About me

My name is Michelle (aka civiltalker), and I’m restarting this blog so I can share all kinds of interesting things that I think other people will also find interesting. That’s about it really. But if you want more about what you might find here…

I’m a post-doctoral researcher who works on atmospheric chemistry, so there is likely to be posts about the atmosphere. There probably won’t be many posts on chemistry though, as I’m not a chemist. I’m more likely to post on astronomy, as I’m an astrophysics graduate and more importantly, there’s so many pretty pictures to share.

Mainly, I want to write about interesting science, but I will also post other stuff that I think is worth sharing: technology, politics, cooking (anything related to cooking will end up on my other blog, Experiments of a culinary chemist), cake decorating, travel (mainly geologically interesting places), music, gaming, science fiction, boating and finally, the internet stalwart that is amusing video clips.

The name of the blog (starshaped) has a loose connection to the astronomy themed posts, and is the name of a Blur song on Modern Life is Rubbish. No prizes if you know where civiltalker comes from.

2 thoughts on “About me

  1. Hi Michelle,
    I’m writing a piece about methane release in the Arctic for my readership in South Africa (SA). Do you have a take on the GHG equivalence of methane? Because our site is devoted to providing information to the SA public about ‘fracking’, we often feature the spat that is going on in the USA in general and Cornell University in particular about the release of ‘fugitive’ methane emissions.

    It seems that the argument that large scale release from a warming seabed could happen quite soon and that therefore we should pay attention the 20 year value has merit. But why not some intermediate value like, say, 40 years? I prefer to use the Shindell et al (2009) figures rather than the AR4, mostly because they’ve taken the trouble to try and include aerosols, but also because Gavin Schmidt was part of that team and I greatly admire and trust his work with Real Climate. Also, I understand that Drew Shindell will be co-lead author of the section in AR5 that covers GHG equivalence.

    It’s mid-winter here, so I envy you your perpetual daylight. Though the temperature reached 24degC yesterday – a value I doubt you’ll see during your visit.

    Ian Perrin

  2. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for your comment! I just wanted to add a quick note to say that I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Need to try and grab some sleep now though, even though it’s still light outside! (It was also warm enough for t-shirts outside today in the sunshine – but only just…) I’ve actually only just started working on methane, and don’t have a well thought out position on the best timescale to consider the radiative effects of methane. I guess it depends on particular question. If anyone else reading this does have a considered opinion, then please feel free to chip in!

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