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University of Bristol welcomes five Met Office Research Scientists as part of the new Met Office Academic Partnership

In spring of 2020 the University of Bristol joined a prestigious alliance of the Met Office and six University Research Institutes that brings together expertise in weather and climate science.  The exciting, new Bristol Met Office Academic Partnership (MOAP) is focussed on the theme of “weather and climate hazards for decision making.” The aim is to align research interests through combining the Met Office world-leading ability in weather forecasting and the hazard and impact modelling expertise we have at Bristol. A core part of the MOAP is to embed Met Office expertise within the University and to develop cross-disciplinary research in our key theme areas. We are, therefore, delighted to announce five new part-time Joint Bristol - Met Office Faculty members of staff who began working with us at the beginning of April. Our Joint MOAP Chair based at the Met Office, Professor Chris Hewitt commented: "We were delighted to welcome the University of Bristol to the Met Office Academic
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World Water Day 2021: What does water mean to the Cabot community?

It’s World Water Day  (22 March) and we have joined the global public campaign on the theme for 2021 of valuing water. The campaign is designed to generate a worldwide conversation about how different people in different contexts value water for all its uses.  So we asked researchers, students and staff at the Cabot Institute for the Environment , what does water mean to you? Whether it is something learnt through research, personal experiences or simply what you think when you think of water, we asked our community for stories, thoughts, and feelings about water!  All responses including ours and many others across the world will be compiled by UN-Water to create a comprehensive understanding of how water is valued and to help safeguard this resource in a way that will benefit us all.  Cabot Institute for the Environment researchers and students are doing lots of wonderful and important work to deliver the evidence base and solutions to protect water (find out more ). Here is what so

Why I’m mapping the carbon stored in regrowing Amazonian forests

As we navigate our way out of the global medical pandemic, many are calling for a “green economic recovery”. This green recovery should be at the forefront of many discussions as world leaders, policy makers, scientists and organisations are preparing for the 26th Conference of the Parties ( COP26 ) due to take place in November this year in Glasgow, UK. This conference will once again try to unite the world to help tackle the next and even larger global emergency, the Climate Emergency.   In recent years, the conversations around the Climate Emergency have increased dramatically with many individuals, groups, companies and governments aiming to tackle this emergency, in part, through replanting, restoring and reforesting large areas of land.   But what if we let forests regrow back naturally? How much carbon can they absorb from the atmosphere?  As part of my PhD research at the University of Bristol, I have been looking at naturally regrowing forests in the Brazilian Amazon rainfores

Journey to the heart of academic research

Many believe that keeping feelings, emotions, individualities and identities out of the field, the lab and the experiment is the golden rule that guarantees the validity of scientific work. From this perspective, good science requires neutrality and objectivity.  I’m not so sure, and today I want to share stories about the feelings and emotions I have lived with BIOsmart, a project where British, Colombian, Chilean, Irish and Spanish citizens work together, and tell you about how my emotions have made me reflect on what we may mean by good science.  María Paula delighted with her walking stick, lovingly crafted by one of our drivers.  I’ll start by saying that I am both Colombian and British. I have lived in the UK for 20 years now and when I have brought the UK team to do fieldwork in Colombia, I have felt pride and joy in having them taste our ajiaco, arepas, empanadas and aguardiente, and feast on the bounty of colours, textures and tastes of our fruit markets. I have felt pride too

Hydrological modelling and pizza making: why doesn’t mine look like the one in the picture?

Is this a question that you have asked yourself after following a recipe, for instance, to make pizza? You have used the same ingredients and followed all the steps and still the result doesn’t look like the one in the picture… Don’t worry: you are not alone! This is a common issue, and not only in cooking, but also in hydrological sciences, and in particular in hydrological modelling. Most hydrological modelling studies are difficult to reproduce, even if one has access to the code and the data ( Hutton et al., 2016 ). But why is this? In this blog post, we will try to answer this question by using an analogy with pizza making. Let’s imagine that we have a recipe together with all the ingredients to make pizza. Our aim is to make a pizza that looks like the one in the picture of the recipe. This is a bit like someone wanting to reproduce the results reported in a scientific paper about a hydrological “rainfall-runoff” model. There, one would need to download the historical data (rainf

Bristol Science Film Festival 2021 – Cabot Institute for the Environment film prize

Film is a medium that so many of us connect over, whether going to the movies, watching YouTube videos with friends, or sharing clips on Instagram. With the increasing prevalence of mini-movie-making machines (smartphones), we think film is a great and accessible form of science communication!  Bristol Science Film Festival runs an annual science film competition to support all those film-makers trying to tell the most interesting facts (or science fictions), no matter their resources. Shortlisted films are screened on the Big Screen in Bristol and at a special film-makers screening during the Festival.  There will be an additional prize awarded this year for a short film submitted to the competition with an environmental or climate change theme. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winner and runner up on behalf of the  Cabot Institute for the Environment . The University of Bristol-based Institute supports  evidence-based and interdisciplinary solutions  to environmental challenges. T

Beast from the East 2? What ‘sudden stratospheric warming’ involves and why it can cause freezing surface weather

Darryl Fonseka / shutterstock A “sudden stratospheric warming” event took place in early January 2021, according to the Met Office , the UK’s national weather service. These events are some of the most extreme of atmospheric phenomena, and I study them as part of my academic research. The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere from around 10km to 50km above the Earth’s surface, and sudden warming up there can lead to very cold weather over Europe and Siberia, with an increased possibility of snow storms. Happy Major Sudden Stratospheric Warming day! pic.twitter.com/DYYelxYYsb — Simon Lee (@SimonLeeWx) January 5, 2021 In winter the polar regions are in darkness 24 hours a day, and so the stratosphere over the north pole drops to -60℃ or even lower. The pole is surrounded by strong westerly winds, forming what is known as the polar vortex, a normal occurrence which develops every winter. However, about six times a decade, this vortex