The IPCC Report on Climate Change

Spring in Ploughman's Forest, Nottinghamshire

Today the IPCC (Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change) released the second in a series of updated reports about climate change.  This reports on research that combines the work of thousands of scientists and experts.

This report shows that there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the climate change we are experiencing is human induced, the world is not prepared for what is coming and suggests how we can become prepared and reduce the risks, a summary of the report can by found here.

How do we absorb this information, understand it or respond?

I am continuing my work with climate scientists and the public to find through my artistic practice ways to explore these questions.

Nowcasting Launch

visitors to the Nowcasting launch with Rachel and the model machine

On Sunday 23rd March Radar, Loughborough University Arts launched their programme of artworks – Nowcasting – that will link up to the Loughborough University weather station.

As part of this event I presented a cardboard model of The Prediction Machine, based on my designs, shown behind me in the picture above. I talked about the machine and began a dialogue about how we track, record and respond to the changes in climate.

I also presented my drawings and ideas and the fortune cookies as an informal discussion about the project with the people that came. People could sign up to participate in the workshops and pick up more information about the project.

hands holding a broken fortune cookie and the fortune 'the bananas will run out'

Fortune cookies were presented on three separate plates that signified a different future scenario based on climate change research. People were invited to choose a cookie from any of the plates by choosing which scenario was most likely.  The scenarios were taken from a document shared by Dr Candice Howarth (Climate Scientist):

Plate 1 – A future dominated by consumerism and globalisation (A ‘me’ society)
All bets are off… very high world temperatures, C02, holes in the ozone and air pollution, the Artic will melt, higher sea levels, more pests and disease, problems with growing crops and high demand for water, major loss of biodiversity, extreme storms, tornados and droughts. The UK will lose much of its landmass to floods and the sea.

Plate 2 – A future dominated by the common good, local, environmental concerns and local, national and regional autonomy ( A ‘collective’ society)
A small rise in temperatures and C02, continued unstable weather, rise in biodiversity, organic local farming, not much changes.

Plate 5 – A balance between consumerism and collectivity, where nations work together to support local and regional autonomy
Increasing world temperatures, pollution and C02 in the atmosphere that is managed by local and global solutions. An increased loss in biodiversity, the Artic will slowly melt, the sea levels will rise, more floods, more pests and disease, problems with growing crops and high demand for water, loss of biodiversity, unpredictable weather, extreme storms, tornados, heat waves and droughts.

children choosing fortune cookies from the plates

All photos on this page are copyright of Julian Hughes

The Story of the Machine

rainbow and clouds over the hills

Roll Up Roll Up… to see plans for The Prediction Machine, a new invention to track moments of climate change that will be revealed this Autumn using weather data collected from a weather station in Loughborough, in the middle of this island…

20 years into the future they say that the climate will change even more. As we have seen this winter storm after storm has come in from the Atlantic. The seas temperature are rising, the Artic is melting and the jet stream that carries our weather across the northern hemisphere is changing the way it flows. In 20 years our climate may change beyond recognition.

When these changes come we will no longer able to recognize the seasons, our folklore and sayings about the weather may no longer make sense and we will need to find new ways to prepare for the oncoming storms.

20 years into the future these violent storms could be followed by scorching heat.  After days of scorching heat a new storm could hit, flooding away another stretch of trees on the hill, rain falling in larger and larger drops, enough to take you out. We will need to find ways to protect the crops below the hill, our roads will turn into a raging river and we will easily be cut off from the rest of the world…

I would like to present to you my plans to build a machine, that will help us predict these extremes of weather that are coming our way, to help us to find out how to grow the right food in the right place, to protect our crops, our animals and our houses.

I will be combining knowledge of the climate gleaned from the scientists and local people to build a… prediction machine.

The machine reads the temperature, humidity and wind speed for the day, and matches these with projections for 20 years into the future, I will be collecting local observed phenomena, folk lore and sayings about the weather to help build the machine.

The machine will print out a little prediction. Some of the predictions will be superstitions we have been told or had remembered, to remind us, so we don’t forget as the weather changes rapidly and without sense, some tips that we had heard in the past about growing food, some optimistic sayings and thoughts to keep us positive through the thunder and the heat.

I am building the machine to help us to make sense of what is happening, to give us a sense that there is some sense, help us to accept, help us to prepare, make decisions and choices, to remind us we are humans, who have got where we have got, despite the consequences, through making sense of the world.

The machine will help predict what is happening in other places and we can send these out, to our friends and family, just in case we get cut off, in the hope that we may somehow be protecting them from afar.

In the future, I imagine we will have a prediction machine in the centre of every town, street or like a barometer on our flood protected walls. To send us warnings, remind us of a climate long gone, track the changes in the weather and try and make sense our new climate.

Sign up to take part and help me build the machine, write the predictions and see if we can capture moments of climate machine over the next six months.

modelling the machine

cardboard model of the machine

I am in the process of building a model of the machine to work out scale, accessibility and design. This will be presented at the Nowcasting launch event at Loughborough University Weather Station on Sunday 23rd March, 1-4pm

The image shows the screen and light up sign on the top. To the right is a hand crank that will power the screen and to the left is the lever to choose whether to print out a prediction for the near future or 20 years time.  The dials let you input your age and what environment you live in (choosing from coast, fields, forests, desert, mountains, town, city) and the hole in the front is where the fortunes come out.

Nowcasting Launch – Sunday 23rd March

Nowcasting Launch - Sunday 23rd March

The Prediction Machine has been commissioned as part of the Nowcasting programme at Radar, Loughborough University.  To launch this event I will be presenting the project on Sunday 23rd March at Loughborough University Weather Station (opposite Pilkington Library) on Loughborough University’s campus, 1- 4pm.

I am baking fortune cookies for the event, asking people to contribute fortunes to the prediction machine and presenting the plans for the machine as a performance about climate change, predictions and uncertainty.