Talking, typing, and the social model of disability

I wrote this article for Redefining Stammering, an excellent blog run by Sam Simpson (a speech therapist) and Patrick Campbell (a doctor and person who stammers). If you have an interest in stammering or disability theory, I encourage you to check out their work, and particularly their recent book Stammering Pride and Prejudice. When I was in primary school, I had a teacher who was over-enthusiastic about the virtues of touch-typing. Over the years, he…

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We need your help! Share your views on climate change with us.

This blog is collaborating with researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, who are conducting a survey of readers of climate blogs. They are investigating audiences’ views on climate change and their blog reading behaviour. Please see below a message from the lead researcher. Please share your views on climate change and reading blogs by filling out this survey. The data will be used for getting to know the readers of climate change blogs. What’s…

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Ice sheet melting: it’s not just about sea level rise

Originally published at The Science Breaker Climate change is causing the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets to melt, which releases cold, fresh meltwater into the nearby ocean. This meltwater causes sea level rise, but a lesser-known side effect is the disruption of deep ocean currents and climate patterns worldwide. Our modelling study investigated these processes. You’ve probably heard that climate change is melting the polar ice caps – but what does this actually mean? It…

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How I became a scientist

For the first fourteen years of my life, I thought science was boring. As far as I could tell, science was a process of memorising facts: the order of the planets, the names of clouds, the parts of a cell. Sometimes science meant building contraptions out of paper and tape to allow an egg to survive a two-metre fall, and I was really terrible at that sort of thing. So instead I spent all my…

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How does the Weddell Polynya affect Antarctic ice shelves?

The Weddell Polynya is a large hole in the sea ice of the Weddell Sea, near Antarctica. It occurs only very rarely in observations, but is extremely common in ocean models, many of which simulate a near-permanent polynya. My new paper published today in Journal of Climate finds that the Weddell Polynya increases melting beneath the nearby Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. This means it’s important to fix the polynya problems in ocean models, if we want…

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Climate change and compassion fatigue

I’m a climate scientist, and I don’t worry about climate change very much. I think about it every day, but I don’t let it in. To me climate change is a fascinating math problem, a symphony unfolding both slowly and quickly before our very eyes. The consequences of this math problem, for myself and my family and our future, I keep locked in a tiny box in my brain. The box rarely gets opened. The…

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The silver lining of fake news

What exciting times we live in! The UK is stockpiling food and medicine as it charges willingly into a catastrophe of its own choosing. The next Australian prime minister is likely to be a man who has committed crimes against humanity. And America has descended so far into dystopia that it can’t even be summed up in one pithy sentence. I spend a lot of time wondering how future generations will look back upon this…

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Future projections of Antarctic ice shelf melting

Climate change will increase ice shelf melt rates around Antarctica. That’s the not-very-surprising conclusion of my latest modelling study, done in collaboration with both Australian and German researchers, which was just published in Journal of Climate. Here’s the less intuitive result: much of the projected increase in melt rates is actually linked to a decrease in sea ice formation. That’s a lot of different kinds of ice, so let’s back up a bit. Sea ice…

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Life after PhD

To continue my tradition of trying out all the Commonwealth countries, since my last post I have moved to the UK and begun a postdoc at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. The UK is far nicer than Australians will lead you to believe – there are indeed sunny days, and gorgeous coastline, and great wildlife. None of these things are quite at Australian levels, but there are other things that at least partially make…

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