Mitigating Climate Change, Brick by Brick

Nearly one year ago, in December 2015, 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement, a global, legally binding treaty for keeping global climate change “well below 2°C”, pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Preparations are underway for this year’s UN Climate Conference, COP22, which will take place from 7-18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco. Thanks to...
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Impressions from a first-timer at COP21

When I told friends and co-workers that I would be attending the COP21 climate summit, the first response I got was usually “cool!” followed by “so what are you actually going to do there??” Well, I knew what I would be doing there: for months now, I have been working on behalf of the IASS...
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EGUPolicy: An Expert Discussion on Ozone – Working at the Science-Policy Interface

This post was originally written for the EGUPolicy column, a monthly feature of the European Geophysical Union’s official blog, GeoLog. The original post appeared here on December 2, 2015. As scientists and researchers we are increasingly being asked to conduct or participate in interdisciplinary (working across disciplines) or transdisciplinary (working with stakeholders outside of academia)...
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An Unexpected Encounter in the Himalayas… with an Atmospheric Brown Cloud

On a May morning in 2012, while hiking up the Himalayas, I saw an ABC – an Atmospheric Brown Cloud – linger in the air. Two Nepali colleagues and myself were on a field expedition, about to reach our research station for air quality monitoring at Gosaikunda (4,300 m.a.s.l.), which we reached after a 3-day...
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The Dependence of Sustainability on the Degree of Fear and Aspiration: Q&A with David Mitchell

In mid-July, David Mitchell, Associate Research Professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, visited the IASS and gave two talks while he was here. While David is well known in academic circles, above all for his expertise in atmospheric chemistry, he’s had a deep personal interest in the Vedic tradition for many years...
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You Are What You Breathe? Measuring Air Quality in Berlin

Berlin may not be the Netherlands, but there is definitely a fair amount of bicycling infrastructure throughout the city. And if you’re biking in Berlin you’re not alone on the road with only cars for company either. The debate about which cities are the best for biking aside, I enjoy biking, and this summer I...
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Promoting Transparency in Climate Engineering Research

Research into technologies for manipulating the planetary environment in order to forestall the effects of climate change is rapidly proceeding from small laboratory and desktop studies to the field. Concurrent with these developments, there have been calls for the establishment of governance mechanisms to ensure that the risks and concerns that this research presents are...
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Clean Up Our Skies: On a New Commentary Piece in “Nature”

This December, the 20th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) will be held in Lima, Peru. There climate change negotiations will focus on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the long-lived greenhouse gas primarily responsible for anthropogenic climate change. However, on the short-term, air pollutants that also have an...
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How Dirty are the Glaciers of Central Asia?

To answer that question, it makes sense to travel there and take samples yourself. Together with colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, I spent the summers of 2013 and 2014 taking snow samples from four different glaciers in Kyrgyzstan. The Abramov Glacier is found in the northern...
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