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
From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
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Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
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The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
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