Regarding Snow, Go with Those Who Know

In general, I agree with a favorite Canadian saying: There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.



However, even the best jacket from REI will only take you so far.



Paleoclimatologist Richard Alley studies ice cores -- samples of ice that record Earth's past climate. His research focuses on abrupt climate change, glaciers, ice sheet collapse and sea level change. He has participated in ice core drilling projects in Antarctica and Greenland and has won many awards for teaching and research. We caught him at this the 2004 Pop!Tech as part of a panel discussion on "Big Weather". Listen at IT Conversations.



From Joho the Blog:

"[Alley is] an animated speaker. He shows photos of his ice-drilling expedition to Greenland. Is there global warming? Yes. He runs through the evidence. The biggest cause is fossil guels: The typical US driver buys 100 pounds of gasoline per week. We're burning fossil fuels a million times faster than nature created them. Climate? What? Me, worry?Global warming is a natural trend but we're making it much worse. Most of the effects of global warming are negative for humans, he says. Some high-latitude economies will do better. But, it could dry up the grain-belt, kill off a whole bunch of species, raise sea-level and spread tropical diseases. [Ok, overall, I'm against global warming.] It's hard to make it better but easy to make it worse. Alley hypothesizes that the climate moves by staggering up and down. He shows a chart that shows that in the Ice Age, the temperature staggered but the CO2 level changed rather smoothly. Possible conclusion: Now that CO2 is rising again, we should perhaps expect big swings in temperature. Alley shows satellite photos of the ice sheets in Antarctica. They're melting. These are just small ones. But it's possible the large ones will melt. Goodbye Florida."
If you want to read what real, live, actual climatologists are discovering about our changing weather, check out the collaborative blog RealClimate, a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.





Check out Ben Saunders' weblog and read a first hand account of preparing for--and successfully executing--the first ever solo and unsupported ski crossing of the Arctic Ocean. This 1,240 mile (1,996km) journey had never been completed solo without resupply. Ben also has a fantastic collections of photographs from past treks and a gorgeous interface for his blog, including peaceful Flash slideshows.



British Artist Simon Faithfull travelled to the coast of Antarctica and back with the British Antarctic Survey and sent back daily Palm-Pilot sketches to document his journey and 'look at what it is that fascinates us still about this beautiful emptiness'.



Travelling with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), I will journey to the Falklands via Ascension Island, where I will join BAS scientists on board the ice-strengthened ship RSS Ernest Shackleton. On its way South the ship will visit several subantarctic islands, break through expanses of sea-ice and ultimately reach the ice cliffs of Antarctica. More than a month after leaving England, the sketches will record the final journey inland to the strange science-fiction-like Halley Research Station perched on stilts above the empty, white wilderness of Antarctica.



Using the extremely restricted means of the Palm-Pilot, the pixellated drawings might depict any number of things: a detail of the ship, a weather balloon disappearing, an abandoned whaling station, Shackleton's grave, a colony of penguins, a wandering Albatross or a drifting iceberg. The project will convey the extreme mechanics of the journey, the tedium of isolation and the awful beauty of a journey into the void. Ultimately the work will look at what it is that fascinates us still about this beautiful emptiness.



"…whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color, and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows…" The Whiteness of The Whale. Moby Dick, Herman Melville