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  • Young Climate Warriors

Patterns in nature ... look closely ... they are everywhere!

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

How many different patterns can you doodle – find the back of an old envelope and give it a try? Spirals, waves, stripes, tessellations, hexagons, semi-circles, teardrops, rings, fractals, hearts, ovoids … these are all different shapes and patterns within nature’s awe-inspiring designs. This summer Young Climate Warriors are challenged to look out for shapes and patterns in nature – when you start looking they are everywhere! Take photos, make sketches or check out our Patterns in Nature checklist!

How about creating your own patterns, using natural objects – stones, leaves, shells and twigs? If you’re looking for inspiration, look at these stunning creations by Andy Goldsworthy, a British sculptor. In this BBC bitesize video he demonstrates how he creates temporary artwork with chalk on slate and shows how to create a rain-shadow image.

Patterns in nature can also help scientists. We can learn the age of a tree from the number of rings in its trunk, and scientists, who study Earth’s past climate – paleoclimatologists - can find out how much carbon dioxide there was in our atmosphere millions of years ago by looking at ice core rings. Each season’s snowfall has slightly different properties and so the layers of ice can be read like the rings of a tree, to count the age of the ice. When ice is formed it holds bubbles of ‘atmosphere’ at the time – showing how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere in that particular year. The oldest ice cores show that carbon dioxide levels are higher now than at any time throughout the past 800,000 years. Check out this British Antarctic Ice Core Scientist explaining how they drill for ice cores.

Audio patterns – or the ‘music of the rainforest’ – are being used to help us combat climate change, we think this is truly incredible, see what you think! The Rainforest Connection project is continually audio mapping the sounds of the rainforest and with the help of machine learning can now predict deforestation BEFORE it happens! Deforestation is responsible for 10-15% of global carbon emissions, so stopping illegal deforestation is really beneficial! But how do you think it works? Well … animals pick up on rainforest intruders from many miles away, and send out warning messages - before they can be noticed by humans. These different ‘noise patterns’ or ‘changes in the music’ can be detected and used to alert the authorities that illegal deforestation is likely to happen soon. This new technology can enable the forest protection teams to be one step ahead.

Don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON and send us your photos, sketches and doodles so we can share them with your Young Climate Warriors team!


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