Tag: News (Page 1 of 10)

Is there a link between climate change and the collapse of the world’s first empire?

Gol-e-Zard Cave lies in the shadow of Mount Damavand, which at more than 5,000 metres dominates the landscape of northern Iran. In this cave, stalagmites and stalactites are growing slowly over millennia and preserve in them clues about past climate events. Changes in stalagmite chemistry from this cave have now linked the collapse of the Akkadian Empire to climate changes more than 4,000 years ago.

Akkadia was the world’s first empire. It was established in Mesopotamia around 4,300 years ago after its ruler, Sargon of Akkad, united a series of independent city states. Akkadian influence spanned along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from what is now southern Iraq, through to Syria and Turkey. The north-south extent of the empire meant that it covered regions with different climates, ranging from fertile lands in the north which were highly dependent on rainfall (one of Asia’s “bread baskets”), to the irrigation-fed alluvial plains to the south. Read more.

Maldives: climate change could actually help coral islands rise again – but they’re still at risk

At the southern tip of the Maldives, on the tiny island of Villingili, a patch of ground rises to tower a whole 2.4m above the sea. It’s the world’s lowest high point.

With most islands just a metre or so above the sea level, it is often suggested that the world’s lowest country may drown beneath rising sea levels by the end of the century. For tourists, this ranks the Maldives atop bucket lists of destinations to visit before they disappear. For the 400,000 people who live on the islands, things are rather more serious: rising sea levels could render them climate change refugees.

However, such scenarios of inundation and drowning assume that the land surface remains static and unchanged. But, what if the land could build vertically as sea level rises?

This is what colleagues and I have been examining in our research, now published in Geophysical Research Letters. We studied five reef islands in the southern Maldives and found that they were actually built when sea levels were higher than they are today. Read more.

Northumbria to train next generation of global change scientists

A new multi-million pound centre to train scientists to transform our understanding of planet Earth has been announced between Northumbria University and Newcastle University.

The ONE Planet Doctoral Training Partnership will draw on the research expertise and specialist facilities of both universities in Newcastle upon Tyne to provide a world-leading training environment tackling grand challenges in climate and environmental sciences.

Funding for ONE Planet was announced last night (Wednesday 10 October) by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and comes in the same week that the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change declared that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.

The universities’ world leading research and expertise in climate change, Earth systems and the environment were key to the success of the funding application.

Researchers joining the programme will study a diverse range of topics including earthquakes and volcanoes, pollution, weather extremes, sea level change, and frozen environments such as the ice caps and glaciers.

The partnership includes more than 40 local and national business, government and industry partners including the Environment Agency, the National Trust, Northumbrian Water Group, and a host of other engineering, environmental and charitable organisations. Read more.

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