Climate Photo of the Week
The Clock is ticking: Article traces history of climate images, how they influence behavior and understanding about climate change.
In a special issue, Destruction, art, and the Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin of the Atomic scientists explores how we are influenced for good or ill by the images we see of nuclear proliferation and rapid climate change. Gary Braasch was commissioned to investigate the history and usefulness of the tens of thousands of photographs, charts, graphs, cartoons, illustrations, and moving images that we have seen about global warming. The content of climate imagery falls into several broad categories, Gary writes, and not all of them have been effective in educating people about the dangers and causes of climate change or encouraging civic action and involvement. Documented research and experience shows that a new framing of local climate impacts and positive actions may encourage more people to take action. The Bulletin created a short video with a few of Gary's ideas on this topic.
The Atomic Scientists added rapid human-caused climate change to its famous Doomsday Clock calculation of planetary danger in 2007, and have provided a forum for thoughtful opinion and ideas about the subject.
For more on the current state of global warming, why coal is such a polluting and deadly fuel, current actions and what should be done, please see the Actions page.
A single dedicated scientist’s 40-year study of seabirds in the Arctic is showing how global warming’s dire effects ricochet through entire ecosystems and food chains. Dr George Divoky says the melting away of Arctic Ocean sea ice in summer, which is coming faster than scientists predicted, will cause "the largest loss of an ecosystem the planet has experienced in modern times.” New satellite views show that now even in winter the Arctic ice is unstable. “You don’t have to care about Arctic seabirds or pack ice,” Divoky told World View of Global Warming, but the Arctic is not the only place where climate change is causing problems. “Species are struggling to deal with it,” he says, “and we are going to be in the same situation.”
Shellfish growers in the Northwest adapt to a changing ocean, treat seawater to maintain chemistry for tiny oyster larvae.
Since the industrial age began, the average pH of surface oceans has decreased to 8.1, a 30% increase in acidity, because of the additional absorption of carbon dioxide. This change is beginning to affect all ocean creatures which build shells, including reef-building corals which are already under stress from ocean warming. Especially affected are plankton, the tiny plants and animals at the base of the ocean food chain, including the larvae of shellfish.
In the Pacific Northwest, the oyster industry, with an $84 million yearly value and 3,000 employees, is already seeing and reacting to the effects of unhealthy ocean water.
Bhutan: “We commit ourselves to keep absorbing more carbon than we emit." Bhutan leads in environmental protection as climate change looms over this Buddhist kingdom of the Himalaya.
The fabled Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan stands alone among nations for its strong Buddhist faith, Constitutional concern for the happiness of its people, a monarchy that gave up power to establish democracy, its preservation of ecosystems and as the only nation to sequester much more carbon than it emits.
In recent years, Bhutan, like other Himalayan areas, has seen an increase in landslides due to heavier rains, and some glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) as glaciers retreat. The GLOF threat is apparently Bhutan’s greatest climate change challenge so far. Bhutan’s 24 weather stations show a rise in temperature of about 1 degree C in summer and 2 degrees in winter since 2000. Recent studies show a reduction in water availability in some areas. At the same time, Bhutan has entered into an agreement for India to build ten huge hydroelectric dams on major rivers, and get most of the power, which has raised questions about the possible damage to river ecosystems in an age of increasing river effects from climate change.
Please see our News and Views for recent reports on the loss of Arctic Sea Ice and the American Drought of 2011 at http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/pages/nvoctober0912.php
Locations documented by Gary Braasch in World View of Global Warming, 1999-2012
This project would be impossible without scientists and observers around the world who have provided hundreds of scientific contacts and papers. See Background, Advisors, and Reference for documentation, funders and major advisors, without whom I could not complete the work.
World View of Global Warming is a project of the Blue Earth Alliance, Seattle Washington, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. The project is supported entirely by donations, grants, and license fees for the photographs. Please see information about how to contribute.
For other information about Gary Braasch's climate change projects and books, please see the books Earth Under Fire and How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate, and the exhibit "Climate Change in Our World" at the Books and Exhibits link on the left menu here.
Photography and text Copyright © 2005 - 2013 (and before) Gary Braasch All rights reserved. Use of photographs in any manner without permission is prohibited by US copyright law. Photography is available for license to publications and other uses. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. View more of Gary Braasch's photography here.