-particle conversion by spending time in the atmosphere. This conversion meant that the sulphur dioxide (SO ) levels of the plumerang were reduced and within the European Commission air quality standards and therefore there were no health advisory messages in place," said lead author, Ilyinskaya from the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics at Leeds. "However, our samples showed that the mature plume was instead very rich in fine particles which contained high concentrations of sulphuric acid and trace metals. The concentrations of these trace metals did not reduce as the plume matured and included heavy metals found in human-made air pollution that are linked to negative health effects. "On at least 18 days during the 6-month long eruption the plumerang was in the capital city of Reykjavík, while the official forecast showed 'no plume.'" The fine particles found in the plumerang are so small they can penetrate deep into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems such as exacerbating asthma attacks. It is estimated that short and long-term exposure to this type of fine particles, from both human-made and natural sources, cause more than 3million premature deaths globally per year and remains the single largest environmental health risk in Europe. Ilyinskaya is currently researching the possible health impacts of the plumerang in collaboration with the University of Iceland. However there is already anecdotal evidence suggesting adverse effects. "We spoke to people living in Reykjavik who described a burning sensation in the throat and eyes when the SO levels would have been well within air quality standards but the particle-rich plumerang would have been over the city," said Ilyinskaya. During the six-month-long eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Office's daily forecasts of the plume dispersion accounted only for SO concentrations in the young plume. The mature plume was not forecast as part of volcanic air pollution monitoring. The study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, recommends that in future gas-rich eruptions both the young and mature plumes should be considered when forecasting air pollution and the dispersion and transport pattern of the plume. "The Holuhraun eruption caused one of the most intense and widespread volcanogenic air pollution events in centuries. It's estimated that the amount of sulphur dioxide released into the atmosphere was roughly two times that of a yearly total of SO emissions generated by the European Economic area," said co-author Anja Schmidt, from the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science as Leeds. "It gave us a rare opportunity to study volcanism of this style and scale using modern scientific techniques. The data we have gathered will be invaluable to preparing for a potential future event and its impacts on air quality and human health."


News Article | February 22, 2004
Site: www.theguardian.com

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.. A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents. 'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.' The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority. The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network. An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions. Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change. Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change. A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch. One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible. Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change. Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.' Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored. 'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson. 'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace. Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated. Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.' Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said. 'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.' So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign. The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence. Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.' Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.


Harrison D.L.,Meteorological Office | Norman K.,Meteorological Office | Pierce C.,Joint Center for Hydrological and Meteorological Research | Gaussiat N.,Meteorological Office
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Water Management | Year: 2012

High-resolution precipitation estimates from weather radar and radar-based precipitation forecasts are key inputs to hydrological applications and, in particular, to flood forecasting models. This paper examines the processes applied to the radar-measured reflectivity data from the UK weather radar network in order to derive products useful for hydrological applications. This starts with the quality control of the reflectivity scan data then looks at processes to convert the measured reflectivity into estimates of precipitation rate close to the ground. The approaches applied operationally at the UK Meteorological Office are compared with other operational approaches. In order to use radar data for hydrological applications, it is important to understand the likely error characteristics of the precipitation estimates. Two different approaches to representing this uncertainty are outlined. The first considers a quality index, formed by combining a number of different components, representing different sources of error, multiplicatively. The second approach considers the generation of ensemble precipitation estimates which represent the likely spread of errors. The use of the precipitation estimates in generating short-period probabilistic precipitation forecasts is discussed. The methodology adopted in the short-term ensemble prediction system is outlined. Characteristics of these radar products are illustrated with a precipitation event.


Persson A.,Meteorological Office
Meteorological Applications | Year: 2010

The problems of communicating essential processes in dynamic meteorology are discussed, with examples. It is argued that the difficulty in conveying the concepts is not a result of the non-linearity of atmospheric and ocean motions, but their counter-intuitive nature. Although this might motivate the highly mathematical way dynamic meteorology is communicated, issues arise when the mathematics is poorly or wrongly interpreted. It is suggested that communication would be improved by laboratory experiments and observational evidence, while an historical background could help explain why a particular phenomenon is important. © Crown Copyright 2010. Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO. © Crown Copyright 2010.


Mumby P.J.,University of Queensland | Mumby P.J.,University of Exeter | Wolff N.H.,University of Queensland | Bozec Y.-M.,University of Queensland | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Letters | Year: 2014

Ecosystem management frequently aims to manage resilience yet measuring resilience has proven difficult. Here, we quantify the ecological resilience of the largest reef in the Caribbean and map potential benefits of marine reserves under two scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions. Resilience is calculated using spatial ecological models and defined as the probability of a reef remaining in its coral-dominated basin of attraction such that it does not flip into an alternate, algal-dominated attractor. In practice, resilience is the probability that coral populations will maintain the ability to exhibit a recovery trend after acute disturbances such as hurricanes. The inputs required to estimate resilience are a reef's initial state, physical environment, and disturbance regime. One major driver of reef resilience is herbivory by parrotfish and recent action to protect parrotfish in Belize was found to have increased resilience 6-fold. However, the expected benefits of parrotfish protection to future coral cover were relatively modest with only a 2- to 2.6-fold improvement over a business-as-usual scenario, demonstrating how resilience and ecosystem states are decoupled. Global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions had little impact on average coral state unless it was accompanied by local controls of fishing. However, combined global and local action reduced the rate of reef degradation threefold. Operationalizing resilience explicitly integrates available biophysical data and accommodates the complex interactions among ecological processes and multiple types of disturbance. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


News Article | August 24, 2016
Site: www.nature.com

The Meteorological Office is cheerful if restrained about the success of its long range weather prediction service in its annual report for 1965 ... Long range forecasts for a period of thirty days ahead have been published twice a month for the past three years ... the Meteorological Office says that results have been slightly better than expected ... forecasts are assessed after the event ... and “marks are given for the accuracy of forecasts of temperature, rainfall and additional information”. Predicting temperature seems to be the easiest, with twenty-eight out of fifty forecasts ranking for the mark “good agreement”. On rainfall, however, agreement between forecasts and reality was good on fourteen occasions, moderate on seventeen and deserving the description “little agreement” on nineteen occasions ... The long range forecasts are based on searches of records going back to the middle of the nineteenth century for analogous patterns of mean temperature and mean pressure in the northern hemisphere ... What might be called objective long range forecasting is reckoned to be an extremely distant prospect. The firing of very heavy guns at a great distance was clearly audible at Harpenden throughout the days of August 7 and 8, as well as on previous occasions. The direction of the sound is evidently from the south-east, and that of each explosion lasts about two seconds. Our elevation is 440ft., and the local wind has been from west to north-west. The distance between Harpenden and Bapaume would be about 185 miles.


News Article | January 3, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

Firefighters pump water from a building following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. Flood-damaged contents are removed from a business at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. A local resident stumbles as he wades through flood water on a residential street in Carlisle, Britain December 6, 2015. A footbridge lies littered with debris following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. A member of the emergency services walks past a business under flood waters in York City Centre, in northern England, December 28, 2015. Council workers rebuild a wall with sandbags following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. Homes and businesses across northern England, Scotland and northern Ireland were hit by storms and torrential rains in December, leaving many without electricity and some under meters of water after river levels reached all-time highs. Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticized by opposition lawmakers for not doing enough to protect the country from severe weather and the Observer newspaper on Sunday said many of Britain's flood defenses were being abandoned or maintained to minimal levels because of government cuts. In a statement, Cameron announced a package of more than 40 million pounds to improve flood defenses after Storm Eva brought gales and torrential downpours to Northern Ireland, Wales, England and parts of Scotland in late December. "I have seen at first-hand the devastation caused by flooding. And that's why this work to repair and improve flood defenses is so vital," Cameron said in the statement. He said 10 million pounds would be used to improve the Foss barrier protecting the northern English city of York, which was overwhelmed at the height of Storm Eva. The other 30 million would be spent on defenses on other rivers in northern England. The government would also support charities helping those caught up in the deluge by matching every pound of the first two million pounds raised, he said. The opposition Labour Party accused the government of complacency and said the funding would not go far enough. "The government has been woefully complacent about the flood risk, ignoring warnings from its own experts," Kerry McCarthy, Labour's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman, said in a statement. "Today's announcement of 40 million pounds won't go very far at all ... a lump sum of 40 million pounds is a short-term, sticking-plaster approach." The Observer quoted a document submitted to ministers late last year that said investment in Britain's flood defenses had fallen despite the country seeing "the five wettest years since 2000". On Saturday, Britain's Meteorological Office issued an "amber warning" for potentially heavy rain in eastern Scotland at the weekend and on Monday which could lead to some flooding.


The American election was very large and very loud. President-elect Donald Trump has well known vocalised views on man-made global warming, namely he does not believe in it. He instead suggests that China has made it all up and Mr. Trump is now reportedly set on a course of withdrawing funding from NASA (for one) in this critical area, as they would see it. It is now widely accepted that 2016 will be the hottest year for over 115,000 years globally, when sea levels were some 25 feet higher than today during an inter-glacial period. Back in October this year, James Hansen - a somewhat outspoken former climatologist from NASA stated the following; "The science is crystal clear, we have to phase out emissions over the next few decades. That won't happen without substantial actions by Congress and the executive branch." As you know Congress is about to change, and from Hansen's point of view the change is probably not what he would have wished for. Given the future political landscape in the US and perhaps in Europe too, where populist parties tend not to support climate change facts and theories, there will be several nations (especially those that are about to sink under the waves) that will be praying even harder that the Grim Reaper won't be about to pay an early visit, as the coal furnaces start to be polished-up in the US. Of course, there will be non-believers, with their raucous voices resonating off Mr. Trump's very loud campaign proclamations. They too deserve to be heard, as scientists have been wrong before. However, for the vast majority of climate scientists who have arguably proven their case time and time again, there is still time and there is still hope. If they are not to lose what has been so painfully achieved, organisations such as the World Meteorological Office, NOAA, NASA, the UK Met Office and others will need to put be the scientific case directly to the incoming US government and beyond, as climate does not recognise political boundaries, nor passports. If those that oppose truly believe in their cause, then they should be shouting the facts and the consequences from the rooftops. It does not mean the argument will be won either way, it simply means that by in-vogue shouting the argument may be heard and that an urgent debate may be had - and this is urgent. You see when climate change advocator Mrs. Clinton became ill and lost her voice and her very presence for a time, she may have lost the election there and then - and possibly the future of Mankind with it, if she and the vast majority of climate scientists are to be believed. The world has changed both climatologically and now politically. Whatever people might believe this moment in time could well be the tipping point for Mankind on Earth.

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