The Lectureship Interview

If you’re preparing for an interview at a university for a lectureship, good luck to you! The UK system tends to involve a presentation, often to the whole department, and then a panel interview with a few senior members of staff. This can be very daunting, but it does get easier with practice.

I’ve attended quite a few job talks, from both sides of the table. Here are some thoughts on how you should prepare for the talk and interview, and some typical questions you might be asked.

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The world’s mountain ‘water towers’ are melting, putting 1.9 billion people at risk

Water tower of the Andes. Lynn Johnson/National Geographic

Bethan Davies, Royal Holloway

The year 2019 concludes a decade of exceptional heat, and is on track to be the second or third warmest year on record. While the global average temperature teeters on 1.1°C above the pre-industrial record, the world’s glaciers are in stark retreat.

In high mountain areas, the steady trickle of melting snow in spring has nourished people for generations. Today, 1.9 billion people – or 22% of the world’s population – live downstream of snowpacks and glaciers and depend on them as their main source of drinking water. These icy and snowbound mountain regions could be considered water towers, which provide a regular supply of water for drinking, irrigation and power generation, and provide a life-saving buffer during droughts.

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Book review: The Continent of Antarctica (Julian Dowdeswell and Michael Hambrey, Papadakis, 2018)

The Continent of Antarctica. Julian Dowdeswell and Michael Hambrey.

Antarctica was the last continent to be discovered and explored, and is sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. It is relevant to all of us, since it can influence ocean currents and sea levels. The history of the continent, both geological and human, is fascinating, with heroic attempts to map and explore the continent.

In The Continent of Antarctica, Julian Dowdeswell and Michael Hambrey provide an in-depth overview of the continent of Antarctica, covering the geography and evolution of Antarctica, its people and exploration, and its future. This book, aimed at the interested non-expert reader, is beautifully illustrated with photographs by the authors and provides a detailed introduction to readers illustrated in the Antarctic continent. Throughout the book, personal stories and reflections from the two careers of the authors in Antarctica are used to highlight and enrich key points, and make it engaging throughout.

The language is accessible, but the content is carefully and thoroughly researched. The book is strongly grounded in science, but there are sections on human interaction with Antarctica and geopolitics. Both authors are talented photographers who have been working in Antarctica for decades, with many field seasons between them. This has resulted in a rich archive of photography, used throughout the book. Continue reading

Improvements to AntarcticGlaciers.org

Here at AntarcticGlaciers.org we have been busy making many updates to the website. We are particularly keen to update the website to bring it in to line with the reformed A-Level syllabus, and also to update and rewrite some of the older content, and improve the website as a resource to promote public understanding of glaciers and climate change.

Since AntarcticGlaciers.org was founded 6.5 years ago, we have undergone substantial improvements and learned a lot over the years. This outreach endeavour, motivated by a desire to publicly communicate the risks that climate change and rising sea levels pose to our world’s glaciers and ice sheets, has evolved into one of the premier sites on this subject. This website aims to inspire both interested adults and also young people and school children with geology and geomorphology, and specifically targets teachers to supply them with engaging, original content that they can use in lesson planning.

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Funding from British Society for Geomorphology

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded an Outreach Grant by the British Society for Geomorphology.  These funds will be used to support our attendance and an exhibit at the Geographical Association Annual Conference in April 2019, called “Celebrating Geography”. We hope to use this opportunity to both promote our website but also to interact with teachers and targeted end users of the website, and engage in a dialogue to help us better support Geography Teachers who teach the new AQA A-Level Geography, which has a “Glaciers and Glaciated Landscapes” module.

British Society for Geomorphology

Antarctic Sea Ice

Guest post by Dr Jonathan Day, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

What is going on with the Antarctic sea ice?

March 2017 was an interesting month for sea ice. Both northern and southern hemispheres experienced record breaking low extents for the time of year. The extent of Arctic sea ice reached the maximum area of its seasonal cycle on March 7th coming in at 14.42 million km2. This was a fraction below the previous record, set in 2015 and is in line with what we expect to see in a warming climate. Meanwhile the other side of the planet Antarctic sea ice continues to confound expectations. Continue reading

Will we enter another ice age?

There are a number of web and news articles around surrounding the question of whether or not we will enter another ice age. Many of these questions arise from the idea that a collapse or significant melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will produce enough fresh water to shut down the global thermohaline circulation, dropping us into a new ice age in the next 10,000 years.

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Books to read before starting University

Next week is Freshers’ Week and across the country, universities will be welcoming enthusiastic students into their departments. These students will be equipped with notebooks, lever-arch files, reading lists and text books.

But there is more that you can do to prepare for university. Here is my own recommended reading list. These are popular science books that I love. You won’t find them on your termly reading list, but they are well written by science advocates, and they may just remind you of your love of science after a particularly dull lecture. Further, they will broaden your horizons, going beyond the scope of your lecturer course and tying together many different concepts.

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