Lead influencing crime, Ice drug contaminating homes, and other highlights from CleanUp2017

700 scientists, engineers, regulators and other environmental professionals from more than 20 countries have been in Melbourne this week at the biennial CleanUp global forum.

CleanUp 2017, organised by the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), ran in Melbourne from 11 to 13 September. Delegates discussed many of the most pressing environmental problems facing the world today, including chemical weapons, climate change, asbestos, and per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

For example, one paper that caught our eye described how children exposed to lead in soil are more likely to commit crime as young adults. Dr Mark Cave, from the British Geological Survey, compared lead levels in soil with socio-economic information about health, wealth, employment, housing and crime in England. He found a link between soil lead and criminal behaviour in Derby’s urban environment, and said results in Australia show a strong relationship between childhood lead exposure and subsequent rates of aggressive crime. You can hear more about his work in an Australian Science Media Centre online media briefing.

For more details on our involvement in the conference, see our post on LinkedIn here.

2017 AMOS conference: What to expect

This article first appeared in The Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society, vol 3, 2016.


Canberra’s average February maximum temperature is 28 °C. So that sounds just about the perfect time to visit the nation’s capital to converse on climate, opine on oceanography and wonder about the weather.

Each year, the AMOS conference seems to get bigger. The number of abstracts submitted indicates that we can expect to be rubbing shoulders with around 500 colleagues at the 2017 event.

The conference will be at the Australia National University’s Manning Clark Centre, a from 7 to 10 February 2017.

The Monday before the conference, 6 February, will feature workshops on topics as varied as communication, software, and climate projections data, so consider spending a week in the ACT.

The list of high-profile international speakers is headed by David Grimes, World Meteorological Organization President and Canadian Meteorological Service Director. Also present will be Laura Furgione, NOAA Weather Services Deputy Assistant Administrator and US National Weather Service Deputy Director.

Here are just some of the fascinating topics that leap out from the list of accepted abstracts:

  • The impact of the Great Barrier Reef on local climate
  • Improved monitoring and prediction of fire weather
  • Increased population exposure to climate change-driven precipitation extremes
  • Record temperatures set in Australia in recent years to become the norm by 2030
  • Future snowfall probabilities for Alpine Australia
  • Indigenous seasons of north-east Arnhem Land
  • Heatwave forecasts
  • One thousand years of past hydrologic variability
  • Hail and lightning climatology
  • Impacts of 1.5 degree warming on the occurrence of extreme El Nino events
  • Urban heat mitigation strategies to cool Melbourne
  • Marine heatwaves and their drivers
  • The strongest, longest and largest marine extreme events

We know from experience just how much work is involved in organising a large conference, and we can tell you that our Executive Officer, Jeanette Dargaville is doing a superb job of managing tis complex event.

Working closely with Jeanette is the Local Organising Committee of Clem Davis, Mary Voice and Bob Cechet.

Special thanks to conference sponsors: Bureau of Meteorology and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Vaisala, NIWA, NCI and CSIRO. The Meteorological Society of New Zealand is an event partner, and the ANZ Climate Forum, American Meteorological Society and Scientell are conference supporters.