Extreme rainfall in a warming world – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
8h ago
Auckland is currently challenging the record for its wettest month ever. More than 769% of its rainfall in a normal January has been recorded so far, with another round of downpours likely to hit again tomorrow night. The SMC asked experts to discuss what we know about the link between a warming climate and such extreme rains. Professor James Renwick, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington-Te Herenga Waka, comments: “The maximum amount of water vapour in the air increases exponentially with temperature. Hence, as the clim ..read more
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Making homes safe after floods – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
8h ago
Forty homes have been red-stickered, and around 5,000 more have been damaged after a record-smashing deluge across the upper North Island. Health hazards such as mould and contamination could be waiting for residents returning to their waterlogged homes. The SMC asked experts to comment on flood damaged houses, and renter/landlord rights.  Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Senior Research Fellow, He Kāinga Oranga Housing and Health Research Programme, University of Otago, Wellington, comments: “Often if we’ve got dampness in the home from a leak, the solution is simply drying it out. But ..read more
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The current state of carbon dioxide removal in NZ – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
4d ago
As the world heats up, there is an urgent need to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to buy us time as the world transitions to a zero-carbon future. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) takes many forms, from planting trees to new technologies that draw CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it or use it for other purposes. But many countries are lagging behind, and a major new international report,  The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal estimates we will need 1300 times more CDR from new technologies on average – and twice as much from trees and soils – to limit temperature rise to well ..read more
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Lack of support for those with Long COVID – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
4d ago
One in five participants in a major nationwide study experienced symptoms of Long COVID following an infection, and researchers say the health sector has been letting them down.  The report, Ngā Kawekawe Mate Korona | Impacts of COVID-19, also found that the Covid-19 pandemic had much greater health, social, and financial impacts on Māori, Pasifika and disabled people. The study is based on survey research with 990 people who caught COVID-19 before 1 December 2021. Information was also collected through in-depth interviews with 52 people. The SMC asked expert ..read more
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Does NZ need a bivalent booster? – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Louise Thornley
1w ago
One year on from when many Kiwis got their first COVID-19 booster vaccine, how is the country’s immunity holding up?  The SMC asked experts to explain where we’re at with boosters and the latest on Omicron-specific “bivalent” booster jabs.  Professor Michael Plank, Te Pūnaha Matatini and University of Canterbury, comments: “It is now around a year since many New Zealanders received their last Covid-19 vaccine. A large proportion of the population has since been infected by the virus, providing a natural boost to immunity albeit by an unwelcome route. However, there is probably still ..read more
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Top Ten Science Stories of 2022
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
2w ago
Two giant science stories dominated this year’s headlines – as we grappled with the growing urgency of the climate crisis, while the COVID-19 pandemic continued. The year also saw fake news, plastic pollution, Tonga’s eruption, major reforms of NZ services, and staggering new images from space. Here are our picks for some of the most significant science stories that made the headlines. Feel free to republish or re-purpose this content. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay  THREE OMICRON WAVES, ONE VARIANT SOUP  Year three of the COVID-19 pandemic saw three Omicron waves with a three-ph ..read more
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How to avoid spreading Covid this Christmas – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
2w ago
Covid-19 cases continue to rise as we head into the first summer holiday period with widespread community transmission. With end-of-year parties and family gatherings being planned, Te Pūnaha Matatini have put together a guide on how to have a Covid-safe event. The SMC asked experts what people should be aware of as they plan events this summer.  Associate Professor Michael O’Sullivan, Deputy Director – Te Pūnaha Matatini, comments: “We’ve learned a lot about Covid-19 over the last three years. One of the big learning experiences for Te Pūnaha Matatini was in July this year ..read more
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Nuclear fusion power breakthrough – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
2w ago
US scientists have reportedly reached a milestone in nuclear fusion research, producing a net gain of energy for the first time. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have announced the success of an experiment at their National Ignition Facility. However analysis of the results are still underway, and far more work would be needed to make it a workable energy source. The SMC asked experts to comment. Dr Jonathan Squire, Research Fellow, University of Otago, comments: “Fusion is the process that turns hydrogen into helium, releasing amazing amounts of energy in the ..read more
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How accessible are Covid-19 antivirals? – Expert Q&A
Science Media Centre
by Daniel Walker
2w ago
Covid-19 reinfections are ramping up, but how accessible are antiviral medicines? Earlier this spring, a Pfizer-funded survey reported that 54% of New Zealanders knew little about antiviral treatments for Covid-19. The SMC asked experts about access to Covid-19 antiviral medicines and what we know about the risks of reinfection. Dr Jin Russell, Developmental Paediatrician, Starship Children’s Hospital and PhD Student, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, comments: How accessible are Covid-19 antivirals in NZ? “There seem to be multiple barriers to accessing antiv ..read more
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Major makeover for NZ science system – Expert Reaction
Science Media Centre
by Louise Thornley
2w ago
The system that supports our researchers and innovators is set for an overhaul, with the release of the “Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways” white paper. The blueprint will reshape Aotearoa’s research, science and innovation landscape to better fit the future, including a funding boost and a roadmap to put the reforms in place. The future system is tasked with giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, being more adaptable and connected, and better reflecting the country’s unique context and diverse population. The SMC asked experts to comment.  Professor Shaun Hendy, Chief Science Officer, To ..read more
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