An illustration from Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather showing the teacher Dr Mizuki standing in front of a whiteboard that shows a picture of a volcano

Illustration: Zoe Persico | Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather

Carbon footprint

This is a measure of the amount of carbon released by a single person or an organisation over a particular period of time, e.g. a year. For instance, if you take lots of holidays abroad, and go everywhere by car, your carbon footprint will be higher than someone who stays in this country for their holidays and walks to school. A company that makes their goods using lots of fossil fuels has a greater footprint than one using renewable energy.

Climate change

This is when the average conditions start to change. Today, the science shows that we are in a period of rapid climate change. This is mostly because of heat being trapped in Earth’s atmosphere.


Trees are good for our planet, producing the oxygen we need to breathe. When trees are burned or chopped down – this is called deforestation – the carbon they store is released into our atmosphere. Forests worldwide are under threat as land is cleared for agriculture, or by logging or mining.


An ecosystem is a complex system of all plants, animals, and other lifeforms and the environment in which they live – whether in the desert, mountains, forests, ice, or water. The result is a natural balance, with everything working together to support life. The Earth has a variety of ecosystems, which together form a balanced planet. If one goes wrong, it can have a knock-on effect on other systems.

An illustration from Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather showing a polar standing on a melting iceberg

Illustration: Zoe Persico | Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather


Emissions is the term used to describe the release of gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists look at the small-scale – like fumes from car exhausts or a cow farting. They also observe the larger scale by, for instance, measuring emissions from a country’s factories and other industries.

Fossil fuels

A general term for fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal – fuels that are buried beneath the surface of the Earth. They are called fossil fuels because they are formed over hundreds of millions of years. When they are burned, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and so are a big factor in climate change.

Global warming

This is the term used to describe the rise in the Earth’s temperature. The world is now about 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than it was before fossil fuels were used to provide heat and power for our factories, homes, and cars.

An illustration from Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather showing the Earth from outer space

Illustration: Zoe Persico | Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases – like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – are gases that trap heat. The Sun’s rays hit the surface of the Earth, and the radiation bounces back into the air as heat. We need these gases to keep our planet warm – without them it would be very cold, and life as we know it would die out. But too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can cause the planet to get too warm. Right now, our planet is warming up.

Renewable energy

Unlike energy from fossil fuels – which, once used, can’t be replaced – renewable energy comes from sources that are renewed again and again. They include solar power (energy from the Sun), wind power, tidal power, and geothermal power (using the heat from the Earth).

  • Princess Olivia Investigates: The Wrong Weather

    Princess Olivia Investigates

  • The brand new series for young readers from bestselling author Lucy Hawking.

    'The more we find out about the world around us, the more we can work out other, more complicated things, such as how the universe began or how life got started on Earth . . .'

    Olivia Alez is delighted about finally living a life away from the royal palace in the mountains that used to be her home, after the Kingdom of Alez decides it doesn't want a royal family any more. Now she can finally give up boring princess lessons and learn about real things, like volcanoes and the ocean and space!

    But Olivia is completely unprepared for the world that awaits her. Thick, dark clouds hang low over the city, and the rivers that she so longed to see are choked with rubbish. And on top of it all, the weather just feels wrong. With scorching hot sun one day and torrential rainfall the next, it seems nearly impossible for the people and animals in Alez to adapt to their extreme climate.

    Olivia, horrified by what she sees, becomes determined to get to the bottom of Alez's dangerous weather patterns. With the help of some new friends and armed with a scientific lab coat that would make Albert Einstein jealous, Olivia sets out to solve the mystery and save Alez from climate destruction before it's too late . . .

  • Buy the book

Read more

We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience.

For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here

Strictly Necessary


Preferences & Features

Targeting / Advertising