Monday 9 October 2017 , Dr Brian King, National Oceanography Centre:
Argo: a fleet of unattended instruments that measure global warming.
Since the year 2000, a coordinated international effort has deployed
more than 10,000 automatic instruments to measure the rate of the
earth's warming, 95% of which occurs in the oceans. The talk will
describe how the system works, discuss the engineering and scientific
challenges, and what the measurements have revealed so far.
2 hours, 25 people
In my early career we were starting to deploy these yellow tubes, floats in the
Argo programme. The name came from a means of measring the
ocean that corresponded to a satellite measurement system that was
called Jason. So Argo a fleet of unattended instruments to measure
global warming. We are interested in global change and
measuring global change. For the measurements we want, we can't have
the right number of people in the right places all the time.
We have to do it with instruments when we are not there. A pic of a
Spitzbergen glacier , in the Arctic, as it was in 1906 , the same view in 2005
, lake the same, mountains the same, the glacier is completely gone.
Even if you said it was a bit of a cycle when it didn't snow very
much, the original glacier thickness would take several thousand
years to build up again, even if it started tomorrow.
We think things are changing because of the greenhouse effect. Its always
been ewith us , an important role in making this planet habitable.
Without it, we'd be a frozen waste with no people. Sunlight comes into the
atmosphere, and passes through quite easily , when it gets mixed up and
reabsorbed as heat, the heat does not get out as easily as the sunlight
comes in. So because of the atmos ,the Earth is a lot warmer than if there
was no atmos. Go to the Moon, with no atmos, then at nightime
its about -70 or thereabouts. As more CO2 has been put into the atmos ,
its made that GE a bit more effective, that is hat is causing the
warming. The GE effect was well understood the first half of C19, light passed
thru gas , more or less easily . By 1859 John Tyndal , interested in climate,
had measured the properties of specific Greenhouse gases, CO2, methane.
It was known then , that these were important for maintaining the
planet at a habitable temp. The first realisation that industrialisation,
the burning to CO2 , might start causing problems was the Swede
Arhenius , gaining the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1903.
In 1896 he considered, if you doubled the amount of CO2 in the
atmos, in 100 years he figured mankind could do that, he predicted a
4 degree rise. It was just a theoretical suggestion at that stage.
One of those occasions where the theory preceeded the ability
to measure it. When you add CO2 to the atmos , a lot of things change.
There are changes in hte cryosphere , the ice-system such as snow,
frozen ground, sea-ice, ice-sheets all those start changing.
Changes in the oceans, in its currents, the sealevel, the plants and
animals living there, changes i nthe atmos and changes in the
hydrological cycle the process of water evaporating from the
sea and falls back over land. Where it falls, how fast it cycles through is the
hydrological cycle. Clouds will change, lots of changes in complex ways,
as we start tinkering with the planet.
The famous plot of CO2 in the atmos, measured at the top of Mauna Lowr
mountain in Hawaii. It started in about 1960, by someone who wanted to know
how it varied over the course of 1 year. He measured each day for ayear , and it went up and down over that year, as the temp changed, the amount of CO2
went up anddown. He repeated for another year, but he could tell it had gone up over those 2 years. He decided to stay and the funders provided for him
staying for 5 years. The series has now gone on for 60 years.
There is a seasonal cycle each year but for each month on the next year the
CO2 level has gone up from before. Its recently passed the 400 number.
Keep burning coal and oil and the number keeps going up.
So is 400 a high number. A series estimated from about the last
10,000 years. Ice-ages have come and gone, CO2 has come and gone.
The estimates for back 5 or 10,000 years ago, from drilling ice-cores.
In Greenland and Antartica, the ice has bubbles of air trapped it,
extract air from the tiny bubbles and measure the amount of CO2
there used to be. It used to be about 250 to 270 , going up and down, but get
to about 1800 it strarts going up seriously. The last 50 years the increase is really seriously.
There have been ice-ages every million years or so. Main CO2 contribution
is the burning of oil,wood and coal, an increasing proportion comes from
deforestation. In terms of global warming, an about equal contribution
comes from methane, less in proportion but its much more effective
at trapping heat. There is nitrous oxides and othe rgases.
In different countries the energy use is different. Across the world, about
1/4 is energy supply to homes, the second is to industry, then to
agriculture, forestry etc. In different countries those proportions
would be different. In Australia 90% of the CO2 is related to
stationary power, a lot of industry , a lot of air conditioning
but not many vehicles. Solving transport in Oz is not that
big a deal .
A graph of global mean temp , usually meaning average air temp.
Everyone measures air temp where they are and then average it all
together. This is not a very good way to measure global warming , but for 200
years thats the best we had.
Look over different periods and the trend lines are different. The rate at
which warming is happening is getting faster and faster. The first 100
years of industrialisation was slow. Now much faster, about 1 degree
every 6 decades or so. From IPCC, what s happening to the climate,
the best evidence. Then the best theoreticians to say wha tis going
to happen. 3 possible scenarios for how emissions of CO2 might
change. If we carry on emitting at the rate we are, in 100 years time it
will be a couple of degrees warmer than now. The other is vcurb our
emissions and the atmos stays about where it is now . What if you
stopped emitting altogether, we all go clean power tomorrow.
Curiously there is a sharp increase in that scenario, to begin with and then
over 200 years it recovers. The initial anomaly is because if you have
chimneys burning coal, not only do you put CO2 into the air
which traps the heat, it also puts a lot of soot into the high atmos , that acts as a biot of a shield, it stops some of the heat getting through. Go to zero emissions the first thing you'd see would be some warming then it would tail
off. Continue as we are then we'll damage the climate very profoundly.
does 2 degrees in 100 years matter much. That is a glovbal average, but the
computer simulation and prediction people can say where that warming will
happen. Nearly all the warming will happen over the continents.
The oceans will keep themselves relatively cool. The continents might have
4 or 5 deg of warming as there is nothing there t keep them cool.
THe oceans have absorbed about 25% of all the anthropogenic CO2
released to the atmos is already in hte oceans. If we didn't have that then
we'd really have runaway warming. So we study C in hte oceans, that is anpther
of research. 90% of the heat trapped by atmos CO2 is also in the
oceans. The oceans are incredibly important
for capturing that CO2 and heat and burying it away.
The Argo project is measuring things in the ocean and trying to account
for that 90% of heat in the oceans. Oceanography started in about 1870
. To measure the ocean you have to be there on a ship. The first seriously
planned and organised expedition was on HMS Challenger
a 60m vessel , adapted naval ship, about 2300 ton ship, about
200 crew of which 5 were researchers , the rest were naval crew.
They were at sea for 2.5 years and they collected 263 measurements
of temp . About every 3 days they'd stop the ship and lower , with
steam driven winches, instrumentation.
In the 1990 we had the World's Oceans Circulation Experiment, we
had purpose built research vessels, typically 3500 tons , 25 crew and
25 scientists and over 10 years we got 10,000 profiles of temp.
The Argo prgramme since 2004 , its length is 2metres its weight is
about 0.03 tons and zero crew and we've collected 1.3 million
measurements in about 12 million days of operation.
With these measurements we can do what was simply impossible with
ships. I hoped to bring along a float but they are all packed up and
deployed at sea. Its a 2m long tube that drifts around taking
measurements. Such floats were developed mid1950s by a US
oceanographer. He could park it at a particular depth , what was otherwise
understood to be impossible , the engineering of the time did not permit it.
A Michael Conswallow? a British marine scientist , came in from othe r
fields of engineering . He'd not heard that it could not be done, so he did
it. His first was in the earlier labs, in Surrey, the pressure cases were
aluminium scaffolding tubes , 3.5m long. Bunged up the ends, put in some
batteries and some sensors. They contained a sound source , so it could be
tracked. No satellite tracking then. A matter of sailing out and listening
for the homing signal, and triangulating in.
The argo network ,at any one time is about 4000 of these floats ,
deployed since 2000 . By 2004 we had some everywhere on the globe.
By 2007 we'd reached our initial target of 3000 floats operating
worldwide. Each one stands alone, measures ocaen temp , salinity
which is important for ocean density and the current, the ocean circulation.
About 30 contributing countries UK,France and Germany, Canada,
USA, Japan , Oz, Korea India and about 25 other country small
These floats by having a small bladder at the bottom . Anyone familiar
with Scuba, you have a bouyancy jacket, pump air in and the diver comes up,
let the air out and the diver sinks. There is a rubber bladder, we use
hydraulic oil, rather than air as it must work at very high pressures.
When it is 2km down in hte ocean , 200 atmos pressure and air
won't do it. A long lead screw as an hydraulic pump , pumps oil
out into the bladder. There are batteries sandwiched around the side
and instrument payload at the top. Out the top is a satellite
antena, using satellite coms to get our data back. The float weighs about
30 Kg with about 280gm of reserve bouyancy, to move
between surface and 2Km depth. Quite some engineering, the batteries must give
5 to 8 years life, for bouyancy change, payload instrument running
and comms. About 30 D cells for that energy.
At the moment, argos are measuring temp and salinity. In the future
dissolved oxygen, nutrients, ocean acifdification , biological
parameters . Each dot on the shown plot represents as of yesterday,
an operational float around the globe, taking and reporting data.
Every 10 days the float , starting at the surface for reporting, will sink
to pre-determined depth usually 1km. It will drift for 9 days, dive
to 2km then rise to the surface and send its data. Repeating the
process each 10 days. Each one of the dots , a float was built
and someone had to take it on a ship to deploy it. 3,787 active
floats as of yesterday. Its been as high as 4,000. The instruments
have about a 5 year lifetime. Thy die off and we keep replenishing them
as fast as they are dying to keep the numbers up. There are different
designs but all are rather similar.
All the 2km floats are tubes, with antennas at the top. The differnt
engineering companies have solver problems in slightly different ways.
But all have the bouyancy control at the bottom and sensors
at the top. Up to 2007 we were deploying them faster than they were
dying. Its tailed off to a certain extent since then.
In the movie of dots around the globe, each new dot is a deployment,
and a row of dots is a ship deploying numbers of them perhaps once
a day. The tails indicate where the float is going. The clock time is
per year. 2002 a row of dots in the Indian Ocean for the early ones.
2003 there were floats all over the Pacific. Starting to get a global
temp profile. By 2007 the array was up to strength, consistent global
measurements and could make serious statements as to global
ocean temps. All the dots near Antartica are going to the right, as that is the
prevailing currents. At the eqator ,currents going back and forth,
Doing things autonomously allowed us to do things previously impossible.
Each profile costs about 7000 GBP taking the cost of ship and divide by
the measurements. In one month of our float program we've collected
10,000 more measurements at a cost of about 200 GBP each, as no
research ship costs. As the costs have come crashing down it
makes it possible to do this every month rather than every 10
years as before. A plot of the whole ocean observing up to about 2010.
Each 1 degree square box of the globe, counting how many observations
there were in that box, and a coloured dot for each obs.
AQ white square means that for all time up to 2010 there was never
an obs there. so majority had less than 5 observations in the first
150 years, not bvery good for determining how the planet is
changing. North Atlantic numbers good, north Pacific not bad
certainly near land. The southern hemisphere , huge gaps.
For the first 10 years of the float program , except for ice covered
high latitudes where our instruments don't go, a large number
per square almost everywhere. So now we can see what is going on.
Our floats don't mind bad weather . The ships we operate out of
the NOC, are tremendously expensive and so are only sent
where there is a good chance of doing any work, so never the
southern hemisphere in winter, as likely to do 2 days work in a month ,
sitting out a storm otherwise.
A plot of 50 years of August measurements in hte southern hemisphere
and almost no dots. Compared to 5 years of August measurements
with the floats and now plenty of obs. We can address these
critical scientific questions of how the planet is changing.
Its not just evolution but a revolutuon in our capability.
There is free exchange of data within the research community. Taking
of measurements and publishing them , was not commonly done before
Argo came along. Researchers previously made measurements and they'd sit
there in filing cabinets or laptops and simply not be instantly available.
Maybe 6 months or a year later, previously. All our data becomes freely
available within 24 hours. Comes in by satellite and goes out
on the internet within 24 hours. We're making salinity measurements.
The argo structure agreed to access to 200-mile exclusive economic zones,
thru international brokering. A lot of important ocean is within
200 miles of countries. Argo got permission for measurements to be
made unless a country opted out. This was absolutely revolutionary.
The engineering issues. Anyone could design a float that would work
once and it migh tcost 1million GBP. The challenge is designing a
robst one that could be mass-produced for about 15,000 GBP .
They have to operate about 4 to 8 years without maintainence.
There is no getting them back, its hard enough getting the ships to
plavce them in the water and no chance of ships going to
retrieve them , if its faulty. The mechanics and sensor payload has
to work for 4-8years without maintenence. You have to decide
what sort of batteries, lithium or alkaline. These days usually lithium,
they are more expensive and harder to work with but they extend
float lifetime a lot. So lithium primary batteries as higher energy
density , more MJ on board per battery Kg. The energy budget
has to be split between bouynacy changes , data telemetry and running the
sensor payload. The sensors have to be low power, you cant just
take laboratory kit , that can wastefully use the mains. You
can't really use acoustics, barely use optics because they both use
too much energy. So lots of passive sensor payloads. The sensors have to
remain operational thru the float life, place them in the factory and remain
in-spec , in-calibration working for 5 to 8 years. The data telemetry
must be capable in all-weather and all latitudes, so ordinary mobile phone
is out. These days we usually use Iridium phones , but you have to be able to
do that from about one foot above sea level in a force 8 and all times of the
year. Take readings at 10 to 15m spacings down to the pressure at 2000
metres is about 200 times atmos pressure. People say outer space isa
harsh environment. Outer space has cosmic rays and it is difficult to
get there but once you're there, its a relitively benign environment.
The deep ocean is hundreds of atmos pressure in a highly corrossive
liquid , a tough environment to place your kit.
Our floats are typicaly about 300 km apart, around the planet.
They operate on about a 10 day cycle. Measuring temp, salinity,
sometimes oxygen , other payloads are possible but very constrained by
the energy budget and engineering constraints and no control
over their location. They just go where the currents take them , some are
displaced by hundreds or even thousands of km.
Systematic global coverage means global problems can be studied,
a high data volume, downloaded 1.3 million profiles. Deeper penetration
than previous measurements. Before floats came along the options were
temp only for 750m , no seasonal bias ie not biased by being
taken in winter or summer. We can get there year round, so measure
monthly , seasonal annual or even longer.
The CO2 graph, the corresponding pic of increasing planetary heat .
From 1970 to the present, the increase in heat, measured in ZetaJoules.
ie times 10 to the 21. The heat absorbed into the planetary system , the
atmos component is barely visible. In terms of the physics of the
Earth's energy system, the atmos is irrelevant almost.
For us and agriculture etc, we feel that heat and it is critical
to us and have to understand the atmos. But as a physics problem
of energy in and out and where it is stored, its all in the oceans.
There was a big uncertainty back in the 1970s because the
data was very sparse. From about 2000 the uncertainty band
is much narrower. Because we've been measuring the ocean temp
directly. In earlier times to the question about whether or not
there was global warming , we could not be sure.
About 50ZJ but it could be anything from -20 to +100ZJ.
Now, there is no doubt , absolutely unequivicable, that the Earth
is warming up and we know at exactly what rate.
The remaining uncertainty, most of that comes from the deep
ocean that we are not measuing very well as yet. We're expanding our
tech, to measure the deep oceans.
I refereed to 1.3 million measurements.
A pic of one
Surfece and 2km down , temp and salinity profile.
Quite a lot of variability at the surface and a slow trend as descending.
So low down we don't have to measure too often but towards the
top , then a lot of measurements. One measurement , made once, of the 1,3 million.
Build together perhaps a hundred profiles and colour it according to
temp or salinity. Build up from those collections, then complete maps
eg one from the UK Met office using data from the floats, of the
southern Hemisphere, the temp at 1km depth. So possible to
build up pics of very remote places, from such data assemblages.
Operational uses for such data, in Oz, France , Japan , UK etc
assemble these data to assist forecasting. They are beginning to use it
for trying seasonal forecasting. Like how good will the coming
monsoon be. Using it for the research into climate change, global
sea heat content, sea level rise due to thermal expansion of the
90% of global warming takes place in the oceans. The air
does not weigh much, so it cant take up much heat, land is very
solid so hard for heat to penetrate. Oceans can move and mix and extra
heat can penetrate deep into the ocean easily.
An example of ocean forecasting. A vertical slice along the equator, in the
Pacific , the top few hundred metres, coloured according totemp.
Warm colours and cold colours, 2 plots in Jan and 2 plots in Feb
of 2014. A warm blob is moving to the right and by april
it is well over to the right and all the cool blue colours are displaced,
a big warming anomaly in the Pacific. This enables a forecast that
for that year that would be a significant El Nino event.
These are huge climatic events that result in flooding in
some places, droughts in othe rplaces, etc. Data from these
floats were able to forecast this , and governments could
plan for it.
The argo system makes changes for climate change detection much more
robust. So if you7 want to say how the world has changed from
1950 - 1960 , to 2000-2010. A grat change in the number of
measuremnts in those 2 decades and hence the sharp reduction in
uncertainty. In the earlier decade there were huge swathes where we simply
were not sure. Now we are sure, we've measured everywhere.
In 10,20 ,30 years time we will be absolutely sure and precise.
We know the global sea are getting warming and also know there ar e
distinct salinity changes as well.
Warming of the atmos is not a good estimate of global warming.
For a couple of hundred years, that was the best we had, as they were
the only measurements made. The atmos is a sort of indicator of what is going
on . A time series from 1880 to 2010 of global average air temp.
In the last 10 years it was not going up much and there was much talk
in hte press of a hiatus, global-warming was not happening.
The air temp goes up and down , but then only 10% snapshot of the
global warming pic. No wthe ocean record from 1960 to the
present. In those "suspect" 10 years of air temp, the period we were
getting the peak number of float profiles, the global sea temp was going
up still at the same rate as before. You simply cannot beat the
physics of the cO2 in the atmos trapping the heat. Where air and ocean
temperatures do sometimes go out of kilter is after a major volcano event.
So Pinatibo, El Chichon, big events that put so much dust in hte
atmos, that it acted as a barrier, like painting your greenhouse windows
white. In such events everything can cool down, but its just a blip
on the underlying trend.
What we'd really like to know about is ocean rainfall. We have the
hydrological cycle. 95% of water evaporation is over the sea and most
falls back over the sea. Some evaporates over land and some
falls back over land. What we whant to know is the net result of
the amount coming out of the sea and falling on the land as that is
what is significant for floods , droughts and agriculture etc.
Its hard to measure everywhere the amount of rainfall and the
amount of evaporation. But where water evaporates, the ocean left
behind is a bit saltier, and where it rains , the ocean becomes a bit
less salty. So measuring the salt concentration you can discover
where there is lots of evaporation and where there is lots of rainfall.
Map of average ocean surface forcing, 33 to 37 parts per thousand.
The surface atlantic is a bit saltier than the surface of the Pacific.
A map showing where the ocean tends to evaporate , like the
north and south Atlantic , and so are relatively salty compared to most
of the world's oceans. Now a map of changes, the trend in saltiness.
As measured long term, where its salty its getting saltier and where less
salty its getting less salty. That means the process of evaporation and
rainfall is speeding up , thats how we interpret this.
That means , for the land, the wettest bits will flood more
and the dry bits will have more droughts, becuae of the speed up of the
The Argo system allows us to determine changes and sooner and with
greater confidence. Autonomous platforms are now the dominant source of
data for describing the oceans. We will now extend into the deep
ocean and taking other measurements.
The Discovery ship based in Soton , set off to the southern ocean a few weeks back.
To get to the ocean deep, the tube design will not work down to
600 atmos. The walls would have to be so thick, it would be too heavy to float.
You have to go for a sphere design and the material is glass. Counter-intuitively
a glass sphere about 1 inch thick , if perfectly made , can withstand
600 atmos of ressure. If you could mill them out of metal that would be
fabulous , titanium say, but milling out of a block titanium would
be a couple of million dollars per float. Wheras glass spheres are about
2000 dollars. Made in 2 hemispheres and pushed togethere with
So Deep-Argo getting to the lowest half of the ocean . They are currently
being made and tested by several groups. A new instrument package is
undewr parallel developement. This also has to survive higher
pressure and hte demands and accuracy are about tenfold increase
over upper half floats. We need to measure ocean temp to
about 3millidegrees accuracy and unattended for 10 years without
any drift . We've been recently tasked by the G7 science ministers
to come up with a proposal for a deep measurement programme.
It would cost about 25 million USD a year. The existing programme
costs about the same. It sounds a lot but divide it between 7 or 8
major nations to answer the fundamental question, how much
glogal warming is happening. How much is it worth to our nation
to know exactly how global warming is working , worth 2 million
dollars to the UK?
Oceanography like a lot of technologies , follows on from new
technologies, when suddenly you could do things that
you could not do before. Over 40 years the Argo system has
much improved our data gathering and is the only technology
to provide global coverage. In the next 10 years its likely
to move to deep , involving biochemical measurements, oxygen
, ocean acidification and things like that. Its the key data-set for global
change studies . The current NOC scientists will be the first
generation who will actually be able to describe human
impact on climate , completely and without doubt.
Our generation has made the tech to make comprehensive
measurements, but w eneed to do that for 30 years , and the
next generation will be able to describe with very narrow uncertainty
what is going on.
CO2 amount is still going up. It is worse than I thought it was?
Arhenius in 1896 said , what if it doubled, that would make a big
difference, the Earth would warm 4 degrees. He worked thsat out
as a theoretical construct, no one them dreamed that CO2
could double. The concentration was then about 280 .
By 1960 up to 320, so even by 1960 CO2 concentration had only
gone up 20%. So people then were still saying how could it
double and get 4 degrees warming, how could mankind burn that much C.
We're no at 400 so mankind has added 50%, so halfway to Arhenius's doubling.
Its getting steeper and steeper. With the curve as it was in 1960s ,
people said it would take 200 years before we'd have a problem.
The population has doubled so the amount of energy required has doubled.
There must be an interesting correlation with hte type of energy
being used. Since I was at uni , coal use has changed and gas use increeased. ?
Coal use has not declined globally , in the UK yes. China is
digging up coal as fast as it can to make steel. The US wants to revive its
So the UK use is irrelevant really.?
When you as an individual goes out and votes, your vote is
irrelevant. Unless the margin was 1, then your vote is irrelevant.
If everyone says that then , no votes. We're relevant in hte
sense we are 1 of 10 or 20 countries that contribute to this
problem. You only solve it, if everybody agrees to solve it.
The proportion of energy from coal is probably just as high
as it ever was.
Yo mentioned that dust was ironically , was favourable, as at ground
level you don't see it that way?
There has been a lot of talk about what is called geo-engineering.
Would it be possible to do things to the planet, to reduce global
warming. So perhaps giant turbines in the ocean to pump
heat quicker into the great absorber that is the oceans. Or
great carbon extractors from the air. Another one was an experiment to
spray dust into the upper atmosphere. So creating a shield, the advantage of doing that
, is that its utterly reversible. If it fails to work it will just fall out as rain.
Thats been an active experiment with a couple of big volcanoes.
The global temp record noticeably cooled then. Pumping 2 cubic kilometres of
earth into the upper air as dust, cooled the earth down for a cople
of years, but temporary.
Surely if that was allowed then isn't it just enabling the carry-on-as-usual
people just to carry on their errant ways?
Absolutely. The primary problem is fixed so we can carry on as we were.
Some geo-engineering concepts do appeal as something worth
Something thats come in at the same time as redustion of coal use, is
scrubbing S out of emissions and also low-S coal to start with.
Ironically , is that part of your little blip , going the other way,
removing the S aerosols in the upper atmos.?
No that has had no effect. The CO2 level is still going up as fast
as it ever was. It maybe after a period of getting steeper and steeper ,
it might just be a bit less.
I was thinking of the volcano effect, if you put this S particulates up
into the upper atmos , it is like the dust effect?
I don't think its been done on a big enough scale for that effect
to be noticable. When people talk of emissions controls, they mean
freezing emissions at the present level. The curve would suddenly become horizontal.
Its not even tailing off , its still rising inexorably. The idea was
that by 2020 our emissions would not be going up any more.
While on CO2 there is absolutely no dispute or arguments
about any changes in the way CO2 was measured having changed over the
decades and so can quiblle about the validity of that graph?
No. Inorganic chemistry was all stitched up in about 1920.
I'm thinking about comparison with global sea level rise , there is an Indian
system that relies on tide-gauges and other satellite systems and the 2 don't
really agree that well?
Because of disputed zeroes. But inorganic gas chemistry , Tyndall
in 1850 , was able to say I will measure the radiative properties of
various gases, there ability to transmit energy at different wavelengths.
He did that in 1850 perfectly satisfactorily. That sort of mechanical
stuff they coud do. They would calibrate their then sensors by making
mixtres of gases , pure N2 and pure O2 that they knew how to
make , pure CO2. So make different ratios, place the sensor in those that
they'd made , then compare it with out in the air.
If they were uncertain measurements , they'd be very noisy, they'd be
all over the place but get better and better, 0ver time.
But no such change as this was 18th century , not even 19th century
But the annual ups and downs look so precise that they look a bit bogus?
That may be governed by just the seasonal change at the observatory .
Not due to the northern hemisphere bias , with the more extensive forest growth there?
It could be. South and North hemispheres are not identical , but doing
it on Hawaii , its very well mixed, you are not down stream of Los Angeles.
Its on a mountain well up in the atmos , 2000 miles from intensive industry.
Thats why its so regular , as its a big average measurement.
Ice cover disappears and apparently methane is given off,
even permo-frost melting ??? ?
The problem with the methane is that , as a molecule it is so much more
effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Of all greenhouse gas contributors
methane gets about 1/8th. Its only a tiny proportion of the gas mix but it is
so much more effective. At the moment a lot of methane is frozen
into the permafrost and tundra . The risk is you only have to heat it up
a little bit . It doesn't take much heat to melt it out, then its greenhouse
effect becomes hugely out of proportion in comparison to the amount of
energy to melt it out.
During the Cambrian period the ppm of CO2 was 400, so where did that
The amount of CO2 has always fluctuated, from forests to atmos CO2,
it can get buried in the ocean, and all the stuff that turns into oil.
So stuff that grew as marine life. As crustacians groe in seawater ,they
take CO2 out the water and so out of the air, because the seawater is
below saturated and is taken in at the surface and is drawn down.
They die, fall into the sediments , where it has sat for the last
couple of hundred million years , when we come along and turn
it back into atmospherics. So fluctuating between 200 and 400
during which we've had most of the globe being frozen and most
of the globe being tropical. Those fluctuations have taken hundreds of millenia
to grow slowly and this happening in 100 years is not a natural
cycle. o people have said we need to get it back into sediments.
If we can make the oceans grow plants quicker , then crustacea
will grow quicker , and take the C down with them when they die.
Large areas of the Great Barrier Reef are being destroyed?
Thats a separate thing. Things that upset marine life are either warming
or acidification and corals are suscreptaible to both of those.
Anything that makes calcified shells , containing calcium carbonate,
where the C gets buried. Oceans are naturally alkaline , more than
pure water. So acidification means ,add CO2 and they become less
alkaline than they used to be. In Ph terms where 7 is neutral, oceans
are naturally about 8, on th e alkaline side. But they'll go from
8 to about 7.5, so still a bit alkaline , so favourable to
making carbonates but in order to grow a good carbonate shell
you need it to be definitely alkaline and if its only a bit
alkaline , you grow damaged or softer shells. The tem pchanges
and the Crown of Thorns star fish comes along and eats all the
polyps out of th ecoral, slaughtering the coral which don't do too well
when its warmer anyway. See the Barrier Reef while you can,
it will soon be gone.
How do you stabilise floats in rough seas, make sure they are the
right way up . And how do you calibrate the instruments and
how do you know whether the operational ones have been damaged?
How many get eaten by boats and how many get hit by ships?
If one was hit by a boat we would not necessarily know, we would come off
worst, we're small and light.
For stability we have a plastic disc, basically a plastic dinner
plate around the tube. When a wave comes along it rides over the
wave . If the wave tends to lift then it drags the disc and the float
goes up and down. For uprightness, we put the batteries at the
bottom, because they are the heaviest bit. The top has a bit of
air space in , around the circuit boards etc. The batteries act as
With a massive wave , would it self-right?
Yes, because all the heavy stuff is at the bottom.
Have you a record of how many have disappeared?
Over the programme we've deployed just over 13,000
and there are 4000 still active. Mostly, of those 9000, they
will simply exhaust their batteries. Some disappear for no apparent reason.
Along with the ocean measurement data , they send engineering data,
battery voltages, instrument diagnostics . So you can watch the voltage drop
off and soon after no more data. When you don't get the object
back its frustrating and not being able to diagnose othe rfailures.
Some wash up on beaches about 5 a year . We try and get thse
back although they are damafged beyond repair and re-use.
There is alittle label on them , they all have a number. We have
a clearing house via a website. Send a picture to us , even if
its in Indonesia , along with its number, and I will be contacted.
On the data transfer, how much does a single squirt of data ,
via the Iridium system cost?
That depends on who you are . If you are the US float programme ,
then very cheap. They don't worry about the telemetry cost, it all
goes thru their dept of defense. We pay about 50 GBP per
month for each float and the UK maintains 160 floats in the
water , so several thousand a month for the telephone bill.
Each squirt is just a couple of seconds?
Its a couple of minutes, about 30kbytes of data back
each time it returns to the surface, about 3 times a month.
If the weather is bad , with a lot of waves washing over the antenna
, the connection may drop and have to start again.
So its a low datrate but its fairly reliable?
Yes, the connection speed is perhaps 9600 on the modem once its
made the link. The Iridium people are always trying to increase the
Could you tell us about the Jason system?
In the 1990s there wer esatellites built to measure sea-level.
Is sea-level rising was the question. If you do it with just coastal
tide gauges , you can se the sea levels rising at the coast but it may
be dropping somewhere else . So they put radar altimeters on satellites
. Very precise instruments, the satellite would fly over , measuring the
transit time of down and up from the sea surface. If you know where the
satellite was to a few cm , and accurately measure the transit time
, then you know what the sea level was to a few cm. Those 1990s
satellites typically lasted about 10 years. So when Argo started about 2000
the next satellite coming along was to be called Jason, so w ethough t
Argo would be a good marine counterpart . Because Jason and Argo
were tackling much the same question, of how much and fast is sea-level
rising. We are iterested in sea temp because of the gloabal warming
problem, but about 1/3 of all sea level rise comes from simple expanding
of the ocean, by warming it. So you hav emelting glaciers adding to
sea level volume , but about 1/3 of the rise is simply warming what is
already there. Warming water does not increase very much but take
a 4km pile of water , and warm it by 0.5 degree , then it expands by 0.1%
and that is 4m of rise. So our programme is geared to that problem as
well as is global warming happening and where has the heat gone.
So we work closely with the satellite sea-level people.
How do you cope with marine growth on these floats?
They spend most of their life submerged, deliberately so.
We don't need measurements every day, every 10 days is fine.
They park at 1000m where its cool and dark ,and marine growth
is not a problem there. But when they visit the surface then
growths is a problem. Inside our sensor payload, there is a pump
and a duct with sensors in the duct. If you get growth in that duct then
a real problem , as it contaminates the measurements badly.
So ther is a tiny pill of biocide in the duct , that slowly dissolves
over a period. The biocide is TBTO, tributyl tin oxide.
This is what the hulls of ships were painted with , but its now
banned . If you paint a ships hul lwith 25 tons of such TBT paint ,
it dissolves everywhere, that is a problem.
We have about 3gm in each float , but it is banned and we had to
apply for an exemption all the way up thru the various departments.
I wrote a letter of support saying this was critical for climate science,
and the amount of TBT in any single float is minuiscule, its not
near land or near coasts . For a while you could not import TBT
into the EU. Fortunately there was a 10 year supply stack of these pills
that wer ein Germany. You could move them around the EU
and you could deploy them on instruments you alreadyt had,
but you could not import any new ones. So we're good for 10 years,
and hope negotiations for exemption will be complete by then.
Its just one of those engineering aspects, how to make somethin glast
5 to 10 years, in-spec , without maintainence.
I think the manufactures have sorted all this out but it was thought
they'd have to ship the instruments without the biocide
and then we'd have to sort out the biocide.
I've been told a lot of the big ships still have TBT on their hulls?
Its probably the case, they've not had to scrape it off , just they
won't be allowed to repaint it with TBT, next time around.
A coastal state probably has the right to deny entry to a ship
that does not conform to some regulation. With such
regulations it usually comes in first with new build ships
, then existing ships get a period of grace of 10 years or so
to catch up.
Do you collect the ones that hav efailed batteries?
We don't surprising to many who ask that. The most likely
time a float will fail is when the controller says inflate the bladder
and rise to the surface , as that is the biggest energy use.
So if we were to pick them up, then they'd have to abort operation, go into
a fixed surface mode, something like 80% thru their life.
We did think about doing that ,but the financial and environmental
costs of picking them up would be enormous.
For original placement then via a merchant ship or a research ship doing
other projects . They all go out in one straight line but very soon
they are essentially randomly sited. If you knew a float was
on its last legs, then to go out and pick it up would be at
least a day of ship time. If 300 miles apart and ship goes 300
mile sa day , then every float picked up would cost a day of
ship-time. The sort of ships that can go to the south Pacific
cost 20 or 30,000 USD a day, much the same cost as a new one.
Environmentally that ship burns about 6 to 8 tons of fuel
in that day, so environmentally pointless. The floats are mainly
aluminium which is very abundant in seawater anyway. THere is some
plastic , yes. Even the lithium of the batteries is fairly common in
seawater , by the time 1 battery is dissolved in a cubic kilometer
, its fine. Its only the plastic bits we have concerns about, as plastics
don't dissolve, they simply break up into smaller and smaller
pieces. There is even gold in there , that will dissolve away.
The Challlenger expedition was near enough the first organised
marine science expedition i nthe 1870s. The next one was a German
expedition in the 20s, on a ship called the Meteor. They wanted to survey
the south atlantic, better than the Challenger had done. They asked the
German govt to give them a ship , we will survey the south
atlantic, the temp and the chemistry. The govt wanted a reason for
putting money into such a project. The chief scientist told them that the
south Atlantic has 2000 tons in the ?? and we should go and survey
the gold concentration . It is only 1 part per billion but they will
find where all the gold is, in the souht atlantic , and off they went.
There is thousands of tons of gold in the oceans , absolutely true,
just not easy to recover, but they got a good expedition out of the ruse.
Monday 13 November 2017, Prof Alistair Pike, Soton uni : The origins of European cave art. Did Neanderthals paint?
26 people, 1.5 hours
Did Neanderthals (N) paint, did N paint. When did human/hominim
sysbolic form use start. 4mya Austropythenin, early African
species of hominims. 2 hominimum made it out of Africa, H Erectus and
H Heidelbergensis, the current thinking is that outside Africa
, probablty in Europe or Eurasia H H evolved into N and in Africa
they continued evolving and ended up as humans, so an isolation
of populations in Africa and in Eurasia . One of them led to us,
the other left what we might style an archaic human population
behind. You can see they are f=different, in stature, robustness
, lack of a chin, wider nasal passages . Current thinking is this
was for cold adaption. So warm Savannah adapted modern H
and cold adapted tundra N.
Sites with N remains or N toolkiyts , a specific type of tool
is really Europe and Eurasia , the near east. A few good sites
in hte UK , one in Norfolk , Linford a quarry near Brandon ,
with a N butchery site. A mammoth probably bogged down
in a river value and whole skeleton of the mammoth found,
along with the tools that looked that were made on the spot.
We've known of N for nearly 200 years , the first in 1829
in the Netherlands , a very fragmentary set of bones , mostly
post-cranial, lower skeleton. No one thought much of it, then
another was found, with more of the skull intact, in
Gorhams cave Gibralter. Started paying attention to Ns.
Originally though to be just pathological conditions of humans,
some sort of illness that made thicker bones and odd faces.
Then the famous type-site was found in the Neander valley .
That drew the attention of William King who compared it with
other discoveries like Chapelle Leusande, which is much more
complete. He realised that this pathology could not express itself
, distributed, so frequently in the same way. He decided it was a
new species of human, giving it the name H N, the human from the
neander valley. He decided it was backward , stupid and the quote
"incapable of moral and theistic conceptions". His German
counterpart was less kind, preferring the term Homo Stupidus.
So from the outset there was this idea that Ns were brutish, using the
gorilla as the base mof=del. That perception lasted a long time and if you
ask questions like could Ns paint, today a lot of respected archaeologists
will say, of course not. Slightly later non-gorilla , toolmaking
version of the N. So painting in caves. We are interested in how,why and when
symbolic behaviour starts, using symbols to express language or
meaning. They start decorating their own bodies to portray an
identity. Did it start with modern humans, and when humans started to look
like modern humans, when they became anatomically modern.
Or is it a uniquly modern human trait, or did it happen earlier with
perhaps even different species.
We have something we call anatomical modernity. Amongst fossil
populations, particularly in Africa, human fossils that look like us.
They don't lok like earlier and don't look like other species of hominims.
We sense this occured between 150,000 and 250,000 ya. Based on
genetic clocks , fssils we can date relatively well such as this
one from Aywash, Ethiopa with Argon-Argon dates between 150 and 160,000 ya.
Also from Ethiopa Homo Kabish dayted by Ar-Ar and U-Thorium dating
to about 190,000ya. So our cronologies of anatomical modern humans
is matching what the geneticists have been saying for a number of years.
We think modern humans appeared in Africa around 200,000 ya.
We don't get anything in the architectural record for what we might
call behavioural modernity at 200,tya, that appears later in the
archaeological record. Is the behavioural change driven by
something else, at a later stage. Wnen did BM appear, depends on
who you ask. We have no consencus on what BM is, when people
started behaving like modrrns, as opposed to just looking like modern ones.
A number of parameters used, and don't always use all of them.
eg paintings, decorating your body , structured use of space such as living
space and working space, the use of standardised and specialised tools,
requiring planning ahead in what tool best fits a purpose, long
distance exchange networks. Some people require all of those
parameters, some say 1 is enough. Dating fist appearance of BM
from 40 tya back to 300 tya. There is one parameter they
all use to define BM, symbolic behaviour, it is considered
quintessentially modern. Within symbolic behavious we have cave
painting. It is fairly sparse evidence. Hom Kabeesh, in Ethiopia
200 tya and by 100 tya at Echskabul Israel we find
perforated shells, interpreted as necklaces or body adornment.
85 tya at Dikluth rock shelter in South Africa, engraved ostrich
eggshells , probably used as water carriers, rudementary
decoration. In Morocco Tapperaltz, 75-80 tya, red ochre,
also perforated shells. The earliest African paiintaings are
Apollo 11, an animal on a painted plaque,found at the same time as the Apollo landings, about 27tya. But in Europe we find cave paintings maybe as old
as 40tya, Chauvais the cave of forgotten dreams. In Europe we find
lots of symbolic objects, musical instruments such as bird bone flutes,
firstly in Europe. We also get the first 3D representation of animals
and sort of mythical creatures like lion-man, head of a lion body of a
human. So why in Europe before Africa. It looks like painting came late in
the history of symbolic behaviour, but its hard to date paintings.
It seems to have appeared in Europe before Africa which is
counter to the other evolutionary trends and behaviours.
So is it a real differnce or a problem with our cronology,
that we struggle to find the earliest painting in Europe.
For dating paintings it is possible to use relative dating, how about
99% of all cave paintings are attributed. Someone who knows his stuff
looks at it and says that is 40tya as thats how they painted thn.
So some idea of the relative age of paintings , by the superimposition ,
a paitning is done, then someone overpaints it, you know hte order even
if you don't know the times. Occcassionaly there is stratographic association
,say a cave fills up with sediments with good archaeology in it.
You know the painting has to prevede the later archaeology.
Some people think they can age paintings by the amount
of weathering, pristine paintings are younger than weathered ones.
The trouble there , a lot of conjecture in the relative sense,
stylistic interpretation . We need to get some cronological evidence
associating what is on a wall to what is under the ground.
We can use absolute dating like radio-C , if they had used
charcoal pigments. Some people think there is a change occurs in the
chemistry of rock engravings. Desert varnish , and then changes over time and then
with cathion ratio dating . You can date the time that quartz grains
were last exposed to sunlight , using a technique called OSL dating.
Cave paintings aren't done with quartz but mud-wasps sometimes
build their nests on top of them in the likes of Oz.
The dating I use is Uranium series dating, that dates Calcium Carbonate
deposits , stalegmites and stalegtites that grow in caves and sometimes
thin veneers or a crust that form on top of paintings. Dating those
deposits , you get a minimum age for the painting.
Stylistic dating has been around for a long time, before scientific
dating methods came along. In some cases they could compare the things drawn
on the wall with examples of portable art , such as engraved bone or
carved bone that they found in relatively well dated archaeological
deposits. As we go back in time, we start losing the portable art
objects and end up with conjecture. Based o nthe first art is going to
be more primitive than later more evolved art. So any not so
good horse , will be arlier than the better horse. There is no
evidence for this.
A test of the stylistic dating method , set out graphically as a flow-chart.
VonPartiger and Knowle went to France and asked a dating
expert , how old is that painting , 18500 years . Why do you know that,
because its the same as the horse in the cave over there.
They went to that cave and asked an expert for the date and he said
18500. How do you know that, because its the same date as
the cave over there. They kept on doing this until they
kept coming back to the base that they started. The whole
dating model was completely self-referential. If you changed the
dat e of one of them , you'd have to cascade that date change thru
all of them, yet none of them had been dated.
There is a long history of cave painting experts who would say
of a painting , it must be this date. I'm not saying don't use use style as
concept in studying cave paintings as there are styles of horse drawing,
ways of drawing seem to change either regionally or cronologically.
But to use it for dating without any reference points , makes no sense.
Their conclusion was, where there was well dated examples ,
they were avoided by the experts. Almost an active desire to keep
their self-referential wheel going. Incorporate science-based
dates and it will rock the boat too much.
Why not radioC dating as its the most common archaeological
dating method. Tens of thousands of RadioC dates measured and
published every year. Firstly you need something organic i nthe
painting. Some of ths art is made with clays like red ochres, with
no organic matrix in them. If they do, then the organic material is not
related to the painting , its related to the formation of the clay, leading to
spuriously old dates. In caves there are engravings as well, and nothing
in an engraving for radioC. There ar emany potential sources of
contamination within a cave. So a piece of burnt wood ground down
to a powder , contains C, slapped on a wall, that formed 125 mya
that is calcium carbonate, with very old C in it. Coat cave walls with
organic materials and the bugs will get in there. Those bugs can
metabolise CO2 fro mteh environment. Some of them
can even metabolise the C from the Calcium Carbonate from the cave wall.
So can be a mixture of modern contamination and old.
This is not a new problem, it can occur with all archaeological
samples . The solution often, is to take a really big sample, and you
can then give it lots of chemical pre-treatments. But
cave painting are so precious , if they let you take a sample , it
will be really tiny. Much less than ideal for C14 dating and this
magnifies the effect of contamination.
So looking at publishe d C14 dates , samples have been taken , 2 or 3
from the same painting , and the results differ by perhaps 10000 years.
So we chose not to use C14 dating. A method used by earth scientists and
spieliologists , Uranium Series or Uranium -Thorium dating.
Uranium238 decays very slowly 4.5 billion years through
some very short lived isotopes , ignore as only 3 or 4 days, to a long-lived
isotope U234 , which decays to Thorium230 with half-life of 76,000 years.
Eventually the decay product is a stable isotope of lead. Somewhere inthat
chain is Polonium210, that poisoned Mr Litvinyenko.
for a sample many millions of years old, it reaches a radioactive equillibrium,
the rate of decay of every member of that chain , is the same.
If we disrupt that equillibrium then it will go back to that equilibrium and its
tht we're using for dating. This disruption occurs naturally
in ground waters because U is soluble and Thorium is not soluble .
So anything that precipitates out of groundwater such as stalegmites and stalgtites
will contain U but no thorium. Gradually over time the Th to U activity
will grow back, until it reestablishes the equilibrium is returned and rates of
decay equal to each other. That takes about 500,000 years, so that is the
limit of our dating method. An awful llot archaeology is contained within
the last 500,000 years. Its been used for dating cave calcites for 50
years now. Earth scientists use it because stalegmites grow incrementally,
if not annully necessarily. So they get a time series of Calcium Carbonate
and includes othe risotopes like oxygen , C . From the organic inclusions as well,
it tells them somethng o fthe environment and the climate.
Occassionaly they grow on top of Archaeological deposits, or in our
case grow on top of cave paintings.
So a cave wall, with no calcite on there to start with say. Someone places a
hand on , spits red pigment at it , then layers of flow-stone growing
over it. In most cases we are removing those layers of flowstone .
If we get down to pigment at the bottom , that gives a minimum age
for the painting. Sometimes we get an opportunity to get underneath
the art, and take a sample, and that gives us a maximum age.
A piece of calcite "curtain" and at some point an earthquake
or someone broke a piece , then the calcite continued to grow.
So a painting, then stalegmite formed after the painting, then some
time later someone came along and broke a piece. That gives us the
opportunity to drill under the pigment and so get a maximum age.
So we can start sandwiching our dates between min and max
ages, constraining the ages. We got a grant from the NERC , and went
to Spain to several caves mainly north Spain and got as many
dates as we could. Dirk Hoffman and I worked on this at Bristol Uni
, i came here, he moved to the Max Plankh Institute for evolutionary
Anthropology in Leipzig . We realised the samples we took were just too
big, limiting the number of samples we could date. Because we are
a victim of geology . They don't necessarily form immediatley after a
paintingwas created, 10 to 30,000 years after is possible. The only
way we could constrain the dating , was to blanket-bomb it.
So accidentally collect the sample that nails it. I was taking 100 to 200mg
samples. But you could expand the number of paintings able to date, if
you took 10mg. We managed to reduce it down to between 1 and 10mg
about half a grain of rice. The initial project we tok
about 50 samples, a sort of pathfinder mission. For 4 years now
we've been working almostt exclusively in Spain and dated about
400 samples . Moved out to East Timor to sample they're cave art
this summer and been to Italy and the bits of France they
let us in.
When we set out to do this, the oldest cave art, in France, was claimed to
be Gros Cheauvais 35,000 calibrated years. Subsequently one published at
40,000 and claiming this was the birth of cave painting. Only a few
hundred miles away, in Spain, th eoldest dated cave art is 10,000
years younger. Is it taking the artists that long to get from France
to Spain or is it a problemin our chronology.
The calcite results are a minimum age for the art. Most are Holocene
, younger than 10,000 years. Not a problem, as they are minimum ages for
cave paintings, lots of calcite formed in the Holocene, forming in
warm wet conditions. When cold and dry the production of calcite
slows right down. So we get lots of post-glacial
dates for calcite formation. We do have some dates older than 20,000
years, even 25,000 years. This shows cave painting was going on in
Spain before the oldest previous cave paintings.
Tito Bustillo a cave site in Asturias has thousands of cave paintings.
We were most interested in an anthropomorph of a lion man figurine
form. Under a draped stalagmite, it had been broken in
atiquity , so we could get a maximum and minimum ages. It gave
a date between 29.6 and 35.5 thousand years. There was an
excavation close by and they found some pigments and some
charcoal from a hearth that was C-14 dated , showing human
activity from about 36 to 39,000 years, so looking at very early
activity and very early cavve art. Elsewhere in the cave there are cave
paintings that are much younger, including horses about 3m long .
The black pigments there have been C14 dated to no more than 14,000 years.
One mistake people have been making is assuming that caves get painted in a
single episode. What we're finding , with highly decorated caves,
there's been multiple episodes of painting.
We went to Altimera, the famous polychrome ceiling , in Cantabria.
The bison are about 18tyo , beautifully painted to follow the
contours of the ceiling , which is sort of rippled. It would seem the
shape of the rock was suggesting the art to the artist. Those had been dated
many times by C14 dating. We were interested in the redness underneath,
that is largely neglected. A bison's back leg has been painted on top
of it, an earlier phase of painting. Since Altamera was discovered
a long argument about whether a short or a long chronology.
Most had gone on the short, based upon stylistic interpretation
but also when they excavated , they found no archaeology older than
22tyo. So another hope for myth-busting , that underground
archaeology reflects the paintings on the walls.
Generally we find , caves that were never painted and paint3d caves
that don't have archaeology. They wern't living there, lighting fires
and doing the things that leave a long archaeological record.
Several possible phases from the styles. The red horse outline was
stylistically attributed to an earlier period than the polychrome bison.
We focus on small samples from thin carbonate crusts, that overlay
th e pigment. We got a date older there older than 22tyo. Still supports
the short chronology , though a minimum age. It does show it
predates the Magdelanian polychrome bison. More exciting were
the odd shapes that didn't sem to be figurative. People have
referred to them as claviform, shaped like a key. We have ages for these ,
and they underlie the painted bison at 36tyo, much older than the
bison. Back to the period of the arrival of the very first modern humans
At El Casrillo cave, near Santander, you as the public can go right into the cave
not a low stifling corridor place. It has the Panel of Hands, negative
hand stencils, made by placing hand on the wall and blowing
pigment at them. Something like 80 of them. Most are obscured,
barely see them because of a thin layer of calcite . We love that as
everything is covered with stuff we can date.
Inside the hand stencils, there are lines of red dots, dating a hand and a
dot, they come out as the red dot older than 40,800 years old and the
hand stencil older than 37,300. Currently the olded dated
cave art in the world. We can put all this on a timeline.
Bearing in mind most are minimum ages, something older than 22tyo
does not mean it could not be 50tyo, this isa weakness in our technique.
We rarely get max and min ages. It is showing that the oldest cave
paintings are at least as old as the arrival of modern humans in that
part of Spain.
We've taken a lot of criticism from people who like to look
at art. also ended up i na journal spat with the people of
Grot Chauvais who want their paintings to be the oldest in the
world. They've challenged us , saying things can go wrong with
uranium/thorium dating. It can behave as an open system ,the U
starts there and loose some of it over time, sort of washed out.
That artificially makes the age look older. We've found ways around that
and are now dating long sequences of samples. We take a sample, then another
sample from the same spot, a bit closer to the pigment, so a bit older,
and so on. Its then hard to think of a mechanism that is going
to remove U equally from every one of those layers.
When they come out in stratographic order , the dates in the
right order, then we're happy we are getting the right answer.
A pic of the lowest sample taken just showing the pigment poking
through in a few places. Thats where we stop, we don't touch
the pigment at all. The pigment would only contaminate our last sample
anyway , if we went deeper, and be unusable as a result.
So we have dates older than 40,800 years, how do we interpret that.
Jual Duyall ? chronology for the Iberian peninsular. He has in
northern Spain about 42tya, he's got what we call Chapperonian
, an industry that includes a lot of art objects, and people are
arguing as to whether it was made by N or by modern humans.
Letrs say it was made by modern humans. In the south of Spain,
N persist a bit later . It seems modern humans didn't cross the
Ebro river. So if our dates had come out ,in sites of southern
Spain of 40tya , we'd have to conclude that it was Ns who
were making them. But they're not, they're in northern Spain ,
but they are minimum ages and at 41tya it would seem we have
evidence of only modern humans. Bu tthese are minimum
ages, so we have to come up with a number of interpretations of this.
Painting in Europe 41tya at least, the earliest painting in
Africa 27tya, whats going on. Either there's an earlier painting
in Africa but we've not fouind it yet, or found but not dated yet.
Or the employment of painting caves , even painting at all ,
was an innovation after humans had left africa.
We have paintings about 40tya in Sulawesi , so maybe there
is an origin somewhere between Africa, Europe and Sulawesi
where we'll find the earliest paintings. Then the very first modern
humans arrived between 45 and 42tya, in Europe, they were already
bringing with them a tradition of painting caves. Or painting
arose in Europe , if thats the case why here and not Africa.
Nick Connard associates painting withthe rise of the
otherwise unique firsts in symbolic behaviour in Europe.
The difference between Europe and africa was that in Europe,
when modern humans arrived, there were N around, but in Africa there
was just modern humans. There was no competition with another
human species. If you're in competition , not necesarily
fighting them, but you might want to organise yourself into different
groups , the way your social structures work , to survie in a more
complex environment, than just one species of humans roaming
the savannahs of Africa. Conard sees the rise of things like musical
instruments asa manifestation of this, caused by competition with
Ns. The third interpretation is, could it be that Ns made these.
These are minimum ages, they could be older, perhaps significantly
older than 41tya. How much older do they have to be for us to
conclude they were done by N.
Someone comes along in the past, puts their hand on a wall ,
sprays it with paint, and leaves a mark. Then an unknown amount
of time passes and we get the formation of stalagmites and this forms
over time. They may not be building up continuously , stopping and
starting perhaps. Then we come along and take a chunk out
of it. We don't go to the very bottom for a sample, also the
layers are very thin , that we sample. So we mix them up and
take the average of all those layers and that will be our
minimum age for the painting. But we've not accounted for all the
time back near the beginning. It turns out, from what we know of the
arrival of modern humans and the disappearance of Ns , that the age
underestimation , only has to be 2,000 years . It only has to take
2000 years for all of that stalagmite to have grown , for the painting to
fall into the time range in which there was only Ns in northern Spain.
Our argument here , with more samples yet to be taken,
On th ebalance of probability , this age estimation gap is so small
that we believe when we look at those hand stencils in El Castillo
cave , that you are looking at handprints made by a N.
But if you look elsewhere, evidence of symbolic behaviours
among Ns , its everywhere, its just been overlooked.
400tya to 200tya they are collecting and hoarding pigments, they're
not necessarily painting with them , bu tthey like a red stone.
We find thousands of them in N contexts, we have the deliberate
burial of the dead . They've interpreted specific butchery marks
on raptors such as eagles as the deliberate collection of feathers and
talons, not for meat , you would not cut talons or feet off , for meat consumption.
They are probably collecting feathers, and talismans of these powerful
birds. There is one example of an engraved bone, loads of black
pigment, perforated shells also with traces of pigment inside ,
interpreted as make-up containers, somethin to do with
body paint. We don't have cave paintings there, but we do
have elaborate decoration of the body. If you had 150,000
years of exploiting shells and pigments, then its conceivable that
in that long time span they would start putting paint on walls
rather than themselves. If this is true, after the next phase of
our project , we can twll you if its true or not, then w emust
stop thinking of N in the early 19C way, knuckle-dragging brutish
individuals. But as a painter, a thinker, as far more
sophisticated individual, far more related to us ,
beyond what we know from DNA studies, but also in our
I've been to a cave in France and there is obviously 2 different
phases of paintings at 2 different locations within
that cave. Just from the stylistic approach because they are very
different. Not only was there cave art in there but also
evidence of animal activity in there. Bears had been active in the
cave , sedimentary evidence of that, bear claw marks within
clay deposits , where a bear had falllen in and got stuck
and died. Obviously caves weren't safe havens when they were
doing this. Venturing in, in the dark, with marginal torch light
and yet they produce great artworks, so much more goes into it
, the creation of the dyes and the paint, preparation and potential
That might be the reason. Lots of art examples that is put in
inaccessible places. THere are some examples where even the
artist could not see what they were doing. They'd put a hand up
a preattic tube and paint a perfect horse. It was only discovered
because someone put an optical fibre camera up there.
There was no way you could see what you were doing. So
an element of performance about some of this, not public
performance. Its about being in the other world, I think.
The fact there might be dangerous animals fown there
might make it more appealing, to go and paint there.
We get a sense of that from, not necesarily the context of painted
caves but the Seema de los Quesos in Attapuerca , Spain, there is a very
long drop. At the bottom there was remains of about 45 young
men, only young men. They were all pre-Ns, about the time of the
split between N and modern humans. Why would you have that
unusual age and sex profile , probably something about
the act of going into that cave, exciting perhaps.
Or a religious elemement, or they were all chucked down there
or a right-of-passage thing. Thank goodness, if people didn't
go and do stupid things in caves half the archaeology we rely on would
I looked into going to northern Spain thus year, but when I
started to look into it, it seemed there was hardly anything open to the
All the sites I've shown tonight are open to the public.
Even AltaMeira ?
No , you get to go into a replica, then your name gets put into a
hat and if you are 1 in unremembered number , there is one tour of the
real cave a day. But the original is a horrible cave . Go to El Castillo
, there are 4 caves there, they are all painted and 3 are open to the
public. But you need to know their opening times because differnt
in winter to summer, and they do tours in English. And only a
couple of Euros for entry, for a world heritage site, if it was in the
UK it would be 25GBP to get in. Tito Bustillo is only 1 hour
drive from Bilbao, yes , go.
Were you saying the earliest paintings were the handprints and the red
Those are the ones more likely by Ns?
Yes the stylistics also said they would be the earliest .
So its a question of evolution of painting , to more realistic images?
What we can't determine . Lets assume for the sake of argument
all red stencils i nnorthern Spain and all the red dots,
were made by Ns, what we cant work out is who made the horses
and the figurative art. So far all our very earliest art
seems to be non-figurative, but thats not to say they are
not symbolic. They were made deliberately. The hand stencils were
very carefully placed on specific bits of the wall. Some ar eon
ceilings htat you had to crawl into, they're not mucking about with
some paint. They go into a cave to make a painting.
In Lascaux and some other vaves there are patterns of dots?
We get some of those as well.
Not able to date those?
Not diagnostic dates, they are older than 12tyo, thats all we can tell.
.... , was it just the floor level was higher or had equipment like ladders?
Some of them , not even we could get to with our best ladder.
So they've clearly built some structure to get up there. We got
very excited in Ardales cave, because in one of the stalagmites
was a piece of rope , looked like mother-of-pearl , turned to rock.
Thinking of a 40tyo piece of rope . We took a sample, C14 dated it
and came out to 1650 . I think they were using ropes , standing on
each other's backs or perhaps even building scaffold to access some of their
With the hand outlines, is there not sufficient anatomical difference
between a N hand and a modern hand?
Even if you had the bones, you couldn't. There is a difference
but its at a population level. The average thickness of the
bone , the average length of fingers is different. But there is
sufficient overlap , if given just one finger. Also there is a parallax
effect , the width of the fingers change , if blow from one angle
com[ared ot another angel . They have been able to measure
the difference between males and females, something like
70% of the hand stencils were made by females.
And some made by children?
Yes, not very many though. Thats been a bit overblown.
Is there any evidence that any were painted by children, stylistically even?
With the small hands it could be children or the child's hand placed
against the rock and someone else did the stencil. I don't think
we can clarify, which. What we can say is there very few practise ones.
They tens to be all brilliant . You'd expect people doing this, there would be
horses that didn't really look like horses.
I was thinking the ones interpreted as early could be kids?
I think they were artists and almost were famous for being artists.
Do we think of it as cave painting, just because that is where they
have survived, wheras they were painting elsewhere and thousands of years earlier
but they have not survived?
Absolutely and I suspect body painting was reallly important,
thats why we find hoardes of pigments everywhere , even though we have
no paintings. Bark paintings would not survive . We do get a sense of
non-cave art context where we see portable art, the lionman 35tyo,
thats quite early in the art context. Places like the Coeur Valley in
Portugal, with very low errosion rates of the rocks, every flat
surface is engraved, in fact over-engraved, that was 20tya.
So maybe the whole landscape was decorated but most has
worn away, especially if limestone. Calcite over painting protects it, but
paint the outside of a cave it probably won;t last 10 years.
I'm assuming an ablating process to take the samples, to get
10 or 12 pretty accurate equal thicknesses of samples for testing. ?
Its me with a scalpel , some practise and some very large glasses.
Some of it is really hard and may take 3 hours to remove one sample.
Another observation , I suppose, is the Uffington White Horse is
supposed to be only 2,000 BC , if that. But stylistically
it is very minimal , but from the simple style you could say
it was very much older, but its not?
I think they have archaeological reasons to think it is neolithic/bronzr
age. I think artists call it the line, a sense of how you can
sumarise a thing just with a single brush stroke. You see it all the
time . A line just swirls and you can see its a mamoth, but really its
about 30cms of a single stroke of the brush. You also find areas of the
cave , where the wall suggests the shsape. The famous one is the Pechmell
horse , a rock that looks like a horse, all they've done is put a face
on it and dots and a couple of legs. You start to see that sort of thing
everywhere. Some of the bosses on the roof of Altamera look
like sleeping bison . In Al Cassio cave there is a stalgmite
that looks like a bison and all they've done is put an eye on it.
It casts a shadow like a bison. They might have been tracing things that
already existed .
You mentioned that modern humans were the only hominem in Africa
at one point, how lon g had that been so?
Probably for always , or very shortly after modern humans evolved.
THe uncertainty on some of our dates may 30ty to 200ty, so we
don't know whether or not 1 only prior to humans evolving,
the genetic mixing was enough so everyone became humans or
whether lots of little branches that only lasted 10ty and wer e
dead ends. But it does look you have to go back 350ty before
you start seeing something much different to the modern human.
But in northern latitudes we've probably got 4 species, N,
Denisovans only known from the genetics of a single fingerbone
but seem to have interbred with the human popultations
that became Se Asian and Australasian, and a residual homo erectus
in Java but everyone is arguing over the dates of that.
In this country we have Paviland , using red ochre, but you
think there was red ochre art such as Creswell , but it has not
I have a piece excavated at Creswell that is a big chunk of red ochre.
We were excavating outside it. The reason we have little on
Creswell is because the Victorians dynamited it all, the fossil
hunters were collecting large faunal bones. In the crypt outside
church? ho? , we have 2 or 3 pieces of red ochre.
We spent 3 years going thru Victorian spoil heaps , washing
every single piece of stone, in case it was engraved, because they
would have missed it, but no engravings. Then underneath
we found Pleisocene sediments and in that were bits of red ochre.
So they could have been ? ?
Its such an open site, you can see the weathering on engraving.
Creswell Crags in Derbyshire , its Britains only authentic bit
of paleolithic cave art, 4 or 5 engravings , but they are in a
cave thats been open for ever, and you can see its weathered.
One might imagine they were painted , like lots of cases in France and
Spain where there was engraving followed up by painting.
Could have been the samne at Creswell , but weathered away.
I assume somewhere along the way, you've cross-correlated
between the stalagtite/stalagmite people and their deposition rate of growth
and your U/Thorium process.?
Its totally variable . It can vary from metre to metre. It would be great
if all the stalagmites in a ca=ve behaved in the same way , then you could
use one not associated with art and use that to calibrate the age of the art.
So you cant even do it within one cave?
No because the wate ris trickling through cracks and it moves ,
and thinfgs change in the way of vegetation above the cave, all
sprts of things change.
For public access to these caves , do they have to wear surgical masks,
to reduce lichen and fungal growth, like the Egyptian problem.
Some closed are closed to the public or only a very small number
of people allowed in.
With forensic examiner type suits?
Yes, but others have been partially open to the elements for their
entire history and so the action of humans is irrelevant.
But caves like altamira have remained largely sealed . Or people
breathiing and especially their lights is creating all kinds of
problems, bacterial colonies and algae. Lascaux has been shut now
for years because they never could get rid of the algae brought
there by the humans and their lights.
If you looked at the style change, from 40 to 20ty, where would the earliest African,
the 27tya. Where would that fit into .?
It would probably fit more with Magdelanian art , which in Europe
is 18tya or younger. So you could argue that that sort of art is earlier
in Africa than it is in Europe. Therre are no proxies for earlier stuff.
What African art that has been dated is late Holocene, perhaps 7tyo.
It kind of fits. It can be partly defined by the fauna as well.
You said some of the caves have other archaeological stuff in there,
would suggest they were lived in as well. So sometimes there
would be art in someone's home and other times seem to be sacred
People really only lived in cave mouths, its really dark back there ,
and also poor ventilation and it would soon fill up with smoke
from fires. There probasbly were pictures and symbols at the
mouth s of caves but tend to have eroded away. We've found a few
bu tthe main stuff is in deep caves. Every so often a cave
appears where the roof has collapsed, and people think its a
deep cave but usually the entrance was somewhere else.
So most are where people are taking quite perilous journeys
into very dark places , with only little oil lamps, not like
our powerful spotlamps. Shadows seem to pay a part, the
throw of shadows , animation of some of the bas-relief
carvings are almost like animations with a flickering light source,
the horse legs seem to move. Almost anothe rworld for these
Any audio effects found in the caves?
Acoustic people have been down and done all that. They treated all
the art as one phase and didn't realise the spatial
distribution is chronologically determined. There are phases when
deep caves are painted and phases when only shallower
caves ar epainted, and they each have different acoustic properties.
I think they were seeing patterns defined by the behaviour of
individuals , rather than by the acoustics.
There are some interesting performances on the web, with people playing
flutes made from Ibex bones and the like.
... any cross-over , one teaching the other to paint?
I mentioned the Chapelperonian , a thorn in the side
of all archaeologists. Its a layer of cultural material
that lies between something we definitely know is N and
something we definitely know was made by moderns. We've found them
in the sites of those species. Most archaeological sites, we don't find
any human remains, so we go by the shape of tools . The Chappeperonians
had elements of N flint technology with lots of beads , shells and
pigments etc. So made by which species. So the people who say they
were made by modern humans, say perhaps they were made by Ns
but were just copying modern humans. So they are arguing
culturisation. All we have to do is show Ns painted caves
before humans got anywhere near Europe. Maybe it could be
culturisation, but they already had their traditions of painting
caves and being symbolic, so no need to invoke moderns arriving.
I suppose when both where around there would be stylistic
changes. There was a period of quire rapid climate change in that
period, so there would be changes in how fauna move around ,
even some goig extinct. You'd consequentially have to change the
way you hunt. If you go from eating only bison , to eating ibex
then you might find ibex appearing on cave walls.
... other examples?
Some in Russia , we would have gone to but there is a group
in Copnhagen working on them. There is Sulawesi and the
whole of Australasia , covered in cave apintings. Thats the next
big thing. Humans arrived in oz about 55tya, so I expect to find
55tyo cave apintings there.
Is there any new upcoming dating process, thats currently in yhe
A method thats been around for some time, but its really hard.
Called cosmogenic isotope dating , come over from geology.
The reason geologists use it , because they can take half a kilo
of sample . These are isotopes formed by the exposure of
silicate material to cosmic radiation. You can have a rock thats sat under
5m of rock , wont have been exposed to that radiation.
A glacier comes along , scrapes that off and is now exposed to
cosmic radiation. Very slowly over time, these isotopes buid up
by nuclear reaction. About 100 atoms per gram being produced
so a big sample is needed. I can iagine if they are getting their samples
from clay deposits that are exposed, then taken into ta cave , some of
those cosmogenic isotopes atre radioctive and start to decay,
isolating them from the source of production. They've done that
with flint, flint from shallow flint quarries . In earlier days instead
of mining deep in chalk , they were using river cobbles.
So it gets exposed , then moved to a cave, that shields it,
but again you destroy the whole artifact. Then the uncertainty
is massive, one day they will enhance the precision on such
measurements , where we could a little fleck of
pigment , and age it.
Generally speaking the owners of these caves, don't mind you
taking samples of calcite deposits, as long as you don't touch the paintings?
We've been banned from France. One of the French officials
misrepresented the size of a 12x12mm sample we'd taken in Spain .
Even the conservators put the wall up , saying if you take even a little bit
of this calcite area off, in 10 years the cave art would be gone.
A coda. We're in the middle of our project thats been going now
for about 9 years. There is a very good chance that we'll be able to reveal
the results of many hundreds of dates , when we talk to the Southampton
Archaeological Society, St Joseph's Hall in March 2018.
Monday 11 December 2017, Prof Bob Grimble :Well we've made it so far:-
nutrition, genetics, immune function and health.
24 people, 1.5 hours
In my teaching and research career I've been very involved in
how nutrition influences the way our immune systems (IS) function.
Read a packet of cereals or a pack of pills and you'll read how your
immune system needs to be "boosted" all the time.
Then you come to realise that someone with rheumatoid arthritis
is having their IS boosted in the wrong way. I'm not an expert on
immunology , coming into the area largely by having a Chinese
medical student, whose father owned a Chinese restaurant in
Gosport. We would work on pregnancy and lactation , but she wanted
to work on immunology. I listened to all Prof Stevenson's lectures at the
uni . What impressed me then , was what a dangerous friende the IS
is, full of potent molecules. Put it all together then its a tissue as large
as your liver, scattered throughout body in the skin , lungs ,
blood stream etc. It tackles bugs in a number of complex ways.
I will talk about one of those ways tonight, inflammation.
That is increasing the blood flow , increasing bofy temp ,
creating molecules that will start to break down tissues to feed
the IS. And molecules that will zap bugs, free radicals FR.
All that together is what I call inflammation . Also nutrition, our
genetics , their influences and how there is a knock on
effect on our longevity and other aspects of healthy life.
A pic of a cut on my thumb in the 1970s but I'm still
here , talking to you tonight. Also a pic of apples that were
mouldy in 1975 and they never survived. I have an IS, the
apples don't. The IS is essential for survival in a world surrounded
by microorganisms that are trying to gain access to our body.
My gut is full of them. We try to keep the bugs out of our
inner mechanisms. Wipe any surfsce here and transfer to an
agar plate, most interesting moulds and stuff will grow. Their in the
air , every breath takes in microbes.
Yet we manage to repel them in a way that doesn't damage our
health, most of the time. You know when you've picked up a bug.
Sore throat, headache , sweaty etc. Thats your IS swinging into
action. So why does the body go through these paiful processes to
repel bugs from our system. Why do we loose our appetite, it seems
non-sensical. When you have a bug on board, you want to
figth it, needing fuel to do that. Go the RCS and a statue inside the
door , of John Hunter. He was surgeon to Charles II. He notices something
interesting about people who were injured or infected. They all
produced a similar type of response, what he called an inflammation.
Loos of appetite, raised temp, fatigue ,ma;aise etc. A common respons eto
a wide range of things attacking the body.
About 1960-70 we started to know why this was. Our body as a lamb,
and the IS as a lion very powerful. But it has the ability to kill us if
it over responds. Woody allen quote " And the lamb and the lion
shall lie down together but the lamb won't get much sleep".
When the ISdetects something wrong i nthe body , say an e-coli germ.
An immune cell in the body, a macrophage ,once it contacts that
bug, it will lead to the release of a whole range of molecules
called cytokines, from Greek meaning cell exciters.
The result is the usual symptoms, fever, appetite loss. If ill for a
long time, you loose your muscle. If you look in hte blood stream,
there i a lot of FR and oxidant molecules being produced.
The reason for raising your temp is that most germs don't like
high temps. They used to treat syphilus patients in steam baths,
because there was a certain amount of success in raising body temp
and fighting the infection that way.
Oxidants are very important , germs don't like their surface being
attacked by FR. A wide range of cells in the body that will
release FRs and oxidant molecules, like bleach hydrogen
peroxide, hypochlorous acid , all will damage cell membranes
and in particular targetting invading organisms.
Oxidant production is an important part of the response .
The IS must be fed, fed with the right things. Someone with a severe
infection , the IS doesn't want you to walk to the shops and get a
donah kebab , a food not important to the IS. It wants to
feed on yourself, it starts to break down your muscles, creates
glucose from molecules in your body. These are amino acids
released from the muscles, will help to provide food for the IS.
THe IS An " organ" the size of your liver needs a lot of nutrition,
so by loosing appetite the body has made sure , the food for the IS
comes from the right source, which is from muscles rather than what you're eating.
The ideal response to an invading organism. First there is the IS
which is activated. The IS is made of white blood-cells T and B
cells, also the cytokines which will stimulate a whole range of
processes in the body. Like bleach, oxidants are very good at
killing bugs. We're producing these where the bug is, the bug will
die. So we're creating a hostile environment in the body.
We have to ensure we don't damage our own tissues. In our
bdies are anti-oxidant systems. We eat antioxidants AO in our diet
, things like vitamin E , vitamin C, the katakins found in tea.
We also create in our bodies glutothione an important AO.
There are also AO enzymes in our body which help to
dismantle oxidant molecules.
So we release oxidants and we increase our AO defences. Our ability
to do that depends on whether we are well nourished or not.
Poor diet and we won't maintain our glutothione levels, and not good
levels, at the tissue level, of vitamins E and C. So that parrt of the
system can break down if ill nourished.
The nutrients from our tissues will be processed , some
will ?glucose , which is a favoured fuel for B and T cells.
Glutamine and sulphur-amino acids ar eimportant for
making glutothione , a key part of our AO defences.
So a well coordinated series of events, triggered bythe
cytokines. To further help release this burst of nutrients
, from our host tissues, our appetite is lost, so we start to
feed ourselves from within. There is a limit to that, if the
fever is self limiting, lasting only a week or 2 , it doesn't
matter as you can always eat again after recovery.
But if a long chronic disease, where this is constantly being
stimulated, this will lead to malnutrition . Malnutrition leads to a poor
immune system and leads to a poor Immune response, and subsequent
infections. So can enter a downward spiral by this series of events,
if unable to recover and feed yourself properly. How come this seemingly
perfect biological response , designed to ensure survival.
This action is not designed to ensure the survival of the individual ,
but survival of the species. S osome individuals , within the species ,
will pay a price for certain biological systems working in their body
. The IS is a bit like agression . 2 contexts where agression
is being applied - a UN peacekeeper in Bosnia telling some nasty
peole ot keep away, backed up by a tank, so the security of the
population is maintained, the species is maintained.
An aggressive football supporter, inappropriate agression .
The actions of the IS are only appropriate in the right context ,
the context of life in general.
ook at a general young population, made up of all sorts
of individual characteristics , different stages of developement,
different general health, different genotypes etc. There is thr
population in which the IS operates. Some people will be able to use the
IS very effectively , others will have problems with the IS.
So some factors that influence the strength of inflammatory response IR.
Some have a direct or indirect nutritional background to them.
So obesity, type of fat in the diet, AO intake . And aging , not nutrition
but has a direct effect on IR. Other things, we cant do anything about
our genetics , nothing about our gender, or aging.
Obesity , I'm fat as I'm suffering from chronic inflamation.
Everyone overweight or obese is suffering from low-level inflammation.
The cells that make up the fat stores of the body, odiphocytes?.
A sequence of events, starting with someone who is lean , someone getting
a bit fatter and someone who is obese.
The adiphocytes, the cells that hold the fat under the skin, around the
liver , the kidneys etc . They store fat and release fatty acids into the
circulation when needed . As the cells get fatter, the cell walls get
stretched and start to emit molecules which attract in
immune cells from outside . A macrophage being attracted into the
adipose tissue. The cells start to produce cytokines , TNFalpha
is being produced . As the individual gets bigger , with stretching
cells, more macrophages coming in and a greater number of kinds of
cytokines being released. The adipose tissue becomes an inflammatory
tissue as a consequence. If the individual slims down and the
adipose tissue shrinks , it gets turned off. Anyone a bit tubby
is undergoing inflamation to varying extents.
The Jericho picture, the raft of the Medusa. A big political
disaster at the time. A steamer called the Medusa went down
, a lot of people hang onto a raft . It was largely ignored by
passing ships and the artist Jericho drew a pic of it.
A take-off of that , a raft full of fat people . A lady from the Department
of Health , waving a flag saying, Eat More Fruit. While the raft of
obesity is sinking. The extent of obesity across the industrialised world
is getting bigger and bigger , leading on to all sorts of other
health problems . Like diabetes mialitis linked to inflammation ,
arthritis linked to inflammation , athro-schlerosis also linlked
The type of fat in our diet. Polyunsaturated fatty acids , everyone very
keen on these. Called poopers sometimes. There are 2 types omega 6
and omega 3 . You get them in margarines and things like that,
as added. Various health effects, omega6s they lower cholesterol
, important yes, but don't have any effect on triglyceride which is
another form of fat in the blood. There is growing evidence they are
pro-inflammatory, increasing inflammation is certain circumstances.
We're supposed to eat about 1% of our calories as omega6.
That prevents us from getting fatty acids deficiency. The current level
of consumption in the UK is 8%, 8 times over.
The omega3s , no effect on cholesterol , but they lower
triglycerides , anpther risk factor for arthro-schlerosis.
These polyunsaturates are anti-inflammatory, they reduce the
levels of inflammation in the body. So not all polyunsaturates are
the same, as far as inflmmation is concerned. They may be roughly the
same in reducing the level of fat in the blood.
An american study looked at tumour necrosis factor TNF, an
inflammatory mediator in the blood stream of a a huge
number of USA women and men. They looked at their diets
and divided the intakes of omega6 and omega3 into quartiles.
The lowest intakes of omga3 to the highest, a large difference
in levels of TNF in the blood. Very high in the lowest quartile
of omega3 intake and in the highest quartile of omega6 .
Same is true in the men, similar pattern.
This is suggesting hte level o f fat in the diet of the population,
as a whole , has an effect on the level o f inflammation.
As for AO intake , why ar ethey important. THey are putting out
fires in the body, basically. How do AO control inflamation.
Inflamation is complex, it involves genes being turned on.
A cell membrane of an inflammatory cell, the oxidants on the
outside . On the inside , cell components becoming oxidised,
by hydrogen peroxide produced during an infection say.
Or the oxidents produced by cigarette smoking. In the cell
are transcription factors. One is nuclear-factor-kappaB, NFKB.
Many genes in the cells have a sensitive region on them for NFKB,
when attached to the gene , it gets turned on. Normally NFKB
is kept quiet by an inhibitory path. As soon as oxidents come
along , the inhibery path is removed and hte NFKB moves to the
nucleus and turns on the genes for production of inflammatory
mediators. Things like the cyto-kines, production up-regulated by
oxidant molecules in the cell. Within an infection, we produce
oxidents to kill the bug , bu tthose oxidants have the capacity for
further upregulating the immune response if they're not controlled.
AO can control them, stop the breakdown of NFKB
activation, reduce the degree to which cell components are
oxidised which is also a trigger for inflammation.
Omega3s help to tone down the prduction of cytokines, from
inflammatory cells and also stabilize NFKB and its
Now for genetics. My genetics is from the spin of the dice.
Which sperm hits which egg and produced my genotype.
You are stuck with it, and your ability to produce cytrokines
in any situation. In a gene there are polymorphisms ,
a single base change in the promoter region of the gene.
The promotor is the switch that turns the gene on, within that
region can be various combinations of various of AGTC.
I could be 2 "green", a red and a green, or 2 reds variations.
As you move across the poltmorphisms , the biological response
gets stronger. So someone with 2 As in the TNFalpha gene will tend
to produce more TNFA in a given context compared to someone
with one copy of it, or none. THese polymorphisms are hard-wired into our
genetics that will control the strength of our response , throughout
our lives. No matter the stimulus, whether cigarette smoke
or an infection, person A will have a bigger response than
person B. This was really looked at first in late 1980s ,
a whole new range of genes has been described .
The genotype associated with raised cyctokine profuction or poor
disease outcome a list of them. As far as TNA is concerend
if you have an A allele in your genetic makeup you will tend
experience a stronger inflamatory response, to a stimulusof infection
or injury or even just old age.
Our genetics and the amount of body fat we have may create a
time-bomb for future ill health or inflamation being above what it
should be. Men are not as tough as they think they are.
A study in 2000 in journal SHOCK, people who hacve developed
sepsis an overwhelming response to a hospital acquired infection.
Mortality rates of people with polymorphisms in lymphotoxin-alpha
gene , one of the drivers of inflamation. You either have a G
or an A. People with AA, from mum and dad as opposed to
GA only inherited from 1 parent, they have a higher mortality amongst
the men. Look at the women , not so high, women are protected against
this genetic effect. I did a study with an abdominal surgeon,
simply lookig at interluken6 production , post operatively.
Preoperativelt, with te 2 genotypes we could identify , either GG
or AG , A being the inflamatory allele. Those with an A had a bigger
response than those ith GG. So every time you had a challenge,
with that phenotype, tou would have larger response.
As you get old you get more inflamed. Biologically , inflamation
does increase as you get older.
The level of C-reactive protein in the bloodstream of healthy
volunteers at medical school. They're not infcted or obviously
inflamed in anyway.
18-29, 30 -49,50 - 84, the Creactive protein , increases steadily
across the age range, highly significant effect.
Raised blood fats are a risk factor for arthro-sclerosis also tested
across the agrs. Inflamation occurs naturally as you get older.
An Italian study looking at phenotype and longevity in a huge
range of Italian subjects. Ages 60 to 80 , 81 to 99 and over 100.
Genotype as far as Interluken6 is concerned, where you can
either have a C or a G. If CC you have lower inflamation
than GG, and in the middle if you just have one copy .
For the men 1/4 are CC, 1/2 CG and 1/4 GG.
The next age range the pattern stays the same, but go above 99
the number of GG has decreased , because they have died.
Wheras the proportion of CC increases because they've survived.
so for men if you have an inflamatory genotype you're less
likely to live to a ripe old age.
For women, clearly god is a woman.
There is no change in the pattern as you go across the age bands.
As you age, your leg arteries start to clog up , find it harder to
walk at a normal pace. With the grim reaper behind you,
if you smoke or are obese, you have to run faster.
Chronically raised blood glucose and a direct poor in AOs , let the grim
reaper catch you earlier. Good sources of AOs are fruit and veg.
Some examples of how fish-oil allows you to walk faster.
I met up with a vascular surgeon , working on peripheral vascular
disease. People who have difficulty walking without pain, walk
briskly and they get extreme pain in their legs. Because the arteries there
ar efull of artheroma plaques blocking the arteries. In his studies
he had a treadmill , gradually increasing the angle of the base.
Got people to walk on it at a certain speed , via metronome ,
for as long as they could, without pain. We fed his patients 6gm of
fish oil a day for 3 months. in that time they could double the walking
distance to go without pain. Then we went to the genetics , and thse
with inflamatory genotypes are the ones who benifited most from
having fish oil.
What is the effect of vitamin B12 on inflammation, as people get
older they tend to have their vitamin ? going down , is there a correlation?
I cant think of a reason why B12 would influence inflamation, either way, neg or pos. Its importany in cell growth , so it might influence some of the
cells in the IS, more work needs to be done.
Its vitamin A that is exceedingly important in immune function.
People keep going on about vit C being important in infection and IS,
but there is hardly any evidence at all that C does anything for the IS.
If you have scurvy , then your IS is shot to bits. Vit E is important because
its an AO. Trials in the third world involving vit A , where they've
improved the immune function in huge populations of children
just by giving them vit A.
For food products that have non-food in them , does that mean not enough
vitamins included, ??? and building up problems?
There is no evidence that vitamins cause obesity. Obesity is due to energy
intake exceeding energy expenditure. There is a little evidence that
obesity and genetics can be connected. As far as obesity is concerned. People
tend to think of energy in terms of running . I used to run marathons
it puts up your energy expenditure by a small amount, that is running 26
miles. The main part of your energy expenditure is your resting
metabolic rate, just staying alive, is about half your energy expenditure.
If you eat a lot its very difficult to exercise enough to get rid of
its effects. Studies have shown that every time you eat , you
get hotter. Have a meal and you waste about 15% of it just as increased
metabolism , absorbtion of amino acids, glucose etc. Eat a cold
meal and you get just as hot as eating a cold meal.
As you get older, that effect gets smaller. Your appetite stays the same
so it means you get fatter. When I was a student they were trying to find out
what made people fat, and the question is still not answered,
other than intake is greater than expenditure.
Is their psychology there?
Can I think myself thin perhaps.
A sort of evolutionary question, animals like us, very much requir e
oxygen , why should oxygen and therefore oxidants be such a problem ?
wouldn't evolution got rid of that problem along the way.
Within our bodies are very powerful AO systems. We talk about them
in our diet but in our body there are enzymes like superoxide-disputase
that gets rid of superoxide one of the free radicals. Glutothione is a very
important AO , made from 3 amino acids, that we get in our diet.
Levels of glutothione in the liver are very high indeed and in the blood
stream. so we already have AO defences. If you have a load of
vitamin C it doesn't really boost your defences , it simply makes you
make lots of oxalic acid, the end of the biological process.
I'm not sure there is a problem , why do we get old, why do we
fall apart. We're only supposed to be here so many years.
You can't live forever, whatever faddish diet you take up.
The fad thing now is very restricted calory intake?
In the USA there is a low calory society, living on just over 1000
calories a day. How miserable it must be. When one of them dies,
the rest must get very concerned, because of what they could have eaten all
Isn't part of the reasoning , to reverse some effects, such as diabetes,
have a low intake , and reverse the insulin resistance?
There is an argument for short periods of time of low intake.
But those people think they can increase their lifespan by
reducing their calory intake. We do correlations between metabolic rate
of animals and there is an inverse correlation , lower the heart rate,
the higher the survival. i wouldn't recommend it. The more you know about
science, the more complicated it is. The less you know about it, the simpler
it all is.
Would high doses of vitamin C help combat cancer , or help tissue
A lot of cancer treatments involve either generation within the body
free radicals or the administering of them in some form
of oxident stress. So there is probably an argument there
for increasing the level of Vit C , simply to compensate for that,
and protect the healthy tissues that are not being treated.
I've no evidence on tissue growth effect.
Do you have any take on epigentics as that came in after observations
of mass starvation in Holland?
Epigenetics is very big in Soton, a major promoter of it was
Prof David Barker. At the beginning i was very sceptical .
In 1944 Holland, prior to D-Day, the Dutch were very active in
one area of Holland. Then there was the Arnham landings , that got
defeated. The Nazis then punished that part of Holland by
cutting off the food supply. Within that area were women who were
pregnant on a calory intake per day of about 800 calories, vastly inferior
to requirement. The children survived and after the war , they were
studied in comparison to the children born in other areas of Holland , not so
affected. I did not believe him , unless in the 2 areas of Holland
have different disease patterns. But he said they do have different
patterns of disease. The same ethnic group, bu tthe ones who had a
period of starvation , during pregnancey, and carried that with them
later , higher diabetes, higher schizophrenia and another condition I
forget now what. They now know the mechanism in that post
fertilisation genes become methylated i ncertain posiyions,
that supresses the degree the gene can be activated or increases it.
Folic acid is quitre a powerful switcher on or reduces gene activity .
Thats why , most countries add folic acid to flour , but in the UK
its not. There are 2 forms of anaemia , one is pernicious which is fatal
and the other is folic-acid deficient anaemia. For the Uk they felt
supplementing the whole population with folic acid, they would not
be able to tell apart the 2 forms of anaemia, and a result people might
die unnesessarily. i thought that was a good move for another
reason. If you can increase the activity of genes or decrease it
by feeding folic acid, then you may be permanently switching on
certain genetic profiles in the population, and you won't be able
to counteract it.
Once the epigenetic traits have got into the standard genetics ,
then its there for succeeding generations?
I think it takes a long time for these effects to wear off. This is the latest
sexy area in genetic science.
Can you throw any light on the effect of immuno-suppressants on
Infamatory Bowel Disease?, how they work and also could diet
be benificial to people with IBD. ?
Second part first, studies have shown , that fish-oil supplements
reduces the symptoms of Chrone's disease and also cystic fibrosis.
Immuno-suppressants don't always work. The IS is made up of
antibody producing cells called B-cells and T-cells that go to where the
trouble is. Immuno-supressants tend to knock out the Tcells.
Immuno-suppressants for tissue implants is because new tissue is
treated as an invading organism and will be attacked by T-cells.
So if they stop the Tcells acting , then the graft is likely to take.
The down-side is the T-cells have othe rfunctions, they kill
viruses , kill bacteria ,kill cancer cells, so swings and
roundabouts here. People with suppressant treatment need monitoring
all the time.
I'll put fish-oil on my diet? ??? , I've never been advised of this ?
The only effective way is taking fish-oil capsules. The downside of
fish-oil consumption is you tend to smell of fish though.
With so-called cod-liver oil capsules, you look on the ingredients
list , yes there is cod-liver oil in there bu also a lot of other fish-oil.
Is there some sort of significant medical difference there?
Yes, people often confuse cod-liver oil with fish-oil. Cod liver oil
comes from the liver of cod. Fish oil comes from the bodies
of small fish and is totally different in its EPA and EPDHA
content, the 2 principal omega3 fatty acids. You get more of
those 2 components in fish-oil rather than cod-liver oil.
Cod-liver oil contains far less of the omega3 fatty acids than
Do you have to take anything along with these oils, to cross
the gut barrier process.?
No it gets absorbed in the duodenum nd the top bit of the
digestive system by being combined with bile acids , the same as
the other fats in your diet.
I read somewhere that if you don't take something , I forget what ,
with cod-liver oil capsules , it doesn't transfer?
Perhaps another product they sell , but not required.
If you want to increase your omega3s in your body tissues ,
your cell membranes, you should cut right down on your omega6
intake. Because omega3 and 6 compete for inclusion in the
cell membrane . So if you're taking loads of corn oil
as well as fish oil it may have no effect at all.
How do these oils know which bpart of the body to go to?
We're making cell membranes all the time and made from
whatever is passing.
I was thinking of fat collecting as spare-tyre rather than in your
toes or something?
I talked of the inflamatory nature of adipose tissue , the adipose
tissue as spare tyre produces far more cytokines than the adipose
tissue generally under the skin . This is why visceral obesity is
such bad news for diabetes etc.
There is the visceral fat around the liver etc and other body fat?
There are regional differences , subcutaneous fat is different.
So if you're looking at your spare tyre , that would be subcutaneous
fat overlying perhaps the visceral fat?
Yes you can't see the underlying bad fat.
That's what the BMI is supposed to point up?
Not so much BMI but waist-hip ratio is the important
ratio, whether you are a pear or an apple person.
Its better to be a pear than an apple. Women survive better than
men , nature is against men.
So why do women have it better?
Some have tried to poopoo this, by saying men are risk takers
and women aren't. Men are body abusers more than women,
men used to smoke more than women. Al lsuch factors come into
mortality rates , so may not be true. But from the cytokine data
we've seen there is a suggestion that women produce lower levels than men.
Cytokines have this ability to act against an individual, then that
may be part of the answer. Certainly women live longer than men, evening up
a bit with the proportion of women smoking these days.
Do you have any take on the Sardinia Island apparent longevity
anomaly, purely genetics or Meditteranean diet?
There is no such thing as the Mediterranean diet now because everone has
hamburgers these days. The true Med diet was a pint of olive
oil , grilled herrings or sardines and "good" crisp bread.
A question on inflamation and nutrition nd the nightshade plant
family, peppers, potatoes , tomatoes. Do they , via
a chemical in them , switch on inflamation or no .
I don't think so. Inflamation can only be turned on as a stimulus
to the IS.
When they talk about osteo-arthritis ???, if O-A is caused by chronic inflamation , and is caued by switching on some of these enzymes
, advice about not eating peppers and similar. I was just wondering
what the chemical was, or is it a myth?
A myth, perhaps put out by interested parties.
08 January 2018 , Simon Protheroe , Hampshire County Council : Highway Maintainence, , an overview.
19 people, 2 hours
I'm a highways engineer with Hampshire Highways dept.
I'p part of the routine maintainence group, reactive maintainence, we get the
pot hole treports, issues with vegetation , flooding and drainage.
We're the eyes on te ground to resolve any issues that occur.
History of this starts from tackways that have bev=come such by ueage.
A lot of our current highways have evolved through this pre-existing
structure. The Romans were the first to introduce a full , proper
highway layout, with a proper construction matrix and plans.
A pic of a Roman road, doing well considering its age, Sian Helen ?
in South Wales.
The Highways Act of 1555 introduced the rights of a person
to pass without hindrance over a piece of land.
That is the definition of an English highway, common-law
definition , not qritten down anywhere but it is enacted by law.
In 1555 every Parish was enabled to have 2 highway surveyors,
which over 4 days each year, between Easter and 24 June had to
oversee the entire parish workforce, fit and able-bodied , men
women and children to do HM. The parishes were responsible for
all the highways within their parish, whether major trunk road
beetween towns or just a local trackway. The parishes had no
resource and very little power or money to do this maintsinence.
So lobbying was done for turnpikes, toll roads that enabled
small companies to be set up , to pay a toll to, to do this
HM. Only 3 or 4 miles a time, rare a turnpike corporation
would have 20 miles at the very maximum.
Over the course of 150 years, turnpikes were the only way
to be maintained. This only applied to the major link roads
and some arterial routes around places like London.
In 1888 The Local Government Act, counties would take HM
off the parishes. Also applied to districts and burroughs, that has remained such.
Roman Paving , the foundation is made of large boulders, designed not
to fit together, includes lots of voids, allowing the roadbase to drain
water away. Smaller layer of compacted stone, higher up , that are
impermeable. They are protested by a layer of flagstones on top.
Roman paving was constructed well and does survive well.
It did require maintainence and when the romans left, many roads
fell into disrepair.
THomas Telford had an original idea, he introduced capstones at the
bottom, to protect the ground formation . 20cm or so diameter and
placed vertically , paked closely, to form the foundation.
Then coarser stones, smaller plced over and compacted down .
Then a surface coarse of 5cm stone, embedded into the road top.
Telford recognised that drainage was key. Having a dry road means you;ll
have a stable road and a strong road. If you have a wet road it will
deteriorate and disintegrate very quickly. A lot of HM is dependent
on keeping your roads dry.
Macadam and macadamising is the main process adopted for the turnpikes, 1807
to 1870. Macadam felt there was no need for foundation stones att he
base of the road, that well=sized and well-sorted stones of approx 5 to 10
cm laid together and well compacted, there was no need for the
base as the loading would be evenly distributed to the grund.
Macadams roads also required being dry, including drainage
ditches. He introduced a camber to the road, for water to flow
away . The French had a go at making wonderful roads, a
man called Tragorstd. Unfortunately he failed to recognise the
importance of drainage. He insisted his roads were trenched like the
sunken lanes of the British countryside. This created nightmares
for his lengthsmen to maintain. The stones were chipped by hand,
the work parish children would have done along wiht the women.
Men would have transported and l;aid the stone, spreading evenly
across. Part of the Highways act allowed the surveyors , of each
parish, to mine or quarry stone and gravel from local pits
without hindrance. However they had to do this fairly.
The later act of 1662, introduced penalties , fines on these
surveyors if deriliction of duty was found, ie taking bribes
or not doing a good job of it. A lot of responsibility was laid on them in htis later act.
These days its easy to get grsaded stone, done by machine.
A lot of thought went into the highways acts, into wheel sizes
and diameters of wheels as it was found that skinny wheeled carts
would dig in and rut the surface. Breaking it up a lot more
quickly than a wider wheeled wagon. So a width of wheel
was demanded and this was adopted throughout the UK.
The Highways Act 1980, our bible, we work from stil ltoday.
Supported by some other acts. THere are a few types of modern
road construction. mostly a stone-base course, made of grade1
graded aggregate, 75mm in size. Then a surface course, including a
binder coarse under it. The surface coarse is the road strength, takin gthe
compressio nforce of passing vehicles.
The typical road surface today is called ashphalt-concrete. A
generic term for any bitumous make-up that has stones within it.
There is an amount of sand content, an amount of stone content,
and bitumin content. Bitumen content is typically no mor ethan 10%.
It is designed to fill and bind the stones which may or may not be
pre-coated with bitumen. The idea behind good road construction
is you don't want voids. Voids create weakness, when pressure is
placed upon them , the force can transfer thru these voids.
Hot-rolled ashphalt is a more sand derrived AC wiht a high pecentage of
sand, something like 70%, meaning its heavily compacted.
When laying hot-rolled ashphalt, its laid out from the machine
, then a series of coated chippings ,about 20mm are evenly dispersed , pressed and
rolled into the surface. This is our preferred surface as H engineers.
Its one of the most durable , strongest st and resistant surfaces we have in our
arsenal. In some places it can look terrible, but is still retaing its strength because of
its densly compacted nature. The fine matrix makes it very water-proof,
very few void sp[aces within it.
Stone mastic ashphalt is slightly different because it includes
within it, fibres, very effective at finding and keeping the strain
and stresses of compression throughout the matrix. It does that
laterally and vertically and all directiond between. SMA hasa higher
stone content and the stones are what binds together, designed to
be irregularly shaped, they mesh together and create a stronger matrix because of
Rigid construction , like the M27, a perfect example in its
bare form . The surface is so strong, the way it transfers load is a bit
different. Concrete slabs have a very high wear resistance.
The surface now on the M27 is as it was when built, not been changed.
The slabs are starting to reach the end of their life but its been a long
and hard life. Concrete was a favoured method through the 60s,
when the housing estates were developed, along with the motorways.
They form the basis of a lot of the roads today, called
composite roads. A work pic of mine, as usual of a pot-hole
these days. A surface of AC but showing thru are telltale lines
of the joints which have recently been filled. A concrete
bed below. A rigid road base and flexible road course on top.
A photo of Havant Rd on Hayling Island. A water leak that occured
last year. Surface course with binder , added on top of the original
concrete base. Originally a concrete road and then smoothed over
, not a thin layer, but binder surface coarse on top.
Slabs and block paviours , very popular in scenic areas, such as town
centres. Also in modern residential estates, however its the
bane of our lives. More traditionally cobbles, like Quay St
in Lymington , I don't believe thats changes in several
So load distribution. When you have rigid pavement , the load is
distributred evenly throughout the slab. Unfortunately the slab ends,
at that makes a focus point. This is where sub-base is imperative, if it
fails , that slab will start tilting. Typically these slabs are about
7m long x2.5m wide and I've seen them rocking. In this rocking
there is stress on the reinforcement in the slab and then the concrete
is likely to fail. When you see cracks forming , thats due to differential
movement in the slab. This cracking can also be due to temperature
changes. Flexible road is more adaptive, it allows the peak of
pressure to flow through it. Pressure is greatest beneath a wheel ,
but with multi-wheel there will be different peaks and troughs of pressure
off those wheels.
Ashphalt deteriorates over time, going brittle with age, brittle when
exposed to cold , or too much sunlight. More brittleness means its
a lot less adaptive and a lot less able to transfer vehicle pressures ,
passing over. Micro-cracks start appearing and the stone content starts
to be plucked out, then localised defects. This failure transfers to
the binder course at the surface. Each council has different
categorisations of defects and different priorities.
Hampshire's are 40 to 50mm , Soton is up to 70mm so roads in
Soton will get a lot worse looking before actioning. Thats all in response to
their risk assessments and other safety related stuff. I just maintain
them to what I'm allowed to.
Another cause of plucking is wetness. If the road is under a tree, it
can create a shadow where it stays damp for a longer period of time.
If you drive through a wood , and the surface deteriorates its due to the
road surface being wet for longer. That moisture is deteriorating the
asphalt, then allowing the stones to be plucked out.
Spalling is a reflection of a failure at the base of a road. The surface
ashphalt is flexible , more flexible in summer , less so in winter
due to the temp. But a crumbley surface shows its been overloaded
because the foundation has collapsed. That may be the constuctor's
fault rather thantraffic's fault, insufficient compaction , or some
voids present or water ingress from a leak of a crack somewhere else
or a utility company has dug a trench that has washed out the base.
You'll get more spalling in older roads. In newer roads you can get
more deformation as the result of something called heave.
A pic of such an area of damage, still a good running surface ,
but the affected area is soon to break out into a pothole.
The more spalling, the more water allowed in to the roadbase ,
followed by an exagerated deterioration which will continue until
you deal with it. This will need a complete edge reconstruction or
haunch repair as we call it. So requiring 40mm of the surface course
removed, 60mm of binder course and then further 100mm at least
of the roadbase type1 of earlier, could be as deep as 200mm to
repair it properly. The reason behind that failure pictured
is its seen a considerable amount of HGV traffic on only a
residential road, because of a developement down the road.
Al lthe lorry loads of muck , brick deliveries etc, all
going over it. Developers do pay a fee for developing and
some of that money goes to improving the roads, some to
repairing such damage as this.
A concrete slab failure , a composite road , surfaced over
with AC. Spalling again, reflective of the concrete base which has
failed. There is 80mm of deflection within the hollows. That is further
worsened by some of the material being newer material of previous
repairs, that had heaved up creating 120mm of height change.
This is due to buses, purely due to them stopping at that point,
a bus stop. As they arrive , they break , just normal
gentle sedate breaking for you on the bus. But under the bus in the
road , large localised repeated pressure , causing this localised
failure. Also due to the deteriorated nature of the concrete slab
beneath it. You can see the location of the joints in the
underlying concrete road , the slab has completely failed.
Another bus-stop slab failure, a freshly resurfaced road 2 years prior to
this photo, deep intencse black layer with a puddle within it.
The pooling water has liquified the base under the slab , every
time a bus goes over it a little mud volcano erupts as the road base
gets forced out thru the cracks.
Reflective cracking - a composite road on which you can see the
main slabs but broken out into sub-slabs, observed as reflective cracking.
So someone resurfaced the road, keeping the concrete base, it didn't need
any work. But it did need work, it looks ok for 10 years and then
eventually, through changes in the weight distributin in the slabs
and temp. Concrete under the tarmac , cracks at a different rate,
causing these fractures. You can see where the slabs are broken
and need repairing, but it really needs a new concrete slab beneath it.
Concrete slabs are onerous to repair, because of the time required to cure.
Once the public have a road they like to keep using it. So we remove the
slab and replace it with a flexible construction, which inevitably
leads to cracking around its edge , because of the discontinuity of road type.
But we can't allow concrete to cure for a month. The only use for concrete these
days ,generally, is for cattle grids of the New Forest, where we have no other
option than to set in concrete foundation.
Vegetation can also be our enemy. Not just tree roots but simple
weeds as well. A weed grown thru 100mm of ashphalt, all without
sunlight. So its imperative when screening our aggregates , it is
completely free of weeds. Some introduced plants such as Japanese
knotweed can break up ashphalt and also concrete. We have a log
on our GIS system of every piece of knotweed within or adjascent to
the highways of Hants. Bamboo is another one. If omeone has bamboo
in their garden and they allow it to grow to such an extent it
interferes with the integrity of the highway, they are then liable for
that damage, and we can recharge them. Trees are slightly different
as we like to keep our trees. However sometimes we have to
rid them as matter of public safety.
Asphalt can deform, a patch about 6 or 7 years old, 14mm stone
matrix AC. In some places its started cracking at the edges of the
hollow. The centre is depressed 150mm . On investigation we found a
large hole under it, of depth 4.5 feet. The public sewer beneath that
had broken , the pipe collapsed and the watrer was washing away
the road base, 2.5m down. Over time the road lost its foundation
, washed down the public sewer and the void opened up.
We quickly got Southern Water out to fix the problem.
Temporary reinstatement . Often with utility works you haven't got the
materials you need to create a good repair. Utility cos have the right to
put their equipment in the highway. We don't stop them, we
co-ordinate them , having the public interest at heart, limiting the
amout of disruption. S oSouthern Electric have made a new connection to
a new-build house . They did not have access to the tarmac plant
at the time so laid in some cold lay tarmac. Their allowed 6
months before upgrading to permanent reinstatement.
This failed i n3 weeks , on Boxing Day and the hole is .2m deep
and 1.5m long in a main A-road. We got them to fix it quickly.
The original failure was due to the cold and the amount of water ,
water got into the edge seams , where they cut out and then it
froze. Freeze-thaw is an additional method of failure with regards
Another Xmas callout the A272 in Cheriton , a very large
tree came down. We have to keep an eye on trees generally
, not just on the highway but trees adjascent too.
We have a duty of care, if we notice they are dangerous , we inform
the landowner and get them to remediate. If they don't , we can
step in using the powers of the Highway Act , to make safe in the
public interest, we tehn like to get our money back.
Flooding is quite common. It can be as simply due to a can
or a bottle in a pipe, obstructing the flow. It can be capacity,
too much water in the system. Or simply blocked by leaves.
We often find issues with tree roots. We can usually deal with
these problems, using a jetter , high pressure and suction water tanker.
I think it can use 1500psi pressure hoses, to blast through the
pipes and use suction to clear it all out.
Roots totally filling the pipes , then you need special tools,
root cutters. A different type of jetter that can cut thru roots
using a sort of flail , driven by the water pressure.
With such a blocked drain, it prevents the system from working and
you often see , the surcharging of water thru gullies in hte road,
skip a section of blocked pipe and then go down the next set of
drains. It is often at someone's property where it gets to the
lowest point or pool at the side of the road, in a place where it used to
drain, but is full.
Road Traffic Collisions. This one, a drunk driver, in Waterlooville took out 2 sets
of traffic lights and 2 sections of pedestrian barrier. We have the power to
recharge the responsible parties, typically covered by the insurance,
failing that the person is liable.
A hit and run incident, unrechargable , someone nearly drove themselves off
Fly-tipping. In this case a pile of fresh horse manure dumped in th e
road , near Bursledon. We have the responisibility to keep the
roads clear , but in instances of flytipping occur it is the district
or borough's responsibility to clean the roads. Often they cannot
work on open main roads as its deemed too dangerous. In those cases we
work with them by closing the road, allowing them to clear it.
In this case myself and 2 contractors spent 45 minuutes shovelling.
Planned and routine maintainence. Planned is when we do resurfacing
works, surface dressing works, rejuventaion works , also
fixing drainage problems. A prime example is Hambledon
recently. Serious groundwater flooding a couple of years back,
we designed a large-scale scheme , dug up the whole road length ,
implemented a large drainage scheme .
The "loose chippings" signs of surface dressing , a method of waterproofing
roads that are nearing the end of their life, but gives them another
5 to 10 years , depending on the traffic levels. You lay out a bitumous
emuulsion , you pass over with a chipper, like in hot-rolled ashphalt
, distribures evenly a layer of stone chip[pings, across the
freshly laid surface. That bitumous emulsion acts as an adhesive
and when coupled with a roller. The public usage also presses the
chips into the emulsion, as it takes a while to set, hours to days.
Sometimes to reduce the amount of loose chippings , a second coat
of emulsion is run over those chippings , to adhere better. It is
more expensive but it too adds longevity.
Micro-ashphalt dressing - a bitumous slurry which contains a lot
oof fine stone chippings. Its laid a lot thicker , about 40mm as
opposed to a single layer of 4mm stone. Its heavily used in
residential areas and is a durable finish. It almost looks
like new road. It is difficult engineering for all these surface
dressing processes as it requires us to calculate the existing
road heights , and new road hweights. Whether the existing
drainage systems, kerb-lines etc are suitable for footway
levels, are suitable for the new road surface height. When
#new roads are constrructed , they are given an amount of
adjustment room to allow for future resurfacings.
So we don't have to rebuild the network when we go for these types
Jet-patching - similar slurry as used in micro-ashphalt can be deployed from
a nozzle. It can be manually controlled or on a boom arm , its very quick,
trafficable within 5 minutes of being laid. It needs minimal comp[action
and is perfect for quick-fixes. Often a jet patching crew will
go along a road before a surface dressing contractor comes along.
To fill in the defects that would express themselves thru the surface
otherwise. Otherwise we have to cut out and patch using the
traditional method. Jet patching has been only used for the last
5 years and has become very popular because its very cost
effective. As a county we only pay for the volume of stone
we use, its very convenient to send a jet-patcher down a road .
such pot-hole filling does not mean the road is off our radar ,
because we know its starting to fail, but at least we knpw the
public is safe after the jet-patcher has gone down there.
The machinery for road-surface resurfacing. A planer , passing round
one of its tungsten teeth. They're mopunted on a drum at all
sorts of angles. They break up the road surface, feen onto a conveyor
belt , disposed of by the leading lorries. The planer drum is fixed
i n position, unadjustable . The tracks move , in height terms , to get
fine adjustment , an accuracy of 5mm of planed off height.
This is imperative, because of the margins we are allowed in resurfacing levels.
The thinest layer we would resurface on a carriageway is 40mm typically.
After the planer, its swept. Road sweeper vehicles have very stong
suction, they can lift whole manhole covers, out of the road, so they
have to switch off , going over them.
A paver, this one abroad does 7.5m spread . Typically in the UK
we like to lay no more than 3.5m at a time. We have issues regarding the
temp of the bitumen and AC we're laying at the extremeties of the
paver. The hot ashphalt is tipped into the front hopper, then a series of
augers that distribute it thru the machine , onto the back where
its levelled off and smooth tamped with a boom. Keeping the width down
to 3.5m increases the life of the surface.
A thermal image of a recently laid road surface, the highest temp is
150 deg. We struggle with temp as the trucks we use aren't insulated.
The material we receive starts at 150 deg, by the time we receive it
, just covered by tarpaulin, its down to about 120 deg. By about noon
it dropped to about 90 deg and by that point, if still doing repairs
i nthe afternoon, you're doomed ot a failed repair. In that situation the
material cannot be compacted enough. Thats why you see
road crews resurface working early morning and little action in the afternoons.
There are hot-boxes that are gas burners on lorries, keep that material
hot throughout the day, however ashphalt doe sdeteriorate
thru time, it cant be kept hot forever. So we still suffer from
material degradation by the end of a day.
Recently we've engineered ashphalt with admixtures, clever people at
Tarmac etc ,have managed to get the point of laying , to be cooler ,
nearer 90 deg. Its more expensive because of the additional chemicals ,
but its more cost-effective because we can keep it warmer, as not loosing
its heat so quickly as readily as the higher temp material.
It now coming into favour. For large scale paving, the lorries used
are insulated. The 20 ton tipper trucks are insulated, they can sit for
hours and no problem , usually. This is all a challenge for small
crews and small jobs.
After laying , its vibro-rolled, after tamped and levelling by the paver.
The drums of the road roller have a vibrating mechanism inside ,
to further compact. For hot AC, it gets the chipping sinto the surface.
The drums are constantly wetted to prevent from sticking and sinking
in. It also cools the ashphalt a bit, not enough tso affecting the final
surface , but enough to prevent them getting stuck.
Hedge cutting is often done by the local farmer, having grown the
hedge and having the rights to the hedge. Grass cutting is often done be
a contractor for the county or district , by agreement.
Flail mower is used for both hedges and verges, a drum with chains
, several thousand RPM , breaking all in its way.
Generally now , just one cut a year in hte countryside . In urban
areas its more frequent. Hedge cutting is only done outside bird nesting
season , which I think is oct to march. It can be done in htat season if it
can be proven there are no birds nesting in the hedge.
Gritters. Soton do dry gritting , distributing rock salt on to the highway.
Hants is a bit more advanced , we distribute a wet mix of rocksalt and
brine. The brine is stored in side tanks of the vehicle and salt in a hopper.
If it snows, the ploughs go out. We also have local farmers, on
contract, to do snow ploughing, when on the ground, if they are
awake and would like to be paid.
We licence the use of skips, scaffolding , flowers, banners and structures
on the highway. Such as building-site hoardings to a gazebo for a
Streetworks coordination - trying to keep the network flowing, given
the demand of all the statutory undertakers have on the network,
repairing, installing, maintaining and improving utility networks.
We are also bound ot do safety inspections. Inspection of the
condition and safety of the highway. Typically a country lane will
have a yearly inspection , a residential road in a housing
estate also yearly. All counties now are encouraged, by national
government and a change in the funding process, to adapt their
inspection and asset maintainence and knowledge t be more
adaptive. If an area is deemed to be getting more footfall
, it should also receive more safety inspection. eg an A
road will be inspected 12 times a year at least, but does it
need more. Adaptive can mean by the management of the
data they hold on the network and the way the network is used.
How large is the organisation of Hampshire Highways?
Hundreds of people, in all areas. The customer services side
based in Winchester, reactive and routine maintainance tyhat I'm part of ,
in 4 main depots , Totto, Hook, Bishop's Waltham and Petersfield.
There are smaler depots at Andover and Havant. THere are also sme
drop-in centres , for all staff, dotted around the country, dependent on their
needs. The planned maintainance team also in Winchester.
Theree is a legal team devoted to highways law and claims issues.
So at least 250 people.
Planned maintainence is structured like building projects?
Hampshire Highways is a joint venture of the council in partnership
with Skanska? , recently won the contract. It was up for renewal
in August , other potentials were Balfour Beatty, Amey the previous incumbent holder,
and up to 12 year contract, 7 years with 5 year possible extension.
The Highways Dept has to loose 19 million out of its budget for the
next 2 years. 19 is a considerable proportion , the amount of savings
per dept throughout the county are uniform , the same percentage
funding cut per dept. I think its about 15% of our bufget.
Part of the contract is about innovation and with this modern concept
of adaptive asset management, that is required to get the funding
from government, better funding if better managed highways,
so that is the focus on. More adaptive, more proactive and more
preventative to our maintainence. Like using the jet-packers to make
the roads safer , and by this patching prevent the deterioration
and worsening. Depending on the type of failure, you might be able
to surface dress the road, to give even longer life.
We're still exploring ways such as this.
Do materials, like planings, get re-used?
Hants is being innovative, we have a tarmac plant, not quite
operational . Its not a proper tarmac plant, its a recycling plant,
it takes the road planings and creates whats called a
hydraulically bound material out of them. A bit different to
the bitumous binders I showed earlier. They have been tested and
tried and is about to strart rolling out across the UK in more
numbers. An issue is , Hants council has to give ourselves
a waste-handling licence to transport the planings , recyle at our
new plant , then sell them to other counties for a revenue stream
or recycle withion our own schemes. It cant be used in some places, like the
surface course of roads is not appropriate, so footways and less
trafficked areas. The quality is not as good as a fresh material.
S oa matter of using the right thing in the right p[lace.
The binder coarse can be made of it, and we will be regularly
using it there. The binder course is typically 1/3 the size of the
surface course, 60mm binder and 40mm surface coarse.
I've seen out on the roads , vehicles with big signs on them
saying road surveying. I've not managed to determine whether
they are sniffing for gas leaks or penetrating radar for voids detection
under the roads?
Its neithe rof those , its surface scanning , measuring the deterioration of
the surface, not for voids. That then feeds into the asset management software
and becomes a check for or against resurfacing .
THe only time I've seen a road crew doing a pothole filling job,
rake away the loose bits. But when traffic creates a pothole
the sides are either vertical or chamfered outwards. But I
rxpected them to chisel , to make an undercut around the
periphery of the hole , to give some key , or it would just lift
straight out. But they didn't and I get the impression they don't
do that anywhere?
Typically a patch is cut. In America they don't cut,
they believe the rough edges give a better adhesion. Everything is
coated with a tack coat , a bond coat around the edge ,
creates a waterproof seal and allows the 2 parts to stick together.
Its a lot easier to create a waterproof seal on a fresh cut edge
than a rough one.
The cut could be canted over, rather than vertical?
But then you cant get the compaction . The vertical edges are
what keeps the compaction into the patch. Loose that and the
edges of the patch will fail. If you've seen anyone just putting stuff into a
hole, thats just a temporary repair, not classed as a permanent fix.
Sometimes such a repair will last only a couple of weeks?
That can depend on how wet the foundation isvor how hot or
cold the tarmac is at laying.
The railway track out there has notorious problems because of underground
streams , running off Portswood high ground and in railway
engineering terms they call that a wet-bed, and it all disturbs the
ballast with the bouncing of the trains at high speed, is that the same term
in your area of operation?
Its much the same for us.
There is a notorious bit of road at the bottom of Bevois Hill ,
whee there is a major underground stream and all the ground there
is sand. It simply washes out the sand and every now and then there
is a huge cavern, sort of half the size of this room emerges, perhaps every
We have isues on Hayling Island with running sand, similar problems.
Same problem with the railtrack at Swaythling, having to put in
stones for drainage purposes?
What considerations do you have to make with different underlying
soils like clay ground ?
That is down to the designers behind planned maintainence. In my
work i put back what is there, I'm not allowed to improve much at all.
If you do see an increase of the pliability of the soil , if clay it
would have a certsin California Bearing Ratio or a Hang-Sheer Bear ? ratio
where it would be calculated how much strenght the material has .
Often,if not strong enough , it will be removed. For instance the
new Bordon-Whitehill relief road , a lot was sand which was removed and
then built up with suitable stone, to make the sub-base, before laying the
road-base. In the old days t get macadamised roads over moorland, they
built rafts of wood or heather , float them , and then build the
road on top. That is still done to some extent today still. Drive over
moorland roads and you find they have an undulating nature, due to the failure of
such artificial formations below. So, for a nice smooth road, they put stone in the dips ,
and raise back to an even surface, just makes the problem worse.
You really need to stop and then start again.
If 40 ton HGVs were going down Roman roads , how would they have
fared compared to modern roads?
They'd have disintegrated straight away. The image of Havant
town centre, where the weekly market is held. No more than 7.5 ton
vehicles coming in , slow speed, once a week. Every month we
inspect , and usually 30 or 40 loose paviours every time.
Its just not suitable. You often have your modern housing
estate , with small raised tsables to slow down traffic , out
of concrete blocks or granite sets or cobbles and they will
disintegrate unde rthe bin lorry or delivery lorries.
A maintainence nightmare, a brilliant idea, fulfills the
planning criteria , adding traffic calming , but it just adds ongoing
costs ot maintainence.
Pired-up double wheels on axles distributes the load, and your
slow speed market delivery situation there is no bouncing,
compared to women in Stilletto heels and intense local pressure, whats going on there ?
The issue is you approach a slab , its fine when your on the middle of
the slab as you are spreading across the whole slab. Hit the edge,
you focu a tthe edge , the rocking starts . Slabs and blocks are only
bedded onto compacted sand, not waterproof either.
The continentals seem to be able to do block paviouring a lot
better than over here, taking slow heavy traffic ?
They probably have thicker blocks. If you have blocks
say 150mm depth , they'll bind together a lot better because they
won't be able to tilt and rock. 70mm slab or depth of block
doesn't have that going for it.
The other golden rule, seems to be, don't disturb the subbase unloess
you really have to. Long term compaction is far better than
short term vibro-rollers and flapper plates?
Yes, and utility companies are constantly difgging up /
disturbing and that contributes to wear and tear of compaction over time.
We will always have maintainence because you can never perfectly
put back what you took out.
Down the road here in Kent Rd, I don't know what the recurring
sewer problem is 5m deep , having to excavate down
with shoring and long reach Hi-Macks, do what they
have to do, fill in with compaction as much as they can , but 6 months
later a great dip in the road?
I remember the M27 being built and there was horrendous amounts of
water over the clay, so roadlaying in what was basically lakes on clay.
How has that transpired in maintainence terms over the years?
I'd expected disintegration ?
Slabs are stable ecause of their size and distributing their weight over the
sub-formation. Everything below the slabs would have bee compacted
down beforehand. Its all about compaction f the base, otherwise you
#end up wiht rocking slabs. There is an amount of movement within each
slab and also an amount of movement from expansion and contraction
from heat. Hence the putty between slabs. Different rates of movement
and they will show up this differential movement in eventual cracking.
There is an innovative surfacing that is quieter . A familiar bit of road
I regularly go down , for the same traffic , the road environment is
quieter, 100 yards away , than what it was before? It loks ordinary
ashphalt to me?
Noise from road surface is a combination of the tyres your driving on
and how the air excapes . The noise is created by trapped air
escaping from under the tyre, as it gets compressed. S o an
off-road tyre on a 4x4 is a lot noisier , as more air is trapped
and released. If you increase the texture of the road surface,
you allow more air to pass out on passage of the tyres.
And also a surface-water effect with that?
Yes, its hard to balance.
So its a sort of microstructure variation , that is making the surgface quieter?
Does that wear off with traffick usage ,and disappears over time?
Eventually yes, then as the stones get plucked out as the ashfelt
gets tired, it gets noisier again.
For the new patching materials and water ???, On my pushbike and when its really icey
when it becomes icier is it more of a problem , more slippery cycling or
It could be, it depends on the depth of water on the surface. You
will find that new ashphalt is more impervious to water than
older with its microcracks. So a newly surfaced road will be
slippier when wet , due to this imperiousity. Yes be more
careful. Some roads are less grippy when re- surfaced than
after they've worn in. Hence slippery road signs around , after
especially SMA .
I call them squidges, conflation of squirm and ridge, but if you
have a bus lane , I assumed it was due to summertime
softening of the tarmac but it humps up into ridges. A lorry
driver once told me that its due to leaks of diesel fuel
softens the ashphalt, not just a summer issue.?
Called heave. Diesel does deteriorate ashphslt, but those ridges
aren't caused by diesel leaks . Its because they are running in the
same track , an overloading of the surface, which is not strong enough
for the required use. Also the foundation could well
be failing and the bitumen is adapting to that. It deforms more
in summer and will crack more when its more brittle in winter.
One of your biggest enemies is frost, is the worst form the amount of freezing
and melting cycles over a few days, the depth of the frost or the duration
of the frost?
Its all bad. We put salt on the roads, thats bad for ashphalt in the long
How often do you manage to get money back off those that have
casued damage. ?
Our previous contracter was supposed to , but didn't and our
new contractor has not started yet, but they will. We take a police
reference number and the recharge team gets engaged
on blame,fault and billing. Billing for our time, assesments and repairs.
Street lamp damage is separate, processed by the street lighting team.
What about not necessarily criminal behavious but
vehicles goiung where they shouldn't and causing damage?
Leigh Park housing estate, Havant, designed without private cars in
mind, just public transport catered for. We can't go after everyone who
parks their car on the grass. Its cheaper for us to repair the damaged grass
verge with some stone to harden it. Discourage it ,yes, by strategic
siting of posts. In previous times there was money to increase
parking in Leigh Park, but no money now, there are plans for mor ebut
no money for them. We've seen much increased applicatins for
parking spaces in increasingly more inopportune positions.
Its costing the home-owners thousands to do so, but it does allow
them to park up. However its a source of many neighbour disputes,
because one person at the farthest point will pay for it all ,
the next door one can then get in cheaper and the original
applicant gets miffed. It causes a lot of issues, trust me.
Why are the roads in London much smoother than the ones in Soton?
Hampshire's criteria for a defect starts at 40mm , we will act on
at that point. Soton's criteria for a defect in the road is 70mm
and not bothered about repairing anything less. Generally it
depends on the local authority as to their
road maintainence standards. Involving risk-assessing, and proving, there
is no definition of a pothole in terms of size. The roads in London have
more money spent on them than county roads. Smaller network, more
concentrated , has more traffic but also more money spent on it
per road km or square km than ever the roads around here.
Is there diferent standards for the road near junctions?
No. A crossing point can be upheld to the standards of a footway
potentially. A footway defect starts at about 25mm . The get-out clause is
theyy are all visually assessed, no tape measure involved. Its what I
think by looking at it.
By footway do you mean pavement?
A pavement is an entire metalled surface , a footway is where you
walk up to the curb or a small verge separating . Carriageway is where the vehicles drive and a
footpath is remote from a carriageway.
I think Soton has 40mm for footway and 70mm for carriageway defect point.
Are areas of high-rateable value houses have better quality road surfaces
and maintainence , than low-ratebale value areas?
There might be some truth, when we start getting political.
Who shouts the most at their councillor , thats where some of this
maintainence malarky breaks down as some people kick u pa lot
of stink about nothing which you then have to spend money on
and then you get something a lot worse that no one cares about
and no money to spend on it by then anyway.
There is a political aspect to some of this and I have to kick myself
when money is spent on stuff that is irrelevant, just because someone
high-up says so and I cant say no.
Each area or district or burrough has its own pot and that is split
between the 4 depots of Hants council. Some of them spend all
the budget, some don't, some share it some won't share.
New forest road construction is inherently poor as so many of them
are just laid over gravel and nothing can be done about that
because of National Park status , which means maintainance has to
be as-is and no improvements allowed. In WW2 connecting
the airfields , concrete roads were built around Beulieu and hte roads to
Fawley Refinery but not otherwise.
I've never seen a dilapidated cattle grid, they must need some work keeping good?
I think there is 160 in the New Forest. THey've been recently
re-designed to be completely modular. One of our engineers designed them
from scratch , complete with hedgehog ramps. So pre-fabricated
sections and just bolt together. Previously they wrre bespoke or
welded , using girders and all sorts. Now they're galvanised to last a lot
longer and replaceable in sections.
I've never seen any bent "scaffold tube" , they don't seem to be
thicker gauge than scaffolding over quite an unsupported span, with no
knowledge of what weights will be going over them?
10 foot span and loaded HGVs are fine, for the modern grids anyway.
??? siding out?
Its not carried out regularly so when we get to it , it requires
further maintainence . In my area its mainly verges going over
fotways. The footways will have concrete edgings , that gets overrun
be the grass verge, driven over a few times and the ashphalt
abutting the concrete wil lhave deteriorated by being kept wet
under the spread verge. We maintain our footways at a minimum of
1.2m , typically they'rw built at 1.7m in width and the
absolute minimum is 1m . However in historic areas , where trees
grow and grow , in some places i have footway that is only 0.7m,
which is difficult for wheelchair passage. In such situations you
have to assess whether the tree is suitable to be there any more.
A recent case a tree was blocking a footpath but the public can
get off the footway , due to an old vehicle access, not putting
themselves at risk, so the tree stayed.
Pushing the verge back , or in country lanes it can
be growth over the carriageway over the ground or
residential area footways. Where verges or hedges can spread out.
Why cut the grass?
Visibility quite ofetn. We cut the grass back 1m from the road edge,
to prevent it growing over the edge of the road, eventually leading to
an obstruction. At junctions we cut
back further and mor eoften , to maintain the visibility.
Cutting the grass less often would eventually make our jibs
harder, verges will become more vegative with brambles etc.
Road sweeping is down to the districts and butrroughs,
differnet in unitary authoriies like Soton, where they are
responsible for everything. They have a road cleaning schedule.
There are times when we have to clean the roads specially
for safe passage. Recently in Stubbington we had a fodder beat
harvest , harvested then carried by tractor and trailer
to a depot and during all that, a considerable amount of
clay on the road, the road lost its texture depth , so almost like
driving on ice. It was dry and cold , but not iced , although acted
like ice. We had to close that road as it was so unsafe with the
compaction of the soil into the road surface.
Cutting back vegetaion for visibility purposes but sometinmes
coming up to roundabouts , there ar eobvious visibility intrusions
to stop the visibility?
To slow people down. You have to slow down to see, to stop people
tearing onto the roundabout .
One roundabout will have vegetaion cut back and then the next
roundabout will have ant-visibility barriers in place?
Visibility to a sufficent minimum which those baffles do.
There are planning criteria for them .
Surface dressing where they put emulsion down and then
stones , then we have to drive it in, then all the stones scratch the
cars and spread everywhere, then they sweep them up and the
reason for that pallaver is its cheap and gives a rugged 5 to 10
Soemetimes 15 years, then do the same thing again. thats
how long the surface will last. The surface under isn't being
run on , so is protected by the newly placed surface.
So we're maintaining what is already there , in its state then,
into the near future. There can be problems with that. For instance when
it was particularly hot in the New Forest, they surface dressed the A337
to Lymington and it just melted. The bitumen emulsion flowed down the
road, a river of tar. Disastrous and they had to do the whole thing again,
and claims for tar damage to the cars. Incidently tar not used these days
as its carcinogenous.
Did steam-rollers come in before tarmac or after?
The roller has always been around, its just the amount of compaction
that could be generated has increased. Originally it was horse
drawn rollers .
If you wanted a drive done to your property , for a car ,
what surface would you recommend? and what underneath?
You have to ignore all I've said before, because planning
states you must have a porous surface. They do do porous
ashphalt , but because it is porous it is self-defeating,
bacauase water is bad for the foundations. Its not so
bad for the useage in that situation, but get removal
men turn up and too much. Porous block paving is probably
the safes tbet. You use a specific kind of sand between
the blocks, no cement, there. If you have clay below then
it will all wash away. There are suitable products ut there.
Gravel and plastic tiles that are porous , above clay
is one such. But the clay would still bleed through a bit.
Porous requirement is to prevent surface run-off and
flash flooding. So a linear drain at the end of the drive,
it never fgoes anywhere , but it should. Because you are supposed
to deal with the water that lands on your property,
within your property. Often you pay for that in your
water bill. Your rainwater gutters flow either a soak away
typically 3m from your house . Incidently need to be dug up
every 25 years and be re-stoned, disposing of the previous.
Or go into surface water sewer , not into the highway drainage.
As we should not have to deal with "your" water, unless its
naturally flowing off a hill , say a farmer's field that is above
With your mangled-up verges in Eastleigh , there is that thickish
black plastic mesh reinforcement mat you just lay over the grass
, and it grows thru. You don't use anything like that to reinforce. ?
The only time we use that sort of material is where there is a
vehicle access or a footway near a tree, so not allowed to
do any digging near by. Its not the sort of thing we can maintain
in a highway sense, as not to any specification .
The grass simply grows thru , so environmentally it looks good
and does the job?
W approx 70
12 February 2018, the intended speaker did not turn up as in hospital with a life changing condition. From the audience we had 3 volunteers with a 20 minute talk each.
Roger Anderton, speaker
Roger Boscovich was a priest in the 18C . There was the Copernicus
revolution , then Galileo, then they had problems with theh inquisition,
because the church did not agree with what he was saying about the
Earth going around the sun. Along with that there was a problem with
atomic theory. Atomic theory was seen as being aetheist.
Then Newton took up the ideas in England, where there was a bit more
freedom, regarding physics, also the Royal Society, for which the
king had given them pardon, to talk about things that were otherwise
heresy. The catholic church had to reconsider its position on
the new physics. The leading light in the catholic church was Fr Boskovitch
and he managed to get the ban on Copernicus teaching
overturned sufficiently to also teach Newtonian physics in catholic
countries. Part of that was the idea of atoms. Newton had his gravity
theory and insight into light but he did not have a complete theory
of atomic physics. This omission was filled by Fr B. He wrote a book
on it in 1758 callled the Theory of Natural Phylosophy and was the
basis for modern atomic physics. You look at the others
working on atomic physics, Rutherford, Niels Bohr, Heisenberg and others,
they had a starting point of B's theory. Even the Manhattan project, the
theory they were coming from was Bs theory, developing it on further.
Einstein came along and from his influence, after WW2 , B's theory
was not taught. To make room for Quantum Theory and Relativity
Theory , to physics students, they cut out teacing about B and any
physics from the 18C. Bohr and his contempories knew of B ,
but since WW2 he was totally cut out from teaching.
Then you look at people who were working on Unified Field Theory,
B was there before. How the particles interact with the fields in B
theory, that was also removed from teaching syllabuses.
Bs theory of UFT is now consigned to historical studies of
Q: What was in B's theory?
Particles . Atoms concept go back to the ancient Greeks, with Democrus?
and Epicurus et al. Then the Christian movement happened, and up to
the middle ages, that concept was considered heresy.
It came to the fore again with Copernicus and the catholic
church had to reconsider its position on atoms.
How did Dalton get involved with this?
Dalton was working from Bs theory. B had the theory of particles and
Dalton was talking about a chemical element, the atom of a chemical
element. For say silver you could cut it down to just the
atom, cut the atom further then things like the nucleus and
electrons emerge. So well beyond the early Greek theory, that
it was something simply uncuttable. Dalton's atom was a chemical
atom and was cuttable. So sub-atomic particles.
Dalton believed atoms were fixed?
Daltons atoms were not the ultimate atoms, you could cut them down
further. Later with Richard Feynman he was dealing with
things called quarks, he treatred quarks as the smallest particle.
He referred back to Bs theory in how to handle that.
Another person knowledgable of B was John Wheeler, setting up his school
for relativity after WW2, part of his teaching was from B theory.
When he was trying to get a UFT, he called it Quantum GeoMetroDynamics.
But that had its roots back in the 18C. Einstein looking at UFT failed to
unite quantum mechanics and general relativity. The 18C UFT
was worked on later, there were mistakes though.
In Bs early days was he a physicist who went over to religion
not letting the church hierarchy know of his physics background ?
They were'nt called scientists back then , chemistry or alchemy was the
major science, then phsics was just a bit of chemistry. He wasa
natural philosopher in there terms. The priesthood he was with was called
theSociety of jesus, the jesuits. They swore allegance to the pope, and that
gave them exemption to things that were considered heresy. So a ban on Galileo's book , but that really only applied to the general populace.
There were special people who were allowed to look into ,
to reconsider it. And B was the main man for doing that.
Even today there is a well respected astronomical observatory
attached to the Vatican? , so that has carried on thru the centuries?
There is a link between B and astronomy. I go a lot to
Serbia , they know about B.
So a conspiracy to supress B?
How do you define conspiracy. If you look at say the Manhattan
Project. General Groves was in charge of it and part of the structure there was to delete
things from physics which were considered to come under national security.
Was that a conspiracy, i'd posit.
You're saying that anyone like Dalton couldn't mention B by name?
He does mention B in his writings. You go back to the early 20C , the
scientists then knew of B.
So Mendelev of his series, did not mention B?
He was Russian, the main man in Russia of that time was Lamskovus?
he was working from B theory.
Dalton based his work on the way he observed chemicals combined together,
in fixed proportions. Did he get that idea from B?
The theory of particles goes back to B and 1758.
Why did B have a theory of particles?
He had to reconsider it , because of the Copernican revolution,
the Greek ideas had to be reconsidered. He had to come up with
a theory that the catholic church would be happy with, Fr B did this.
It allowed Newtonian physics to be taught in catholic countries.
In England, what we know as Newtonian physics is from Newton,
but go to catholic countries , at that time, they knew it as B theory.
Did B work this out for himself or was he translating Newton?
He was looking at Newton's work and extending it further.
Newton had objects attracted by gravity , such as the Earth and moon,
but no talk of repulsive forces, only attractive force. For a more
complete theory you have to consider repulsion as well.
Did B talk about fields?
He called them spheres of influence. You had an object and around it was
a sphere of influence, that would influence that object.
When Faraday worked on this , he called it fields.
For people working on UFT, they had David Bohem with an idea
of pilot waves, that they worked on. Bohem run into a problem
as part of MacCarthy witch-hunts , he was accused of being a
communist , so that side-lined him.
UFT was to combine gravity and electromagnetism?
That was the intention. The forces were acting as per B
was saying. An attractive force and a repulsive forvce and it has to
So not like action at a distance like gravity?
One way of thinking of action at a distance is as fields, the gravitational
field. Gravitational Field , considered by Einstrein as space-time
curvature, where space is given the attributes of a field.
Einstein's work on UFT went back to the 18C.
David Bohem had a student called Avije? who does conferences on this
subject. I'm trying to get people , when they write any physics
theory , in this area , to consider the work of B. THere are people like
Prof Rowlands of Liverpool who I believe has written a book on it,
connecting in to hs own writings. A chemist Prof Munroe in the states is
incorporating it into his theories as well.
Roger Anderson had translated the works of B, into a book, that he passed around the audience.
Ron Melville :Positive Money
i started asking the question 3 years ago - where does money come from?
People say it comes from the bank or the post office. When you go to get
your mortgage , you go to a mortgage company, usully related to ta
bank. They say you have enough collateral, we'll give you a mortgage.
They go to a computer, type in the number and suddenly that money has been
created that did not exist before. It seems a remarkable fact but
basically they just print money. Economista say we can't simply create money
or we'll create inflation . But we've ended up with bamnks that create
money when we take out a mortgage.
So what happens if all the mortgages are paid off, well ther'd be no money.
You start to realise that money is based on debt, apart from the coins in your
pocket. It is estimated that the hard currency in circulation is about
3%, 97% is numbers in a bank. THe problem with debt-based money
is that it attracts interest. If you have to feed the interest system , you are tsaking
money out of the system all the time. The system becomes leaky and apart
from the balance of payments problem , another way to have money
leaking out of an economy, you have a leaky system. What happens to the
interest is a an interesting question and I'm sure most of it
doesn't get circulated back into the economy. The only way to
compensate for that is to create more debt, to keep the system
stable. A lot of politicians don't understand this , they think austerity is
the answer, taking money out of the system has the opposite effect.
So we have a system we have to keep feeding by creating debt,
to compensate for the interest and the money coming out of the system.
So politicians say we must have growth to compensate. We live on
a finite planet, we can't continue to have growth. There is a quote that
only a lunatic and an economist would say that we mus thave growth.
A bunch of other people going around saying this system cannot
work, it will end in collapse. They said, we are doing this the wrong way
round. Instead of basing money on a minus sign , lets create
money on the plus side, so we call it positive money. There is a +money
group in Soton and across the UK. They say , if governments can create
money by pinching it , which then does not attract interest, you can
strart taking control of the economy. Not having to money in the form of interest
out of the system you can start towads a more sustainable society.
Some go further saying go for sustainability , not continual
growth. We all fear the end result of the conventional
structure is collapse and global warmoing. So +m people say we should start
creating money , by printing it through an autonomous organistaion
that controls the money supply , they print it to be various things in society.
When it comes back thru taxation, you just delete it and it no longer
exists. That is the basic principle of +m, a sustainable rather than
continual growth society. This way we hope you can have a better future.
When I hear governments saying debt is getting too big. The last govt manages to
double govt debt to virtually 2 trillion . I don't mind if it collapses because we
can go to the alternative of a +m system. But the EU agreed that we should
go to more debt.
For more info on this , put into Google, where does all the money come from AND you-tube
an icon comes up with 2 dollars on it , a 40 minute video, it tells you much
more about how this system works. I've had to watch it 3 times to get the
most salient features.
Q: So debt no longer exists?
It all depends on how the money is created.
Q: So , I can't afford to buy a hous e.
You can go to a bank , if they have money already, you can then borrow
it. We're not really chnging the banking system that much. They're losing the abiity to print
money. Instead of banks printing money , a central organisation
Q: Wasn't that what the original building societies were. People
put money into them as savers.
Yes but its changed over the last 20 years or so. It was actually Gordon
Brown who changed it. The Fractional? Reserve System was changed .
Q: Could you explain how Quantitive Easing comes into this
because the govt produced loads of money to offset the
financial crisis in 2008.
I know a little about this. When the govt wanted to borrow money it
issued a bond that people buy. With QE they just bought the bonds back.
They made offers to people to buy back bonds. Where did the govt get the
money from, they printed it. The person who invented QE was someone at
Soton Uni, apparently. I understand that the original
concept of QE was you shouldn't give it to the banks
, you should give it to people , to pay off their mortgages . Far more
sensible, that way. The first people to try it, were the Japanese, and they
switched the system to pay yhe banks, for buying the bonds back.
Q: So where has the money gone?
I wish I knew . It was said at one time that China had so mush
foreign capital th=at they could buy yhr entire real estate in the USA,
whether true today , I don't know.
Q: Do you know anything about the Islamic banking system, where they
don't charge interest. ?
They don't believe in usury , bu tthe details i don't know.
The have a structure where there is a payment upfront, which is
an equivalent to interest as a get-around. So effectively much the
There is an organistaion called Positive Money, do you know
who they are and who funds it. Its out there on www. There was a
chap v=called Ben Dyson , an economist , one of the promoters of this.
Q: I think they have a point. It is plain simply wt=rong that
banks just create money via computers. Then speculators gamble
it away, and then financial cre=ises. If I did that, I could become a
loan-shark and become a billionaire in minutes. So who is this
organisation and why are they promoting it, including their funding,
thats what interests me.
Who funds it, I don;'t know. the reason behind it , is towards
a sustainable society. In my opinion the result of continual
growth is global warming and who does that benefit.
Q: I assume you're not an advocate of bit coins.
I don't know enough about that topic . How is the money based,
is the interesting question . Not money at all . Even wider , what is money
Q: The one advantage that crypto-currencies have , over regular
currency is coded into the design, there can only be a certain number of them.
At the moment banks print money whenever they feel like it, but with
something like bitcoin , its fixed. Its value depends on people
follwing some rules. Also all transactions are recorded and
I don't think we'll ever get a sustainable society on the present course, and thats the
key to it. So many politicians out there just don't understand this.
Q: Third wold countries that want to industrialise and want similar lifestyles
as us, cars and excessive energy use.
This is the model we've shown them , what do you think the consequences will
be. It started going wrong with the FRB system. THat basically says,
if you have 100 GBP, you can lend 1000.
Q: Before that , there was printing money without anything much
behind it. Any correction was via devaluation. In my 60 years government s
have been printing money without gold or something behind it.
They promised to pay the bearer on demand, but they could easily
devalue whatever they had to pay.
As my dad said, buy a house and counter inflation.
Q: Can you see avarice disappear with +m.?
You have to understand the hierarchy of need for this. Basically the
human being wants to survive. He needs food , shelter and 5 other
parameters, that Mazilo? said. Once those parametrs are acquired
you can then head towards self-actualisation - the state of
being where you are emotionally stable, you have no anger,
no depression, or anxiety etc. Jung called this individualation.
Create the demand and people who've had rotten lives ,
are compelled to compensate for things that have gone wrong in your
life. You're dealing with insecure human beings, who feels he has to
grab everything available.
Another bee in my bonnet. If w echange the education system to help
people be more self-actualise? and there are ways to do that, then
everyone would be great individually, a utopian world.
I did go to Summerhill School as a pupil , so obviously I'll
have differing views to other people. Someone who steps outside the
box a bit.
Q: In Summerhill you could have individualism , people encouraged to
be theirselves, to be creative and at the same time , trying to
have a community. So 2 apparently opposing forces, without
one dominating the other.
I think you have had to grow up in that environment to understand it,
how it works. I feel privileged to have gone there.
Q: Is Summehil where teaching is based on heuristic principles. ?,
learning by doing.
No not at all, Summerhill says here are classes, they are
standard classes . Go to them is fine, but if you don't want to go them ,
go and build a tree-hut or go to the woodwork shop and bukd something,
its your free choice. But what you shall not do , Summerhill very strong on
this, you shall not interfere with other people. Interfere with other peple
and they have the right to bring that to the attention of the
Q: Did people work together on combined projects , whether cleaning
the kitchens . No one hierarchy saying, I'm above that, everyone is
equal. Even the teachers have to be involved.
Absolutely, yes. Democratic decisions always. A community based
on democratic decisions .
Where is the school?
Near Aldburgh , a little town called Laston? , still runs today.
I phoned up the headmistress last year, because we were going to
that area for a funeral , and she recognised my voice from 40
years ago. She showed me around the school and what was going on.
Q: People come in all sorts of types and some people are just
simply greedy. We need to push people to being towards emotional
stability. To do tht bring up children appropriately so they ar e
more mentally stable than otherwise. People are raised through
rottrn times. The current national curriculum is probably
one of the best tools for keeping therapists in business that could hav e
Venue suddenly closed, cancelled March talk, moved to April
Tuesday 17 April 2018, Prof Ivan Haigh, NOC Southampton : Sea level rise and coastal flooding: past, present and future.
32 people, 1.5 hours
A graph of time from seconds to millions of years and on the other axis,
space from a mm to 40,000km the whole earth. Over all these time and
space scales, se-levels vary. At one extreme turbulence and ripples ,
the microscopic ripples you see if you blow over a cup. A bit higher up
waves and swell and seiching, after someone in Switserland who noticed that when
wind blew over a lake , if the wind stopped, the lake would
oscillate for several days. A seiche sometimes occurs in some harbours,
the gentle seaiche oscillation. Then tsunamis , they are quite short lived
at a coastline. May spend days travelling in the oceans and affect large
sections of coastline. Beyond that is storm surges, the movement of the
sea caused by weather. We tend to get 2 catagories of storm surge,
tropical storms which are huricanes , again affecting long lenghts
of coast but tend to last about 12 hours at a coastline.
Then tides, 2 bands of energy, semi-diurnal tides which we have in the UK,
2 tides a day. We also get diurnal tides , in western Australia for example
and the Gulf of Mexico, 1 tide a day. We get extra-tropical
storms the sort of system that affects the North Sea,
tending to last about 2 days.
We have seasonal effects like El Nino oscillation , wind can blow
on-shore for 6 months or blow off-shore for 6 months , that
can raise the level of seas. In the Uk sealevels change by about
10cm between winter and summer, cooler and warmer water.
Then we have climate change effects , then beyond that glacial cycles
and sea levels change by hundreds of metres.
Q: Through the Channel on the French side the sea level can be
highe rthan the English side at certain times.
Most of that is due to tides it comes in , Coriolas force pulls it to the
right , but also strong wind induces that.
Q: I was thinking currents.
Currents tend to be seasonal, strong currents for part of the year .
A lot going on and a lot more . Of all those, 3 fundamental things that
I have 3 beakers with some water in. There are just 3 ways
you can change the level in the beaker.
Add liquid from 1 cup to another, add or subtract.
Displace it , by squeezing the cup, liqid is incompressable,
the same volume, change the shape of the container. Move the
water by blowing wind over the surface , to one side of the
basin, change the shape of the basin, or you could put something
else into the basin, but fundamentally you are moving the water.
Change the temperature , put it in a freezer or a heat surce under the cup.
Or we could change the salt content. So what are waves doing in
regard to these 3 fundamental proceses. Waves move , tsunamis move,
tides move, climate change is doing all 3 . The world is heating up ,
oceans expanding, ice is melting land-based ice is melting,
also climate change can alter wind patterns, which might lower
SL in some areas and increase it at others.
Q: Where would you put air pressure?
Water is incompressible , so what air pressure is doing , can
suck water in from other areas or pushing it outwards.
Air pressure i sa key change , I'd put it under the move box.
I will focus on the longer term changes, not tides or waves.
So mainly the slow century scale changes in SL. SL
had been relatively flat for about 2000 years , averaging
out al these processes taking the maen . Over the last 150 years
it has risen about 20cm. The key questions over SL rise.
Cost of coastal infrastructure damage from flooding or inundation.
Reduction of the landmass, coastal wetlands
Environmental impact to the wetlands
Populations would have to move.
Could change weather patterns
Low level lakes will become saline.
As SL rises you need less severe storms to give the same previous
SL rise. So more inundation, and storm damage to infrastructure.
An estuary in W Australia, with an unusual shape. The area that
would be inundated in a 1 in 1000 year flood. But if we raise SL
by 1m a significanly larger amount of land would be inundated
by the same event. Its difficult to give an example as SL
have risen by only about 0.2m. Sharp's Island
in Chesapeake Bay, or rather was. In 18C it housed about
100 people, a farm a, a school , a few hotels. A combination of
SL rise and land sinking, in 1950 just a room sized patch of land
left and even that is now under water .
Wetland loss. Wetlands important for a great rnge of reasons ,
regulating diseases, biodiversity. In Maryland USA , the natural
wetland creeks , with SLR just gets lost. Those areas absorb CO2 , they
do lots of things.
With SLR comes coastal erosion, The Holderness coast eroded by
about 2km , SLR speeds up that rate. A number of houses in that
area people are still paying off mortgages on houses that
have disappeared into the sea.
Saltwater intrusion more important in other countries than the UK.
Like the Maldives, low lying atol, a freshwater lens and with rising SL
seawater will get into that lens. Peole often talk of SLR directly
affecting small islands but while still above the sea , communities
cant live there because of the loss of fresh water.
Raising water tables, a lot in the States. Fresh water supply underlying
but SL rise can push that whole supply upward.
Some towns are now getting flooding in basements because SL rise is
pushing up that water table. The 5 main key changes.
The historiacal context. We cant directly measure SL in thr longer term.
Over several hundred thousand years or less. We can use proxies
for indirect measurement. We can use saltmarshes , use archaeology
a number of sites under water that wern't. From that we can estimate how
much SL has risen. We can use spieleotherms, stalagtites . Coral reefs
which tend to follow where SL is. We can use geology using sediment cores
With saltmarshes , they tend to have different layers and species of
plants at different depths according to whether regularly covered by tide or not.
As SL rise, the saltmarshes move backwards. As long as SLs have risen steadily , you can take a core
and count the phoram microscopic creatures. Near the sea there are certain types
single cell species, and towards the land are different species.
This can tell you back about 1000 years, a prof in York does a lot of work
on this. A number of areas from archaeology. One example is Roman
fish dams, near the sea, almost like aquaculture raising fish in them.
These dams are now under water , so we can get a reasonable estimate
of SL about 2000 years ago in the Med.
Sometimes marks. James Ross Clark went to Tasmania about 150 years ago
, he carved a mark on a rock near Hobart that he estimated the
MSL at that time was. A friend of mine, John Hunter spent about
3 years doing measurements there and get a good estimate for there over 150 years.
Spieleotherms - stalgmites on the ground only form if there is air , if the
cave goes underwater, they cannot form. In Bermuda many
such caves and a group in Oxford has permission to take some.
They form a tree-ring like structure . We can split open the stalgmites
and date the tree-rings and see when that stalagmite stopped growing.
So SL was at that level about that time , again as an estimate.
For corals , different species at different depths under water,
mostly less than 50m of sea surface. As SL rise ,the corals migrate as they
need light or they die out. Again drilling into corals we can estimate
SLR from these dead corals , now very much below current SL.
100,000 to millions of years ago, beach lines at different levels.
Sediment cores, especially from the Red Sea . None are very
accurate but taken together gives a good idea of SLR over tens
of thousands of years. So putting climate change into context.
SLs have varied by up to 120metres over the last 500,000 years.
That very much relates to the ice-ages. When the world was much
covered by ice 25,000 ya , SL was about 100m lower than today.
Certainly 2 occassions between 5 main ice-ages SLs were higher than
they are today under different climate change conditions.
The general theory is this relates to Milankovitch cycles , small
wobbles in the Earth's rotation , planets coming in and out of phase
causing ice-ages and out of ice-ages. In ice-ages water is stored
as ice and SL drops, then inter-glacial stsage SLs rise.
So SLs have moved at least 130m . Zoom into the last ice-age
and info from corals and 24000ya SL were a lot lower than today.
SL gradually rose and then stabilised for the last 7000 years.
Particularly in hte last 2000 years SLs were virtually unchanged.
Fortunately that coincided with a massive growth in human population.
I don't think human population could have increased so much
with the previous amount of SL rise. A stable SL allowed us to
build coastal communities. In recent times that has started to rise.
Without climate change we'd have expected SL to have continued
this long stable period and eventually go into another ice-age and drop away.
What the UK looked like 20,000ya everything down to about Birmingham
was covered in ice . Thr North Sea was land and as SL rose , at about
15000ya , the Irish Sea formed . About 12,000ya water came into the
English Channel but we were still connected to France. Then the first
Brexit , when England formed about 9000ya. Coming toward the present
the North Sea enlarged, but 10,000ya no North sea .
In modern times we have instrumentation , tide gauges and satellites
to monitor. With the paleo stuff there is a lot of uncertainty,
but now much more confidence, measuring SL to within mm now.
Around the end of the 19C SLs started to rise. Plots of the
3 longest run tide gauges i nthe world, Brest almost continuous 200 years
except around wars, San Fransisco for over 100 years and one
in Poland on the Baltic . That rise cannot be explained by natural
ice-age cycles , something clearly is happening. Its not a smooth
rise SLs go up and down, a lot of noise , the underlying signal
is a rise. I get fed up wiht people taking 10 years of data
, you canshow things are falling. Take a long enough period, the
noise goes , and you can see the rise.
Q: You ran quickly over not attributing that recent rise to a coming ice-age,
If you take similar conditions in the past, particularly when SLs were higher than
today. We should have that flat period continuing. Certainly the last
inter-glacial we had similar sort of conditions and things remained stable,
so some othe rprocess is involved, I'll return ot this later, the individual budget.
Tide gauges back 100 years or so and satellites over the last 30 years
for a true global picture. Over the 20C a definite SLR about 1.7mm per
year but that rate has now doubled in the last 20 to 30 years.
SLs are not rising everywhere, very spatially non-uniform.
A map from satellites, the mean is 3mm per year over the whole
globe. Some areas where its rising 10mm/yr so 3 times the mean.
There are also regions where SLs have slightly fallen. You cannot
rely on single sites . Taking Southampton , the long mean sea
record at Soton that I digitised some years ago. So at Soton
rising about 1.5mm per year over the last 70 years but take only
the last 20 years then its about 3mm per yr. So quite close to the
global average. Most of the UK is the same as the global
average. The important point is that that rate is starting to
accelerate. The 3 main components contributing.
Land based ice, particularly from glaciers . The thermal expansion
of water and the melting of ice-sheets. Arctic ice is not so important bu t
the ice on Greenland and Antarctica are really important.
We can estimate the individual components adding up and giving this SLR.
In the last 50 or so years, thermal expansion accounts for 38% of that
rise, the largest part ,40% has been from glaciers melting, Greenland
only very small and Antarctic smaller contribution.
Of the recent accelerated rise then 58% is due to thermal expansion.
Less from glaciers because many of them have melted away.
Greenland recent compoment has increase slightly.
There is a lot of uncertaintly with Greenland and Antarctic.
Various pics of a glacier 1885 a whole valley covered by a glacier,
1907, 1930 ,1950, 1970 to what we see today, nearly gone made its
way into the sea. Just one glacier ,one of tens of thousands of
glaciers. Greenland ice-cover pics 1992 ,2002, 2007 the affected areas
dramatically changed. Antarctic has not changed that much.
So to the future. The IPCC thousands of the world scientists every
7 years weigh up the evidence. They predict over the next 100
years SLR would be between 28cm and 1 metre, thats the likely
range. The UK government have recently been working on this and
I was helping with the Environment Agency. In 2009 they said
it could between 11cm and 75 cm , a lot of uncertainty with it.
Much of the uncertainty is down to what emissions will be in the
next decades. There is a high end scenario of as much as 2metres
although unlikely. Realistically without a major collapse of
Antarctic ice , we're looking at about 1metre of SLR.
The Paris Agreement was signed by about 165 countries.
They promised they will hold the increase in global average temperature
to well below 2 degrees, from pre-industrial level and persue efforts
to limit it to 1.5 degrees. Recognising that this seriously reduces climate
impacts. What is often omitted , limiting to 2 degrees there will be lots
of benefits. Temperatures stabilised but one of the problems with SLR
is that we are long term committed to SLR. Even if we cut C emissions
now SLR will still carry on for 200 to 3 thousand years because there is a lot
of inertia in the system. At the moment we've only heated the
water surface, it takes hundreds of years for that heat to transfer down.
Its the same with ice, start melting ice, it continues melting, it won't just stop.
We will SLR even if we fulfill the Paris Agreement. To predict
SLR into the future is computationally expensive using numerical
models of the whole world, called GCM Global climate Models.
They have to run on super-computers ,only 15 to 20
of these models are run around the world. Most have only run to
2100 for SLR predictions. We've developed a very simple model
that will run on your smart phone. Type in
CO2 modeller and download it onto your smart phone (www.co2modeller.info ) . We represent the
whole Earth as a series of boxes. An atmosphere box , a vegetation
box , soil and its interactions and 5 boxes that represent the
oceans, right down to the 3mile deep ocean and the transfer of
heat. All these boxes are the model reduced to the simplest form.
We've run this model and tried to get it to adjust to certain
temps . As its a simplified model, we can run it for hundreds of
years , to see how the climate would respond.
Beyond 2030 we cannot be sure, but we try to limit to 1.5 deg C .
The high emissions scenario will increase temp by about 10 deg C,
catastrophic. We've run the model with the out to year 2300 for 1.5,
2.5 , 3 , 4 and 10 deg C . I think we've missed the window for 1.5,
not achievable . What is interesting for SL projection is even if we
cut our emissions and stabilised to 1.5 deg , SL would continue
rising for hundreds of years.
With 1.5 deg, SLR would reach about +1m, bu tthe really scary thing is
if we continue on our current track, without Paris Agreement,
we will get at least 4.5m of SLR. We need to think long term .
By 2100 it would not make much difference , with or without Paris Agreement,
it only saves about 20cm of SLR, but if we act now we can save at
least 3.5m . It is so important we make the PA work, not so much for
us but our great great grandchildren.
I just produced this yeasterday, a climate spiral animation, 0, 1, 2m SL,
with and without the PA. This needs to be on a government
level and on a personal level, each of us trying to do our own little
If all the world's ice melted , about 80 metres of SLR in that.
THe Uk would look very differnt , Southampton and Norwich would be
gone. This can't happen ,certainly in the next 100 years, not physically
possible to melt that fast. What can we do about SLR .
The UK has developed shoreline management planning, dividing th e
coast into stretches and determining the options. Some
difficult choices as its very expensive to defend the coast.
So a cost/benefit economic analysis if only defending a few houses.
No active intervention on some coastlines , whether a pre-existing
coastal defense there or not , nothing more will be done.
A colleague in Germany did such a cost/benefit analysis and he
reckons only about 8% of the world's coastline would be
defended, the coastlines with majoe cities.
Q: Thars fair enough if you compensate the people who will
loose out but we're not doing that. I was at a meeting yeaterday
in London yesterday where we discussed thuis very topic.
At the moment the govt will not compensate individuals. We've just seen
on TV in Norfolk of people losing their homes to the sea and they're
still paying the mortgages. So making that decision , it must be tempered
with something else.
I would not like to make that decision.
Q: We (representing New Forest National Park) are trying to work
with DEFRA. We have to compensate the few people it will
affect though. Similarly farmers need to be compensated,
for lost farmland but we're not dong so, it seems very unfair.
I don't like talking about this aspect. Unfortunately the sad reality
is we don't have the money to defend the coast ecverywhere.
I'd love to live in a house on the beach.
Q: You will soon
The government probably does not have the money to compensate
Q: Its a matter of choices , they can spend money here or there,
choosing not to defend some places, may mean putting resources elsewhere.
The govt will have to make really tough decisions that will
affect lives and I agree people should be compensated.
Other stretches of coast we'll hold the line, definitely holding
London. So the likes of the Thames Barrier, millions of pounds in flood
defences. Other parts of coastline will have to be managed retreat.
I'm working on a site in the Bristol Chanel, it tends to be farmland.
About 40 such sites around the UK. The R Paret, they were spending
millions of pounds on defending what was just farmland, no
economic sense ot do so. They compensated the farmer , buying up
the land and let the land flood. It would have been natural saltmarsh
anyway. They put in a breach and designed a creek system to get the water
going. When a storm surge happens , rather than water going up
and flooding Bridgeport , there is now extra space where the
water can go. Another benefit, it creates beautiful coastal habitat
with walking paths for viewing seabirds. The govt has just
released a big report on this , moving away from hard flood
defences to more natural based vision. Nature is always best
at protecting itself, things like mangroves and saltmarshes absorb
the wave energy. Or go the other way, like in Dubai. advance the line
the Palm island. In the Maldives they built an entitre island.
We could adapt , to build floating houses , floating bridges
and just live with flooding. In Bangladesh people want to live on
the floodplain as its very fertile. As long as there is a good
warning system. 2 or 3 days warning of flood due, they move livestock
to introduced higher levels. Temporary low level structures get
washed away , but they rebuild, and all are alive because of the
elevated retreats. For our cities, build underground car parks
which w ecan let flood .
As the ocean levels rise, the amount of moisture in the air increases
which cause white cloud to form and cools the Earth, as the clouds
reflect sunlight back out. As temps increases it will reach a temp
, might be quite high I don't know , that stabilieses.
I'm not a climate scientist and know little of that, I'm very much
#sea-level aspects. All I can say is SLs are rising and we can say
which components are involved. The Grace? satellite up there can
monitor water and we are finding more groundwater is making its
way into the oceans. We are also finding the building of dams
slows down SLR as water is stored on land, but a small component.
There is feedback systems in the climate and a key feedback
is the albedo of the ice, less ice absorbs more heat.
Q: ? ? waves ? ?
Its quite small , thousands of years. It doesnt affect SL much ,
it affects geology. The energy of the tides gets dissipated
and over time that is causing the moon to move further and further away.
But its very small, on our human timescale.
Q: Remind us ? SL would rise ?
About 80m , Greenland on its own about 8m and Antartica if all melted
somewhere between 65 and 75 metres. A recent article shows that Antartica
is gaining ice which they think has been preventing SLR. The main concern
with Antartica is if a major collapse of the ice sheet. Warmer water is getting
under the ice and if it collapses it could allow much more
ice to move off the land, presently barred from doing so. If such a collapse
then SL could rise several metres quite quickly.
I've read recently that the gulf stream is slowing down, is that complicating the
2 papers in Nature, I know both authors , both papers show that
AMOC , of which the Gulf Streamis part of. Our climate is warmer than it would be
without this, but over 100s or 1000s of years that changes. That won't affect
SL that much but would have huge impact on our weather patterns.
Interestingly it does affect SL off the coast of USA. The gulf stream causes
SL at the US coast to be lower and higher in the Atlantic. With less
current flow then less geostrophic flow . So SLs are rising faster along the
American Atlantic coast as a result. A regional hotspot of SLR.
What sort of temperatures required to get full Greenland ice melt?
You wouldn't in hundreds of years. Take an ice-cube and double
the temp in the room, even an ice cube does not instantly melt, it
takes 100s of years, considering 3km thickness of ice on Greenland.
A colleague in ANU oz, has a figure I don't remember what,
something like 10+ deg , but sustained over 100s of years.
What %ge of human CO2 emissions compared to natural processes adding
to global warming?
I'm no expert on the atmospheric side of things, from 1970
very large component. SLs can vary 5 or 10cm purely naturely by
El Nino oscillations , changes in wind patterns and amospheric
pressure changes. Perhaps 80 to 90% of the warming since 1970
is human source.
Even if we reduced emissions, the other countries are coming up ,
far larger than us, and negate by many times what we will save.?
A few months back I met with community leaders from the Solomon
Islands , the Maldives as well, they have the lowest emission rates
in the world, yet they are feeling SLR effects first. Whether you believe in
climate change or not, SLs are rising. For 150 years its shown no
sign of sustained reversal. 139 cities with populations greater than 1 million
on the coast , climate change or not, SLs are rising.
Soton Archaeology Unit has plenty of evidence of SL having risen
by 5m in the last 5,000 years. Where does your figure of SLs being constant
for 7,000 years come from?
There are 2 components to SLR, absolute SL rise and there is relative
SLR. I skipped that bit in my talk. You have to be very careful with this.
Satellites measure absolute SLR , just changes in the volume of the
oceans. Tide gauges measure relative SL, so SLR and also changes in
the level of the land. In the UK we have isostatic adjustment . We think the land
is stable but the land is moving. Think of it as a foam mattress, you
dive onto such a mattress it sinks under you, you get off and it will
take hours to recover. For the UK in the last ice-age 20,000 ya
almost all north England was covered in ice. That ice melted but its taken
tens of thousands of years for the land to respond. So northern
England is rising because it was weighed down by the ice, the land rising
about 1mm per year there, southern England is sinking.
If you look at Iceland or Stockholm SLs are actually falling
, not because SLs are falling there, its the land is rising faster than
SLs are rising so locally it looks like its falling there.
So what you have here is a very localised relative SLR of 5m over 7,000 years.
Q: The hampshire basin itself is prone to sinking, the gravel terraces don't
match across the South coast here, so you can't single this out from the
isostatic rebound, its more complicated.
One of the key localised contributors is groundwater extraction.
Bangkok is a perfect example. Everyone in Bangkok has their own well
and the whole of Bangkok has sunk by 2m. This local effect is 20 times
the effect of global sea level rise. This is human change but not climate related.
Tokyo has sunk by 4m . In Bangkok there ar esome telegraph poles that
used ot be on land and now in the ocean. Unpicking these things is
difficult. In Bangkok the local SLR since 1950 has accelerated massively.
People though that was climate change, but it was just local
land subsidence . They had to put a law in place not allowing wells , fined
a lot of miney if they do and that seems to have stabilised that problem there.
Itals occure in New Orleans, part of the reason the effects from Katrina
were so severe.
People get obsessed by climate change but there are other things , some can
have larger effects.
If you have a surge coming in off the Atlantic , so at Newlyn its say 0.5m
above astronomic prediction and lets say its a neap tide, it comes up to
the Isle of Wight and tends to be a bit higher locally here. For exactly the same
circumstances, the same wind but occuring on a spring tide, would the surge
effect component here be higher than the neap tide case. And extending on from that ,
with SL change , with more depth of water , for surges passing over ,
all else being the same , decades into the future, would the penetration over the land
be more that it would have been before apart from the simple SL rise itself.?
These are indirect effects , we call them tide-surge interaction. If you get 2
containers and blow over them. The wind is more effective on rising water
when shallow than when its deep. This is why the North Sea shows
serious storm surge effects as it is so shallow. This is why storm surges
in the North Sea are much bigger than in the English Channel which
is deeper. If a storm occurs on a neap tide , often the surge is
bigger than if it occured on a spring tide. Not the total water depth
of course, just the surge component. You often get this with
huricanes and a surge at low water is mor eof a surge than at
high water. Not the total water level , just the meteorological
induced component. A storm surge travels as a shallow-water wave,
its speed is dependent on the water depth . An equation square root of g * h ,
gravity and height. Raise the water level and the wave wil ltravel faster because
its deeper. As SL rises it should actually very slightly reduce
storm surge components , but as SLs rise , waves can break closer
to the shore than before. Waves move until a certain depth and then break .
Indirect effects, a lot of work being done on them, but all
relatively small, cm not metres.
Q: So we all move to Scotland?
We've built in all the wrong places. Go on Googlemaps and look at
Winchester, its on a river flood plain. Rivers are supposed to flood
, its good for the land. We've built there , but the problem is we
can't change that. I think the govt should have stricter rules on wher e
you can build. There should also be law that any building on
flood plains should be on stilts , a legacy problem.
Q: If the gulf stream moves then Scotland could become permofrost?
I was in a taxi and the driver said he will stop being a driver as he'd
started an air conditioning business. He reckoned with climate change, mor epeople
will want AC, he was genuinly serious. I could have told him that globally
there wil lbe climate change but in the UK , perhaps a shutdown
of the gulf stream and drop our temps .
AC in the USA is one of the major energy consumers , hence climate change?
When living in Oz I had an office with AC , 35 deg C outside and I
was wearing a jumper inside, such a waste of energy.
In the states its quite common for them to literally move house. Has anyone managed
to jack up a house and mount on floats and dolphins a standard brick-built house?
They've done it in Chesapeake Bay. A house that has been destroyed about
10 times in the last 20 years but it always gets federal aid to rebuild it.
to me thats criminal , say flood 3 times and then no more aid.
Its easily to talk here about this, but if you've been flooded its an
horrendous experience. If I lived on the coast I probably would not
want to move and be very annoyed having to pay off a mortgage
on a house that fell off an undermined cliff.
There are some examples in the Thames Valley , rich people, who've
done exactl;y as you've said. Brick built buildings, completely underpinned
and mounted on hydraulic jacks . If you have millions you can afford to
do it. They are fixed to a base thats in the ground , jacks in place and instead of
floating, they are jacked up as required. An Eel-pie island one is a house in a tank ,
and as the tank floods from the Thames , the house floats up.
Some incredible engineering around, in Japan there are gates that self-close .
Tuesday 15 May 2018 Bob Stansbridge , Soton Uni:
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS); what they are, what they do
and why they are jolly useful.
I lecture in instrumentation to mechanical engineers, aero and ships
engineers. When I started at Soton Uni decades ago, I was in the
highest tower the Faraday building. I was involved with 2 people working at
the top of the tower, manufacturing integrated circuits, sub-micron
lithography, geometries on silicon less than 1 micron wide.
A big advance at the time , but the tower was too wobbly and they
had to move the plant out. Every time the lift moved, they could
tell . They were working on making shapes out of Si , using the
same IC manufacturing techniques , etching and depositing
materials, removing or building. One was making a cantilever, like
a bracket hanging off a wall. So they cut out a shape and then
eroded underneath. You could see the little structure on an electron
microscpe, but said its a pity there is no use for it.
But there was a use for it, accelerometers. A visual aid of a happer
on a string, the hammer is the proof mass and the bit of string
is the meter. Move it slowly horizontally and the string stays
vertical, but move it quickly , then because of inertia the
mass stays back, and then catches up. Soif i could measure the
angle , then a measure of the acceleration. The bigger the angle , the more
acceleration. Put a mass on a cantilever and if you've a way to measure the
bend , then a measure of accelertion. Not much use for them , then.
A major use was crash-test dummies. Newton's second law F=m*a.
So a dummy of known mass, given a known deceleration and measure
the forces. The old style acceleraometers were a mass set between
2 piezo-electric materials, in a can 12 x 12 mm or so.
One side is squeezed by the mass , when accelerated. Squeezing out a
few elecrtons a few microcolombs. They cost about 250 pounds then
and involved a special charge amplifier , that cost about 350.
Very few were made , as only specialized use, so very exp[ensicve.
They were highly specified, each with its own calibration
#curve , frequency and temp response etc, all traceable back to the
NPL. So 600 pound to measure acceleration on 1 axis.
The were exploring a cheaper way of doing this.
Another use was to take one of those cans and stick on on the
side of an engine or particularly a gearbox. When running it would shake
and you can measure the vibration of the casing, condition monitoring.
A frequency spectrum wiht picks corresponding to cogs rotating
at different rates with different gear ratios. Something big likand expensive e a
turbine can have its condition continually monitored likke that.
A chiped gear , or a lack of oil will show up in the vibration, knowing the
construction of the gearbox. They can then do preventative
maintainence. The first use of the MEMS version was in air-bags.
They got yhe price down from 600 pound per channel down to
30 pound. Also mounted in top end cars, not requiring high spec, just detetecting
hitting a wall say. With this extra use, the price droppped to about 8GBP.
Now they were that cheap , they could go in games consoles, the wii.
They are very small, and now in gaming machines , the price dropped
again. They went in mobile phones and the price dropped again.
So now you all cary one around.
From the silicon, a central mass remains after etching around and under it,
leaving 4 corner supports, hanging in space. There is air inside,
that acts to damp. A visual aid , large MEM accelerometer.
A shallow wood box , a central plate supported by 4 springs to
the corners of the tray. A pointer fixed to the central plate and a
scale on the left and right. Move quickly and the mass and
pointer moves relatively to the tray. So how much force
involved with moving those various amounts.
Turn it throuhg right angle and gravity is acting as a force
and the pointer moves to +1, turn upside down and it moves to -1 ,
a change of 2g. From that I can calibrate the rest of the scales,
quite a simple calibration procedure. So how to measure the
tiny movement electrically. Less than 3pF capacitance, and the
change is about 1 part in 1000. No chance using a capacitanc emeter.
Instead of 1 finger, produce a comb of fingers , 100 times the
capacitance. Dimensions of the electrode combs about 30 microns.
We cannot measure the movement externally , it must be done
internally. The combs are about 100 micron long, 3micron deep and 1micron
between fingers. The central mass weighs 1 microgram, so a
millionth of a spoonful of sugar. They put a simple oscillator in there,
gives pulses, 2 sets of pulses , one upside down relative to the other, anti-phase.
Because the fingers are so close, the effect of trhe signal can jump
across. The fingers move closer to the A electrodes, so picks up
more of the A signal, amplified gives +5,+5.... +5.
If its in the middle , its about the same for both sources, roughly midle when
amplified. Go the other way and B signal is transfered mainly,
giving 0V when amplified, just for the few moments when accelerating.
This amp and demodulation circuitry and some comms circuit is all
inside, nothing outside except some power source.
Why didn't they measure the resistance of those very fine corner supports?
The advantage this way is its differential and very linear.
Q: what is the frequency response?
Its very high as they are so small and light. With the old piezo type
they would not do low f at all, a flat response except
for an enormous resonant peak , they had to stay away from.
Something like 100 or 200KHz, mainly limited due to the speed of
demodulation. As they are silcon , then the same temperature
limitations as transistors etc of about 150 deg C.
For any app hotter than that then piezo or strain gauges, or capacitance.
You can add extra combs around the sides, but for a long time
were stuck wiht just measuring x and y, eventually they could
introduce z. But as they are so small they could just place 3
orthogonal together. That is just the beginning.
Moving from a to b , say just a metre, you have distance and time.
If it took 1 second then the velocity is 1m/s. So keep on measuring tme
and distances you can work out velocities.
If you know the vel at point c was 10m/s and at d was 12m/s, then you
know it accelerated 2m/s per s. You can go the other way, knowing
acceleration , you know hte time those readings were made, you can
determine the velocity, then with velocity you can work out how
far its moved. So now with an accelerometer you can
tell what forces there were, the accelerations in diffefrent
directions, the velocities in different directions
and how far you moved. So a navigation system.
So electronic op-amp integrators , doubled up, integrate a to v and then v to distance.
These days that integration process is done purely mathematically in
a microprocessor. Such as this is called an IMU, inertial measurement
unit, to measure x,y and z plus other things. Add a memory card to
it . A video of someone with one fixed to a shoe. He walks along
straight, climbs a spiral staircase and walks 10m on the upper floor.
Showing the vectors of each footstep.
Q: so a small stone in his shoe, changing his gait , would have
shown up on that plot?
Another app, a version placed inside a ball , for measuring turbulent flow
It stores all the movements on its memory card. Its called a smart ball,
footballers use it.
Another app, a gyroscope.
Also twisting movements , measuring the rate of change of angles.
A barometer using much the same principal, or an altimeter because of
change of pressure with altitude.
In 2007 Albert Ferrer and Peter Groomberg awarded the Nobel
prize for dicovering giant magneto-resistance. Current flows more easily
in a layer aligned with the direction of magnetism With a very thin
layer of metal , not a piece of wire as the wrong scale. They could do that
inside a MEMS device, so they can tell which way is north.
If it turns over , they can still say which way is north.
With 3 of them,x,y&z, they can tell which way is north in 3D, a 3D compass.
It always knows which way is north and always knows which way vis
down regardless of which sense itself lies. Its called an IMU.
So its a navigation unit, so on planes, space vehicles and satellites.
The one with me is 3 axis accelerometer, 3 gyroscopes , 2 magnetic
sensors, pressure sensor, 2 GPS receivers.
Even sophisticated GPS receiver has to know which way its up.
Initally these cost 800 GBP for 1 accelerometer measurement.
Now you could buy a MEMS accelerometer, 2mm long, 2mm wide, .5mm thick,
with 10 degrees of freedom, x,y,z , pitch,roll and yaw, 3 axix magnetic
sensor and temperature, so 10 columns of numbers come out and it
cost 95 pence, if you bought 1000. It had an incredibly long and detailed data sheet.
It could self-calibrate. Its all microstructure , no coils .
For the magnetism its like a barber's pole, the conductor in a helix.
Dependent on its orientation ,makes the magnetic field spin.
With those things you can involve feedback.
A single gyroscope with a servo system, so turn the unit and a follower
moves in sympathy elesewhere, with no observable latency.
A quadcopter demo of stabilisation using an IMU, with the numbers
coming off the IMU with and without stabilising. Without, a human
finds it impossible to control.
Another example , balancing an inverted pendulum on the top
of it while flying and also a glass of water. The numbers showing angular velocities and angles in
degrees, pitch roll and yaw. You see drones all over these days,
because motors have been around for ages, but batteries are
lighter these days, and of course the introduction of IMUs.
You can use such systems under water or underground, where there is no
GPS or even in a warehouse without GPS inside. There are problems
with it , but a basic navigation system on board.
They are ordinary motors but pulse-width modulation powering.
You can use them on UAVs. These aren't precision scientific type
units. The microcontrollers can be built in there also, and so
cheap. About 50GBP but cloned versions are about 3GBP.
Another curious use, reforesting. Send a drone up with a pack
like a dart with soil and fertiliser in around each sapling.
Drops it like a dart penetrating the ground. Can reforest a big area
done remotely. Yesterday I heard that in Leeds doing an
experiment . Over a million GBP in Leeds mending potholes.
The potholes only got repaired after damage to car suspensions.
They will use drones to scan the road surface for defects. On finding
a defect, the drone will do a sort of 3D-printed patch over it.
So they fix the pothole before its become a pothole proper,
so a lot less expensive. Doing it at night avoids holding up the
Now the fit-bit, not just for the fit. Old people's home with a new
alarm system that monitors all human movements carrying a
sensor unit. If someone
doesn't move then someone will investigate.
Worst case of these sensors in a mobile phone, if you drop it on
concrete , the screen survives , would the MEMS cantilever component survive
that sort of high g direct impact?
They are very robust, they can take something like 100g. The cantilever is
no problem , its about 1 microgram. Its like you could drop a mouse
off the Empire State building it might survive, as very little kinetic
energy there. Thats not MEMS failure mode .
That jet-pack man or Iron Man, I keep saaing video of, I bet he has a few MEMS in the control of that, considering 3x 200 horse-power thrusters on each arm?
If he puts his right arm out , then he should turn over, but there must
be stabilisation on there to bring him back up again.
? ? calibration ?
You don't have to tell it where north is, it will find it itself.
There is metal around and also lots of stray magnetic fields from
motors etc. So they would tell it where it is , before it takes off.
There are hard magnetic fields and soft magnetic fields.
Hard would be from a magnetic material, and like a compass
needle , would affect the MEM. With variable fields from the motors, they
would calibrate it at the start. With the gyro and the magnetic field sensor
, if the gyros say a test turn has turned and the compass says its turned,
it has turned. If the compass says its turned but the gyros say its not
turned , then its not turned. Al lthe fixed magnetic fields will still
be fixed, it will see north fluctuating as it turns, and they can work
out which field is the Earth magnetic component, and what the othe rfields
are associated with the structure its mounted on.
It is a problem and its not fool proof. Bu tthere are techniques to imrove
Could they put it in a mu-metal box?
They don't really have to . The sensing element is a mechanical structure,
How do you get tiny GPS receivers, on a tiny chip, surely some sort
of largish antena is required?
Yes there would be an external connector to an antena, beyond the chip.
How GPS works , is satellites with high precision atomic clocks
on board. They transmit the time and with 3 satellites minimum in
view, you can get a 3D fix of position. They all transmit a code
containing the time . The receiver picks them up at different
times , whether near or far, then the speed of light , works out
how long the radio wave took to travel. The intersection of the
circles each radius being the transit time from each satellite.
Nothing is perfect and with 4 or more can get a better fix.
The use of MEMS with otherwise mainly GPS improves things
in the areas where there are complications for GPS, in urban
environments etc. Threy can correct each other.
Tuesday 19 June 2018 , 20:00 to 21:30
St Denys Community Centre, Main Hall, SO17 2JZ
David Johnston (Light Microscopy Facility Manager, Biomedical Imaging
Unit, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton
NHS Foundation Trust)
Small is beautiful.
Microscopes, sample preparation and imaging technologies have all
developed rapidly in recent years, allowing us to look at biology in
ways that we previously never imagined possible. Show-casing the
different sorts of microscope technology available for biomedical
research (using light, electrons and X-rays) and the many types of
multidimensional image data that we can generate.
Some of us in the unit are NHS employees and some the university.
We all mix and match supporting both sides. So most people have
tried school type microscopes (M), and could barely see anything.
They don't focus properly, smeery images. You can pick
up reasonable Chinese made instruments these days for about 100 GBP
and they're not bad. The ones I will be talking about tonight cost
between 50,000 and 250,000 GBP. Orders of magnitude better and in terms of
what they can do for us.
Size and scale. Take a mm and expand it up , microns or a millionth of 1m.
Simmilarly diividing a micron , to 1000 nanometres a billionth of 1m.
Scale - an Airfix kit 1:72 scale, buy 72 of them , stick them end to end,
be the same size as the real thing.
If we represent 1 micron by 1m in the real world , starting from here
we'd get to Paris. Go to a nm, and go from 1m in the real world, around the
equator 25 times.
We can magnify anything by as much as we want, but we get no reward
going higher, we see no more detail, we same the same detail but just bigger
and more blurry, we've reached the limit of resolution.
So resolution relates to how small things are and how close they are
and we can srtill see 2 separate objects.
Different biological effects occur at different scales. The very best eye
can only see down to 1/250 inch , for most people its 1/120 inch.
So we go to Ms to enlarge and get better resolutuion. There is a limiit
on mag of optical and to go to smaller scale , we have to go
to electron Ms. The unaided eye can see down to about 250 pixels per
inch. Apple retinal diplays are 326 pixels/in , you can't see it. The
new Sony Xperia S5 is 806 pixels/inch, completely pointless , its a
What limits our engineering ability to make good lenses- its
the laws of physics. The human eye can see light from deep blue to
far red 390 to 700nm. The limitation is the wavelength at which we
observe thigs. The resolution is about half the wavelength of the red light.
So things closer than 200nm , 1/5 micron, we cannot tell apart
by the very best light M.
To go further we have to use things with smaller wavelength.
Its not our abilities to build good M that limit us. We can do some
clever things with light though. 2 basic problems of observing
biology with light. Most biology is composed mostly of water , we are about
67% water, about 80% for muscle and 30% for bone.
So mainly transparent , so most biology is transparent.
So how do we see tsomething thats transparent. The next problem is
engineering, we cannot make the perfect lens. Every lens has a point at
which it focuses, but it still captures info from both in front and
behind that point , but out of focus. So your focused bit is always
superimposed on out of focus stuff either side of it. So you can never
see everything fully clearly, whether a lens in a camera, telescope or M.
The human eye is a bit different has it can continously adapt
focus, for different distances. To get around this, we can make our
samples very thin, so the thickness is what the lens can hold in focus at any one time.
Usually our samples are embedded in a wax block and then cutting
very thin sections from it, that roughly correspond to the focus range ability
of the lens. A piece of human tonsil about 5/1000 mm thick , originally a
raw red colour but cut it down to that thin , 80% water and its effectively
transparent, w ecan't see it. Counteract that by usually by staining with a
cromatic dye , giving it colour to be seen by. Thousands of dyes available but
all are pretty limited and crude. Purple on the nuclei , pink is the cytoplasm ,
we get the gross structure but not any real detail. Even the best dyestuffs,
a combination of 5 stains, w ehave more colours there, but its still
relatively crude as to what its labelling by the colours.
Q: The dye is just saturating the tissue?
All the dyes have slightly diferent specificity , one pair could be haemotoxin
and diosin, H&D is the most common one, The H one tends to go into the
nuclei of the cell and th eD to the connective tissue , cytoplasm .
With the pentachrome, 5 dyes, one would go for elastin and collagen
. They are crudely selective like that, they've been around for
centuries, very good what they do but very limited.
For a piece of lung tissue we've had to fix it, kill it , dehydrate it ,
embed in wax, cut thin sections, stick to a slide, get rid of the wax,
stain it, dry off again, pedastal? on top , and then ready to look at.
Can't do that to observe living material as it killed and preserved.
To view living cells grown in a nutrient soup , we come back to the
problem that biology is transparent. No contrast in the cells, we see
nothing. Phase contrast microscopy gets around that, producing
contrast in transparent material by changing differences in
refractive index, how different bits of cells bend light.
Using a trick in physics to do that. One of our phase-contrast M.
Its built upside down ,, for technical reasons, an incubator
housing around it, so we can grow cells in there and observe them
ove rlong periods of time. A video of how cells in a body move around.
A sheet of epithylial cells, lining cells, from the airway , grown
into a confluent sheet, then we put a scratch in it. Cells don't like that
space, they grow into it and when they touch from both sides they stop
dividing and stop growing. A sort of model of wound-healing
in a body. The trick we use is the back lens of the objective
on the M , that does the magnification has an etched silver ring
that blocks light. On the condenser bit of the M, that focuses the light
onto the sample, there is a blocking plate with a circular slit in it.
Matched and aligned with the lens etching. Nothing gets through
until you put something between them , that bends the light.
So quite simple in some ways , but it works very well.
Another trick is to use polarised light, same as in polarised sun glasses.
A polarising filter , it restricts light to light vibrating in a single
plane. Place 2 such together , that are crossed, cross-polars ,
no light passes as what passes one is blocked by the other.
Unless you put something between them that has a highly
organised structure of crystal. If you use crystals, crystalised out
on a slide, you get stunning pics. Some parts of biology have
a suitable structure, like collagen, the protein strands line up in a
precise controlled way, a sort of pseudo crystal and bends light
that is polarised. A pair of images of lung tissue comparing to
the polarised view which shows where the collagen sits.
With high mag , we can only seea small section at a time.
We can do "google-earth " with M slides. We have 2 types, one that
will do up to 4 slides at a time and another that will do 100.
A robot loader that picks slides out of trays, loads them in, the M
has a very precisely movable stage that can take 1000s of individual pics ,
covering the whole area of the slide. Then use auto-stitching when asked to look at a
A piece of spinal cord, comprising 2500 individual pics , then with a
web-browser type set up , we can zoom in where required, jumping around.
Low bandwidth required as only the bits of image interest are manipulated
One uses a very high quality digital camera with lens with no spherical
aberration. There are line scanner ones that are much faster, that traverse
the whole slide in a scan. So we make a slide from some
piece of patient anatomy, with a problem that we don't know what
it is. Someone on the other side of the world with expert knowledge
can help you zero-in on a diagnosis of the problem, without the use of
large bandwidth pipes. This is what is useful in our context.
We still use the same sort of staining and slide preparation.
It allows us to produce digital archives, relating to rare metabolic diseases.
We can make them available asa teaching resource. Much more freely
available than a physical slide in a lab somewhere.
Instead of using chromatic dyes we often use flourescent dyes now.
Chromatic dyes are very non-specific in their staining , but we can
make FD almost any colour we want, that are highly specific.
Often they are involving antibodies. You go to your doctor
, for a flu jab , you will be injected with a deactivated flu virus.
Your body can then produce an immune response to an assault.
Antibodies, very specific proteins, have a lock and key relating to
that protein and that protein only. So essentially we purify the
protein we are interested in , inject into a mous eor a rabbit,
it is recognised as foreign , produces an immune response to it ,
take a blood sample and find antibodies in there. Put them on some tissue
that has that protein and the ABs will bind to it with a flourophore?,
exite the flourop[hore and can see the sites. So very specific
localisations. You can use multiple fluourophores , for multiple
diferent targets, and a good range of colours.
So image of heart muscle , with bands of contractile protein in it.
Another pic is a piece of spleen where one group of immune cells have
been labelled up and nothing else.
Everything so far is 2D, but biology is in 3D.
Different dyes are excited by different colours, but always give off
a red-shifted colour. We might excite with UV and get blue light off,
or excite with blue and get green light out, or green in and red out.
It depends on the dye and we can pick and choose what we want,
deppendent on the requirement.
To go to 3D we have to remove the out of focus part that is
super-imposed on the in-focus. No trick of p[hysics required.
So for focussing on the nucleus of a cell, we also get light
from above it and below. But a form of m, called
confocal-M , sticks a plate with a tiny hole in
the light path. Then only light from one level gets
focussed at one viewing level. So we can produce an op[tical
section , then refocus slightly , and repeat and producea 3D dataset.
Ech slice of the datasetr is just the in-focus bits.
So for the nucleus image now, we so nothing of the organelles
above or below it, or we can move to the organelles levels.
It works with laser beams to do the excitation , different colours,
bent into the M light path and 2 mirrors in the head that oscillate
in a very precise and controlled way, to doa tiny scan across
and down. Any flourescence wil lcome off and some will go
back into the M, past the mirrors as differnt frequency of lightr,
dichrome splitter, past the pinhole and on to the detector.
The detection is just a light intensity meter rather than pixel array.
But it knows where the surveyed spot was at any one time.
So builds the pic, lightness values 1 pixel at a time, but very fast.
So any ordinary M viewing parts of a worm , we can see there is
different stuff , but we never see it clearly , because of the
superimposition of out-of-focus stuff.
Looking at the same 1mm thick sample by confocal-M , layer by
layer, out of focus stuff is rejected and nice sharp images.
In response to the flourescence light coming off at different
colours , glows from different probes in there, the light is split
by prism intio a rainbow, focused by lens systems into parallel
light paths and one of the light sensitive meters sits in front
of each path. Before them are 2 mirrors and the gap
between them , can be opened and closed,
up and down . So the gap is moved across parts of the colour range
, corresponding to each flourescence colour of each dye .
Anything that does not go thru the gap bounces away.
Other optical set-ups in the other detector paths. so simultaneously we
can detect 5 different colours, with infinite tuneability and
nm precision in terms of the wavelength of those colours.
It is really easy to use, just manipulating slider bars on a pc
screen and the actual manipulation is done behind the scene.
It allows us to look at lots of different things all at the same time,
Some new stem cells grown in culture, stained with 4
different flourescent dyes against 4 differenr cellular components.
Blue is DNA stain of nuclei , a stain that is active antibody to
a protein that only occurs in the nucleus of some cells, the white,
then 2 antibody stains that recognise different
proteins of the cyto? structural scaffolding. The filaments, one labelled
green and the other red, and different cells express different amoints
according to what they are doing. Some green , some red and some
between of orangey yellow, that are expressing both.
So by repeated digital slicing we can get multi-section 3D datasets.
The head of a tiny shrimp, going through it , section by sectuion
just by moving the M focus on the con-focal.
We can take all those images , kind of squash into 1,
and can see everything in one go. You can see individual muscle block
for individual joints, in all about 2mm long.
Another job, with the NOC, looking at mudstar fish, living in the
deep oceans. They burrow into the mud and eat fallout from
upper levels. They are interested in how they reproduce.
As they are in the deep dark ocean, do they give off environmental
signals. They reproduce all year round as no seasonality or do they
have to have seasonal reproduction. We are looking at the ovaries of these
and counting , via confocal M, the number of eggs and what stage
of developement they are. Because its a 3D dataset , we're not just
restriceted to looking up and down , can look in x&y, x&z etc.
We can manipulate the data set to look at any angle and that is very
Vey early mouse embryo cells, about 1/10mm diameter, but they've started to
develop. Stained with 3 flurescent dyes, 1 for the nuclei as blue, and some
as green a marker for one particular cell fate? , and red for another
3-D veiwing glassess , red over left eye and relax eyes and can see
the 3D effect of the video clip. If we have a 3D biology dataset .
This is blood vessels ina brain, injected with tiny flourescent beads.
Some are closer to you and some farther away. Part of a study looking
at Alzeimers and neuro-degeneration and changes in brain vasculature.
The tiny capilliaries of a human placenta.
Another type of M is light sheet M, where excitation lighting is shot
from the side, very thin but wide band of lazer light to optically
flouresce. We make our samples clear , sitting in a bath of organic
solvent that makes it transparent, light from th rside .
It only excites F at a particular level in the sample , capture with
camera at the top and move the sample . This is much more macro in
scale , up to 1cm x 1cm.
The whole head of a mouse, starting from scalp top . The F for this was
a specific probe , for neural pathway of the brain, we can isolate just
that signal which is green here. Again as 3D dataset can be manipulated
We can also do cool stuff with electrons. We are still limited by the rules
of physics and how close we can get and see things apart. So for snaller
dimensions than the wavelength of light , we move to electrons, that
behave as waves but their wavelength can be up to 1 million times smaller.
2 forms of electron-M , scanning e-M a source of electrons at the top
, a variety of electronic lenses in the vertical colum that focus the
beam and scans across the sample surface. The sample is in a chamber
at high vacuum. Sample fabrication is difficult, must be fixed , chemically
killed , preserve it, dehydrate it in a precise way so it doesn't just
collapse. Any water in the vacuum would just boil off so must be totally
dry. The surface must then be coated with a very thin layer of gold
or gold/palladium mix . The electron beam , as it scans across, interacts with
the coating, bouncing off and be detected or hit the coat and generate
more electrons, secondary e that are also detected. So we get surface
views, not internal structure. The great +, is it has incrredible
depth of focus , close and distant parts are held in focus at the same time.
A x400 pic of a dandelion seed, and a great depth of field, that is
achievable by light-M. Go closer x1200 can see individual
pollen grains , about the limit of light-M. So moving to e-M,
individual bacteria at x7000, and at x14000 the surfaces of individual
cells, the processes are micro-vili, and long thin processes are cilia.
Little motile structures . On our e-Ms we can go to about x60,000 but
only of surfaces and because electron beams, always monochrome.
The images you see in the media are false-coloured, to make different
things stand out.
A small airway in the lung, red blood cells, and cillia on the cell lining the
airway, the mechanism that keeps the lungs clear of grime.
Q:How is the false-colouring done?
Basically photoshop, masking out different areas , so entirely
The other type is the transmission e-M, pushing e-beams thru a sample.
To do this with e, we have to make the sample very thin. Start with
tissue sample, chemical fix it to kill and preservr, embed in block of
resin so about 1mm cubed . Trim that black down , then with often a
glass knife . Take a long strip of glass , cut into squares across the
diagonal, and get incredibly sharp but short lived knives.
A plastic boat around that , sealed with wax and fill with water.
Then a microtome, a sophistacated very thin slice "bacon-slicer" advancing
minisculy onto the knife, we get very thin slices, of the order 50nm.
Essentially about as this as an oil film, very delicate and very
skilled handling required. That needs to be picked up on a
tiny copper grid , stain wiht heavy metals , to give contrast in the
e-beam. That sample goes on a rod that is entered into the e-M
through an airlock, into the column. We shoot the e-beam thru
the sample , with mags up to x200,000 .
Goijng up ins scale, start with clls of the intestine, the absorbtiv e
layer, one cell ith its nucleus , a goblet? cell producing mucus,
includes gland filled with mucous. A big surface area for absorbtion, mag x2000.
Up-scale a cross-section thru one cillium , much less than 1micron
across and can see discrete structure, x50,000.
Individual virus particles , x200,000, a sort of cross between a hypodermic
syringe and a moon lander. A head with the DNA in it , then a needls and a
contractile outer sheath with legs. They land on a bacteria
cell , with the legs stabilising it, the contractile bit contracts to force the
needle thru the bacteria wall into the cell, to pass the DNA thru.
If I took a peanut and magnified it 100,000 times it would cover the
centre of Southampton.
Back to cillia , very complicated internal structure, individual
linked tubes , hair like wafting in a controlled way. An efector
stroke and a recovery stroke , lining the whole of our airway.
Every time we breath in , we breathe in dust , bacteria etc. If left
to accumulate in the lungs , would clog them up and cause infections.
Many of our cells produce mucus, so dirt is trapped in the
mucus and the cilia , wafting in syncronised fashion move this
dirt al lthe way up the airway, 24/7/365 to the top of the
windpipe where its swallowed and then neutralised in the stomach,
for the entirety of our lives. Its a complicated structure with
hundreds of different proteins involved in it. Any mutation in any one of
those proteins , can effect how those cillia function and the lungs don't
get cleared well. A spectrum of diseases that come under Primary
Cilia Diskynesia? where scilia don't beat as they should do .
Another M technique is high speed video.
Scilia on the edges of a small group of cells, healthy cells from a
normal healyh person. A tiny mascarra brush is pushed 6 inches up
into the nose. Scrape out some cells , place in nutrient so we can
view at 500 frames per second camera and high mag. The scillia are
all wafting in a co-ordinated way, over the patch of cells.
Q : Do the cillia rotate as well?
Not the ordinary funcioning cillia . A longer cillium is called a flagellum
, like the tail of a sperm . Bacteria have a flagellum that have a different
struture and some of those do rotate and twist. But in higher
organism its a beat and recovery stroke . An abnormal scilliun can do
that or be still or be hyper-active, but normal ones are effector
then recovery stroke, like a rowing action.
I don't have pics of rotating ones, but an abnormal set from a
patient with PCD, they are not beating efficiently, out of
sync with each other , not a nice regular stroke. This is part of the
dignosis of this disease. We are 1 of 3 centres in the country to
do this , looking at high speed video. We go beyond that to look
at e-M , as often bits of the internal structure is missing,
depending on the overall genetic cause is underpinning .
Outer tubule doublets in inner pairs and linking arms , which are
like the motors , link tothe next and cause the bending.
Some patients with a particular genetic mutation of their genome,
bits of that structure are missing or disorganised . It requires very high
power e-M to do such diagnosis . But sometimes these differences look perfectly
normal by ordianary e-M. This is where we do e-M tomography.
We take a thicker than normal section , image it in the e-beam
and then tilt it , so we get views , of hundreds of cillia fro ma patient,
average them all together , make a 3D model based o nthat data.
An outer doublet with 2 dynime ? arms, 2 motor arms on it,
fro ma normal patient , from yomography. The outer dynime
arms of one is solid . In a patient where we know the cillia ar enot
beating normally , look normal by normal e-M , do tomography
on that patient sample . As we tilt the view we can see a hole,
that is the mutation that exists below the resolution of normal x150,000 e-M.
But with this extra trick , we can see what is going wrong.
TEM is complicated , 3D biology , a 50nm sample of tissue, but what is
going on above and below, we cannot tell. Whenwe remove that string
of microtome sections , we cannot recover each slice intact,
process it, register it, all in sequence is virtually impossible to do.
We can get a 3D image of e-M, combining scanning and
transmission e-M, called serial block face scanning M.
A very high quality scanning e-M , with special sample chamber
that includes a mirotome , slicing machine, with a diamonnd
knife, that lasts for years when looked after. Take a sample and
prepare as for normal transmission e-M , this one the sample goes black
because we use osmium , combines with lipids and turns everything black.
That 1mm cube , mounted on a pin near the diamond
knife . The cut sample is scanned by e-M, that slice is chucked away ,
image again , throw away and repeat this for thousands
of sections. Because we don't need to recover the section , that is fine.
So allows us to do 3D biology with TeM. It allows us to look at stuff
we could not look at before.
to be continued
B 40 95min
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