Just how are our seas changing and rising with climate change and the melting of Earth’s ice caps? In this three-part series, we look at the past, present and future of extreme sea level rise.
Part 1 - Extreme interglacial sea levels: We look at how ancient beaches and fossilised coral reefs from the last interglacial period - comparable to today’s Holocene - can tell us about worst-case rising sea levels.
Part 2 - The rise of meteotsunamis: In the Mediterranean and elsewhere, racing dry summer winds could make atmospheric tsunamis more common. But understanding how ‘meteotsunamis’ behave could also aid better predictions of waves that can damage in minutes.
Part 3 - Extreme urban flooding: We look at research showing how habitants of cities with high flood protection are paradoxically put more at risk of extreme flooding because measures often exclude a crucial component: human behaviour in the face of a natural disaster. We’d also look at what this means for migration and who is most vulnerable.
Studies of ancient beaches and fossilised coral reefs suggest sea levels have the potential to rise far more quickly than models currently predict, according to geologists who have been studying past periods of warming.
How do you design and build a robot that you can’t even see? And what would you use it for? In May, Horizon explores the developing field of nanorobotics and its potential applications. We speak to Prof. Brad Nelson at ETH Zurich in Switzerland whose team found that the nanobots they were working on destroyed the drugs they were meant to be delivering, so are now repurposing them to purify water. We speak to researchers who are using the origami-like properties of DNA to make tools such as nanorobotic boxes with lids that open, and others that have created a molecular robotic arm that can pick up, reposition and release molecules. And because tasks like going into a blood vessel to dissolve a dangerous clot would be ideal for a nanorobot, we find out how scientists are devising ways to enable nanorobots to travel through the bloodstream.
The asteroids in our solar system are the remnants of planetary formation. They hold clues about how the Milky Way formed, but they also hold promise and peril for humans as the source of both rich materials and potentially dangerous cratering events. This month we look at the latest in asteroid research. We speak to Dr Naomi Murdoch, a planetary scientist, about her work investigating asteroids, how to land on them and how to defend Earth from a dangerous event. We look in depth at how scientists in the field of planetary defence are developing rapid response techniques to detect an Earth-bound ‘imminent impactor’, determine within days whether it’s dangerous, and evacuate people from the danger zone. We speak to scientists studying exactly what asteroids are composed of so that we can categorise them from Earth, and we look at work studying asteroid dust to see what it can tell us about the early days of our solar system and the origins of life on our planet.
Farmed fish are increasingly becoming vegetarian, with plant-based feed now widely used in Europe. Researchers now want to optimise feed to promote fish growth and nutrition. To do this, they are studying fish gut bacteria and the impact of probiotic additives as well as testing nutrient supplements.
To find out, scientists are investigating fish gut bacteria and feed nutrients.
Meteorologist Jadranka Šepić is working to decipher waves that can destroy in minutes.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.