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16 December 2014

CO2 behind Britain's winter deluges 

The Sunday Times, 14/12/2014, p.9, Jonathan Leake

It is reported that a group of scientists will claim this week that greenhouse gas emissions have raised the risk of extreme wet winters by 25% and could have played a part in last winter’s deluges. The result emerged from a project led by Oxford University and the Met Office, which ran 40,000 computer simulations of the weather leading up to the winter of 2013-14. The finding will be announced at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco this week. It reflects a growing belief among scientists that climate change is having a direct effect on the weather, especially in making extreme events such as floods and droughts much more likely. Nathalie Schaller of Oxford University, who led the research, said: “It is not possible to say that any specific flood was caused solely by human-induced climate change but we have shown that the odds of getting extremely wet winters are increasing due to climate change.”


Global warming behind the UK's winter rainstorms?

International Business Times, 14/12/2014, Peter Carty

A joint research project between Oxford University and the UK Meteorological Office has found that greenhouse gas emissions have increased the risks of extreme wet winters in the UK by a factor of 25%. Oxford University's Nathalie Schaler, who led the research project, is quoted.

The parties prepare for a hung, drawn and quartered parliament

The Observer, 14/12/2014, p.39, Andrew Rawnsley

Comment piece looking at what might happen in the event of no party winning a clear majority in May’s general election. The author notes how he ‘recently attended a stimulating series of presentations by the British Election Study, a collaboration between political scientists at Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford universities. One of the fascinations was that the speakers spent most of their time talking about the likely performance of the smaller parties. In so much as Labour and the Tories were discussed, it was mainly in the context of how they were being affected by the insurgent rivals that are snapping at their legs and tearing chunks out of their vote.’

Console yourself

The Australian, 12/12/2014

Andrew Przybylski of Oxford University comments as part of an extended first-person piece exploring the benefits and downsides of video gaming. “Play exists as a place for people to experiment with different identities. The question is, what role do video games have in that? Maybe being the villain or being a total jerk isn’t who you really want to be, but a game gives you a safe place to try on those roles and see how they fit. It doesn’t mean that if you play Grand Theft Auto you are going to become a violent, carjacking sociopath,” says Dr Przybylski, who published a study earlier this year showing that teenagers who played video games for a short time each day showed higher levels of positive social interactions than children who did not play games at all.