I have a few bits of happy news!
The BBC’s program Climate Change by Numbers on which I was one of the main scientific consultants has won the AAAS Science Journalism Award in the “in depth” (more than 20 minutes) category. Apparently judge Kathy Sawyer, a freelance science writer, called the program “a master class in how to make a forbidding statistical story both enlightening and entertaining”. I’m very happy and proud to have been involved, and send my huge congratulations to the BBC team who worked so hard to explain the headline science results of the IPCC assessment in a way that was fresh and accurate.
Second, I was interviewed in the first part of a BBC Radio 4 series “Changing Climate” leading up to the Paris discussions, which talks about climate science (including “lukewarmer” climate sceptics like Matt Ridley). I’m not in the next two parts, which are about policy and technology.
Third, we’ve advertised a PhD project, “Understanding uncertainty in the weak underbelly of Antarctica”. My first PhD student! We have put together a great supervisory team with expertise in physics, statistics, polar observations and science communication. Do take a look if you’re interested in researching climate change impacts and uncertainty assessment.
Fourth, I’m the joint first author of a paper published in Nature today. We predict the consequences of sea level rise in the event of Antarctic ice sheet instability – it’s the culmination of several years of work assessing the uncertainty of an ice sheet model. Broadly speaking, Catherine Ritz led the ice sheet modelling and I led the statistical analysis including the comparison of the model with observations.
Here’s an article I wrote about it for the Guardian – please take a look.
The map is a version of one of our figures. It shows our prediction for the probability of the edge of the ice sheet (the grounding line) retreating by the year 2200. It’s overlaid on a map of the bedrock topography, where blue areas are below sea level – these are the parts thought vulnerable to this “marine ice sheet instability”. The two glaciers shown in dark purple/black colours on the map (highest probability of retreat) are Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment.
The featured image above shows scientists of the NERC iStar project measuring the bedrock topography under Pine Island Glacier: this is extremely important, as I’ve written about before.
I haven’t had a chance to write a blog post here discussing the methods and its strengths and limitations in more detail, but I’m happy to try and answer questions below. For those that want the really technical stuff, we put all the details of the methods in the Supplementary Information which is freely available online.
N.B. Edited broken link