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RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research ship one year on

It's exactly a year since NERC launched a campaign to name our new polar research vessel. We take a look at what's happened since RRS Sir David Attenborough was picked.

13 Mar 2017

Flash Flood! - Environmental science in virtual reality

If you came to last October's Into the blue science showcase in Manchester you may have been offered the chance to immerse yourself in a dangerous virtual river valley, with the game Flash Flood!

2 Mar 2017

Revealing the UK's hidden depths

Underneath the Earth's surface lies a wealth of resources. But will the way we currently use them give us problems in the future? Dr Ciaran Beggan, Dr Andrew Barkwith and Dr Caroline Graham at the British Geological Survey (BGS) explain why we need a clearer picture.

27 Feb 2017

New footage shows crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf

Currently a huge iceberg, roughly the size of Norfolk, looks set to break off the Larsen C Ice Shelf, which is more than twice the size of Wales.

22 Feb 2017

Trees of the sea share their secrets

Coralline algae are found on nearly every shore in the world and could be holding important clues to climate change. Kelvin Boot explores.

22 Feb 2017

Managing flooding by working with nature

The government announced £15 million for natural flood management initiatives, we went to find out more about what they are and what they can do.

20 Feb 2017

Is climate change causing more UK floods?

Nick Reynard, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology's lead for natural hazards, reports.

16 Feb 2017

Groundwater: The threat beneath our feet

Groundwater is the ultimate invisible asset. Originating in rain and snowfall that works its way down into soil and rock, it supports key ecosystems and meets the water needs of millions. But it can also pose a potential flood risk.

13 Feb 2017

Equipping the UK to cope with coastal erosion

Frequently linked to an increased threat from flooding, coastal erosion was widespread in the 20th century. We explain how the iCOASST project is helping to reveal what the next hundred years could hold.

1 Feb 2017

On the road to resilience in Ethiopia

It's time to rethink roads. In the vital fields of flood prevention and water supply, they offer incredible potential to enhance and enrich the lives of some of the world's poorest people.

12 Jan 2017

How could governments around the world protect bees?

NERC-funded researchers have gathered crucial evidence on how governments and people can best protect pollinators vital to the production of food worldwide.

29 Nov 2016

Antibiotic resistance must be tackled in the field

We could be encouraging antimicrobial resistance by overusing antibiotics but other factors may also be at play. We spoke to researchers going beyond the clinic to understand how drug-resistance builds up in the bacteria in our sewers and rivers.

22 Nov 2016

Scientists measure snow density in Greenland

Last month, scientists from the Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling (CPOM) headed to Greenland to carry out vital fieldwork as part of a NERC-CryoSat contract to calibrate and validate measurements taken by the satellite.

10 Nov 2016

New images capture Into the blue spirit

Pictured together for the first time, two of NERC's key scientific instruments capture the essence of Into the blue, a public showcase of environmental science in the northwest of England where both ship and aircraft will be on display.

3 Oct 2016

Q&A with Professor Frank Kelly

Professor Kelly holds the chair in environmental health at King's College London, where he is director of the Analytical & Environmental Sciences Division. Here, he answers some key questions about air pollution in the UK's capital.

3 Oct 2016

Taking UK atmospheric science global

London's atmosphere may still have its mysteries, but compared to many places it's an open book.

30 Sep 2016

Who's to blame for bad air?

Controlling our own emissions is a good idea, but plenty of the pollution problems most nations face come from abroad.

29 Sep 2016

Air pollution from Icelandic volcanoes

In September 2014, a huge volcanic eruption in Iceland emitted up to nine times as much sulphur dioxide per day as all European industry combined.

29 Sep 2016

Sense about sensors

Commercial pollution monitors are attracting plenty of hype, but scientists say buyers should beware.

28 Sep 2016

Lifting the lid on London's air

When scientists flew a research plane over London in 2013, they didn't just establish that a new sensing technique could let us monitor emissions in real time. They also stumbled on the traces of one of the biggest corporate scandals ever.

28 Sep 2016

Solving the mysteries of the monsoon

Scientists have just returned from a groundbreaking research campaign to understand the Indian monsoon.

27 Sep 2016

The worst air quality in the world?

Last year El Niño brought drought to south-east Asia, creating the conditions for enormous wildfires that send vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and endangered people's health across the region with terrible air pollution. Martin Wooster of King's College London and NERC NCEO reports.

27 Sep 2016

Ship emissions: Monitoring, enforcement and human health

Air pollution from ships is a serious problem that doesn't get enough attention. Kelvin Boot explains how environmental science can help ensure industry plays by the rules.

26 Sep 2016

What can satellite data do for aquaculture?

The BBSRC and NERC-funded ShellEye project seeks to help shellfish farmers manage threats from harmful algal blooms and E. coli bacteria.

22 Sep 2016

Earthquakes and eruptions in Iceland

Geoscientists at the University of Cambridge are uncovering how volcanic activity in Iceland causes earthquakes.

30 Aug 2016

Successful disease elimination offers hope for amphibians

Scientists have reported one of the first big wins in the fight against an invasive fungal disease.

23 Aug 2016

Drones on ice

The Antarctic isn't kind to drones - but it's not easy or cheap for people to work in either, so robots represent a huge scientific opportunity.

16 Aug 2016

Gliders on the storm

Marine scientists are a hardy bunch, but even they aren't keen on working amid 60ft waves in the depths of the Atlantic winter. Luckily next-generation ocean robots increasingly mean they don't have to.

11 Aug 2016

Modelling our landscape in 3D

Drones are helping NERC's British Geological Survey understand and monitor areas that are susceptible to landslides around the UK.

9 Aug 2016

New breakthrough helps trace river pollution

Scientists are developing a new way to track the origins of phosphorus pollution in our rivers and understand how it behaves once it gets there.

5 Aug 2016

Soaring with the Global Hawk

Last year a new UK-made atmospheric science instrument flew for the first time on NASA's Global Hawk unmanned aircraft.

3 Aug 2016

Citizen science: The people behind the data

From the UK Ladybird Survey to the Big Bumblebee Discovery, volunteer field workers are helping to answer some of science's big questions.

1 Aug 2016

First solid hydrogen drone takes to skies

The first drone powered by solid hydrogen made its maiden flight in February – the fruit of a long-term collaboration between the private sector and scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

25 Jul 2016

Antarctic Peninsula: Warming pauses but glaciers go on melting

A temporary respite in rising temperatures in one of the world's fastest-warming places doesn't mean climate change has stopped, says new British Antarctic Survey research.

21 Jul 2016

Communicating volcano risk

Researchers have created films aimed at reducing volcanic risk in societies threatened by eruptions.

20 Jul 2016

Diving for science

Jo Porter and Richard Shucksmith describe what it's like to take part in an intensive course training the scientific divers of the future.

15 Jul 2016

An eye in the sky

Mapping what lives in the British countryside means spending hours tramping through bogs, up and down hills and through some of our most rugged landscapes. Tom Marshall found out how drones are helping.

13 Jul 2016

Bug brother is watching you

Scientists have spent several years filming a field of crickets in Spain with more than 140 digital video cameras to find out more about what makes them tick.

11 Jul 2016

Invasive 'super ant' species taking hold in the UK

An invasion of Asian 'super ants' is taking hold faster than ever in the UK, new research has found.

8 Jul 2016

Autosubs are go!

Science and industry are working hand in hand at the new Marine Robotics Innovation Centre. The result, reports Sue Nelson, is an exciting new future for marine robotics in the UK.

4 Jul 2016

The art of science

DATA AS ART is a groundbreaking science/art project being developed at NERC's British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It uses visualisations of real scientific data from the poles to create stunning, thought-provoking articles that also relate to important and exciting science stories.

30 Jun 2016

Inevitable surprises in the Atlantic Ocean

What have we learned from a decade of monitoring how water and heat circulate through the North Atlantic? As Meric Srokosz explains, a great deal - much of it unexpected.

29 Jun 2016

Spotlight on soils

2015 was the International Year of Soils. It's not the most glamorous area of science, but it's vital to just about every aspect of our lives - as Janet Moxley and Nicole Archer explain.

29 Jun 2016

Tags: Geology, Soils, Water

Wonderstuff

Dave Reay explores the tangled web of nitrogen and global climate change.

29 Jun 2016

Living highways

A new project aims to make Sheffield a better place to live by attracting more plants and animals to its roadside verges. Tom Marshall spoke to those involved.

12 May 2016

A century of UK coastal flooding

Ivan Haigh and Elizabeth Bradshaw describe SurgeWatch, a new database of coastal floods that's set to revolutionise our understanding of how and why these destructive events happen - and of how to limit the damage.

22 Apr 2016

The rise of mammals

An asteroid strike put an end to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, making way for mammals to thrive - that much we know. But how exactly did our ancestors go about their march to dominance? Stephen Brusatte and Sarah Shelley introduce an unassuming fossil that holds some of the answers.

8 Apr 2016

Changing channels

Scientists agree: flood damages will increase dramatically across Europe over the coming decades. And as extreme rainfall events happen again and again, some places will be hit harder than others. So why is it that some areas are becoming more prone to flooding, and others not? Louise Slater explains.

4 Mar 2016

The human epoch

Humans have only been part of Earth's history for the blink of a geological eye, but in that time we have made a profound mark on the planet. Fifty years ago we were starting to realise the extent of our influence; today we are debating whether it has moved Earth into a new geological epoch. Alex Peel explains what's behind the concept.

22 Feb 2016

Amphibians under threat

Frogs, toads, newts and salamanders look like hardy creatures and anyone observing a pond full of frogspawn could be forgiven for thinking their future was secure. But several emerging diseases are attacking the world's amphibians, sometimes with devastating results. Trent Garner explains how we're starting to understand the extent of the threat.

12 Feb 2016

Bouncing towards an ice-free summer

One warm year and we're told an Arctic without sea ice is just around the corner; the next cold one and it's claimed the ice is recovering. Ed Hawkins explains why Arctic melting will continue to be erratic for the foreseeable future - but says the overall trend is only heading one way.

5 Feb 2016

A dose of nature

What do you get when you cross ecology with psychotherapy? Quite possibly you end up with profound benefits for people's wellbeing - and for the health of the NHS. Dan Bloomfield explains why for many chronically ill or isolated people help could lie just beyond their front door.

22 Jan 2016

Tags: Ecology, Health, UK

Looking to the future of conservation

As NERC looks forward to its next 50 years, we can't know for sure what issues will arise. But some scientists have had their eye on the future for some time. Tom Marshall talks to Bill Sutherland about his work bringing environmental research into the 21st century.

14 Dec 2015

NERC and M&S - The science of sustainable retail

Dr Claire Quinn's job is to help ensure UK food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer gets access to the scientific knowledge it needs. Tom Marshall finds out how her knowledge exchange Fellowship has been an enlightening experience on both sides.

27 Nov 2015

Science in action: Watching the birds

How the UK's birds of prey were saved from the malign effects of 20th-century pesticides is a great example of scientific detective work - and it also shows the immense value of monitoring the natural environment over long periods. Tom Marshall tells the story.

13 Nov 2015

What's past is prologue

Two former chief executives tell us what they valued most about their time at NERC and how they've seen the environmental science landscape change.

27 Oct 2015

Shutting the flood gates

In 1953, more than 300 people died in the UK alone when heavy storms swept a high spring tide over sea defences and across coastal towns in north-east England and Scotland. Today floods still make headlines but our ability to limit their effects has come a long way. Adele Walker explains why.

19 Oct 2015

NERC then and now

The past may be a foreign country, but when it comes to the ancient history of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) it's one that feels oddly like home. As part of the events to mark NERC's 50th anniversary, Tom Marshall spent a stint in the archives. He describes what it revealed about the organisation's early years.

5 Oct 2015

A model approach

The Met Office also celebrates a 50th anniversary this year - their first numerical weather prediction was in 1965. Their chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo shares her perspective on developments in weather, climate and environmental-change research since then.

18 Sep 2015

The failure of genomics

Biology is in the grip of a genomics revolution - but Mark Viney thinks this may have taken a wrong turn. He says that just DNA sequencing genes isn't enough - we need to get back to finding out what each one does.

4 Sep 2015

Plain wonderful

Covering an area the size of the Isle of Wight, Salisbury Plain contains the largest military training area in the UK and the largest single expanse of chalk grassland in Western Europe. John Redhead explains how this sometimes turbulent landscape provides both a conservation challenge and some unique habitats for wildlife.

21 Aug 2015

Much ado about moths

What's up with British moths? Like much of our wildlife, they're being hit hard by habitat loss and responding to warmer weather. Richard Fox and Tom Oliver explain.

30 Jul 2015

The pull of charisma

It's not unusual to see polar bears and tigers fronting conservation campaigns and adverts, but worms and crustaceans? Not so common. Lydia Bach explains why some lesser-known species deserve more of the limelight.

20 Jul 2015

Ocean acidification - How will marine life cope?

CO2 emissions are making the oceans more acidic. We're still not sure what this will do to marine life, but in many places the result's unlikely to be good. Jason Hall-Spencer describes his efforts to understand the impact by investigating places where the gas bubbles naturally from the seabed.

10 Jul 2015

Piling it on

Renewable energy is an important part of the UK's energy mix and we need to know more about its effects on marine animals. Steve Simpson and Rick Bruintjes explain how they're using a home-made pile-driver to investigate.

29 Jun 2015

A new history of Antarctic ice

There's still a huge amount we don't know about the history of the southern polar ice sheet. Bethan Davies was part of an international team that brought together the latest findings to reveal a complex and dynamic Antarctica.

19 Jun 2015

A tale of two cities

How can we provide safe water for poor people living in African cities? Dan Lapworth, Jim Wright and Steve Pedley are working to find out.

12 Jun 2015

The future of tree health

Ancient mainstays of our woodlands, hedgerows and parklands are at risk from a surge of pests and diseases - but a new research programme is bringing experts together from many fields to find solutions.

29 May 2015

Live from a landfill

What's so hard about putting a number on greenhouse-gas emissions? Grant Allen describes some distinctly unglamorous fieldwork aimed at doing just that.

28 May 2015

Scouring Bangladesh

Hidden from view at the bottom of Bangladesh's large rivers are gigantic holes up to 50m deep and several kilometres long. Mark E Vardy explains how studying them is vital for understanding how large rivers evolve and affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living on their deltas.

20 Mar 2015

For peat's sake

Used to flavour whisky and sometimes as fuel, the UK's peat also provides an important service in the control of global warming. Mark Reed explains why he and Project Maya are trying to spread the word and get gardeners to take a peat-free pledge.

11 Mar 2015

Working together for clear water

Nobody wants peat in their tap water, and in some situations it can even threaten people's health. Getting rid of it is costly for water companies, and a warming climate will increase the problem. The more they know about these changes, the better they'll be able to cope.

23 Feb 2015

Renewed interest

The UK's rich marine renewable energy resources are driving an exciting area of innovation. Paul Bell explains how understanding the potential environment consequences will be critical to the success of the industry.

23 Jan 2015

Location, location, location

If we could trap the CO2 we produce in the deepest depths of the ocean, where should we do it? Maybe not where scientists first thought, says Josie Robinson. She explores the theory behind ocean iron fertilisation in the Southern Ocean, and describes her work on testing it.

19 Jan 2015

From the age of the dinosaurs?

The term 'living fossil' was coined by Darwin and has since been applied to various species that appear not to have changed for millions of years. But when Africa Gómez and colleagues took a closer look at tadpole shrimps they concluded we should ditch the term for good.

19 Dec 2014

What's eating you

These days we can get a prescription for many infections, but what happens when you have more than one at a time? Emily Griffiths explains how we can look at co-infection in a way that could help us devise more effective treatments.

28 Nov 2014

Microscope hack could offer cheap disease testing

A new solution to measure cell movement could save scientists hundreds of thousands of pounds, says the researcher who developed the method to save himself time and money in the lab.

10 Nov 2014

Tags: Disease

The science of sustainable drainage

As the floods that struck Britain in early 2014 made all too clear, heavy rain can be bad news for homes, businesses and the environment. Tom Marshall found out how the British Geological Survey is helping housebuilders control flooding while saving money.

7 Nov 2014

Hungarian red mud spill did little long-term damage

The after effects of the 2010 red mud spill that threatened to poison great swathes of the Hungarian countryside have turned out to be far less harmful than scientists originally feared.

3 Nov 2014

Tags: Pollution

Trout in hot water

Understanding the effects of climate change on ecosystems is a complex business. Eoin O'Gorman describes how trout living in geothermally-heated Icelandic streams are helping.

20 Oct 2014

Scientists probe leak risk from seabed CO2 stores

A UK-led international research team has carried out the first experiment to recreate what would happen if CO2 started leaking after being stored deep under the sea floor. Their findings add weight to the idea that this could be a viable way to cut our impact on the climate.

1 Oct 2014

Out of the laboratory and into the Amazon

Working in the field always makes research more challenging, and doing atmospheric science deep in the rainforest is especially tricky. Ben Langford describes how mosquito repellent, gaffer tape and children's balloons helped keep his project on track.

19 Sep 2014

Honeybee homing hampered by parasite

Honeybees infected with a common parasite have a much lower chance of making it back from foraging trips, say scientists.

3 Sep 2014

That sinking feeling

February 2014 saw the appearance of at least three times more sinkholes in the UK than is normal for a whole year. Sue Nelson talks to experts from the British Geological Survey to find out what's making these huge holes open up.

29 Aug 2014

Tags: Geology, Hazards, UK

Abandoned landfills are polluting UK rivers

Abandoned landfill sites throughout the UK routinely leach polluting chemicals into rivers, say scientists.

26 Aug 2014

Isotopes reveal the diet of a king

Richard III enjoyed a life of luxury during the brief period between becoming king and perishing at the Battle of Bosworth, an analysis of the chemical composition of his bones and teeth has shown.

17 Aug 2014

Tags: Archaeology, UK

Mycology against malaria

Insect-borne infections take an appalling toll across much of the world, and they're turning up in new places. Tom Marshall finds out how fungi could help us fight back.

15 Aug 2014

Genetically engineered flies could save fruit crops

Fruit crops ravaged by the Mediterranean fruit fly could be saved by genetic engineering, say scientists who have altered the genes of some male flies so they can only produce sons.

13 Aug 2014

Ship noise puts fish in danger

Noise made by passing ships stops eels from using their survival instincts, say NERC-supported scientists investigating the effects of man-made noise on fish.

7 Aug 2014

Taking the environment's pulse

Long-term observation of our ecosystems is critical for us to understand environmental change. Andy Sier looks back on the contribution of 20 years of observation and research by the Environmental Change Network.

1 Aug 2014

Coastal defences could contribute to flooding with sea-level rise

A combination of coastal defences and rising sea levels could change typical UK tidal ranges, potentially leading to a higher risk of flooding, say scientists.

1 Aug 2014

Ancient grassland species take a century to return

Old chalk grasslands that have been disturbed by farming can take more than a hundred years to recover their full diversity of plants, new research shows.

22 Jul 2014

Sewage treatment contributes to antibiotic resistance

Wastewater treatment plants could be unwittingly helping to spread antibiotic resistance, say scientists.

21 Jul 2014

Third-hand tobacco smoke threatens child health

Third-hand smoke is a problem even in the homes of non-smokers, say scientists researching the level of carcinogenic tobacco compounds found in house dust.

17 Jul 2014

Litter now everywhere in the ocean

Litter is now found in even the most remote areas of the oceans, say scientists trying to understand how much rubbish is lying at the bottom of Europe's seas.

8 Jul 2014

Tags: Oceans, Pollution

Hot mud - cold seeps

We're still learning about the amazing life around hot springs on the deep seabed - but other kinds of hydrothermal vent are even more mysterious. James Bell describes recent work on the unique animals that live there.

4 Jul 2014

Anti-depressants disrupt fish's brains

Drugs designed to ease the symptoms of mental health problems such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress can have major disruptive effects on aquatic animals' brains, say scientists.

3 Jul 2014

Animals we domesticated long ago pose disease risk

Animals we domesticated long ago, such as cats, dogs, pigs and cows, are those that have given us the most parasites, pathogens and other nasties, according to the latest study.

1 Jul 2014

Parasitic mite spreads lethal virus to honeybees

A parasitic mite has helped spread a particularly nasty strain of a virus to countless honeybees, helping to wipe out hundreds of colonies, according to the latest study.

27 Jun 2014

Heather could be UK energy source

Harvesting energy from heather could cut greenhouse gas emissions and help the UK meet its bioenergy targets, according to new research.

24 Jun 2014