LG - Chemical weapons, Turtles, Tech for wildlife, Climate


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Chemical weapons Disposing of Syria's chemical weapons is a difficult task, both politically and technically. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), responsible for the decommissioning, has kitted out a special ship, the MV Cape Ray to hydrolyse "priority" toxic substances. Hamish de Bretton Gordon, a chemical weapons expert from SecureBio, explains why destroying chemical precursors on dry land is not an option and whether the job will be done on time.

Tracking turtles Satellite tags have finally given researchers insight into the "lost years" of loggerhead turtles. After many failed attempts, researchers have worked out how to attach the tiny tags to the months-old animals during the uncertain period when they leave US coastal waters and head out into the Atlantic Ocean. The data suggests the loggerheads can spend some time living in amongst floating mats of Sargassum seaweed, in the Sargasso Sea.

Technology for Nature The tools and gadgets available to remotely track animals and monitor populations and their habitats are getting better and more mechanised. Cameras mounted on birds can record where they fly; audio recordings capture bat calls; satellite images monitoring habitat change. However all this digital data needs to be analysed. Professor Kate Jones, an expert on biodiversity at University College London, thinks that this is where more technological advances are needed. She wants image recognition programmes to scan through millions of remote camera images, or sound recognition of hundreds of thousands of bat calls to be developed.

Climate The recent extreme rainfall has left many asking, is this weather linked to climate change? A new project 'weather@home' 2014, aims to use a large citizen science experiment to answer this question. Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystems Science at the School of Geography and the Environment, and Dr Nathalie Schaller, both of Oxford University, explain that they aim to run two sets of weather simulations. One will represent conditions and "possible weather" in the winter 2014, and the second will represent the weather in a "world that might have been" if human behaviour had not changed the composition of the atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions. By comparing the numbers of extreme rainfall events in the two ensembles, 'Weather@Home' will work out if the risk of a wet winter has increased, decreased or been unaffected by human influence on climate.

Producer: Fiona Roberts.