FOCUS: The Earth as a Natural LIving Laboratory

BlueSci presents three perspectives on how scientists have expanded our understanding of science using the greatest laboratory of all – planet Earth. We begin with a piece by Bryony Yates, on using Earth’s biosphere in the study of life. HUMANS HAVE LONG been fascinated with the natural world, as pre-historic paintings of plants and animals so beautifully illustrate. We can trace formal scientific study back to Ancient Greek philosophers, with

How could feedback loops in the atmosphere lead to runaway environmental disaster?

James Weber explains the role of positive feedback loops and how they could lead to runaway environmental disaster Our atmosphere can be thought of as a single, highly complex system. The complexity arises in part due to the coupling of a vast array of different elements, such as temperature, wind speed, and chemical composition. Should one element be disturbed, others will also change, and this perturbation will propagate throughout the

Ambling in the Arctic: a geological expedition in remote Greenland

Victoria Honour discusses Arctic camping, bear alarms, and the solidification of magma on her recent expedition to the Skaergaard intrusion True wilderness is hard to find in today’s globalised world. But with a population of only 70,000 people, and a landmass nine times the size of the UK, Greenland remains relatively untouched by human activity. Fieldwork there is a blissful escapism from the 24/7 connectivity of everyday life. Location, location,