Global warming is back on the agenda with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set to release its latest scientific report on 2 February. Hints and leaks from scientists on the panel suggest that the IPCC will have strengthened its conclusions, previously stated in 2001, that humans are heating up the Earth.
While most scientists probably share this view, there are some who think otherwise. Many of those are either scientifically ill-informed or have dubious links with the energy industry. But one bona fide sceptic is Richard Lindzen, a climate physicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was involved in preparing the IPCC's 2001 report. (p. 12)
Although Lindzen does not dispute that the Earth is getting hotter, he argues - in an interview with Physics World - that the warming is, in all probability, largely the result of natural variations in the Earth's climate. He believes that computer models of the Earth's climate, although rooted in the laws of physics, contain far too many uncertainties. Indeed, John Mitchell - the chief scientist of the UK's Meteorological Office - and colleagues describe how hard it is incorporate the impact of clouds into such climate models elsewhere in this issue of Physics World. They warn that if the clouds were modelled incorrectly, climate simulations "would be seriously in error". (p. 20)
Nevertheless, the balance of evidence does suggest that carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere is having a significant warming effect. It is therefore right and prudent to limit greenhouse gas emissions as a way of dealing with the causes of climate change. However a small band of researchers is proposing various outlandish schemes to deal with the effects of climate change - an approach known as "geoengineering". As Physics World reports, these include pumping vast quantities of sulphur into the atmosphere to act as a huge Sun block, sending solar reflectors or even painting the roads white. (p. 10)Also in this issue:
Helen MacBain | alfa
Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling
29.03.2017 | New Jersey Institute of Technology
NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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