Search Results for Tag: Climate
From Barrow to Barcelona
The Ice Blog hasn’t been updated for a few days, but only because of technical problems, not a lack of stories, I could have been writing non-stop.
It will take a while to catch up, but I have to start with sharing my “small world” story with you.
I was on the plane (sorry, yes, but for a greater cause…) to Barcelona for the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
(I know this is a boat, not a plane, but it is all related. Bear with me – and see below):
(This is the TARA, a famous Arctic research vessel, far from the Arctic, but still in the service of publicising global warming, open to the public at the IUCN congress in Barcelona).
Meanwhile, back on that plane: I got talking to my neighbour from the USA, who was also heading for the event. He turned out to be Gary Braasch, a nature photographer who is now dedicating almost his entire work to photographically documenting and publishing climate change.
The climate photographer’s global warming website
He told me how he became so concerned about global warming back in the 1990s that he decided to start working on that theme – and has never stopped since.
He got his latest book out of his bag to let me have a look.
Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World (University of California Press).
I am trying to acquire a copy. The photos are great – and the information, as far as I can judge from a skim on the way to Barcelona – is thorough but readable.
“Oh, the inevitable polar bear”, I said.
“I’ve got much more beautiful pics of polar bears” – says Gary.
“But they’ll be on ice, this one’s on land, because his seea ice is melting away” – says IQ.
“Exactly”, says Gary, evidently pleased to be sitting beside a kindred spirit.
His picture reminded me of a segment from an interview I had just been editing, with the ornithologist and indirect climate change monitor George Divoky.
George Divoky and Friends of Cooper Island
George told me in the interview that the sea ice was on the retreat, the permafrost of his island was melting and his campsite was being visited too frequently by polar bears who wouldn’t have touched it with a bear-claw before.
I told Gary the story.
“That’s George’s camp” – he said. “That’s where I took that picture – and we had to call search and rescue because of the bear”.
A small planet indeed.
This is some of the flotilla of sailing boats that brought committed conservationists to Barcelona in Spain for the IUCN congress. Not a bad idea. It drew loads of spectators down to the port for the “Sailing to Barcelona” parade and boat village, where they could visit the research boats and find out about scientific research.
My colleague Nina Haase and I were guests on board the “Garlaban”, which is chartered for marine research by the “Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard”. Thanks again to the Institute’s President Patricia Ricard our skipper “Jacqui” for letting us be on the boat and record interviews with the scientists and crew for our report on “Sailing to Barcelona” for the environment.
All about the marine research of the institute
DateOctober 13, 2008 | 2:46 pm
TagsBarcelona, Barrow, Climate, Cooper Island, polar bears, wildlife
Does Anybody Care?
On Friday morning, I was unpleasantly jolted awake by an item in the radio news, saying the world’s CO2 emissions had reached record levels.The Global Carbon Project – a respected international research consortium – tells us in its report Carbon Budget 2007Global Carbon Project
that our Co2 levels are already 37% higher than the benchmark of 1750, with the start of the Industrial Revolution. The scientists say the present concentration of 383 parts per million is the highest during the last 650,000 years, probably even the last 20 million years.
Even since the advent of this millennium, emissions have been rising drastically. And it’s not as if we aren’t aware of the related problems.
If you go searching the internet, you’ll find bloggers and the usual sites are reporting on the GCP report.
Climate Blog from Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (German language, but some good English links)
But on the mainstream media over the weekend, it virtually petered out into nothing.
Emissions have been increasing hugely in China and India. But they haven’t been decreasing in the developed, industrialised, wealthy world either. Will we never learn? Has the message still not come across?
We’re still burning far too much in the way of fossil fuels, deforestation is still going on, and all our carbon sinks – including the ocean and the forests- are losing some of their ability to absorb carbon.
This report is based on data from the UN, on climate resarch published in all the major journals, on sophisticated models and on energy daty collected by BP, which is unlikely to be exaggerating the dangers from burning fossil fuels.
This has got to be a wake-up call. But I have the impression a lot of people just went back to sleep once the alarm had gone off.
Yes, I realize we could be facing another Big Depression – but isn’t the fact that global warming is proving almost impossible to stop, with potentially catastrophic results for the planet worth a bit more attention?
DateSeptember 29, 2008 | 8:26 am
Found any rubber ducks recently?
If you happen to be fishing or hunting in the Baffin Bay area (relatively unlikely in itself) and you come across a rubber duck (!) – don’t just mutter to yourself about pollution reaching remote areas. You could help some of the world’s leading scientists find out more about melting glaciers and climate change.
Rubber ducks aren’t something you’d usually associate with NASA, but then again, you always have to expect the unexpected here.
The grand total of 90 ducks were put into the ice of a Greenland glacier in August by a NASA scientist Alberto Behar, to help find out why glaciers head towards the sea faster in summer. He also used a sophisticated probe,with measuring equipment and a gps transmitter. But it’s hardly surprising that it’s the ducks that make the headlines.
Unfortunately, none of them have been reported so far.
You can read the whole story from Reuters here
Scientists know quite a lot about this particular glacier, the Jakobshavn glacier, because it accounts for a fair percentage of the ice that comes off Greenland. But even the experts don’t know everything, for instance how exactly the water flows off and how this influences the movement of the glaciers and their speed.
I’m using the theme of “the lengths scientists have to go…” as an excuse to put up this picture from Svalbard.
It shows Bob and Sebastian – two scientists I interviewed there – rushing to salvage “the drone” – a camera + gps on a mini hang-glider, being used to photograph snow melt and water flow.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the Arctic sea ice melting recently, but of course the thing about Greenland is that it has so much land-based ice. So when it melts – unlike the sea ice – it increases the sea level.
Scientists from the eastern German Technical University of Dresden have just published a study confirming that the Baltic Sea leavel is rising faster than expected on account of global warming. It seems it has risen 15 cm in the last hundred years. A more worrying result is that over the past 20 years, the annual level rise has doubled, to 3 mm every 12 months – in accordance with the global trend. The scientists attribute this to melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the water.
Article on Dresden Uni webpage (German only, as far as I can see)
Readers might also be interested in the RealClimate blog, which is written by climate scientists. There is currently a debate going on there about sea level rise.
Real Climate Science Blog
DateSeptember 22, 2008 | 9:43 am
The Liberty to Rant…
When members of my family in the UK talk about somebody “ranting on”, they’re normally not being flattering. The suggestion is that they get carried away with a particular “hobbyhorse” kind of issue. That’s probably why I was surprised the first time (quite a long time ago) I heard colleagues at the BBC use the term to mean a “form of journalistic expression”. It doesn’t have an exact equivalent in German (or in the German media?) – correct me if you can come up with one! There are political commentaries, the “Glosse” (anybody got a good translation for that)but not one single word for the right to go on at length in a very personal manner about something you feel strongly about. Right,blogs are the ideal place for that. Ha! Found my medium.
I’ve been reading a German book called “Öko” (translates as eco)- “Al Gore, the New Fridge and Me”, by journalist Peter Unfried. It’s all about how Al Gore’s film, amongst other things, inspired him to try to live a sustainable lifestyle without becoming a fanatic or a “green weirdo”. (I came across an interesting climate blog as I was looking at other opinions on the book. Most of the entries are in German, but not all. Here’s the link:)
Climate Blog by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, “the green political foundation”
I can sympathise with a lot of Peter Unfried’s experiences. One of the issues is plane travel. I got an email from my sister this week about our problems trying to find a weekend for a family reunion. She mentions, kind of tongue-in-cheek, something about me trying to save polar bears but flying around the world for conferences and reporting trips. It’s a tough one. Of course you can say you compensate by paying into the funds that plant forests etc. And it is my job to report on things and draw attention to global warming, endangered species etc. But she has got a point and, yes Sis, I have got a guilty conscience. Her other point (equally tongue-in-cheek sister, I assume?!) was the summer in northern England was so bad maybe a bit of warming wouldn’t do any harm. Well that brings me to the summer here in Bonn, Germany, which has just come to an end – from the meteorological point of view. It was something like 1.6 degrees warmer than the long-term average. But we had far less sunshine than in other years. And there was a shortage of rain. Now I still managed to get enough water for my garden from the rain barrels, and water warm enough to shower – MOST of the time from the solar collectors. But this is making us think whether our project of putting photovoltaic cells on the roof is really going to be a good idea. A lot of people think climate change will just mean better weather for countries in northern and central Europe. In fact it’s much more complicated than that, as this summer’s statistics for my own region here could seem to indicate. In degrees Centigrade it was warmer, but subjectively we feel it was a poor summer with so many dull days.
Meanwhile, I’m still watching the US election campaigns with interest and concern. My colleague Nancy Greenlease gives an interesting assessment after watching last week’s Democratic Congress.
Listen to Nancy’s report
Public attention has turned to the story of Sarah Palin’s daughter’s teenage pregnancy. Well, these things happen. What’s worrying me is that the governor of Alaska and candidate for the vice-presidency supports oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
DateSeptember 17, 2008 | 10:03 am
Baked Alaska Online!
My “Flash Gallery”, with Alaskan photos and information, is now online.
Baked Alaska Flash Gallery
And Deutsche Welle is currently broadcasting the first installment of the “Climate Change College in Alaska” radio feature series. You can listen online or subscribe to the podcast.
Alaskan Climate Change Series on LIVING PLANET
DateJune 5, 2008 | 7:58 am
TagsAlaska, Arctic, Barrow, Climate, Climate Change College, Inupiat, Living Planet