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Although Scientell works with a range of scientific, environmental and technical agencies, in recent months we have been communicating a lot about climate change – something close to our hearts
With climate change ‘blamed’ for Australia’s 2016-17 angry summer, when more than 200 weather records were broken, it’s not a subject that we’ll stop communicating about any time soon. But climate change also needs thoughtful and accurate communication. In this newsletter you’ll find some tips about communicating climate change, and summaries about how we’ve been doing it
Follow us on Twitter at @Scientell for updates, or check out our blogs.
Simon Torok & Paul Holper
Communicating climate extremes
There is still widespread confusion about the linkages between human-induced climate change and extreme weather. In an article co-written with international colleagues and published in the World Meteorological Organization Bulletin, we proposed several simple guidelines for clear communication regarding extremes, including:
• lead with what we know, and save the caveats for later
• use metaphors to explain risk and probabilities
• avoid loaded language like ‘blame’
• use accessible language
• try to avoid language that creates a sense of hopelessness.
For more about communicating extremes, see the full article in the WMO Bulletin, the summary in The Conversation, or the 3CR podcast interview with Simon.
Canberra heatwave attracts conference media
The February 2017 AMOS conference, ‘Australasian weather, climate and oceans: past, present and future’ in Canberra coincided with a heatwave in south-eastern Australia. The good news was that the heat helped attract media coverage; the bad news was that approximately 450 delegates had to endure a week of temperature records.
As media partner, Scientell liaised with journalists, assessed abstracts for the most newsworthy presentations, issued media releases, and regularly tweeted. As well as trending prominently in Australia and New Zealand, the conference attracted print, radio and television coverage.
Prior to the conference, we contacted potential sponsors and exhibitors, created and distributed a sponsorship and exhibition flyer, and managed the trade display area featuring nine exhibitors.
Daily climate adaptation news
Scientell is moderating CoastAdapt’s online discussion forum, CoastExchange, for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). To keep the conversation going, we post a daily news round up about climate adaptation, weekly feature articles, and monthly Q&A sessions with adaptation experts from around the country.
Check out the news, or sign up to participate
Innovative uses of coal
Victoria’s Latrobe Valley represents one-quarter of the world’s known reserves of brown coal. Emerging technologies offer Victoria the potential to transform the region’s brown coal into applications and products, including carbon fibres and polymers, fertiliser and soil improvers, and building products.
Scientell edited a report describing the activities of Brown Coal Innovation Australia Ltd, which in its first six years has supported investment of over $50 million in developing research and skills for new applications of coal. We also prepared a report synthesis and media release.
Writing with style
To communicate clearly and well, writing should be grammatical and consistent. Sloppy writing makes an audience work harder to understand the message; it is also likely to make them wonder whether the author should be relied on in the first place.
No matter what your topic – from astronomy to zirconium – following writing conventions will help your communication. Biotext has devoted countless hours to compiling the Australian manual of scientific style. The company describes it as a ‘key resource for the Australian scientific and communications community. It brings together a wealth of information on scientific writing, style and design, to support the presentation of clear and correct scientific communication.’
Scientell highly recommends the manual. Read more.
As the Sun’s white light travels through the atmosphere, it collides with gas molecules in the air. These molecules scatter the light. Blue light has a high frequency, and is scattered far more than red light. That’s why the sky is blue.
(Factoid drawn from a program of Science Club lessons that Scientell developed for the Central Highlands Science Centre in Emerald, Queensland.)
Scientell is managing media liaison for CleanUp 2017 – the 7th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference, incorporating the 1st International PFAS Conference. The conference, led by CRC CARE, will be held at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne from 10 to 14 September 2017.
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