Climate Change


How the Public reacted to MED Theatre's debate play Hot Air - click on the link

Hot Air Debate Voting Record


Wind Power and Climate Change

Roughly speaking: a 90 metre wind turbine (300ft) reaches 135 metres (450ft) with its blade tip and has an output of 2-3 megawatts; 20 of these would need a site extending over 160 hectares (400 acres). A conventional power station produces 500 megawatts.

The UK Government has set a goal of generating 33 gigawatts of electricity from wind power by 2020, compared with the existing capacity of 1GW (1000 megawatts).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that temperatures will rise over the next century by between 2 and 11.5 degrees F, depending partly on how successful we are at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The melting of the Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels by 7 metres.

CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increased from approximately 280 parts per million (ppm) in pre-industrial times to 382 ppm in 2006 according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Earth Systems Research Lab, a 36 percent increase. Almost all of the increase is due to human activitiies (IPCC,2007).

 

Winters are not what they used to be

Cold winters (from information supplied by the Met Office)

The coldest winter in Britain on record is probably that of 1684, when the Thames froze hard enough to bear the weight of a coach driven across it. Another exceptionally cold winter occured in 1739-40. In spite of  intensely  cold months in  1795, 1814, 1855, 1895 and 1947, it was not until 223 years later - 1962-3 - that a winter arrived to rival that of 1739-40. The winter of 1947 came close - it was snowier - but 1962-3 was colder for longer, with snow lying on the ground from Boxing Day  to early March.


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Wolf stalking red deer in medieval times. Detail from a mural by Dickon Fell, 1997



Wolves

According to legend, the last wolf on Dartmoor was killed in 1780 at Brimpts, or alternatively at Drewsteignton. Since the last wolf recorded in England was in 1509, and in Scotland probably at the end of the sevententh century, this seems unlikely, but still not impossible...

It is currently argued (for example in a recent study by Tim Coulson of Imperial College London and others) that attempts to increase forest cover are hampered by growing numbers of deer which eat young trees, and that re-introducing the wolf as a predator  in Scotland might be good for ecosystems. Farmers on the other hand are understandably worried that re-introducing wolves would lead to significant predation on sheep.

 

Drought and Flood

Catchment project