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Dec. 20, 2018

Research at University of Exeter ranked among 2018’s most influential

University of ExeterRecent research conducted by experts at the University of Exeter has been recognised as being in the top 100 most influential research items for 2018 in the most recent Altmetric Top 100 prestigious list.

‘Trajectories Of The Earth System In The Anthropocene’ was the best climate and research paper in the top 100 list – ranking at number four overal. This excellent research paper was co-authored by Professor Tim Lenton a Geography academic at Exeter. Professor Lenton explains, “Our paper identified the existential risk that if we don’t act decisively to limit global warming then we could pass a global tipping point where climate change falls out of our control and the Earth system propels itself into a hotter state with sea-levels tens of metres higher.” He continues, “At the same time we showed that there is a better path to a brighter future – a trajectory to a ‘stabilised Earth’ with manageable levels of climate change – but it is a path we have to create together, starting now. As Director of Exeter’s new Global Systems Institute that’s where we’re focusing our energy; on creating ‘positive tipping points’ – transformative solutions that take us on the path to a brighter, more sustainable future, which is in our control.”

The second significant piece of research from Exeter to be included in this hot list was ‘Artificially Lit Surface Of Earth At Night Increasing In Radiance And Extent’. This was co-authored by Biodiversity and Conservation Professor at the University of Exeter, Kevin Gaston and it explores how the world’s night skies are getting brighter and how the worsening light pollution has harmful effects on animals and birds.

Discussing his research paper Professor Gaston says, “Our paper showed that, globally, between 2012 and 2016 both the extent and the intensity of artificial night-time lighting (from streetlights and other sources) increased at c.2% per annum. In other words, in a short period the night-time skies have further brightened across yet more of the planet.” Professor Gaston continues, “These findings are troubling because of the numerous ways in which, as we and others have shown, artificial night-time lighting can impact on wild plants and animals. However, they also illustrate how rapidly changes in night-time lighting can occur, suggesting that with appropriate policies in place the problems associated with such lighting could quickly be reduced.”

The annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights research published in 2018 that has generated significant international online attention and discussion – from post-publication peer review sites and public policy documents to mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia, and social media platforms. COO of Altmetric, Catherine Williams, says, “The Altmetric Top 100 continues to highlight an array of fascinating and diverse research that often relates to the broader cultural zeitgeist and the year’s most notable events. From climate change to misinformation and diets, the most widely shared and discussed research focuses on global challenges that affect us all. Encouragingly, the levels of attention we see here demonstrates that expert knowledge still plays a very central role in our shared understanding of these issues.”

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Content added on 20th December 2018. 

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