Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Health risks on the Antarctic Peninsula – what’s happening with the ozone hole, UV exposure, environmental change and funding for Antarctic science?

April 3, 2015

I recently had a paper published in Antarctic Science – I don’t think that it’ll set the world on fire but it was quite interesting in how it came about so I thought I’d write a blogpost about it.

The study

The measurements for the study were taken by a team who sailed across the Drake Passage and then then spent some time on and around the Antarctic Peninsula. They deployed a small “badge” each day that responds to sunlight in a way that allows you to subsequently work out how much UV radiation they were exposed to. From these measurements we concluded that the UV exposure experienced was comparable to temperate, mid-latitude locations in the spring/late summer. Obviously the team was very well covered as it’s cold down there but this can nonetheless have impacts on the eyes and exposed skin.

This is quite important as the ozone “hole” over Antarctica is likely to be about as bad as it will get before recovering over the next few decades and exposure risk might increase in this region if there are significant environmental changes (e.g. further warming, ice sheet retreat). This paper represents something of a pilot study so I’d love to get a more rigorous experiment up-and-running one day.

The BSAE team on the Antarctic Peninsula. The badges were mounted on one of the sledges. Photo taken by Martin Densham.

The BSAE team on the Antarctic Peninsula. The badges were mounted on one of the sledges. Photo taken by Martin Densham.

The study’s origins: networking on social media

The idea for the experiment and the paper first came about on twitter. Someone I’d never previously worked with (or met) invited me along to a planning meeting for the 2012 British Services Antarctic Expedition (BSAE) simply because I had a twitter account where I posted interesting stories about Antarctica.

I then cobbled together a tiny bit of money from the Royal Meteorological Society and the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) to get the badges produced and analysed at the University of Manchester.

I was quite impressed that we managed to get a relatively interesting bit of work done with so little resource. Which brings us on to…

…funding for Antarctic science

Budgets for science have not been increasing recently so perhaps it’s time that we have to start thinking of less traditional ways of getting work done. My example might not be particularly useful as it all happened largely by accident! However, there’s an interesting piece in The Conversation by Adrian McCallum about the role of private funding in Antarctic research that is probably more informed on this topic. Might be worth a read if you’re thinking of this type of thing.


Russell, A., Gohlan, M., Smedley, A., & Densham, M. (2014). The ultraviolet radiation environment during an expedition across the Drake Passage and on the Antarctic Peninsula Antarctic Science DOI: 10.1017/S0954102014000790

Follow Friday

June 11, 2010

So I’m usually too lazy to tweet a list of all the people I find interesting on Twitter.  I thought I’d steal an idea from my first #FF recomendation – @SmallCasserole – who wrote a blog post listing all his favourite tweeters.

Just so that my list is a little bit original, I’ll split them into catagories.  I’ll update the list over time with new catagories and new tweeters.

Here goes:

Tweeters – i.e. people I met on Twitter and often exchange tweets

@DrEvanHarris – all round good guy for science and the LibDems

@SmallCasserole – interesting blog and tweets about science, particularly physics

@stpkav – regularly comments on the STFC mess


@RealClimate – their tweets are generally slow and dry but their blog is authoritative (and dry!)  That doesn’t sound like much of a recomendation but it is the best place to hear climate scientists on the web.

@jackofkent @davidallengreen – writes about legal things, my initial interest was his involvement with the Simon Singh libel case but he is interesting on many other fronts as well.  [Currently on leave from Twitter.Killed off Jack of Kent.]

@DrPetra – sex educator and fine blogger

@Stephen_Curry – nice blog on science and more

@jonmbutterworth – another LHC person with a nice blog about physics and other stuff

NOISEmakers – a group of early career scientists engaging with the public (I’m one of them)

@NOISEmakers – tweets from the mothership

@lewis_dartnell – astrobiologist

@twhyntie – LHC person

@lisamarieke – particle physicist turned science communicator

Weather and Climate

@TheBarometerPod – the weather and climate podcast from the University of Manchester

@Antarctic_news – this is another twitter account of mine; my PhD was on Antarctic climate.  I tweet links to interesting news stories and blogs about Antarctica

@carbonbrief – interesting blog/resource about climate change and communication.

@RealClimate – see above

Newspaper people

@alokjha – Guardian science and environment correspondent

@markgfh – Times science editor

Greater Manchester Skeptics in the Pub

@GMSkeptics – the main feed

@janisbennion – one of the organisers

@Dr_Aust_PhD – good for a chat about homeopathy

@xtaldave – good for a rant about homeopathy


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