Climate conference closes

Climate conference co-chairman Dr Greg Bodeker checks the atmosphere in Queenstown. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Climate conference co-chairman Dr Greg Bodeker checks the atmosphere in Queenstown. Photo by Christina McDonald.
A ''very, very specific'' climate conference concerning two layers of the earth's atmosphere concluded yesterday in Queenstown.

The Stratosphere-troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) general assembly brought together about 280 international and about 20 national scientists.

Sparc co-chairman Dr Greg Bodeker, who is based in Alexandra, said themes of the conference included the many different components of the climate system, which cannot be looked at ''in isolation'', and the importance of the link between the stratosphere and troposphere in climate.

''It just becomes obvious that you can't make long-term predictions about climate change without taking into account the stratosphere,'' Dr Bodeker said.

He said climate scientists used to ignore the stratosphere, which is higher, and only include the troposphere in their models but it was ''increasingly apparent'' they needed to be thought of as a ''coupled system''.

The conference included poster viewings and lectures on topics including the link between aviation and climate, stratosphere and ocean interactions, the hiatus of global warming and why sea ice in the Arctic is decreasing whereas it is increasing in the Antarctic.

A particularly interesting talk, Mr Bodeker said, came from a Google representative who discussed a project the company was undertaking called Project Loon.

It began in 2013 in New Zealand with an experimental pilot programme and aims to provide internet connectivity to remote areas using a network of balloons floating in the stratosphere.