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Archive for September 2013

Will interviews Dave Fahey from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about the role of black carbon aerosol in the climate system and the challenge of utilising one of the world's only fully autonomous research aircraft, the NASA Global Hawk. Dave also gives his insights on the publication of the IPCC Working Group 1 Summary for Policy Makers, having been a lead author of the 2007 report and an expert reviewer for the latest version.

Presenting: Will Morgan
Interviewee: Dave Fahey
Editing: Will Morgan

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The 5th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is coming out in 2013 and the Barometer podcast takes a look at the 25 year history of the IPCC.

This episode includes interviews of historians who attended the International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Manchester in July 2013, and who spoke in the session "Climate change discourse and the case of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change".


David Hirst from University of Manchester. His conference abstract can be found here.

Martin Mahony from University of East Anglia. His conference abstract can be found here.

Reiner Grundmann from University of Nottingham.  His conference abstract can be found here.


A concise overview of the 25 years of IPCC was also put together by the scientific journal of "Nature" and can be found here.


Presenting: Jennifer Muller

Panel:  Will Morgan, Samuel Illingworth, Nicky Young

Interviewers: Jennifer Muller, Kimberley Leather, Nicky Young

Interviewees: David Hirst, Martin Mahony, Reiner Grundmann (see contact details above)

Editing: Samuel Illingworth & Jennifer Muller


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As the September flying campaign draws to an end, Sam I and Jen reflect on what has been a rather successful project to date, and also talk about the next steps for MAMM.

They also discuss the delights of the salad bar at Kiruna airport, and Sam demonstrates his trilingual ‘abilities’. 

Make sure to keep checking out the MAMM blog:

for more scientific results and details over the coming months!

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This episode is all about the different "scales" of methane measurements made during MAMM. Whilst the aircraft samples the whole European Arctic region, close-up, small-scale sampling of the wetlands is also done to understand how methane emissions vary within short distances, and how they are linked to vegetation types and the depth of the water table.

Jennifer speaks to Ute Skiba from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and finds out about her measurements of methane in the wetlands using chambers, and how these small-scale measurements can be scaled up to the larger, i.e. regional scale, which can then be compared with the regional scale measurements made by the aircraft. Another important greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide - N2O, also gets a mention!

Photo credit: Stephane Bauguitte (FAAM)

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This episode is all about the people who keep the FAAMBAe-146 atmospheric research aircraft, her core instruments and scientists in top condition.

In the first part, Sam I chats with Allan Woolley from FAAM (shortfor Facility of Airborne Atmospheric Measurements) who explains the role of the flightmanager during a science flight. Alan also reveals some tips on how to keep thescientists' morale high and what else he does at FAAM when he is not in the air.

In the second part of this episode, Jennifer speaks with theaircraft engineers Dean Warrilow and Stuart Sneddon from Avalon Aero, who maintain,repair & check the aircraft during a detachment like MAMM in the Arctic, orat the base back in Cranfield in the UK.

And according to Dean, sometimes it's not just theinstruments or aircraft itself that is high maintenance, which then... leaves the scientists?

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Due to certain weight restrictions on the ARA, Sam was unable to fly today, and so instead joined Dave Lowry and James France from Royal Holloway University of London as they made their way out to make measurements from a nearby wetlands site at Abisko, in the torrential rain.

As James drives in the treacherous conditions, Dave talks to Sam about the importance of these measurements, how chambers are used this process, and why it is absolutely essential that they make them in conditions such as this, which are atypical of Lapland at this time of year. 

Incidentally Sam can confirm that the weight restrictions were due to extra equipment that needed to be carried on the aircraft, and had absolutely nothing to do with the extra portions of oatmeal cakes that he had with breakfast this morning. 

The life of a measurement scientists is never done... James (left) and Dave trudge off into the Swedish wilderness.

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In this episode of the podcast Sam I catches up with James France, from the Royal Holloway, University of London. James explains his role on the MAMM mission, from collecting bags of air on the aircraft in order to ‘fingerprint’ the different sources of methane, to driving around Scandinavia and making measurements from the ground. 

Sam and James also talk about the MAMM September flying campaign to date, which kicked off yesterday (Thursday 19th September) morning.

James (on the right) hard at work on the ARA.

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The UK largest research aircraft and its airborne measurements form an integral part of the MAMM campaign, a project that aims to understand and survey the sources of methane in the European Arctic.

Doing research using the aircraft takes a lot more than just the scientists doing good science: the ground operations team plays a crucial role.

Listen to this episode to find out more about what the operations team on the ground does months in advance to plan a campaign and the aircraft detachment, as well as what is involved in making sure the aircraft can go flying day after day in a campaign such as e.g. MAMM.

Jennifer spoke to Peter Chappell and David Simpson from Directflight to hear about their work behind the scenes, and some of the perks of the job.


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Sam I and Jen broadcast live from several thousand feet above sea level to bring you an introduction to the September flying missions of the MAMM campaign, talking about why they are returning to the Arctic circle, and about the importance of making in situ measurements of methane. Sartorial concerns are also addressed as the necessities of thermal underwear are discussed. 

Remember to keep listening the podcast over the week for the latest updates of the MAMM campaign, and to keep checking the blog at: www.arcticmethane.wordpress.com for further details of the team’s quest to better understand methane in the Arctic. 

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With the launch of the Manchester Science Festival 2013 website earlier today, we thought we should let you know what our plans are for this year. We've taken part in the last two festivals and we're back this year with not one but two events!

The Barometer Podcast LIVE: Is breathing bad for you?

When: Tuesday 29th October 2013. Doors open at 1830 for a 1900 start. Refreshments available from the bar beforehand. Finish at 2000.
Registration: The event is free but we ask that you register for the event via Eventbrite.

Following on from our previous live episode at the festival in 2011, which you can view/listen here, we'll be producing a live episode of the podcast in front of an audience. Our topic will be air quality and the effect it has on our health. We'll guide you through the issues surrounding this important aspect of atmospheric science combined with a mix of audience participation, demonstrations and interviews. We'll discuss how air pollution affects our daily lives, whether that is at home, at work or out and about in the city and countryside. You'll also be able to ask our panel any burning questions you might have about air quality.

Join us for what should be an interesting tour of the fascinating science of air quality.

Science Spectacular

When: Saturday 2nd November 2013. 1100-1600.
Registration: None required. Free entry.

The University of Manchester's Science Spectacular returns with a showcase of the amazing science and scientists from the University. The Barometer Podcast team are working with other colleagues from the Centre for Atmospheric Science to demonstrate some of the fundamental principles that govern our atmosphere. We'll be covering clouds, fog, ice crystals and the general weather in Manchester. You'll also be able to build your very own barometer using a straw, a balloon and a rather fetching Barometer Podcast coffee mug which you can take home with you on the day.

Join us for a fun packed day of science!

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