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# Changes in ocean 'conveyor belt' predicted abrupt climate changes

A new study published in Nature Communications is the first to measure the time lags between changing ocean currents and major climate shifts. An international team of scientists with lead author Dr Francesco Muschitiello studied one of the key sections of the ocean circulation system AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) –where North Atlantic water sinks from the surface to the bottom of the ocean. They confirmed that changes in the ocean conveyor belt preceded abrupt and major climatic changes during the transition out of the last ice age, referred to as the last deglaciation. The study is the first to determine the time lags between past changes to the AMOC and major climate changes.

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# Cambridge Geography at EGU 2019

The EGU General Assembly 2019, Europe's largest gathering of geoscientists, is taking place in Vienna on 7–12 April 2019. Once again, the Department of Geography at Cambridge is well represented by over 30 presentations of varying types.

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# New paper: on the drivers of water and land use embodied in international soybean trade

Sentinel Hub

A new paper by Oliver Taherzadeh on the drivers of water and land use embodied in international soybean trade has been published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. The paper, co-authored by Dr Dario Caro from Aarhus University, evaluates the countries and sectors responsible for international soybean trade and the water and land use associated with its production.

The paper's findings suggest:

  • One-third of water and land used to grow soybean globally is driven by trade
  • Indirect demand for water and land use embodied in soybean trade is mainly driven by demand in China, the Netherlands and Mexico, for soybean grown in the US, Brazil and Argentina
  • Animal feed is responsible for around three-quarters of water and land use associated with soybean trade

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# Tara Cookson wins AAG prize for the Public Understanding of Geography

Former PhD student and Gates Scholar Tara Cookson has won the 2018 AAG Globe Book Award for the Public Understanding of Geography for her book Unjust Conditions: women's work and the hidden cost of cash transfer programmes.

Judges said of the book: Tara Patricia Cookson's outstanding book Unjust Conditions: Women's Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs is an elegantly written and accessible portrait of how rural women in Peru experience and cope with the often hidden and detrimental socioeconomic demands of a much-heralded development program. Through careful, self-aware ethnographic methods, Cookson (currently a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia) presents a powerful counter-argument to the fashionable yet problematic practice of "data-driven development". Unjust Conditions should be required reading for students, scholars, the general public, and—most importantly—practitioners of development searching for innovative and socially just alternatives to conventional development thinking.

# Glaciers and surface winds in a Himalayan valley

Emily Potter

PhD student, Emily Potter, with supervisors Ian Willis (SPRI), Andrew Orr (BAS) and colleagues have published their latest research in the Journal of Geophysical Research, which has also been featured as an Editors' Highlight in EOS.

The work uses field measurements and a regional climate model to determine the patterns and causes of wind acceleration around the Khumbu Valley, Nepal, and how they change over diurnal cycles, and between the monsoon and dry seasons.

It confirms strong daytime up-valley winds and weak nighttime winds in both seasons, and shows that pressure gradient forces are the dominant cause of wind acceleration, but that turbulence and advection are important too. The forcing terms are highly variable across the valley, and also strongly influenced by the presence of glaciers. When glaciers are removed from the model in the monsoon run, the wind continues much further up the valley, showing how local valley winds might respond to future glacier shrinkage.

This work will help the development of regional climate models in the Hindu-Kush Karakoram Himalaya, which are crucial for predicting future precipitation and glacier melt in the region.

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# Sea ice acts as ‘pacemaker’ for abrupt climate change

Substantial variations in past sea ice cover in the Norwegian Sea were instrumental for several abrupt climate changes in large parts of the world, researchers have found. An international study involving researchers from the UK, Norway, Germany Australia, South Korea and the US, including Department Lecturer Dr Francesco Muschitiello has confirmed that changes in sea ice cover in the Norwegian Sea played a key role in driving abrupt climate change events between 32,000 and 40,000 years ago, where global temperatures shifted as much as 15 degrees Celsius.

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# Postdoctoral research associate vacancy

This is an exciting opportunity to work as part of an inter-disciplinary team (geography, architecture, engineering, business studies) at the University of Cambridge. The position is a fixed-term post-doctoral research role, working on a British Academy funded project, "Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-cost housing in the Western Cape, South Africa", led by Dr Charlotte Lemanski.

The project will facilitate meaningful learning engagements and knowledge sharing between diverse stakeholders (public, private, community, NGOs) involved in designing, funding, delivering and using energy efficiency interventions in low-income urban housing settlements situated in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The post is suited to a post-doctoral researcher with experience of undertaking qualitative research in urban global South context (ideally South Africa). Deadline for applications is 10 April.

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# Geography getting ready for Science Festival 2019

The Department of Geography is hosting a number of exciting events as part of this year's Cambridge Science Festival - book now!

Past climate variability and human history,
Friday 15 March, 6pm, Department of Geography

An introduction into tree-ring research
Monday 11 March, Thursday 14 March, Monday 18 March, Thursday 21 March- 6pm, Department of Geography

Millets for the millions: switching to small grains for sustainable farming
Saturday 16 March, 2pm, Department of Plant Sciences

The colourful world of wood anatomy: exhibition
11-15 and 18-20 March, 10am -4pm, Department of Geography library (drop in)

The colourful world of wood anatomy: welcome talk (LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR)
Monday 11 and Monday 18 March, 12.30pm, Department of Geography library

The long-term perspective of climate change
Thursday 14 March, 7pm, Department of Geography

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# Britain from the Air: 1945-2009: now live!

Aerial photographs of Britain from the 1940s to 2009 – dubbed the 'historical Google Earth' by Cambridge academics – have been made freely available to everyone on Cambridge University Library's ground-breaking Digital Library.

The first 1,500 photographs from a vast archive of almost half a million images went live online this morning (Feb 22), showing not only our ancient landscapes, but also how the UK's built environment underwent radical change: from the bomb-scarred post-war period, right through to the first decade of the 21st century. The collection, which has been managed and stored by the Department of Geography, contains hundreds of thousands of images taken across the second half of the twentieth century.

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# Cities and infrastructure on film

The British Academy Cities and Infrastructure Programme has produced a film covering the broad range of projects and findings from the programme. Dr Charlotte Lemanski's project on 'Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa: strategies for inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional dialogue" is featured.

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