Search Results for Tag: weather
Time to Move On
Dryas, one of this region’s attractive flowers and also a source of food for Tomas’ caterpillars. I found a supply in the fridge, they’re starting to get scarce as the season progresses fast in this strong sunshine, and he puts them in glass phials with the creatures he is rearing as part of his experiments.
I found these growing down by the water, I’m not sure how to spell the name, so I’m not publishing without verifying, let’s make do with a look.
All too fast it’s my last day at Zackenberg Station. I’m the only one leaving this week, four new people are coming in. I’ve been put on standby all day, as the flight times can change at short notice. The Twin Otter coming in will be a famous one, the POF, apparently even the cover photo on one of THE books about these planes. Our logistics chief Philip is very excited about it. Its history goes right back to the Vietnam war, and it has been in many a scrape. I’ll ask the captain a bit about it later. I assume it has had a few spare parts since then.
Conditions seem idyllic, although the forecast says it’s likely to rain a little. No signs of any deterioration so far, as I sit on the bench outside the kitchen hut and catch up on my reading.
Lars and Philip keep reminding me things can change quickly up here. The plane has now radio’d it will be in at 15.26 (not a minute earlier or later!). I have everything ready. Then, at 15.10, although the sun is still shining, a wind comes up all of a sudden that is blowing things over, even chairs, and I have to beat a hasty retreat. People start running to secure anything that can blow away.
I think the little plane will never be able to land in this. Clearly I have no idea of the power of the “POF” and her Captain Jonas and his co-pilot. Although they asked me later when the storm had blown up at Zackenberg, because it had been fine until then, they come in without a problem.
The jackets are on, hoods up.
Scientific chief Lars battles the wind and makes his way to the runway.
Everyone who’s not out in the field heads towards the plane for the ritual farewell and welcoming of the new people.
The plane has landed, buffeted by the wind.
The Ice Blogger has to be photographed about to leave the station on the famous POF. I could feel it shaking in the wind as I leaned against it.
Time to say a very rushed goodbye in the excitement and off we went, two pilots, me and 3 men to be dropped off at Daneborg, the coastal military base, to be transported on further north to repair a remote hut. Daneborg will be the next stop.
DateJuly 23, 2009 | 4:24 pm
Climate Change Begins at Home
I recently had an interesting visitor. Moira Rankin, from the US Soundprint Media enterprise, one of my partners in the ongoing Arctic feature series, dropped in to Bonn on a trip to Europe. She is heading for Siberia, to visit a core drilling project, which I hope to be able to give you more news on in May.
Moira was telling me about a forum they’d held to get peoples’ reactions to some of our programmes on climate change. One of the main things that came out was that people really want to know “what does it mean for me”? Climate change really comes home to people when they know it is going to affect them personally.
Well here in Bonn, on the Rhine, in the German state of North-Rhine Westfalia, we’ve been presented with the results of a study looking exactly at that today.
The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one of the world’s most renowned bodies of its kind, conducted a study commissioned by the states’ Ministry for Environment, Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. And the results indicate the need for future-oriented policy, now.
We are going to get more heavy rain in winter, with higher risk of flooding. In summer, it’s likely to be the very opposite, with hot, dry summers and less water in the rivers. This, in turn, will affect energy, because we need water for cooling. In some regions, we may also see less ground water forming, because of higher evaporation in hot weather. There are a lot of implications for health, agriculture and biodiversity. We can also expect more frequent and more powerful storms.
Of course this in not as dramatic in some areas of the world, where people’s very existence will be under threat and they will have to migrate to survice.
But as Moira found in her listener research – people are more likely to pay attention and see a need for action if they know they’re going to be affected personally.
DateApril 28, 2009 | 2:38 pm
Of Extreme Weather and a Time Machine
Thank you Dr. Koko Warner for a long and very informative comment on the Ice Blog.
(See comment to last entry. It’s hard to read a long entry like that in the blog comment small print, so I suggest copying and pasting into your usual text editing programme. It’s well worth an attentive read and has more references for further reading).
You certainly give us plenty of food for thought about the implications of climate change in terms of migration and the challenges of developing the mechanisms to cope with them. Let me just quote one section here:
“By 2050 when human population is projected to peak, some 9 billion people will live on Earth. The majority of them will live in urban areas with crushing environmental footprints. Many megacities are located in areas prone to sea level rise.Climate change will visit urban and rural areas alike with incrasingly frequent and violent hazard events. Flooding, intense storms, or droughts (…)Mitigation of greenhouse gases will likely be insufficient to avoid global temperature increases of 2°C or more, making adaptation a necessity at all scales.”
And that brings to me to the “Extreme Weather Congress”, taking place in Bremerhaven, Germany, at the moment. The organiser, Frank Böttcher, draws attention to the fact that climate change is happening far faster than most of the models have been predicting. He calls for a rapid shift to renewable energies.
More about the congress online
At the same time, a group of environment and development organisations have sent an open letter to the heads of the EU countries, warning them not to neglect the climate crisis because of the current financial crisis. They say financial support for the countries hardest hit by climate change is a moral obligation.
With the next round of UN negotiations taking place in Bonn at the end of March and an EU summit meeting earlier next month to agree on the EU’s position for the Copenhagen climate conference at the end of the year and the next UN climate agreement, it’s certainly a good time to launch this kind of initiative. Here’s hoping the open letter will get the attention it deserves.
I’m having a few days off during Germany’s Karneval holiday here. Let me leave you faithful Ice-Blog followers with a link to a marvellous “Climate Time Machine” I’ve found, created by NASA.
NASA climate change site
Click on the Climate Time Machine on the right-hand bar for brilliant visualisation of how key factors such as sea ice, sea level, Co2 emissions and, global temperature have changed in recent history.
DateFebruary 19, 2009 | 2:27 pm
Of Climate and Weather
I am currently speeding through the winter wonderland that the English midlands have become, enjoying the beauty of snow-covered fields, sharp reflections in brooks just tipped with ice,sheep trying to graze on regardless and birds of prey perching, watching out for some of nature’s “frozen food”.
My colleague Judith Hartl introduced me on her science programme as one of those strange people who like going to cold places. Iadmit I like ice and snow, although I’m amazed at how it has brought parts of Britain to a standstill.
My sister reckons I am somehow fighting a lost cause. “Everywhere you go, it’s snowing! How are you going to convince people about global warming?” Well, a lot of people make jokes or semi-serious comments about that in the coldish winter we’ve been having in a lot of places.The British media have been trying to explain to people that this is “just weather”. It’s only the long-term trend that makes climate.
I came across a good summary of the facts in an article by Richard Alleyne, science correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (hardly a paper known for “alternative” views).
He says this is the coldest winter in Britain for 30 years, but the extreme weather proves the effects of global warming. Temperatures for the last 2 months were 1C lower than average, and London had more snow than any time since 1960s. But the fact people are surprised by this shows how the climate has changed over the decades.
A Met Office study going back 350 years indicates UK now gets this extreme weather only every 20 years.
I’ve just come from Shrewsbury, where, as it happens, amongst other things I visited rooms where Charles Dickens stayed while working on the Pickwick Papers. In the neighbourhood is Ironbridge, one of the “cradles” of the industrial revolution.
Back in the pre-industrial Dickens days, cold winters like these would have occurred in Britain on average every 5 years, according to the Met Office scientists. If it wasn’t for global warming, this would be more “normal”, we’d be prepared, and able to cope.On various Arctic trips, the ice blogger has had fewer transport problems than on this one. Can anybody in the Midlands lend me a team of huskies?!
(Huskies raring to take off with their sled in Tromso in January)
DateFebruary 5, 2009 | 2:05 pm
Heading for 2009 – one of the warmest years ever?
British climate scientists are predicting 2009 will be one of the five warmest years on record. Exactly what that means is a complicated business and, of course, all part of some longer-term calculations. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a worrying forecast and the climate data available does not make me optimistic at the end of this 2008.
Reuters summary of the forecast
In the part of Germany where I live, it has actually turned very cold over the past few days, with temperatures down to minus 10C at night. Where does that leave us with global warming, asks Christopher B. in his comment. Indeed I have heard some sceptical neighbours say “so much for global warming”. The trouble is we would like to be able to understand everything instantly and draw immediate conclusions from what we experience. And with global climate patterns, that is just not possible and we need a really long-term view. Yes, it can be colder locally and still getting warmer overall. And as a planet, we are not doing anything like enough to avert potentially catastrophic warming.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend on a winter hike in the “Eifel” region, about a prediction on the radio the other day that the Arctic was melting much faster than expected, and a reminder that if the Greenland ice sheet melts, sea levels will rise by up to 7 metres. (I’d like to give you a link to the report we heard, but am having trouble locating it on the websites where I’d expect to find it. Strange how some worrying reports just come on a couple of time then seem to disappear.)
Anyway, I was surprised when “Siggi”, who is normally quite critical of industry, said at least the German car-makers were putting an effort into developing smaller cars that use less fuel. Now this is not what German cars are generally known for, and it seems to me they have a long way to go. But compared to the US car market, we are exemplary, Siggi pointed out. Well, everything is relative. Normally, I am more inclined to the glass being “half-full” than “half-empty” approach.
But just because another country, continent, region, sector, is even worse than we are – that doesn’t make us good. Does it?
DateDecember 31, 2008 | 2:06 pm