‘Climate science’, ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’, these are all phrases used by the media, by the public and by scientists. Many sources will be telling you that the climate is now changing rapidly with the potential to affect everyone on the planet within their lifetime. Whatever the source or whatever your opinion, it makes sense to assess what the science behind this information actually means. Are these sources of information reflecting the wealth of climate research by the tens of thousands of climate scientists?
On the other side, climate scientists get incredibly frustrated by false communication of their research as well as malicious demonisation of their specialism. At this point I should clarify, ‘climate scientists’ include a wide range of disciplines which seek to better understand the climate and Earth system; atmospheric chemists and physicists, geologists, oceanographers, glaciologists and ecologists are just some of these.
Scientists at Oxford University (UK) and here at Victoria University of Wellington (NZ) decided they needed to communicate the important messages from the research themselves. This took the form of a film, Thin Ice, which “creates an intimate portrait of the global community of researchers racing to understand our planet’s changing climate”. Thin Ice was released in April with screenings in every continent (including Antarctica), but it is still possible to purchase the film and several short informative clips can be found on the website.
While you may often see and hear news stories on ‘climate’ matters, it is often hard to learn more about the topic. To believe in what you’re told, you need to understand where it comes from. Firstly, where can you find such information? Secondly, what sources can you trust?
I, together with a couple of other postgraduate and early-career researchers, decided something needed to be done and responsibility lies largely with those within the research community. So we have created the missing information medium – Climatica. This website informally launches today! Please feel free to provide feedback as we continue to develop it to suit multiple needs.
We aim to explain the basis of the science, how data is collected and what all of the research is saying. Climatica will be an ongoing project, maintained by us in our free time, but with the majority of the content coming from guest scientists. These will be experts writing about the topics they love to spend their lives researching. In addition to topical articles, there are/will be video talks, blogs from the field, and opportunities for questions and discussion, meaning that there is hopefully something for everyone. It should also be said that this project would not be possible without the support of two reputable research bodies; Geological Society and Quaternary Research Association. Come peruse.