Come on people – we need money

Just noticed that Bloodhound Programme Ltd, the company behind Project Bloodhound, the initiative to break the land speed world record, has entered into administration with the appointment of Andrew Sheridan and Geoff Rowley, partners at specialist business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP, as joint administrators.

Project Bloodhound was founded in 2007 and aims to hit speeds of 1,000 mph at a specially built, 18km long, 1500m wide race track at Hakskeen Pan in the deserts of the Northern Cape of South Africa.

In addition to seeking to break the land speed world record, the project is a major R&D catalyst and the focal point for a STEM education campaign which has reached over 2 million children since its launch, including 120,000 UK schoolchildren per year.

To date the project has operated on a partnership and sponsorship model, with support from a variety of partners including Rolls Royce and Rolex as well as the Ministry of Defence which has lent prototype jet engines for the car, and the Northern Cape Provincial Government in South Africa, which has supported the creation of the track. Individual donations from members of the public have also supported the development of the car and the global education programme.

The project has already successfully built a viable racing car which has been tested to 200mph, whilst developing or testing propulsion, aerodynamic and telecommunications technologies with the potential for far reaching applications outside of the project. The team is now seeking around £25m in investment to provide guaranteed funding and see the project to completion.

So, hands in pockets UK investors. Interested parties should contact the FRP Advisory LLP Bristol office on 0117 203 3700

F1 pitstop techniques to help in resuscitation of newborn babies

On your marks...

On your marks…


Now, here’s an interesting one…

Williams has been assisting the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff by bringing Formula One pitstop know-how to help in the resuscitation of newborn babies.

Recognising the similarities between neonatal resuscitations and Formula One pitstops, the resuscitation team at UHW invited members of the Williams team to the hospital last year for an exploratory meeting to discuss how Formula One techniques and processes could be incorporated into their work. Wednesday 4 May saw members of the neonatal team from UHW visit the Williams factory in Oxfordshire to observe the team practice pitstops to see first-hand how they operate.

Both scenarios require a team of people to work seamlessly in a time critical and space-limited environment. In Formula One, a pit crew can change all four tyres on a car in around two seconds, with a team of nearly 20 people working in unison to successfully service a car. Williams has a dedicated human performance specialist who works with its pitcrew to fine tune the technique, processes, team work and health and fitness of team members.

Their experience previously treating new-borns in clinical practice has facilitated the transition of knowledge between the two industries and they have been the primary advisor to the hospital. Williams’s pitstops have been a real success story for the team in 2016, recording the fastest stops of any team at each of the first four races of the 2016 Formula One season.

Following these site visits, the neonatal team has identified and started implementing a number of changes to improve its resuscitation processes that are based on those used in Formula One racing. The resuscitation equipment trolley has now been audited and streamlined to ensure that equipment can be located as quickly as possible.

The neonatal team has mapped out a standardised floor space in delivery theatres to clearly show the area for the neonatal resuscitation team to work in; copying the customised floor map the Williams team takes to races to map out the specific pit box requirements at each track.

The pitstop resuscitation team at UHW are also in the early stages of implementing Formula One communications and analysis techniques, including the use of a “radio-check” prior to a resuscitation, greater use of hand signals rather than verbal communication, and video analysis to analyse performance following a resuscitation with debrief meetings as standard.

Speaking about the project Dr Rachel Hayward, specialist registrar in Neonates at the University Hospital of Wales said: “Resuscitation of a compromised neonate at delivery is time critical, requiring the provision of efficient and effective resuscitation to ensure an optimal outcome.”

Lovely the language medics use…

“Delays in providing effective resuscitative care can have marked consequences on survival or the development of long term complications. There is a growing amount of evidence to support a systematic approach to resuscitative care which is time-critical and dependent upon optimal team dynamics and clear communication.

“Analogous with the requirements of an effective pitstop we have worked with the Williams team to implement Formula One techniques and processes to augment neonatal resuscitative care”.

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams, added: “When we were approached by the Neonatal team at the University Hospital of Wales last year to offer some advice we were delighted to assist. Their work is vitally important and the pressure they work under is difficult to comprehend; it’s a matter of life and death every day of the week.

“If some of the advice we have passed on helps to save a young life then this would have been an extremely worthy endeavour. We are increasingly finding that Formula One know-how and technology can have benefit to other industries and this is a great example.”

I think this is great. We should have many more cross-industry knowledge transfers like this.

Can a chemical search engine explain how life began on Earth?

Scientists have developed a new form of ‘chemical search engine’ which could provide clues to the origins of life on Earth.

In a new paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, a team from the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry describes a new approach to solving a 50-year conundrum in which they used an automated robot system to explore many different random combinations of the building blocks of proteins.

The team found that peptide compounds of long length and complexity can form in a very simple way by heating and cooling the building blocks as they go through wet and dry cycles.

The research was led by the University’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, Professor Lee Cronin. Professor Cronin’s group has previously researched methods of creating inorganic life and has also created the ‘chemputer’, a 3D printer-inspired robot which can synthesise complex chemicals. This new piece of research brings concepts from both projects together.

Professor Cronin: “Proteins are some of the basic building blocks of life, and we’ve long known that they make up the working machinery of living cells. However, we’re still struggling to determine whether proteins came first or if the genetic machinery of DNA or RNA did.

“The problem is that the origin of life was thought to be so complicated that we are not sure if there was enough time to make such complex molecules or understand the mechanisms by which they were produced.

“Our research aimed to help answer this question by creating a robot capable of creating many different random combinations of conditions, and then focusing in on the promising ones. Very quickly, we found that it was possible to assemble the building blocks just like the way we find them in modern proteins. Our chemical search engine is able to search large amounts of chemical space, similar to how systems like Google search the internet. Instead of reading HTML, however, the system performs chemical reactions.”

The team concludes that small protein fragments can be made much longer and much more easily than previously thought, which could lead to the formation of life-like molecules and machines in the laboratory.

The team’s robot system allows the researchers to record very precisely how many combinations of chemicals and the outcomes of the reaction which will help them to calculate the likelihood of producing the first complex molecules essential for life as we know it today.

Professor Cronin adds: “We believe this is a significant finding which could suggest that the beginning of life on Earth was a simpler process than we previously expected. It could also provide valuable support to the idea that the universe is teeming with life, as well as allowing us to ‘search’ for new types of life in the laboratory.”

The team’s paper is titled Formation of oligopeptides in high yield under simple programmable conditions. The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) and the Royal Society-Wolfson Foundation.

Gene breakthrough

Zoologists and bioengineers from Trinity College Dublin have identified over 1,000 genes whose responses change markedly when embryos are not able to move freely in the womb.

The discovery will help scientists better understand how important tissues are programmed to develop in our bodies which could, in turn, suggest how stem cells can be primed for use in tissue engineering and regenerative therapies.

The collaborative research conducted in the School of Natural Sciences and Trinity Centre for Bioengineering is addressing how embryonic movement influences bone and joint development. This research also furthers understanding of the consequences of reduced movement and shows how we might guide desired differentiation of bone and cartilage from stem cells.

Says Developmental Biologist and Associate Professor in Zoology, Paula Murphy who is the study’s senior author of the study:

“Why do babies move about so much while they are developing in the womb, particularly flexing their arms and legs? We know that if they don’t move enough, they are born with skeletal problems such as thin, fragile bones.

“Highly regulated signalling systems are needed for Mother Nature to follow the complex ‘recipes’ of genetic expression that enable the development of normal skeletons. What often surprises people is that mechanical signals also feed in to these signalling systems, and it is the movement of an embryo that sparks these.”

By studying how animals move and develop, the zoologists and bioengineers have pinpointed which steps during skeleton formation require stimulation from movement. Additionally, by examining the patterns of all the genes in the genome, they have shown which specific genes and molecules are stimulated by movement.

Contracting muscles and cartilage rudiments of the skeleton develop at the same time in the embryo, and the movement of the muscles influences normal development of bone and cartilage. Highlighted in this 3D image is the developing limb skeleton (left), muscle (right, in orange) and tendon (right, in green).

Contracting muscles and cartilage rudiments of the skeleton develop at the same time in the embryo, and the movement of the muscles influences normal development of bone and cartilage. Highlighted in this 3D image is the developing limb skeleton (left), muscle (right, in orange) and tendon (right, in green).

Very little is known about how the mechanical signals are integrated into the biochemical signalling pathways. This could soon change, however, as these researchers home in on the 1,000-plus genes whose responses changed in mouse embryos that lacked muscles and therefore did not kick during development.

The research, just published in the BMC Genomics journal, featured Research Fellow at Trinity, Rebecca Rolfe, as the first author. It highlighted a number of genes already known to encode regulatory molecules that guide developmental decisions in the embryo.

It also highlighted genes that are involved in controlling cell shape changes and in aiding cell-to-cell communication. In particular, the research highlighted the ‘Wnt’ pathway which passes signals from the exterior to the interior of specific cells, as a potential point of integration of mechanical and molecular signalling.

Adds Associate Professor Murphy:

“If we can better understand the signalling processes involved, we might guide development of stable bone and cartilage tissues for use in regenerative therapies. We are now working to fill in the gaps in our knowledge around the combinations of mechanical and molecular signals that are needed to guide differentiation of stem cells for this purpose.”

The future of science

What’s new in space? Why do coincidences happen? Can science make cyclists go faster? Why do cats make us sneeze?

These are just a few of the many intriguing questions being explored at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival.

Running from Monday 10 to Sunday 23 March and celebrating its 20th appearance this year, the Science Festival hosts over 250 thought-provoking talks and hands-on events for everyone.

The programme is out now on the Cambridge Science Festival website. With over 250 events, most of which are free, there’s surely something for all tastes.

You can also follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Spotting prostate cancer sooner

South west London’s St Anthony’s Hospital has introduced a new effective scan fusion procedure to help identify prostate cancer earlier than conventional methods.

A man’s risk of having prostate cancer is based on their PSA (protein prostate specific antigen) which is produced by the prostate gland.

This means that a scan and a biopsy need to be taken. The new technique called the BiopSee combines two diagnostic tools – an ultrasound scan with an MRI scan. This targets suspected cancerous areas of the prostate.

Stephen Gordon, St Anthony's Hospital

Stephen Gordon, St Anthony’s Hospital


In addition the samples can be taken from any part of the prostate and by avoiding the rectum, the risk of infection is reduced.

Stephen Gordon, Consultant Urological Surgeon, St Anthony’s Hospital, who introduced the purpose built fusion device to the hospital, says:

“The benefit of this approach is that not only is the prostate cancer detection rate likely to be better but that if cancer is found by targeting, then it is more likely to be of a significant nature which is best detected at an early stage. The procedure is performed as a day case under general anaesthetic.”

A standard biopsy is performed with an ultrasound probe in the back passage with the biopsy needle passing through the rectum into the prostate. On average 12 samples are taken randomly from different areas, which confirms prostate cancer about 35% of the time.

Adds Gordon:

“The problem with this is the random nature of the sampling and the fact that biopsies are taken via the back passage. This means the front or lower parts of the prostate are missed and despite being given antibiotics, men still suffer from infections.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with 40,000+ men diagnosed with the disease and over a quarter of a million men living with the condition. Prostate cancer primarily affects older men (65 to 79) although 25% of cases occur in younger men.

Shining a light on infection

Using its new lab – Crystal – the UK’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, has become the first and only place in Europe where pathogens requiring Containment Level 3 – including serious viruses such as those responsible for AIDS, Hepatitis and some types of flu – can be analysed at atomic and molecular level using synchrotron light.

Aerial image of Diamond Light Source

Aerial image of Diamond Light Source

This special light allows scientists to study virus structures at intense levels of detail and this new Crystal facility extends that capability to many viruses that have a major global impact on human and animal health. Studying pathogens in this way has the potential to open up new paths for the development of therapeutic treatments and vaccines.

Diamond already has a strong track record of studying viruses at lower levels of containment. In 2012, scientists determined the structure of the virus that causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which can cause severe central nervous system disease in children and poses serious public health threats across the Asia-Pacific region. Some 1.7 million cases were reported by the Chinese Ministry of Health during 2010, and there is no vaccine or therapy available.

An Anglo-Chinese collaboration used the facilities at Diamond to solve the structure of the Human Enterovirus 71 (EV71), which is the root cause of the disease.

EV71's structure

EV71’s structure

Using synchrotron light, the team were able to visualise the virus in different states and collect a series of structures, from which they were able to uncover a detailed picture of the virus’s actions in sequence. Rather than being a rigid object, the virus appears to actually breathe. Such visualisation requires specialist microscopes 10,000 times more powerful than standard laboratory microscopes.

Crystal enables researchers to rapidly visualise viruses in their entirety and at incredible scales. The facility’s brilliant beams of X-rays allow scientists to study crystallised virus particles, and so produce a comprehensive 3D image of the virus structure. By identifying the virus structure in atomic detail, scientists can target research into vaccines and anti-viral drugs.

Says Dr Katherine McAuley, science leader for the facility:

“Crystal is a major advance, not just for the UK, but for Europe at large. We are introducing a step change in research capabilities, so that more complex studies can be undertaken in a swift and effective way. The unique capabilities that the facility offers are expected to draw scientists from around the world, and establish the nation’s synchrotron as a hub of world-leading research into disease prevention.”

The secret of blonde hair

Researchers studying pigmentation in the South Pacific have uncovered a key genetic contribution to hair colour.

The findings, published in Science, reveal a functional genetic variant which has led the islanders to have simultaneously the darkest skin pigmentation outside of Africa and the highest prevalence of blonde hair outside of Europe.

Blond Solomon Islander (c. Sean Myles)

Human skin and hair colour varies considerably both within and among populations. Previous studies have shown that pigmentation is largely heritable but also suggest it has evolved to adapt to the sun’s ultraviolet rays — with populations near the equator possessing darker skin and hair colour.

However, the Melanesian population of the Solomon Islands, East of Papua New Guinea, differs from this trend.

The research – co-led by Dr Nic Timpson from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and researchers at Stanford University in the US – sought to find out what has caused these islanders to possess such discordant patterns of pigmentation, some of the greatest in the world.

The team took samples from a pool of Melanesian participants, 43 with blonde hair and 42 with dark hair, and carried out genetic analysis to compare their genomes. The results showed that the across the whole genome, one key gene region contained the variation responsible for differences in the cells that produce darkening pigmentation, or melanocytes.

Naturally blonde hair is a surprisingly unusual trait in humans which is typically associated with people from Scandinavian and Northern European countries. The team’s findings help explain the fascinating differences in these physical characteristics, but also underline the importance of genetic mapping using isolated populations to help shed new light on the epidemiology of disease.

The iceberg phenomenon

Some stunning images for you – just had to share them. If you hadn’t realised icebergs sometimes have stripes, then here’s the proof.

Stripes are formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions.

Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with melted water and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form. When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe. Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.

The spectacular images below were taken by Norwegian sailor Oyvind Tangen several hundred miles north of the Antarctic.

The images below, snapped by scientist Tony Travouillon, show ice formations created by glaciation, melting and refreezing, and other natural forces, over very long periods of time.

Sniffing out stomach bugs could save NHS millions

Testing has begun on a device that can sniff out the presence of disease by smell.

Developed by Professors Chris Probert from the University of Bristol and Norman Ratcliffe from the University of the West of England, OdoReader uses pioneering technology to rapidly diagnose Clostridium difficile, by ‘reading’ the odour of stool samples. Clostridium difficile may cause severe diarrhoea, especially amongst hospital patients.

With the help of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, the technology enables gasses emitted from faeces to be analysed in under an hour, leading to a rapid and inexpensive diagnosis. Such early detection could reap real health benefits for millions of people and help prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Gastro-intestinal diseases afflict over four billion adults and children each year. Delays in diagnosis can lead to patients being ill for longer, some may die, many will cost more to treat and infections may spread to other people. In England and Wales there are over 50,000 cases of Clostridium difficile reported each year: this infection prolongs a stay in hospital, is associated with a high number of deaths and costs the NHS £200 million annually.

The OdoReader device

A £1.3 million Wellcome Trust Translation Award will cover a three-year programme of work. It will support the development of OdoReader prototypes, which will then be tested against the industry gold standard method of making the diagnosis. The final produce will undergo a clinical trial before becoming available for sale around 2013. Says Chris Probert, Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Bristol, and Consultant Gastroenterologist at University Hospitals Bristol:

“For a long time it has been known that stools have a distinctive and different odour if there is an infection. What OdoReader does is take this knowledge a step further by comparing the odour of faeces of patients with those from patients with specific gastro-intestinal disease to make a rapid diagnosis at the point of care.”

It’s also thought that OdoReader has potential far beyond that of being a portable device for diagnosing C difficile. It could be used for a range of other gastrointestinal disease as well as lung and urinary tract diseases.

How to get weather right

Many people consider long range forecasts to be no more than guesswork. That’s a little unfair. There is some real science behind these outlooks.

However, says’s director Ian Michaelwaite: “When forecasters get long range forecasts wrong it can bring chaos, such as much lower stockpiles of grit and salt being pre-ordered as has been the case this year.”

So, with the fanfare reports of the coldest winter for 30 years directly contradicting the Met Office forecast of a mild winter, what can we do to get it right?

Perhaps we should now be using at least one other weather forecaster to compare to the Met Office. A coordinated approach using seasonal forecasts with monthly, weekly and daily updates is now crucial as we limp unconvincingly through the last steps of a very cold winter and into spring.

Just a thought…

Kitchen of the future – imagine…

According to the UN, 74 per cent of the world population will live in cities by 2050. This high level of urbanisation means that we have to rethink the way we’re using space, energy and our environment.

Those awfully clever people at Electrolux have used this scenario as a foundation and developed a brand new design concept to illustrate how we’ll live in the future. Heart of the Home is an integrated solution functioning as a kitchen table, cooking surface and bar all in one. Or as Electrolux says: “An intelligent, amorphous, interchangeable cooking surface that adapts to user needs”.

When using the Heart of the Home one simply places one’s ingredients on the surface. The appliance then analyses the ingredients and presents a list of suitable recipes. After deciding on a recipe, the user marks an area with his hand to determine how large the cooking area should be. Then the desired depth of the surface is created by simply pressing the hand against the malleable material. After achieving the required width and depth it’s just a matter of setting temperature and time with a simple touch of a finger.

Fantastic idea! Imagine never having to use pans or pots, worry whether the ingredients are fresh or look up a recipe in a cook book. All we need now is the built-in chef.

Work makes us blokes happy

New research shows that UK employees in the 60 or over age group report a significantly higher quality of working life than their middle-aged colleagues. And this pre-retirement bounce is more pronounced in men.

The research shows that quality of working life tends to be higher in the under 25 and in the 60 or over age groups, with the 25 to 59 year olds reporting the lowest quality of working life. This pre-retirement bounce in quality of working life reflects a strongly positive change in the way people feel about their work as they near retirement.

But the trends for men and women show interesting and highly significant differences, especially in the context of the planned changes in retirement age.

Previous research has shown that women are generally happier than men at work. However, this study carried out by University of Portsmouth spin-out company QoWL shows that as we get older the difference in happiness narrows.

The trends completely reverse at around age 60. At this age, men – with several years of working life still to go – seem to experience a notable increase in quality of working life. However, women – typically nearer to retirement at this age – report much less of an increase.

Men, for the first time, have become much happier at work than women.

It isn’t clear exactly why the pre-retirement bounce is so much stronger in men, but there are a number of interesting possibilities:

  • It might be related to the differing job roles occupied by men and women. Men may have roles that provide more flexibility and therefore are able to wind down more and reduce their stress.
  • Men may typically have the prospect of a much higher pension, which also provides more flexibility and options.
  • Alternatively, it may have something to do with gender differences in attitudes towards work and retirement. Men may look forward to retirement much more and see it as an opportunity to stop working and spend more time doing the things they like doing.
  • Women on the other hand may value work for the social opportunities and networks it provides rather than simply as a means of earning money.
  • The prospect of more leisure time may not seem nearly as attractive to women as they may see themselves as ‘still working’ but at home and in a different way. The prospect of more time at home with their husbands may not be a cause of joy and happiness!

The level of improvement in the quality of working life is certainly interesting because it shows that satisfaction with work can improve. It is therefore worth exploring ways of making things better for all workers. Says Dr Darren Van Laar, QoWL’s lead researcher:

“While we are only now beginning to identify the factors that contribute to quality of working life, this research underlines the potential benefits that might be reaped from taking action to enhance the work environment and experience for all age groups.”

This becomes more than of academic interest when the trends are analysed more closely in the light of the planned increases in retirement ages. Men report little change in their quality of working life from 25 to 59 years, so it might be expected that a relatively small lengthening of their working lives due to later retirement ages could slightly delay the ‘Pre-retirement Bounce’.

But, for women, the apparent gradual lessening of their quality of working life with age, coupled with a more substantial increase in the number of years they have to work before retirement, might mean that older women experience further reduction in their quality of working life. They may end up less content in their pre-retirement years – missing out on the ‘Bounce’.

QoWL will next be looking to see if the changes in retirement age do lead to lowering of reported quality of life. They’ll be working with employers to learn why men see things so much more positively after 60. If they can identify the sources of that improvement for men, it may well be possible to work with employers to help their women employees enjoy the ‘Pre-retirement Bounce’ as well.

Climate change – again: Are we in trouble, or not?

Two scientific studies produced recently show just how difficult it is for us to work it out.

First, a bit of background.

Any process that removes carbon from the atmosphere can act as a carbon sink. These include basic processes like having the gas dissolve into the ocean, to more complex ones, such as the sequestration that appears to take place in mature forests. Taken together though, the impact is huge.

We think that carbon sinks remove about 60 per cent of the CO2 that us humans pump into the atmosphere each year. What’s left is referred to as the airborne fraction.

Now – researchers from the University of Bristol’s QUEST programme on climate change and earth system modelling say in one breath that over the last 50 years the average fraction of global CO2 emissions that remained in the atmosphere each year has increased from 40 to 45 per cent.

This suggests a decrease in the efficiency of the natural sinks – such as the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.

However, a second team found no increase in the airborne fraction over the same period and that the trend was in fact -0.2 ± 1.7 per cent per decade – which is essentially zero – concluding that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 has not diminished.

Says science commentator Anthony Watts:

“This work is extremely important for climate change policy, because emission targets to be negotiated at next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen have been based on projections that have a carbon free sink already factored in. Some researchers have cautioned against this approach, pointing at evidence that suggests the sink has already started to decrease.”

But, who’s right? Says Ars Technica‘s John Timmer:

“These are two highly technical papers that use different data sets and different methods; it’s no surprise that they’ve reached different conclusions, and it will probably take the scientific community a few months of digesting them and comparing them to previously published work in order to reach a consensus on which one (if either) is likely to better reflect reality. Using them to generate competing coverage in the popular press doesn’t do a public that understands climate science poorly any favors.”

Understanding climate change

A new study of Antarctica’s climate history shows that in some brief warm periods between ice ages, temperatures were up to 60°C warmer than today. The findings could aid our understanding of rapid climate changes.

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the Open University and the University of Bristol, explain that until now temperatures during the warm periods between ice ages – known as interglacials – were thought to be slightly warmer than those of the present day.

However, some brief spikes in temperature – which recur roughly every 100,000 years and last a few thousand years – seem to have been a lot warmer.

It is quite difficult to reconstruct temperatures from long ago. Although it is generally accepted that the climate was warmer 125,000 years ago, the BAS’ results suggest it was much warmer than previously thought.  It will be interesting to see if other studies agree with its findings.

Ice cores from East Antarctica contain the oldest drilled ice on Earth, and provide a unique record of past climate.  Analysis of the ice cores has revolutionised our understanding of how Antarctic climate has varied in the past. The BAS’ ice core scientist Eric Wolff, a world-leading expert on past climate, says:

During the last warm period sea level was around five metres higher than it is today. If we can pin down how much warmer temperatures were in Antarctica and Greenland at this time, then we can test predictions of how melting of the large ice sheets will contribute to sea level rise.

%d bloggers like this: