• Question: What is the most interesting thing you have discovered in your job

    Asked by Josh to Oli on 8 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Oli Wilson

      Oli Wilson answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      I’m still quite early on in my job so I haven’t really made any of my own discoveries yet, but I have come across some cool discoveries from other people! I recently read that a couple of scientists in Brazil had found evidence for a forest growing up to 13,000 years ago in a place most scientists have assumed was all grassland and meadows – I’m hoping I’ll be able to use their findings and find some similar, surprising stuff myself 🙂

    • Photo: anon

      anon answered on 10 Nov 2017:

      Whilst I worked as an atmospheric scientist, we (I say we because all my academic work has been collaborative – i.e. involving the work of many people) made some interesting discoveries about how ice particles like snowflakes form in clouds. It was already known that ice in clouds usually forms on existing tiny particles like dust. We found that plant life in the oceans (phytoplankton) can also contribute lots of tiny particles to the atmosphere that ice likes to form on.

      This is important because improving our understanding of the way clouds form and behave is very important for allowing us to predict the future of our atmosphere – e.g. things like global warming and rainfall.