Cyclone Biparjoy and Chennai

When is a natural disaster a natural disaster? It began raining in Chennai last evening and hasn’t stopped as of this morning. But it’s been intermittent, with highly variable intensity. In my area, the wind has been feeble. I don’t know the situation in other areas because we haven’t had power since at least 3.45 … Read more

Real heat

top view photo of rocky shore

In the aftermath of Chicago’s infamous week-long heatwave in July 1995, the city’s residents, but including the mayor Richard Daley and his administration, couldn’t believe that so many had perished in the severe weather. They asked if the toll was “really real”. The official figure was just under 500 and an unofficial figure put together … Read more

Climate crisis first, physics crisis next

From ‘CERN slashes experiment time next year by 20% as energy costs bite’, Physics World, October 12, 2022: To avoid blackouts over the winter, France has launched a national plan to cut energy consumption by 10%. … Mike Lamont, CERN’s director for accelerators and technology, told Physics World that as a large industrial consumer of … Read more

A why of how we wear what we wear

There are many major industries operating around the world commonly perceived to be big drivers of climate change. Plastic, steel and concrete manufacturing come immediately to mind – but fashion doesn’t, even though, materially speaking, its many inefficiencies represent something increasingly worse than an indulgence in times so fraught by economic inequality and the dividends … Read more

A windier world

A new paper in Nature Climate Change reports a reversal in “terrestrial stilling” since 2010 – i.e. global wind speeds, thought to be in decline thanks to deforestation and real estate development, actually stopped slowing around 2010 and have been climbing since. The paper’s authors, a group of researchers from China, France, Singapore, Spain, the … Read more