Alexandra Heal

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The ancient subarctic forests at risk from climate change and war

In summer 2019, the Cambridge physicist Gareth Rees flew into Yakutsk to meet a team of Russian scientists. The far eastern Siberian port is known as the coldest city on Earth, but that year it was simmering under a heatwave. Together the researchers drove deep into the region’s sprawling forests on a road paved by gulag prisoners.

The British and Russian scientists were on a mission to study how the boreal forests of the subarctic region are transforming with climate change. Together they measured 2,000 trees, sweating under the heavy clothes protecting them from crowds of insects.

Rees had worked with Moscow State University on the issue since the fall of the iron curtain.…  Seguir leyendo »

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, co-lead of the WWA

When floods swept through parts of China’s Henan province last month, killing at least 302 people, a group of scientists who specialise in analysing the drivers of extreme weather events found themselves unable to help.

Like everyone else, they were horrified by the images of people trapped in water-filled subway stations, as whole blocks of the city of Zhengzhou were flooded by record rainfall.

Their work involves two core questions: did climate change make this disaster more likely? And did it make it worse?

But by the time the storms hit China, the scientists were already fully engaged trying to untangle why the floods in Germany and Belgium earlier in July had been so devastating.…  Seguir leyendo »