UK climatologists seek bubble blowers, cloud watchers

Mar 02, 2011
A man walks across Parliament Square in central London in 2009. Meteorologists launched a new campaign Wednesday to get people in England involved in measuring climate change by using a mirror, soap bubbles or simply looking up at the sky.

Meteorologists launched a new campaign Wednesday to get people in England involved in measuring climate change by using a mirror, soap bubbles or simply looking up at the sky.

The Met Office is asking people to complete a series of simple activities to check the results of climatic computer models.

They include measuring wind speed by blowing bubbles into the air to monitoring the direction of clouds with the aid of a mirror.

Participants are being asked to spot plane vapour trails to measure and humidity, and to record how cold or hot they feel.

"They're all aspects that are actually quite difficult for us to analyse or measure with our standard monitoring network and so it's all about capturing new data that can complement our existing observation and tell us a little more," Met Office climate scientist Mark McCarthy told AFP.

"Contrails (vapour trails), for example -- we want to look at how well weather and are able to predict where contrails do or don't form and whether they do or don't spread out and form clouds."

When planes fly, the burning of the fuel creates water vapour which mixes with the very cold air at high altitudes and condenses. The air is so cold that ice crystals are formed, leaving behind condensation trails -- contrails.

The trails stop heat from leaving Earth and contribute to global warming. But while computers can predict where they should form due to temperature and humidity, the only real way to check is to look at the sky.

Another activity under the OPAL Climate Survey includes asking people to write down if they are hot or cold to help scientists understand how sensitive individuals are to .

The Met Office expects a strong response from the survey, one of several launched in recent years involving the public on environmental issues, and has already distributed 40,000 activity packs to schools and other organisations.

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GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Mar 02, 2011
asking people to write down if they are hot or cold to help scientists understand how sensitive individuals are to climate change


First, shouldn't it say "how sensitive individuals are to weather"? Second, from my experience with women and temperature sensitivity, I hope they ask the survey respondents a few simple questions like: Gender, age, pregnant?, PMS'ing?, mood, hungry, is it thursday?, did you sleep well?, are you wearing a coat and hat?, did you just work out?, etc...

I'm sitting here in my office (women control the thermostat here) where the temperature has gone from 60 to 80 and back to 60 twice today, and half the women have a space heater under the desk. For women, the perceived temperature usually has very little to do with whether it is warm or not. Sorry if that sounds cheauvanistic, but women do not have good thermometers in their brains.