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January 03, 2008

Pathetic Fallacy: Weather and Imagination

Pathetic Fallacy: Weather and Imagination

January 7 - February 27, 2008

Works by Richard Bosman, Peter Brooke, Fernando Ferreira de Araujo, Malcolm Fenton, Joy Garnett

@

Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination

247 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028

Artist's Reception: Saturday, January 12, 5:30-7:00pm.

In his five-volume work Modern Painters (1843-60), John Ruskin wrote of the poetic practice of ascribing human characteristics, such as emotions, feelings and sensations, to inanimate objects or to nature, thereby coining the term pathetic fallacy. The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination is pleased to present the exhibition, Pathetic Fallacy: Weather and Imagination, which examines diverse ways in which artists and scientists record, capture and analyze the phenomenology of weather. From the roiling background in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” to Shakespeare’s tempests, weather forms an underlying context across artistic disciplines. How do actual weather conditions affect the sensibility of an artist? How does the climate influence his or her representations, and what of the impact on the viewer? A concurrent display in the Annex will address how scientists, track, quantify, and forecast—via meteorology—the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere.

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." -Mark Twain

Artists Richard Bosman, Peter Brooke, Fernando Ferreira de Araujo, Malcolm Fenton, and Joy Garnett, through painting, photography and printmaking, consider the implications and consequences of weather on human activity, and vice-versa.

Hallie Cohen, Curator

December 26, 2006

Worldchanging: User's Guide

reblogged via NEWSgrist, 10/26/06:

User's Guide for the 21st Century

Worldxing_1
New Book:
Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century
by Alex Steffen, Al Gore (Foreword), Bruce Sterling (Introduction)
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (November 1, 2006) [Link]
ISBN: 0810930951

via Bruce Sterling's Viridian Notes 00477 email:

If you are into cybergreen issues you can't call yourself informed without WORLDCHANGING.  Furthermore, the people involved in this effort are the absolute salt of the earth. They're bright, fluent, capable and they genuinely get it.  They don't merely "get it," they are inventing that which it is necessary to get. These are people you need to know a lot more about.

via Amazon : [links courtesy of ng]

Worldchanging is poised to be the Whole Earth Catalog for this millennium. Written by leading new thinkers who believe that the means for building a better future lie all around us, Worldchanging is packed with the information, resources, reviews, and ideas that give readers the tools they need to make a difference. Brought together by Alex Steffen, co-founder of the popular and award-winning web site Worldchanging.com, this team of top-notch writers includes Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, Geekcorps founder Ethan Zuckerman, sustainable food expert Anna Lappé, and many others. Renowned designer Stefan Sagmeister brings his extraordinary talents to Worldchanging, resulting in a book that will challenge readers to personally redefine the conversation about the future.

July 27, 2006

Global Warming: Scientist Sets Record Straight

 

Image: Michael Kupperman

via NYTimes:
Op-Ed Contributor
Cold, Hard Facts
By PETER DORAN
Published: July 27, 2006

Chicago
IN the debate on global warming, the data on the climate of Antarctica has been distorted, at different times, by both sides. As a polar researcher caught in the middle, I’d like to set the record straight.

In January 2002, a research paper about Antarctic temperatures, of which I was the lead author, appeared in the journal Nature. At the time, the Antarctic Peninsula was warming, and many people assumed that meant the climate on the entire continent was heating up, as the Arctic was. But the Antarctic Peninsula represents only about 15 percent of the continent’s land mass, so it could not tell the whole story of Antarctic climate. Our paper made the continental picture more clear.

My research colleagues and I found that from 1996 to 2000, one small, ice-free area of the Antarctic mainland had actually cooled. Our report also analyzed temperatures for the mainland in such a way as to remove the influence of the peninsula warming and found that, from 1966 to 2000, more of the continent had cooled than had warmed. Our summary statement pointed out how the cooling trend posed challenges to models of Antarctic climate and ecosystem change.

Newspaper and television reports focused on this part of the paper. And many news and opinion writers linked our study with another bit of polar research published that month, in Science, showing that part of Antarctica’s ice sheet had been thickening — and erroneously concluded that the earth was not warming at all. “Scientific findings run counter to theory of global warming,” said a headline on an editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune. One conservative commentator wrote, “It’s ironic that two studies suggesting that a new Ice Age may be under way may end the global warming debate.”

In a rebuttal in The Providence Journal, in Rhode Island, the lead author of the Science paper and I explained that our studies offered no evidence that the earth was cooling. But the misinterpretation had already become legend, and in the four and half years since, it has only grown.

Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth. I have never said that “the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a lessening of the current global warming cycle.” I have never thought such a thing either.

Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient truth?

Also missing from the skeptics’ arguments is the debate over our conclusions. Another group of researchers who took a different approach found no clear cooling trend in Antarctica. We still stand by our results for the period we analyzed, but unbiased reporting would acknowledge differences of scientific opinion.

The disappointing thing is that we are even debating the direction of climate change on this globally important continent. And it may not end until we have more weather stations on Antarctica and longer-term data that demonstrate a clear trend.

In the meantime, I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global warming. I know my coauthors would as well.

Peter Doran is an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

July 23, 2006

C5 Landscape Database API 2.0


 

C5 Landscape Database API 2.0
An Open Source GIS API for Digital Elevation Model processing and performance
http://www.c5corp.com/research/demtool/index.shtml

C5, in association with Futuresonic 2006, is proud to release the C5
Landscape Database 2.0 API to the public, in celebration of ten years of
Futuresonic!
http://www.futuresonic.com/

*New Release*
C5 Landscape Database API 2.0

New Features in version 2.0:

   * Virtual Hikers
   * Support for GPS data such as track logs and waypoints
   * Ability to image GPS data onto dem data
   * Java3d support
   * Ability to read land use data (CTG files)
   * New analytic capabilities for landscape searching

 Version 1.0.3 features:

   * DEM input packages
   * RDBMS packages for DEM data
   * Support for processing DEM data dynamically
   * Analytic table support for landscape searching
   * Simple GUI (demtool) for viewing DEMs
   * Support for data export and management

(c) C5 corporation 2002-2006, under the GNU Lesser Public License (pre-2.0
libraries) and C5/UCSD AESTHETIC USE LICENCE (2.0 libraries: see source
code for details)

+

 

Andrea Polli's weblog added

The image “http://www.andreapolli.com/webeye4loop.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Check out Andrea Polli's weblog (recently added to the blogroll).

May 28, 2006

On 'An Inconvenient Truth'

 

An Inconvenient Truth [view the trailer]
Official site
Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim; produced by Laurie David, Lawrence Bender and Scott Z. Burns; released by Paramount Classics and Participant Productions. Running time: 96 minutes.

via NYTimes:
MOVIE REVIEW
MORE ON 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Warning of Calamities and Hoping for a Change in 'An Inconvenient Truth'
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: May 24, 2006

CANNES, France, May 23 — "An Inconvenient Truth," Davis Guggenheim's new documentary about the dangers of climate change, is a film that should never have been made. It is, after all, the job of political leaders and policymakers to protect against possible future calamities, to respond to the findings of science and to persuade the public that action must be taken to protect the common interest.

But when this does not happen — and it is hardly a partisan statement to observe that, in the case of global warming, it hasn't — others must take up the responsibility: filmmakers, activists, scientists, even retired politicians. That "An Inconvenient Truth" should not have to exist is a reason to be grateful that it does.

Appearances to the contrary, Mr. Guggenheim's movie is not really about Al Gore. It consists mainly of a multimedia presentation on climate change that Mr. Gore has given many times over the last few years, interspersed with interviews and Mr. Gore's voice-over reflections on his life in and out of politics. His presence is, in some ways, a distraction, since it guarantees that "An Inconvenient Truth" will become fodder for the cynical, ideologically facile sniping that often passes for political discourse these days. But really, the idea that worrying about the effect of carbon-dioxide emissions on the world's climate makes you some kind of liberal kook is as tired as the image of Mr. Gore as a stiff, humorless speaker, someone to make fun of rather than take seriously.

In any case, Mr. Gore has long since proven to be a deft self-satirist. (He recently told a moderator at a Cannes Film Festival news conference to address him as "your Adequacy.") He makes a few jokes to leaven the grim gist of "An Inconvenient Truth," and some of them are funny, in the style of a college lecturer's attempts to keep the attention of his captive audience. Indeed, his onstage manner — pacing back and forth, fiddling with gadgets, gesturing for emphasis — is more a professor's than a politician's. If he were not the man who, in his own formulation "used to be the next president of the United States of America," he might have settled down to tenure and a Volvo (or maybe a Prius) in some leafy academic grove. [read on...]

 

more via NYTimes:
'An Inconvenient Truth': Al Gore's Fight Against Global Warming
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: May 22, 2006

The frustrations of a man whose long-sought goal remains out of reach are vividly on display in the first few minutes of "An Inconvenient Truth," a new documentary about former Vice President Al Gore's quest to spur action against global warming.

And the scene has nothing to do with the Supreme Court vote that denied Mr. Gore a chance to win the 2000 presidential election.

He is tapping on his laptop, adding yet another tweak to the illustrated climate lecture he has given more than 1,000 times since 1989 in ever more sophisticated ways: first with flip charts, then slides, then a mix of digital imagery, animation and high-tech stagecraft, and now through this film itself, which was screened at Cannes and opens on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles.

He laments being unable so far to awaken the public to what he calls a "planetary emergency" despite evidence that heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases are warming the earth, and even after Hurricane Katrina and Europe's deadly 2003 heat wave, which he calls a foretaste of much worse to come.

"I've been trying to tell this story for a long time, and I feel as if I've failed to get the message across," Mr. Gore muses.

The question now is whether the documentary, with the potential to reach millions of people instead of a roomful of listeners at a time, can do the job.

For the moment, opinions on its prospects range from hopeful to scornful, not so much a reflection on the film's quality as the vast distance between combatants in the fight over what to do, or not do, about human-caused warming.

In a recent interview in Manhattan, Mr. Gore said he was convinced that Americans would move on the issue, not just because of his documentary (and companion book), but also because of the vivid nature of recent climate-related disasters.

"The political system, like the environment, is nonlinear," he said. "In 1941 it was impossible for us to build 1,000 airplanes. In 1942 it was easy. As this pattern becomes ever more clear, there will be a rising public demand for action."

"An Inconvenient Truth" came about after Laurie David, a prominent Hollywood environmentalist, saw Mr. Gore give a short version of his presentation two years ago at an event held just before the premiere of the climate disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow."

Ms. David said she was stunned by the power of Mr. Gore's talk and helped organize presentations in New York and Los Angeles for people involved in the news media, environmental groups, business and entertainment. By the time she had done the Los Angeles event, "I realized we had to make a movie out of it," she said. "What's the guy going to do? There are not physically enough hours in the day to travel to every town and city to show this thing."

She helped recruit a team of filmmakers and investors and, after pressing Mr. Gore, persuaded him to be followed by a film crew. [read on...]


Books of The Times | 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Al Gore Revisits Global Warming, With Passionate Warnings and Pictures
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
Published: May 23, 2006

[...]

Fourteen years ago, during the 1992 campaign, the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, dismissed Mr. Gore as "Ozone Man" — if the Clinton-Gore ticket were elected, he suggested, "we'll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American" — but with the emerging consensus on global warming today, Mr. Gore's passionate warnings about climate change seem increasingly prescient. He has revived the slide presentation about global warming that he first began giving in 1990 and taken that slide show on the road, and he has now turned that presentation into a book and a documentary film, both called "An Inconvenient Truth." The movie (which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday) shows a focused and accessible Gore — "a funnier, more relaxed and sympathetic character" than he was as a candidate, said The Observer, the British newspaper — and has revived talk in some circles of another possible Gore run for the White House.

As for the book, its roots as a slide show are very much in evidence. It does not pretend to grapple with climate change with the sort of minute detail and analysis displayed by three books on the subject that came out earlier this spring ("The Winds of Change" by Eugene Linden, "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery and "Field Notes From a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert), and yet as a user-friendly introduction to global warming and a succinct summary of many of the central arguments laid out in those other volumes, "An Inconvenient Truth" is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.

Like Mr. Gore's 1992 book "Earth in the Balance," this volume displays an earnest, teacherly tone, but it's largely free of the New Age psychobabble and A-student grandiosity that rumbled through that earlier book. The author's wonky fascination with policy minutiae has been tamed in these pages, and his love of charts and graphs has been put to good use. Whereas the charts in "Earth in the Balance" tended to make the reader's eyes glaze over, the ones here clearly illustrate the human-caused rise in carbon dioxide levels in recent years, the simultaneous rise in Northern Hemisphere temperatures and the correlation between the two. Mr. Gore points out that 20 of the 21 hottest years measured "have occurred within the last 25 years," adding that the hottest year yet was 2005 — a year in which "more than 200 cities and towns" in the Western United States set all-time heat records. [read on...]

 

May 17, 2006

Reclaiming the Land @ the Vera List Center

 

Panel Discussion
Reclaiming the Land: Conversations on Collaboration

Wednesday, May 24, 2006, 6:30 PM
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, New York City

Admission: $10; free for New School students and alumni with ID 

Acknowledging the conditions arising from harmful past land uses and evolving methods to address them, landscape architects, artists, scientists, educators, engineers, lawyers and civic leaders have embarked on efforts to reclaim and reuse polluted lands. This conversation will address such topics as toxic pollution, waste disposal, reclamation design, public lands and urban renewal, looking at the potential for innovative collaborations that engage in contemporary land patterns and processes.
    
Participants
Alan Berger, Associate Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design; author of "Reclaiming the American West"

Chris Reed, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Percent for Art-Artist of Fresh Kills, New York City, and Artist-in-Residence, NYC Department of Sanitation

Moderated by Niall Kirkwood, Professor and Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture, Director, Center for Technology and Environment, Harvard Graduate School of Design

This event is part of the Vera List Center's year-long theme "Considering Forgiveness."

TICKETS:  Reservations can be made by email to: boxoffice@newschool.edu.  Tickets can be ordered by phone with a credit card (212) 229-5488; in person at The New School Box Office, 66 West 12th Street, main floor, Monday-Thursday 1-8 p.m., Friday 1-7 p.m.

INFORMATION: 212.229.5353, specialprograms@newschool.edu www.generalstudies.newschool.edu/specialprogram

 

April 14, 2006

U.S. Geological Survey Website: Repeat Photography of Glacier National Park

 

(thanks Christina!) 

News Release, March 22, 2006
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

New USGS Website features repeat photography of Glacier National Park glaciers over time.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists with the Global Change Research Project are unveiling a new website featuring a collection of repeat photographs of glaciers in and around Glacier National Park, Montana. The striking images created by pairing historical photographs with contemporary photographs reveal significant glacial
recession.  The website was created to showcase the photographs for scientific as well as general purposes. To view the photographs, go to http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/repeatphoto/. 

Currently, 55 images are featured on the website with more color versions and newly repeated photos added as they become available. Most of the photographs were taken in Glacier National Park and many of the historical photos came from the Park's archives. 

USGS scientists began documenting glacial decline through photography in 1997.  While less quantitative than other high-tech methods of recording glacial mass, depth, and rate of retreat, repeat photography provides an effective visual tool to better understand how climate change contributes to the dynamic landscape of Glacier National Park.

The website provides an easy method to download the images. It also includes an overview of the project, instructions for downloading images, guidelines for using and crediting the photographs, and links to other historical and repeat photograph collections.  The images can be downloaded as repeated pairs or individually.  File
formats include high resolution TIF images (300 dpi), lower resolution JPG (72 dpi) images, and Powerpoint ®.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

To receive USGS news releases go to

April 07, 2006

Freeman Dyson, the heretic's heretic

 

Bruce Sterling writes in one of his recent Viridian Notes

One of the weirdest things Freeman Dyson ever wrote,
among a mighty stock of very weird things:
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/03/issue/magaphone.asp
(((Freeman Dyson is the heretic's heretic and the
visionary's visionary.  In this speech, Dyson opines
that climate science is too reliant on brittle
computer models and isn't paying enough attention to
the facts on the ground:  that the warming is indeed
very real, but simply not as threatening to us as
certain other challenges our civilization faces.
I really hope this old gentleman is right.  I've seen
him be right before.  When I'm as old as Freeman Dyson
 is now, and I somehow find myself putting my stocking
feet up during balmy winter nights when everything else
is just peachy, man, that prospect will be grand.
I won't be  one bit embarrassed or ashamed that I
howled about a wolf that time revealed to be a small,
friendly pup.  I'll just apologize at equal length
and volume to anyone who will listen. I'll be really
grateful to have been that mistaken.)))

 

March 07, 2006

Dark Places: Call for Research Projects by Artists or Scientists

 

Dark Places
Call for Research Projects by Artists or Scientists

Deadline for submission: 14 April 2006

The Arts Catalyst and SCAN wish to commission a number of projects by artists or scientists that culturally and/or politically interrogate a scientific site or body of ideas in the UK.

Dotted around the UK, often in improbable settings ­ underground or in unremarkable rural settings ­ and unseen by the public, are scientific research institutions that are pushing the frontiers of investigation.

Dark Places will result in a series of artists' or scientists' projects - which could be film, installation, exhibition, talks, guided tours, publications, etc ­ that take the lid off sites or ideas on the cutting edge of science.

We are looking initially for proposals for research projects.  Arts Catalyst and SCAN will select 3 or 4 proposals, which will be awarded budgets of £500 - £1000 for an initial research phase.  Should Arts Catalyst and SCAN then decide to proceed with the proposals, they will fund-raise for, produce and promote the resulting projects.

Examples of sites* in the UK might include:
JET Nuclear Fusion Research, Didcot
Porton Down, Wiltshire
Boulby Mine, nr Scarborough
Jodrell Bank, Manchester
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Greenham Common
The Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge
Aldermaston, Berkshire
John Innes Centre, Norfolk
Rothamsted Research Institute, Harpenden
The Nanotechnology Institute, London

These are, of course, not exclusive and you can choose any site or sites in the UK as your focus.  Residencies or site-specific work might be a component of your proposal, but this is not a requirement.

The sites might have a historical relevance, but your project should address the work in the current climate.

* Please note that the sites named have not necessarily been approached at the time of writing.

We welcome proposals from artists, particularly those with activist or scientific/ technological interests, and scientists with cultural and political interests.  Specialists in other areas are also welcome to submit proposals.

Submit your initial idea, with a statement about your work, on 1 side of A4, attaching no more than 2MB of images (if relevant) to:

darkplaces@artscatalyst.org

If you wish to discuss your ideas further please send your queries to Helen
Sloan info@scansite.org

My Climate Is Changing @ the Dana Centre

 

In collaboration with the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) and scientist and writer Barry Gibb, Zev Robinson is curating a half hour screening of films that deal with the impact of man on nature and nature on man as part of an event on Climage change. The artists showing work will be Barry Gibb, Esther Johnson, Laure Prouvost, Mireya Masó, andZev Robinson. 

My Climate Is Changing
Monday 13 March
18.30 - 20.30

d.cafe
The Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
London, SW7 5HD
MAP

What does climate change mean to YOU?  This event will showcase a number of short films, expressing up and coming filmmakers’ views on global warming.  Then it's your chance to discuss the issues and share your opinions with a panel of scientists and commentators.

Panel:
Dr Craig Wallace, climate researcher, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Dr Sophie Nicholson-Cole, social scientist, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Norwich
Marc Cornelissen, Dutch professional adventurer

www.the-ba.net/the-ba/Events/DanaEvents

To book your FREE place, please email events@the-ba.net or call 020 7019 4938

Rain Forest Gets Too Much Rain...

 

Courtesy of Grace Wong

From left, Grace Wong, Dr. María Fernanda Mejía and Gustavo Gutiérrez-Espeleta working on a squirrel monkey in December in the Corcovado National Park near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

via NYTimes:

Rain Forest Gets Too Much Rain, and Animals Pay the Price
By HILLARY ROSNER
Published: March 7, 2006

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — Eduardo Carrillo was on a field trip to Corcovado National Park with a group of his biology students last November when he realized that something was wrong. In just over a mile, the group found five dead monkeys.

Three more were in agony, he said later — emaciated, near death, sitting on the forest floor unable to climb a tree.

"I had never seen something like this," said Dr. Carrillo, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Costa Rica. At first he suspected yellow fever, which swept through monkey populations in the 1950's. So he hurried back to San José, the capital, and convened a team of scientists, which included wildlife biologists, a microbiologist, a geneticist and a veterinarian.

Tourists in the park, a relatively remote 212-square-mile tropical rain forest preserve that stretches along the Pacific coast and inland, reported sightings of other dead animals, including deer, toucans, macaws and sloths.

In mid-November, park officials closed Corcovado to visitors after tourists, despite warnings not to handle wildlife, began bringing sick animals to ranger stations in the hope of saving them.

Dr. Carrillo and his colleagues, as well as government officials, worried they might have a mini-epidemic on their hands. But tissue samples from Corcovado spider monkeys — Costa Rica's most endangered species of monkey — sent to a laboratory at the University of Texas for analysis showed no evidence of a virus or other pathogen.

The story of what really happened in Corcovado, or at least the prevailing theory, is less worrisome in the short term than a disease outbreak, but it has the potential to be deadly serious.

Costa Rican researchers think the affected animals starved to death because of a lack of available food sources and an inability to forage for food during several months of extreme rain and cold.

September, October and November brought excessive rainfall, nearly twice the monthly averages, and unusually low temperatures to many parts of Costa Rica, especially the Osa Peninsula, which juts into the Pacific in the south.

Corcovado averages about 24 inches of rain in September, 31 inches in October and 20 inches in November. In 2005, more than 39 inches fell in the park in September, 59 inches in October, and 41 inches in November.

While it is impossible to know if the weather in late 2005 is related to climate change, the Costa Rican team studying Corcovado worries that if the climate changes and produces more extreme weather events like this, animal populations may not bounce back easily, said Gustavo Gutiérrez-Espeleta, a wildlife population geneticist at the University of Costa Rica.

The weather caused several problems for the monkeys. Some fruit trees did not bear fruit during the rainy months. Others produced fruit but it fell to the ground early, leaving nothing on the trees for long periods of time.

Compounding the problem, researchers say, was that monkeys were unable to look for food because of the incessant rain. [read on...]

The Greening of Greenland's Glaciers

 
via CNN: SCIENCE & SPACE:
Greenland glaciers dumping ice into Atlantic at faster pace
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Posted: 11:40 p.m. EST (04:40 GMT)

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Greenland's southern glaciers have accelerated their march to the Atlantic Ocean over the past decade and now contribute more to the global rise in sea levels than previously estimated, researchers say.

Those faster-moving glaciers, along with increased melting, could account for nearly 17 percent of the estimated one-tenth of an inch annual rise in global sea levels, or twice what was previously believed, said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

An increase in surface air temperatures appears to be causing the glaciers to flow faster, albeit at the still-glacial pace of eight miles to nine miles a year at their fastest clip, and dump increased volumes of ice into the Atlantic.

That stepped-up flow accounted for about two-thirds of the net 54 cubic miles of ice Greenland lost in 2005. That compares with 22 cubic miles in 1996, Rignot said.

Rignot and his study co-author, Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas, said their report is the first to include measurements of recent changes in glacier velocity in the estimates of how much ice most of Greenland is losing.

"The behavior of the glaciers that dump ice into the sea is the most important aspect of understanding how an ice sheet will evolve in a changing climate," Rignot said.

"It takes a long time to build and melt an ice sheet, but glaciers can react quickly to temperature changes."

Details of the study were being presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The study appears Friday in the journal Science.

The researchers believe warmer temperatures boost the amount of melt water that reaches where the glaciers flow over rock.

That extra water lubricates the rivers of ice and eases their downhill movement toward the Atlantic. They tracked the speeds of the glaciers from space, using satellite data collected between 1996 and 2005.

If warmer temperatures spread to northern Greenland, the glaciers there too should pick up their pace, Rignot and Kanagaratnam wrote.

The only way to stem the loss of ice would be for Greenland to receive increased amounts of snowfall, according to Julian Dowdeswell of the University of Cambridge, who wrote an accompanying article.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

February 16, 2006

Deep North: a virtual expedition

 

Deep North: a virtual expedition...a year to the north pole
by jane d. marsching

deepnorth: a year to the north pole blog is complete and archived here for perusal--here are some ways to navigate through this year of research, information, ruminations, analogic connections, and wondering on the cultural imaginary of hte north pole and deep arctic
* click on the archived months in right column to view and read the year's entrie
* click on keywords in the right column to view groups of entries by topics
* type a word into the search field to find topics in the blog

Your comments are welcome and can be added by clicking on the comments link under each entry.

this year's blog, north2006: parallel conversations, is in development

Jane Marshing is 2006 recipient of a Creative Capital Grant

Jane Marsching (Roslindale, MA) Digital Arts
About Here and Later: Data Mining the North Pole – A series of digital images and sculptures, exploring both scientific and myth-based impressions of The North Pole, while detailing the collapse of the area due to environmental changes

February 12, 2006

World: Warmest For a Millenium

 

Seasonal surface melt extent on the Greenland Ice Sheet has been observed by satellite since 1979 and shows an increasing trend. The melt zone, where summer warmth turns snow and ice around the edges of the ice sheet into slush and ponds of meltwater, has been expanding inland and to record high elevations in recent years (source: Arctic Impacts of Arctic Warming, Cambridge Press, 2004) 

Published on Friday, February 10, 2006 by the Independent / UK

World Is at its Warmest For a Millennium
by Steve Connor

The entire northern hemisphere is experiencing a sustained period of warming that is unprecedented in the past millennium, a study has found.

A review of a range of temperature records, from tree rings and ice cores to historical documents, has found that at no time since the 9th century have temperatures been so consistently high. The study, published in the journal Science, found that the late 20th century was the warmest period for the northern hemisphere since at least 800AD, eclipsing the well-known medieval warm period when vines were cultivated successfully in northern Europe and the Vikings exploited the ice-free seas to colonise Greenland.

Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa, climate scientists from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, analysed 14 sets of temperature records from America, Europe and East Asia. Each record covered a relatively wide region, such as northern Sweden or the low countries of the Netherlands and Belgium, and extended back at least several centuries.

Ten of the 14 records were based on tree-ring data, which went back as far as 800AD, one measured ice cores from Greenland, one involved historical documents from Europe and one covered the chemical composition of sea shells on the east coast of the US. The final set of records came from China and Japan and used a variety of records, from ice cores to historical documents.

"Our results show that, during the late 20th century, warming affected the entire northern hemisphere and that at no point in the past 1,000 years has the northern hemisphere experienced the same widespread warming," Dr Osborn said.

The study showed that the medieval warm period ran from about 890 to 1170 and that this was later followed by a significant period of cooling between 1580 and 1850, which included the period known as the "little ice age" when frost fairs were held on the River Thames.

"The key conclusion was that the 20th century stands out as having unusually widespread warmth, compared to all of the natural warming and cooling episodes during the past 1,200 years," Dr Osborn said.

Climate scientists have in the past found evidence to suggest that the late 20th century was warmer than at any time in the past millennium but this study is the first to look at a variety of temperature records from across the entire northern hemisphere.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

January 29, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

 

via NYTimes: 

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: January 29, 2006

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the space agency, said there was no effort to silence Dr. Hansen. "That's not the way we operate here at NASA," Mr. Acosta said. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

He said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen.

Mr. Acosta said other reasons for requiring press officers to review interview requests were to have an orderly flow of information out of a sprawling agency and to avoid surprises. "This is not about any individual or any issue like global warming," he said. "It's about coordination."

Dr. Hansen strongly disagreed with this characterization, saying such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.

"Communicating with the public seems to be essential," he said, "because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."

Dr. Hansen, 63, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at the Goddard Institute in Morningside Heights in Manhattan.

Since 1988, he has been issuing public warnings about the long-term threat from heat-trapping emissions, dominated by carbon dioxide, that are an unavoidable byproduct of burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels. He has had run-ins with politicians or their appointees in various administrations, including budget watchers in the first Bush administration and Vice President Al Gore.

In 2001, Dr. Hansen was invited twice to brief Vice President Dick Cheney and other cabinet members on climate change. White House officials were interested in his findings showing that cleaning up soot, which also warms the atmosphere, was an effective and far easier first step than curbing carbon dioxide.

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for Senator John Kerry.

But Dr. Hansen said that nothing in 30 years equaled the push made since early December to keep him from publicly discussing what he says are clear-cut dangers from further delay in curbing carbon dioxide.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

Dr. Hansen's supervisor, Franco Einaudi, said there had been no official "order or pressure to say shut Jim up." But Dr. Einaudi added, "That doesn't mean I like this kind of pressure being applied."

The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

Among the restrictions, according to Dr. Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided to The Times, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews. [read on...]

January 26, 2006

2005 Was Warmest Year on Record: NASA

 

Sea ice floats within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library. Last year was the warmest recorded on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic, U.S. space agency NASA said on Tuesday. (HANDOUT/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library/Reuters)

 via CommonDreams.org:

Published on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 by Reuters
2005 Was Warmest Year on Record: NASA
by Deborah Zabarenko
 
Last year was the warmest recorded on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic, U.S. space agency NASA said on Tuesday.

All five of the hottest years since modern record-keeping began in the 1890s occurred within the last decade, according to analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In descending order, the years with the highest global average annual temperatures were 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, NASA said in a statement.

"It's fair to say that it probably is the warmest since we have modern meteorological records," said Drew Shindell of the NASA institute in New York City.

"Using indirect measurements that go back farther, I think it's even fair to say that it's the warmest in the last several thousand years."

Some researchers had expected 1998 would be the hottest year on record, notably because a strong El Nino -- a warm-water pattern in the eastern Pacific -- boosted global temperatures.

But Shindell said last year was slightly warmer than 1998, even without any extraordinary weather pattern. Temperatures in the Arctic were unusually warm in 2005, NASA said.

"That very anomalously warm year (1998) has become the norm," Shindell said in a telephone interview.

"The rate of warming has been so rapid that this temperature that we only got when we had a real strong El Nino now has become something that we've gotten without any unusual worldwide weather disturbance."

Over the past 30 years, Earth has warmed by 1.08 degrees F (0.6 degrees C), NASA said. Over the past 100 years, it has warmed by 1.44 degrees F (0.8 degrees C).

Shindell, in line with the view held by most scientists, attributed the rise to emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone, with the burning of fossil fuels being the primary source.

The 21st century could see global temperature increases of 6 to 10 degrees F (3 to 5 degrees C), Shindell said.

"That will really bring us up to the warmest temperatures the world has experienced probably in the last million years," he said.

To understand whether the Earth is cooling or warming, scientists use data from weather stations on land, satellite measurements of sea surface temperature since 1982, and data from ships for earlier years.

More info and images:
NASA: 2005 Warmest Year in Over a Century, 01.24.06
NASA: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis - Global Temperature Trends: 2005 Summation

The Difference a Degree Makes

via SFGate:

Chronicle environment writer Jane Kay and photographer Kat Wade traveled from Alaska to Mexico to see how global warming is changing life along the coast of North America.

Sunday: Polar bears signal changing ice cap in the Arctic.
Today: Subtle seaside transformation in California.
Tuesday: A family sees its way of life threatened in Mexico.

E-mail Jane Kay at jkay@sfchronicle.com

Nature out of sync

Sea life depends on the intricate workings of wind and current, driven by temperatures of ocean and air. Animals depend on the natural timing of seasons to find food. In the past 60 years, as ocean temperatures off the California coast warmed by about 3 degrees, the tiny animals at the base of the food chain declined by 70 percent.

A WARMING WORLD: THE DIFFERENCE A DEGREE MAKES
SEASHORE SEA CHANGE

- Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer
Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Click to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to View

 [excerpt]:

Pacific Grove, Monterey County -- On the edge of the California coast, in the tide pools that tourists can see from Cannery Row, delicate anemones and sea stars are helping to tell the story of a warming world.

At low tide in the dawn light, John Pearse, a retired professor of biology at UC Santa Cruz, kneeled in the water in hip-high waders examining sunburst anemones. He found pink barnacles encrusting rocks, and the hard white shells of worm snails.

Those invertebrates normally are more common in warmer southern waters. But over decades, they have increased in numbers here. Invertebrates that do well in colder water, such as giant green sea anemones and porcelain crabs, have declined. Central California has become more like Southern California.

"Animals are responding to changes in temperature, and the change in temperature is very rapid,'' said Pearse, who began studying the low-tide zone as a graduate student nearly 50 years ago.

Unlike in the Arctic, where floating sea ice and land glaciers dramatically melt before Alaskans' eyes, along the California coast the signs of a changing environment are more subtle.

Those who know where to look can see that a few degrees increase in the temperature of the Pacific and a couple of inches rise in sea level have already changed life in Monterey Bay's fragile tide pools.

While some species will prosper, others may die. The question scientists up and down the coast are pursuing is just how the continued warming of the atmosphere and water may disrupt the ocean's intricate web of life.

In the ocean, the whales, seabirds and fish at the top of the hierarchy depend on lower organisms for food. In the last six decades, as sea water temperatures on the Monterey coast increased about 3 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists measured a 70 percent decline in zooplankton, the tiny animals at the base of the food chain.

What does it matter if a warmer world loses some inedible crabs or sea stars?

"It's hard to predict,'' said George Somero, director of the Hopkins Marine Station, the state's oldest marine laboratory, which looks down on the rocky shore here. "If you remove one species from the ecosystem, there could very well be severe perturbations in the system. In many cases, we can't predict what that means.''

[read full article