BBC BLOGS - Gregory's First Law

Archives for April 2010

Springwatch is coming...

David Gregory | 13:41 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010


It's an exciting time for us here at Midlands Today as we finalise filming and link-up our technology to bring you our best ever Springwatch coverage. Even as we speak I've been told pictures have just started to arrive in the building from one of our cameras in a peregrine falcon nest. Follow BBCFalcons on Twitter for the very latest.

beehotelfinal.jpgThis year we'll also be spending some time looking at the plight of the British bee. It's all part of a new campaign from the BBC and we'll have more about that closer to the time. Including details of how you can get involved.

In the meantime we've put a bee hotel up in Springwatch producer Karen's garden. It arrived stocked with red mason bees. They were pretty sleepy having been kept in the fridge. But as soon as the hotel was fixed in place in the bees warmed up and they soon began to emerge.

And they all promptly flew off never to be seen again. Hopefully we'll have some more promising updates over the next few weeks. If you have better luck with wildlife near you please send pictures and video to the usual email;

Talking to a pilot about volcanic ash clouds

David Gregory | 14:57 UK time, Thursday, 15 April 2010


Our Ben explains the impact of the eruption on Midlands TodayIn the midst of this volcano ash-cloud chaos there's one thing that I don't understand. If we can track the ash cloud via weather radar why can't pilots do the same and avoid the ash?

So I put in a quick call to a friend who flies commercial jets out of Birmingham. He explained that of course on board radar does spot the ash. But you can't tell if it's a rain cloud or an ash cloud from the radar display. The only way to be sure is when you fly into it and all your engines shut down.

Scientists in Australia are working on something to help.

And while this is a huge alert volcanic ash clouds are not unknown in Europe. Pilots are often directed around Mount Etna in Italy for just this reason.

Even for scientists on the ground tracking volcanic ash clouds can be hard and they have to rely on weather satellites in orbit above the earth. Satellite data can be limited as the places we're interested in the weather aren't always the places you find volcanoes.

For the rest of us I'm afraid no big black volcanic clouds to be seen in the sky.

But the extra ash in the atmosphere should increase the scattering of light from the sun and intensify the colours we see in the sky at the end of the day. So expect some amazing sunsets.

There's also a chance this eruption could lead to a cooler summer as the ash and gases produced in the eruption reflect the sun's energy back into space.

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