Extreme Weather • 2015 • episode "7/10" Catalyst: Season 1

Category: Environment
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This special report looks at the domino effect of environmental and atmospheric factors that drive the globe to wetter, hotter, drier and colder extremes.

Catalyst: Season 1 • 2015 • 10 episodes •

Polar People

Each year, over 2000 people apply for jobs in Antarctica, but few are successful. What are the physical and psychological attributes required to work in the most remote location on Earth? Could you snag a job in sub-zero temperatures at an Antarctic station?

2015 • People

Our Chemical Lives

Thousands of chemicals are used in everyday products – in our water, our food and in the air we breathe. It’s the chemical soup of modern life and it’s virtually impossible to escape them. Is there adequate regulation and testing, or are we in the midst of an uncontrolled, human experiment?

2015 • Health

Anti-venom

Good to know as you travel to the Antipodes - Australia has the most venomous snakes and spiders in the world. But, if you’re bitten, can you rely on anti-venom? Dr Graham Phillips investigates the effectiveness of anti-venom.

2015 • Health

Future Cities

It's amazing to think that in the 1900s a mere tenth of the world's population lived and worked in cities. Now it is over half. With soaring populations, how will we keep our cities live-able? And what will the city of tomorrow look like?

2015 • Environment

Quantum Computing

The promise of quantum computers is that what would otherwise take a billion years to calculate, could be done in a few seconds. First-generation quantum computers have started to appear. Indeed, earlier this year, Google bought one, The D-Wave 2. How will this advance change our future lives?

2015 • Technology

Powering the Mind

What is memory? How do our memories change from childhood to adulthood? How we can build up greater brain reserves to power our mind into old age? Brain epigenetics, how the expression of our DNA can be changed by our experiences, is an intriguing new area of science with huge health implications.

2015 • Brain

Extreme Weather

This special report looks at the domino effect of environmental and atmospheric factors that drive the globe to wetter, hotter, drier and colder extremes.

2015 • Environment

Tokyo Flood Prevention

Fifty meters beneath the teeming mega-city of Tokyo is an underworld river system - 6.4km of tunnels, colossal water tanks, massive pillars, giant pumps that remove 200 tons of floodwater every second. It’s an engineering marvel built to protect Tokyo against the increasing threat of flooding.

2015 • Technology

Mega Tsunamis

By investigating the tell-tale signs of earthquakes and tsunamis written into the landscape over the last thousand years, Japanese scientists are rewriting the rule books for disaster prevention in the Pacific.

2015 • Environment

Alien Technology

Is there anyone out there? Does the popular movie quote 'ET phone home' have any substance? Astronomers have been pointing their radio telescopes at the skies for decades trying to pick up alien signals. Hitch a ride as we join astronomers trawling through the galaxy looking for signs of life.

2015 • Technology

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Storming Antarctica

Six different teams of scientists arrive on the continent after years of planning. The continent is home to the coldest, windiest, driest conditions on the planet, and without Scott Base as their central hub, these teams wouldn't survive. Each team's results could have massive implications to better understanding how climate change is affecting life around the world.

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Fracking: The New Energy Rush

Iain Stewart investigates a new and controversial energy rush for the natural gas found deep underground. Sometimes, this is right under the places people live in. Getting it out of the ground involves hydraulic fracturing - or fracking. Iain travels to America to find to find out what it is, why it is a potential game changer and what we can learn from the US experience. He meets some of the people who have become rich from fracking as well as the communities worried about the risks.

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Killer Volcanoes

NOVA follows a team of volcano sleuths as they embark on a worldwide hunt for an elusive volcanic mega-eruption that plunged the medieval earth into a deep freeze. The mystery begins when archaeologists find a hastily dug mass grave of 4,000 men, women, and children in London. At first they assume it's a plague pit from the Black Death, but when they date the bones, they're a century too early. So what killed off these families? The chronicles of that time describe a run of wild weather that devastated crops and spread famine across Europe. NOVA's expert team looks for the signature of a volcanic eruption big enough to have blasted a huge cloud of ash and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, which chilled the entire planet. From Greenland to Antarctica, the team finds telltale "fingerprints" in ice and soil layers until, finally, they narrow down the culprit to a smoldering crater on a remote Indonesian island. Nearly 750 years ago, this volcano's colossal explosion shot a million tons of rock and ash into the atmosphere. Across the globe, it turned summer into winter. What would happen if another such cataclysm struck again today?

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