Science From a Plane, and Forecasting Space Storms
This podcast from the Planet Earth Online collection and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) looks at how a specially-designed twin turboprop research plane is helping scientists in a huge range of subjects from archaeology to ecology, and why a violent space storm could spell trouble for communications systems across the world.
If you want to know how polar ice cover is changing, how much tree cover there is in the Amazon, or how fast a Greenland glacier is flowing, your best bet is get your hands on the latest satellite data. But what do you do if you can't measure any of these things from space, or if you want more detail than a satellite can provide?
Well, that's where a research plane can prove invaluable. Sue Nelson goes to Gloucestershire Airport to fly on the Natural Environment Research Council's Dornier twin turboprop, a specially kitted-out plane used by marine biologists, archaeologists, geologists, ecologists and any scientist in between, to find out more.
Later: what would happen if there was a massive solar storm like the famous Carrington Event in 1859, the most powerful solar storm ever recorded? The answer isn't good news, which is why satellite manufacturers, insurers and space weather scientists recently met at a conference in Rome to discuss how to cope with massive solar storms. Richard Hollingham reports from the conference.
A transcript of the recording is provided to assist those who find text-based content more accessible than audio.
This podcast is dated 4 May 2011.
NERC is a part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) partnership of research councils.
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Resource by: Planet Earth Online