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New research on extreme weather

Work is going ahead on several new research projects about extreme weather in the light of last summer’s extreme drought. Three of these projects concern extreme weather’s impact on algal blooms, its consequences for bumble bee colonies, and the use of climate models to investigate effects on political, legal and social engagement.
Algal samples in two bottles.
Algal sample. Photo: Karin Rengefors

The government research council, Formas, recently granted SEK 50 million to a total of 17 new research projects on the consequences of extreme weather. Three of the projects will be conducted by researchers at Lund University in Sweden. The projects, which run for a three-year period, have each been granted approximately SEK 3 million.

Karin Rengefors, professor at Lund University’s Department of Biology, is to examine how extreme weather affects algal blooms. One aim of the project is to improve forecasts. Among other things, there will be an analysis of data collected over the past 20–40 years from 110 Swedish lakes.

“Our forecasts for algal blooms are not completely accurate, as they don’t take extreme weather into account”, says Karin Rengefors.

Resiliance among bumble bees

Another project underway with a connection to extreme weather concerns bumble bees. These insects have a major biological and economic significance for the pollination of crops.

“Now, we will find out if bumble bee colonies at ecological farms are more resilient to extreme weather compared with bumble bee colonies at conventional farms”, says Johan Ekroos, researcher at Lund University’s Centre for Environmental and Climate Research.

Impact on social changes

The third new extreme weather project at Lund University focuses on converging climate models with research on legal, political and social movements, i.e. various types of citizen engagement.

“We want to understand and explain the connection between research on extreme climate events and aspects such as justice and social change”, says Emily Boyd, director of the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS).

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