Oral history of British science

Wolff, Eric (Part 10 of 12) An Oral History of British Science

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  • Subjects

    Climate Change Science

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge

  • Interviewees

    Wolff, Eric, 1957- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 10: [1:29:38] [Session five: 26th July 2012] Further comments on decisions made by EPICA Steering Committee in granting access to EPICA ice. Mentions limited effect on ice core scientists of Freedom of Information [FOI] requests; World Data Centre for palaeoclimatology, Boulder, Colorado, US and ‘Pangaea’, Germany. [3:58] Mentions lead authorship of publication on chemistry of EPICA core [in ‘Nature’, 2006]. Comments on own contribution to NERC Rapid Climate Change programme (RAPID), [2001-2008]; own contributions to IGAC [2002-2007]. [6:54] Story of development of idea that the termination of glacial periods are glacial ‘warm events’ that manage to continue. Comments on role of data analysis and conference presentations in development of this idea. Description of process of data analysis involved. [16:06] Comments on use of computer program ‘EasyPlot’ to produce graphs from data. [17:09] Description of use/effect of computer program RAMPFIT. [20:19] Comments on presence in Antarctic ice of terrestrial material from nearest landmass, South America. [22:51] Brief description of use of isotopes of oxygen to infer past temperatures from bubbles of air in ice cores. [27:41] Brief description of relations between ocean, sea salt and sea-ice/ice-sheet. Mentions frost-flowers; recent NERC grant to fund research into blown salt from sea-ice surfaces. [31:49] Comments on investigation of brine layer on sea-ice. [34:21] Detailed comments on process of applying for NERC grants, including role/motivations of reviewers, ‘pathways to impact statements’, ‘case for support’, ‘timetable’. [41:06] Story of hearing news of/own views on ‘Climategate’ [CG] (unauthorised release of emails to/from climate scientists, including Phil Jones [PJ] at Climatic Research Unit [CRU], University of East Anglia [UEA]). Mentions tendency for scientists to view own and others’ work critically. Comments on BAS meeting following/concerning CG; own experience of voluntary debates with ‘climate change sceptics’ [46:36] Mentions public talk given in Dublin, Ireland. Comments on value of ice cores themselves or photographs of ice cores as tangible evidence in public presentations on climate change. [49:21] Comments on writing of sections on climate change for UK ‘Government Office for Science’ website, led by contemporary Chief Scientific Advisor [CSA] John Beddington. [50:35] Story of day discussion meeting in Cambridge with ‘climate change sceptics’ including Christopher Monckton and Nigel Lawson; experience of contributing to climate change blog websites. [53:11] Mentions BAS Press Office. Comments on own article in ‘Prospect’ magazine of union for UK Government scientists. [56:11] Further detailed comments on experience of contributing to climate change blog. Story of audience response to own list of climate change statements at day discussion meeting in Cambridge. [1:01:42] Comments on character/motivations of ‘climate change sceptics’. Mentions public and private recognition/acceptance of climate change by oil companies; tendency for ‘climate change sceptics’ to have opposed other scientific arguments, such as those concerning tobacco’s carcinogens. [1:04:20] Detailed description of/comments on own approach to explaining ice core climate science to audiences of non-scientists. [1:17:38] Comments on enjoyment of own efforts to explain ice core science to non-specialists. [1:19:11] Mentions function of communication with UK Government CSA. Comments on visits to BAS of UK politicians. Mentions Ed Miliband, David Willetts. [1:20:27]

  • Description

    Interview with glaciologist Eric Wolff

  • Related transcripts

    Eric Wolff interviewed by Paul Merchant: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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