../Morning Post
Posted November 11, 2009
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Ted Talks

Rachel Pike: The science behind a climate headline

In 4 minutes, atmospheric chemist Rachel Pike provides a glimpse of the massive scientific effort behind the bold headlines on climate change, with her team -- one of thousands who contributed -- taking a risky flight over the rainforest in pursuit of data on a key molecule.

Rachel Pike studies climate change at the molecular level -- tracking how emissions from biofuel crops react with the air to shape weather trends globally.

Rachel Pike knows the intricacies of climate research -- the laborious, exacting and subtle techniques behind findings that end up in IPCC reports and, later, news headlines.

As a Ph.D candidate at Cambridge, Pike's research on isoprene, a major biofuel crop emission, and other molecules has taken her soaring over rainforest canopies in multi-ton labs-on-wings, into the cooled-down sub-levels of supercomputer grids, and into massive experimental atmospheric chambers. Her exhaustive work represents a major step toward a complete picture of how human activity affects the global ecosystem.

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