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It’s the run up to Christmas, and the annual ritual repeats. Diplomats gather in Doha to discuss and debate action on climate change, so Glenn and Gareth talk to their correspondent on the spot, New Zealand climate media strategist Cindy Baxter to find out what’s happening in the oil kingdom’s echoing halls. At the Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco, NOAA has published its 2012 Arctic Report Card (grim reading, it has to be said). Plus Gareth talks about truffles as a bellwether for Europe’s changing climate, and the boys get all enthusiastic about nanophotonics and steampunk.

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Story references

News

The Fall AGU is on in San Francisco.

Today’s hot news: 2012 Arctic report card released: press release.

Graphics and articles: http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2012/2012-arctic-report-card

French truffles being affected by heat and drought

http://www.wsl.ch/medien/news/Trueffel_mediterran/index_EN

The bigger picture: European Environment Agency report:

‘Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012′ finds that higher average temperatures have been observed across Europe as well as decreasing precipitation in southern regions and increasing precipitation in northern Europe. The Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and many glaciers across Europe are melting, snow cover has decreased and most permafrost soils have warmed.

Guest interview:

Special guest NZr Cindy Baxter, a climate media strategist who has attended just about every major international climate meeting over the last 20 years. Veteran of the talks, blogs for Hot Topic. In Doha with climate scientists.

And just to underline Cindy’s comments: NZ’s lacklustre statement to COP 18: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1212/S00118/new-zealand-national-statement-to-cop18.htm

Solutions

Solar steam: Super-Efficient Solar-Energy Technology: ‘Solar Steam’ So Effective It Can Make Steam from Icy Cold Water

The efficiency of solar steam is due to the light-capturing nanoparticles that convert sunlight into heat. When submerged in water and exposed to sunlight, the particles heat up so quickly they instantly vaporize water and create steam. Halas said the solar steam’s overall energy efficiency can probably be increased as the technology is refined.
“We’re going from heating water on the macro scale to heating it at the nanoscale,” Halas said. “Our particles are very small — even smaller than a wavelength of light — which means they have an extremely small surface area to dissipate heat. This intense heating allows us to generate steam locally, right at the surface of the particle, and the idea of generating steam locally is really counterintuitive.”

Steampunk Oamaru

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Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.