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2018 – The Warmest Year on Record?

Is 2018 the warmest year on record? We look at the evidence behind that claim. What part do the global oceans play in regulating the planets temperatures and what are the prospects for future extreme weather.

We look at how climate change is ocean systems affecting storms and ocean waves, and the implications this could have for those of us living in coastal regions.

And wild coffee species are facing extinction. This could affect commercial production of the coffee we drink. However rediscovering the coffee of the past might offer a solution.

(Photo: Getty images)

Trump’s Hubble Trouble

As federal employees many US scientists have been affected by the US government shutdown. They are not being paid, can’t talk about their work or go to scientific conferences.
We look at how this US political stand-off is affecting scientific research. One of the casualties is the Hubble space telescope, in need of repairs, which cannot start until its federal employed engineers can get back to work.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica a US led team have extracted microbes, water and rock samples from a subglacial lake covered with kilometre thick ice. Their live samples may have evolved in the depths and dark of the lake, hidden from view for thousands of years.

And just how are we to feed the world in the future? One team of scientists have successfully increased the yield of their experimental plants by 40 percent. They are hoping to repeat the technique with food crops.
This comes at the same time as an investigation into China’s future food needs. While demand is going to increase, researchers offer an optimistic view, more efficient farming methods might mean China could be self-sufficient in food in years to come - and even use less land to grow it on than they do currently.

(Photo: Hubble Space Telescope, Credit: NASA)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Beyond the Planets

It’s been years in the planning and involved a tiny window of opportunity. NASA’s New Horizons mission launched in 2006 has reached its far flung destination, a couple of outer space snowballs known as Ultima Thule. The mission aims to shed light on the formation of our solar system.

And just days later an unmanned Chinese mission has landed on the moon, on the far side, they’ll be examining rocks and also seeing if simple plants and animals survive in a biosphere there.

We also look at the Indonesian Anak Krakatau volcano, which has erupted recently. Just why did it collapse into the sea creating a tsunami, and why is it so difficult to predict the impact of volcanic eruptions?

And we celebrate the periodic table,150 years old this year, this chart of chemical elements found on the walls of classrooms around the world still has much to reveal.

Picture: The first high-definition picture of Ultima Thule, Credit: NASA

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

3 episodes