University of Lincoln’s School of Geography receives RGS (with IBG) accreditation

The School of Geography at the University of Lincoln has become the newest School to be officially accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in recognition of the quality of its BA and BSc degree programmes.

In confirming the accreditation, the panel were particularly impressed with the holistic and integrated nature of the programmes and the range of modules and approaches available to students choosing geography at the University of Lincoln.

The School of Geography staff team were also commended for a variety of innovative approaches to incorporating UK-based and international fieldwork within the syllabus. Additional commendations were made for the ways in which the School is engaging external practitioners, using cutting edge technologies and linking teaching to pressing and contemporary issues, both locally and globally.

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Is Arctic warming influencing the UK’s extreme weather?

Severe snowy weather in winter or extreme rains in summer in the UK might be influenced by warming trends in the Arctic, according to new findings.

Climate scientists from the UK and the US examined historic data of extreme weather events in the UK over the past decade and compared them with the position of the North Atlantic polar atmospheric jet steam using a measure called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index.

The NAO indicates the position of the jet stream – which is a giant current of air that broadly flows eastwards over mid-latitude regions around the globe – through a diagram which shows ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ spikes, similar to how a heart monitor looks.

The researchers highlight that the exceptionally wet UK summers of 2007 and 2012 had notably negative readings of the NAO, as did the cold, snowy winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, while the exceptionally mild, wet, stormy winters experienced in 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 showed pronounced positive spikes. 

The scientists also highlighted a correlation between the jet stream’s altered path over the past decade – so-called jet stream ‘waviness’ – and an increase during summer months in a phenomenon called Greenland high-pressure blocking, which represents areas of high pressure that remain nearly stationary over the Greenland region and distort the usual progression of storms across the North Atlantic.

Increased jet waviness is associated with a weakening of the jet stream, and the accompanying ‘blocking’ is linked to some of the most extreme UK seasonal weather events experienced over the past decade. The strength and path of the North Atlantic jet stream and the Greenland blocking phenomena appear to be influenced by increasing temperatures in the Arctic which have averaged at least twice the global warming rate over the past two decades, suggesting that those marked changes may be a key factor affecting extreme weather conditions over the UK, although an Arctic connection may not occur each year.

Edward Hanna, Professor of Climate Science and Meteorology at the University of Lincoln’s School of Geography, carried out the study with Dr Richard Hall, also from the University of Lincoln, and Professor James E Overland from the US National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

Professor Hanna said: “Arctic warming may be driving recent North Atlantic atmospheric circulation changes that are linked to some of the most extreme weather events in the UK over the last decade.

“In winter, a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is linked with a more northward, vigorous jet and mild, wet, stormy weather over the UK, while a negative NAO tends to be associated with a more southerly-positioned jet and relatively cold and dry but sometimes snowy conditions. In summer the jet stream is displaced further north, so a positive NAO is typically associated with warm dry weather, while a negative NAO often corresponds to wetter, cooler UK weather conditions.

Prof Hanna pictured here on a field trip to Greenland.

“While part of the uneven seasonal North Atlantic Oscillation changes might be due to natural random fluctuations in atmospheric circulation, the statistically highly unusual clustering of extreme NAO values in early winter, as well as extreme high summer Greenland Blocking Index values since 2000, suggest a more sustained, systematic change in the North Atlantic atmospheric circulation that may be influenced by longer-term external factors. This includes possible influences from the tropical oceans and solar energy changes as well as the extreme warming that has recently occurred in the Arctic.

“Of course, weather is naturally chaotic, and extremes are a normal part of our highly variable UK climate, but globally there has recently been an increase in the incidence of high temperature and heavy precipitation extremes. The cold UK winter episodes we noted are not so intuitively linked to global climate change but reflect part of a long-term trend towards more variable North Atlantic atmospheric circulation from year to year during winter months, especially early winter.

“This trend has culminated in the last decade having several record negative and positive December values of the North Atlantic Oscillation, with lots of resulting disruption from extreme weather over the UK. On the other hand there has been no really notably dry, hot, sunny summer in the UK since 2006; summers overall have either been around average or exceptionally wet, and this appears to be linked with strong warming and more frequent high pressure over Greenland in the last decade.”

The study has been published in Weather, the magazine of the Royal Meteorological Society.

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Dr Ojo’s research published in the Journal of Terrorism Research

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Dr Adegbola Ojo, has had a paper published in the Journal of Terrorism Research.

Boko Haram has terrorised the residents of Northern Nigeria since the beginning of the Millennium

The paper is titled, “Using Casualty Assessment and Weighted Hit Rates to Calibrate Spatial Patterns of Boko Haram Insurgency for Emergency Response Preparedness” and is available to read online.

You can read the abstract below.


Since the beginning of the current millennium, Boko Haram has terrorised the residents of Northern Nigeria with devastating and high profile campaigns resuming in 2010. First responders struggle to cope with planning for and responding to the aftermath of these attacks. This paper describes analysis that can help emergency services pre-empt the geography and magnitude of susceptibility to attacks and the potential of the terrorists to generate severe attacks. The data used for the study were five years of terrorist activities. Results suggest that the efficiency of Boko Haram is not necessarily random and that attacks are generally well calculated to hit communities with disproportionate concentrations of vulnerable residents. The analysis is the first attempt to examine how a spatial segmentation framework might offer insight and intelligence towards understanding the configuration of terrorism for operational response.

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