Worst ever summer sea ice melt

It’s quite a tongue twister but the news that this summer is starting to look like the worse ever summer sea ice melt in the Arctic is worrying scientists and environmentalists. The extent (size) of the ice in the Arctic is a big indicator for scientists of global warming, so the fact the amount of ice this May was less than in May 2012, when it record lows, is concerning them.



Sadiq Khan says he’ll extend the ultra low emission zone

The new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised to expand the ultra low emission zone to help tackle London’s air pollution problem. It is something he describes as London’s biggest environmental challenge. When he visited a primary school in Aldgate this week he said, “For me it can’t be right that this school on three occasions last year has to make the call whether to allow children to play in the playground breathing in this dangerous stuff or play indoors.”

Air pollution hangs in the air lowering


You can also follow London’s air pollution on a nowcast page, seeing whether pollution has reached high levels or not, which for people with asthma can affect whether they spend a lot of time outside or not.


India’s Dying River

It can be difficult when you learn a lot of subject specific keywords at school, perhaps you do a homework using them, even a lesson or two more when you need to know them, and last of all an assessment to check you’ve remembered them, and then two months later you have completely forgotten what they were and what they meant.

Well if you’ve just been learning about river basins, the source of the river, tributaries, meanders, oxbow lakes, delta, estuaries and the mouth of a river – here’s a handy and colourful BBC guide to the pollution which is slowing killing the River Ganges  in India. You’ll read it and suddenly realise that all that language which you learnt in Geography has helped you understand the article. Go Geography!


It isn’t just Geography though where knowing about the River Ganges is useful; it is also a holy river in Hinduism.


Hindu devotees pray as they bathe.

Horrifying Natural Disaster in Canada as Wildfires keep on Burning

The numbers say it all: 88,000 people from Fort McMurray have all been evacuated as the largest of currently 40 wildfires keeps on getting worse. The Guardian newspaper has some interesting video clips to give you an idea of the disaster.


The weather isn’t helping the efforts to get the wildfire under control, with temperatures on Saturday expected to rise as high as 28C (82.4F). Not only have entire neighbourhoods been destroyed by the flames but there are economic consequences too with about half of Canada’s oil sands production capacity being taken offline.

Geographers will also find interesting that the wildfires also create their own weather system and the high winds in Fort McMurray haven’t helped the firefighters trying to get the flames under control.


UKIP Candidate struggles to understand renewable energy

  • Stop building massive wind farms
  • Let’s invest in renewable energy

This is the oxymoron you can find in a UKIP candidate’s campaign leaflet being handed out around Worthing.

Numerous people spotted the obvious error.

Renewable Energy Illustration2

Renewable energy sources quickly replenish themselves and can be used again and again. For this reason they are sometimes called infinite energy resources. Geographers will know heaps about renewable energy I’m sure.


80th Anniversary of Triangulation Pillars

Perhaps only if you can remember learning about Ordinance Survey maps at school, are a keen walker or teach Geography  can you truly get excited about the 80th anniversary of Trig Points. You may have discovered Trig Points when trying to learn all the symbols on Ordnance Survey maps.

Trig Point

There were once about 6,500 trig pillars around Britain to help the early Ordnance Survey teams accurately plot their maps. A lot of them are on the top of peaks so it must have been pretty tiring carrying all your surveying equipment right to the top of a hill or mountain to get to the trig pillar and map the area. Nowadays there might only be 6,000 but they are still supposed to be looked after by the OS and walkers have been sending their photographs into newspaper to celebrate this 80th anniversary. Below is a Trig Pillar in Surrey at Box Hill.

trig point Box Hill

People are often so elated they’ve got to the top of the peak that sometimes jump up on trig pillars for a memorable photo. I’m not sure that helps the OS in keeping them intact and conserving them!

silly trig

Big Surprise at Amazon River Mouth

Scientists and oil companies were completely surprised to find a huge coral reef which is 3, 500 square miles below the muddy waters at the mouth of the River Amazon. Corals usually thrive in clear, sunlit, water so it was a huge surprise to find one in the heavy sediment of Amazon river mouth.

The reports co-author said: “I was flabbergasted, as were the rest of the 30 oceanographers. Traditionally, our understanding of reefs has focused on tropical shallow coral reefs which harbour biodiversity that rivals tropical rainforests.”

But as quickly as it was found it might disappear rather too soon as the Brazilian government has sold 80 blocks for oil exploration and drilling at the mouth of the Amazon and 20 of these are already producing oil – some, it is thought, right on top of the reef.

Amazon delta. True colour satellite image of the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. Composite image compiled from LANDSAT data taken between 1986 and 2001.