we are (almost) all ill…

Three out of four people in my house are or have been ill this weekend – I felt quite bad last night and this morning but I’m now recovering. Maybe I can even go to uni and a climate action meeting tomorrow – but we’ll see. It seems that none of us has the swine flu (I really started feeling better once I did the NHS online assessment, they ask you so many questions that make you realise you are almost healthy in comparison to what they ask for). Saying that, it’s a pity i couldn’t go to the Kayaking intruduction session today and didn’t advance a lot with my reading for any of the coursework – I only read the mandatory parts for this week’s science of climate change lecture. (By the way, some denialists – people who say not to believe in man-made global climate cange – once again accused one of our lecturers of having used biased or “cherry-picked” tree-ring data for climate records – it almost feels like you’re in the middle of scientific debate when that involves the university you are studying at. Only the debate isn’t scientific – the denialists rather spread their theses, which often have been shown to be wrong years ago through blogs and newspapers rather than giving scientific evidence for anything).

Friday we had an excursion the the weybourne atmospheric observatory at the Norfolk coast, which was not only interesting because the lectures around it took place in a nearby pub… Weybourne was built about 20 years ago to observe air chemistry in air that is transported from the arctic via the north sea, but also enregisteres various types of air pollution and their trends. You can not only sea the peaks in SO2 concentration when the wind blows from London, but also from the coal-fired power plants in the midlands. Some of the most recent research led there by several of our lectureres involves ship emissions and how the affect air chemistry differently during night- and daytime. They are also setting up a device to measure the tiny changes in oxygene concentration due to the burning of fossile fuels. This may help to determine how much CO2 is taken up by the oceans, because they do no release O2 in exchange (in contrast to trees and other plants).  Plenty of interesting topics one might consider in a dissertation project – but for now, I will stick with my glaciology modelling idea.

Yesterday I spent most of the day at the sea – maybe that isn’t the smartest thing to do when you feel slightly ill. Well, I hope I will have past this illness by tomorrow morning. And the Norfolk landscape is really wonderful in autumn…

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