It’s not just any Christmas Party… it’s a Roxby Christmas Party!

Every office has its night out to celebrate Christmas. The Geography staff and postgraduates who populate the Roxby Building are no exception. And so, on the penultimate day before the University closed for Christmas we had our annual Roxby Christmas Party. Suzanne Yee and Bev Todd co-ordinated people bringing along food and refreshments, Andy Davies gathered people’s favourite party tunes on Spotify, and the Discipline Head of Geography had the bright idea of party-goers dressing up as pantomime characters.

Roxby partay 1

At 4pm, the masses started to gather in the SCR on the top floor of the Roxby: the place with THE best view of Liverpool, and the best location for the #HEtree 2012. Amongst other characters, we were treated to Captain Hook, Snow White, Dick Whittington, Dick Whittington’s cat, Puss in Boots, Dopey from the Seven Dwarves (not a smurf!), Cinderella(s), the Three Blind Mice, the Fairy Godmother, Robin Hood, the Woodcutter – and a Pantomine Horse! The effort in the fancy dress was incredible – not just impressive tailoring but also technique training; Rich Chiverrell and Mark Riley had clearly practised cavorting in unison as a pantomime horse. In spite of impressive efforts from Bethan Evans as Dick Whittington (including three generations of ownership in her costume) and Suzanne Yee as Puss in Boots, the winner of the fancy dress was Karen Halsall as Snow White – much of her costume being hand-made!

Roxby partay 2

The evening proceeded with a fabulous buffet supper, accompanied by mulled wine, home brew and a full range of soft drinks! Soon we were on to the cereal box game (won by Marco), and thence to the tin can challenge (won by Alex Nurse). Team make-up followed, with the best effort being judged by Andy Plater to be Bev Todd and Mark Riley – mainly for an impressive bit of artwork on Bev’s forehead. The combined playlist eventually got people on the dancefloor, although the kitchen-cum-cocktail bar remained a popular venue until late in the evening. By this time, the carriages for most of the pantomime characters had been and gone to avoid reverting into pumpkins and mice, although a few hardened pantomime characters headed off to Bumper to sup from a glass slipper.

Roxby partay 3

Various Cinderellas returned early in the morning to clear up – as directed by the Ugly Sisters (no names given). Most notable amongst them was Barbara Mauz who innocently asked what job was left to do. Almost an hour of hoovering followed!
Happy Holidays everyone!!
The Principal Boy

New paper: volcanic ash, glaciers, melting behaviour, SE Iceland

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By Richard Chiverrell

In summer 2011, Richard Chiverrell joined a team led by Joanna Nield aided by field assistants; Steve Darby, Jules Leyland, Larisa Vircavs and Ben Jacobs (all Southampton University), on an expedition to south east Iceland. Our objective was to find some easily accessible glaciers to undertake repeated terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) surveys of different land surfaces to test whether TLS can capture surface roughness of terrain including the surface of glaciers and glacial outwash river floodplains called sandar in Icelandic. Enjoying the very excellent hospitality at Svinafell, our time in Iceland 3-12th July 2011 was a few months after the 21-30th May 2011 eruption of the sub-glacial Grímsvötn volcano. Our chosen glacier, Svínafellsjökull (63.999°N, 16.874°W) is about ~50 km southwest of the eruption centre and so on arrival the glacier had a reasonable cover of blackish-brown coloured volcanic ash.

We had gained a very real opportunity to see how ash affected the microtopographic evolution of the surface of a glacier and rates of ablation over a 7-10 day period. So springing into action with our various important tasks: erecting the Meteorological towers (everyone) in the off-chance of the wind blowing, taking once to twice daily laser scans of the ice surface (Jo), crevasse exploration, ablation stake and albedo measurement (Larisa and Ben), total stationing, sitting in a stone hut and g&t preparation (Steve), scampering about, hut building and fixing things (Jules), and finding glaciers / cooking (me). Result 1 = significant quantities of dartaa were collected. Result 2 = great trip, stunning landscapes and in one of my all-time favourite countries. If you want to read about how volcanic ash produces complex microtopographies and affects the ablation regime of rapidly retreating temperate glaciers, a new paper has just been published online……

Can Cities Solve Global Problems? A Point of View on Climate Change and the City Deal

A taste of things to come?  Flooding as a result of extreme weather (taken: Darlington, 29th November)

A taste of things to come? Flooding as a result of extreme weather (taken: Darlington, 29th November)

Post by Dr. Alex Nurse

Research by the Global Carbon Project published last week, and reported in the Guardian, indicates that contrary to reducing our total co2 emissions, last year total global emissions rose by 3.1%.  This is coupled with a rise of 2.6% in co2 emissions from industry.  The implications of this for global climate change are severe, with the authors suggesting that dangerous climate change now becoming inevitable.

Top three Countries (% of global co2 emissions)
1. China: 28%
2. USA: 16%
3. India: 7%
Source: Global Carbon Project

This failure to stem global emissions leads to inevitable questions as to whether our world leaders are ‘fit for purpose’, particularly given multiple opportunities to take firm action.  Though the Kyoto protocol was widely welcomed at the time, the 2009 Copenhagen summit aimed at updating them was largely viewed as a failure, with no meaningful targets to arise from it.

In this post I’d like to further the premise that world leaders are no longer fit for purpose to combat global climate change and instead make an alternative suggestion – it is now the turn of the individual city.

In particular, I would like to look at the potential for the City Deal to be one such vehicle that the English cities can use to achieve this leadership.  Introduced in 2012, the City Deal is a fiscal compact between the City (stage one involved the 7 core cities) and Central Government, where each city is given funding to focus on issues that they can define in return for changing their governance models to that of a directly elected Mayor.

Within this, early research by Centre For Cities looked at how each city opted to specialise within its City Deal, with several cities – including Liverpool – choosing Low Carbon as one of its specialist areas.  Now, a report by the Green Alliance has been published which explicitly considers how the city deal is being used to drive low carbon growth.  In it, Liverpool wins particular praise for establishing low carbon manufacturing in the city, particularly through its support for the offshore wind sector.  Liverpool is also one of the cities praised for its focus on sustainable transport.

However, the report makes several suggestions for how cities can further improve their City Deal as a vehicle to improve their low carbon performance, with a particular eye on the upcoming second phase of City Deal, which will involve some of England’s mid-size cities.

In many ways, these recommendations mirror Low Carbon Liverpool’s own recommendations to Liverpool – that low carbon becomes a key driver across all strategic policy documents, in order to demonstrate it is a key economic driver and that, in turn, low carbon becomes embedded in all aspects of city growth, so as to be able create a consistent programme of carbon reduction – not just in the energy sector.

Only time will tell as to whether cities are capable of rising to the challenge that nation states have, thus far, failed to adequately meet.  However, I would suggest that in the City Deal, they have a potentially useful tool – which, on initial impressions, should deliver significant benefits in meeting this objective.

Minority Internal Migration in Europe – New Book

FINNEY PPC(240X156)pathDr Gemma Catney has just published a book Minority Internal Migration in Europe, co-edited with Dr Nissa Finney, a colleague at the Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR) at the University of Manchester. The book brings together leading scholars in the fields of migration, ethnicity and diversity to form a collection of 13 research chapters, examining patterns of residential mobility of minorities, and synthesising key themes, theories and methods. The additional introductory and concluding chapters of the book bring together these themes to form an agenda for future research on minority and immigrant internal migration in developed societies. The book also contains a comprehensive reference list containing the most recent and significant work in the field.

Immigration is a major component of population change for countries across Europe. However, questions remain about where immigrants go after they arrive in a new country. What are the patterns of internal migration of minorities (immigrants and their descendants), and what are the causes and implications of these flows? Migration within a nation state is a powerful force, redistributing the population and altering the demographic, social and economic composition of regions, cities and neighbourhoods. Yet relatively little is known about the significance of ethnicity in migration processes, or how population movement contributes to immigrant and ethnic integration. Minority internal migration is an emerging field of academic interest in many European countries in the context of high levels of immigration and increased political interest in inter-ethnic relations and place-based policies; countries represented include Belgium, the UK, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Sweden and Spain. The analyses presented in Minority Internal Migration in Europe make important contributions to theories of migration and minority integration and may inform policies that aim to respond to local population change and increasing diversity.

The book is part of Ashgate’s International Population Studies Series. Praise for Minority Internal Migration in Europe so far includes “…for scholars of minority populations this is the book to read in order to learn about the dynamics of relocation of those minorities which will influence the future shape of our ethnically diverse societies” (Prof. Phil Rees, School of Geography, University of Leeds) and “[the] chapters benefit greatly from following a consistent structure in which overviews of immigration history and policy lead on to discussion of conceptual and theoretical frameworks and to new, mainly nationally-based, empirical analyses. The editors’ opening and closing chapters reinforce the themes of importance of place and diversity of experience, serving as a powerful reminder of the dangers of generalising about immigration and its impacts on sub-national population structures and distributions. I also applaud their concluding research agenda that challenges us to take advantage of the 2010 census round and other sources to update and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this migration.” (Prof. Tony Champion, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University).