Search Results for Tag: Svalbard
Merry Christmas from the IceBlogger
“He’s cute” – is the response I’ve been getting to this Svalbard reindeer, pictured at Ny Alesund earlier this year.
Well reindeer and I would like to wish all iceblog readers all the very best for the Christmas holidays. In case you won’t be reading again until 2011, I’ll wish you a happy new year when it comes. But I am planning to be posting again before the turn of the year.
But do take time now for a quick click to another blog I’d like to draw your attention to. I’ve just contributed a post and will do so again on occasion.
The Global Ideas Blog and the whole project is all about finding solutions to our climate problems.”Thinking for a cooler world”. What do you think?
All the best for now.
DateDecember 22, 2010 | 3:23 pm
Mission accomplished – data worrying. The Arctic ocean acidification project
I have just heard that the experiment I reported on from Svalbard has been concluded. A press release from Greenpeace quotes Professor Ulf Riebesell from the IFM-GEOMAR Kiel Uni ocean acidification project as saying the experiment was a success.
(I took this pic of Prof. Riebesell watching the deployment of the mesocosms last month, see earlier posts).
That doesn’t mean the news is good:
“Not only do we now have the most comprehensive data set ever on the impacts of ocean acidification in Arctic waters, we have also learned from this experiment that ocean acidification in these waters has a definite impact on the base of the food web, which can have implications for the entire ecosystem.” says Prof. Ulf.
“If we keep emitting CO2 at the current rate, marine organisms will experience changes in ocean acidity beyond anything they have experienced in the last 20 million years of their evolutionary history.”
Worrying times indeed.
DateJuly 13, 2010 | 10:53 am
Are emotions taking over from science in the climate debate?
I’d like to share an interesting conversation I had at the Arctic Station in Ny Alesund with Max Koenig, head of the
Sverdrup Station run by the Norwegian Polar Institute. We were speaking in German, as Max is a native German speaker, so I have translated what he said.
Max finds the idea of believing or not believing in climate change a strange and interesting development. He says it has turned into a question of faith for a lot of people. But the climate change issue is not about faith, he says, but about facts on the table. He is surprised that there seems to be a lot of “false information” floating around. “If you consider that 95% of climate researchers are generally in agreement about the nature of the problem, then I really wonder where the scepticism comes from”, says the polar specialist. “On average, our planet is warming. And we understand the physics, he says. “
When it comes to the role of the media, Norway’s Arctic station chief says he is often surprised to find different views expressed in one publication, depending on which researcher is being interviewed. He sees one of the main problems in the tendency to always have a climate scientist and a sceptic placed one against the other.
“This can give the public the impression that half of the researchers think climate change is happening and the rest don’t”, he says. “Actually, almost all researchers say climate change is taking place and yes, something has to be done now.”
The debate has also become too emotional, Max says. He thinks a real discussion is becoming increasingly difficult.
Thanks for sharing those ideas with me Max, and with the Ice Blog readers. Thanks also once again for your hospitality and the coffee, looking out onto the melting snow around the bust of Roald Amundsen.
(Ny Alesund, early June 2010)
As we get ready for a big conference here in Bonn, starting on Monday, Global Media Forum
“The Heat is On: Climate Change and the Media”, these are exactly the sort of thing we’ll be talking about. I feel a huge sense of responsibility as a journalist. Of course we want to present the “whole picture”. But we don’t want to distort the facts by getting the balance wrong.
DateJune 18, 2010 | 10:11 am
The time is always far too short.
I have still have plenty of Arctic impressions and stimulating conversations I’d lack to pass on in the coming days and weeks, but I will be doing that from Bonn.
First, I have to finish a couple of radio and online stories from my trip. I’ll keep you posted here when they’re ready.
Meanwhile we are gearing up for the Global Media Forum 2010 here, all about Climate Change and the Media.
Some of the statements made by the experts I met on Spitzbergen have found their way onto DW ‘s Climate Press Blog Ice Blog readers might also be interested in that.
The top items are in German at the moment, but if you scroll down, you’ll find statements in English on some issues.
More on the Arctic encounters and related issues SOON. (Threat or a promise? You have been warned.)So please keep checking the Ice Blog.
DateJune 14, 2010 | 12:52 pm
Scientists and the Media
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) in Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost higher education institution. Unsurprisingly, Arctic biology, geology, geophysics and technology are the specialities here.
(Glaciology Prof. Doug Benn with colleagues heading for field trip to Longyearbyen glaciers – and me at the start of the trip with them.)
I was glad to have the chance to meet up with some of the experts. As well as Gunnar Sand, mentioned in a previous post as Director of the Longyearbyen CO2 Lab, I had the chance to talk to Professor Hanne Christiansen
an expert on permafrost and head of Arctic Geology at UNIS,
(on the staircase outside her office at UNIS)
and Professor Doug Benn pictured in the last entry heading up to the glaciers with two junior colleages.
As well as Arctic permafrost and glaciers (more on both later)I was interested to hear their views on climate change in general and the role of the media in particular. I was not surprised to encounter some wariness from scientists working out on the field towards journalists in view of the huge dimensions the controversy over climate has taken on in the media. Let me just share a statement from Doug Benn, who runs a field project in the Himalayas as well as his work in the Arctic, on the debate – and fuss – over the wrong figure in the IPCC report and the ensuing lack of confidence in the IPCC and even climate science in general. Doug stresses the procedure by which the error got into the report shows up serious deficits, but he also sees a lot of responsibility for what followed with the media.
“The whole impact of that whole debate was amplified both in terms of the disaster scenarios and the credibility of the IPCC by the way that media covered that particular issue. And in fact what happens is that science carries on on a much more level keel. Science is not undergoing the same mood swings that the media went through on that. The majority of scientists are plugging away, gathering good data on environmental changes that are going on, quietly publishing their results in journals, and slowly a view emerges. And so I do think it would be good if the media could correct its tendencies to go for the sensation, and of course there’s a long tradition in the media that anything that’s new and exciting is going to get prominence. But actually that does not serve science well. Mostly science proceeds by slow, careful steps and gradually pictures emerge and it takes us a long time to make up our minds about what’s happening in particular systems. Now over the whole issue of climate change and the global impact of climate change both governments and the media and indeed environmental organisations have been rather impatient, and they want definitive statements about what’s happening, we want action, we want decisions made now. And the way science works is not really compatible with that. I think the headlong rush into declaring global warming as a global disaster has been rash. This is not to say we don’t face environmental challenges, but simply that the rush has been unfortunate and actually we still need to do good science, to think critically about things. And as soon as you replace critical investigation with belief and dogma, you’re no longer doing science. Science needs the media, but it does have rather an uneasy relation with it because of these things I’ve been talking about. “
Thanks for taking the time to share those thoughts, Doug.
DateJune 7, 2010 | 9:27 am