Volume , Number
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
"Sound Science," Common Sense & Global Warming
For anyone who still needs sound science about global warming, heres a small sampler: Temperatures are rising. James Hansen and colleagues of New York Citys Goddard Institute observed that during 2001, global temperatures averaged the second highest in recorded history (after roughly 1865), exceeded only by the El Nino year of 1998. The global warmth of 2001 is particularly meaningful because it occurs at a phase of the Southern Oscillation in which the tropical Pacific Ocean is cool, Hansen and colleagues wrote in a letter to Science. The first three months of 2002 were the warmest on the instrumental record, as a new El Nino took shape in the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of South America.
Human activity has raised Earths surface temperature during the last 130 years, according to a study published during January 2001 by the Journal of Geophysical Research. Robert Kaufmann of Boston Universitys Center for Energy and Environmental Studies and David Stern of the Australian National Universitys Centre for Resource and Environmental Study analyzed historical data between 1865 and 1990.
Using the statistical technique of cointegration, the scientists compared several factors (including greenhouse-gas levels, human sulfur emissions, and variations in solar activity) with global surface temperature in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Cointegration techniques are not confused by variables that tend to increase or decrease over time or contain some poor measurements. This was the first study to make a statistically meaningful link between human activity and temperature, independent of climate models, Kaufmann said.
The countervailing effects of greenhouse gases and sulfur emissions undercut comments by climate change skeptics, who argue that the rapid increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases between the end of World War II and the early 1970s had little effect on temperature, said Kaufmann. During this period, Kaufmann said, the warming effect of greenhouse gases was hidden by a simultaneous increase in sulfur emissions. But, since then, sulfur emissions have slowed, due to laws aimed at reducing acid rain, and this has allowed the warming effects of greenhouse gases to become more apparent.
Warming has been most rapid in the polar regions. At Sachs Harbour on Banks Island in the high Arctic, mosquitoes and beetles are now common sights where they were unknown a generation ago. Sea-ice is thinner and now drifts far away during the summer, taking with it the seals and polar bears upon which the villages Inuit residents rely for food.
In the winter, sea-ice often is thin and broken, making travel dangerous for the most experienced hunters. In the fall, storms have become more frequent and more violent, making boating difficult. Thunder and lightning have been seen for the first time, arriving with another type of weather that is new to the area, dousing summer rainstorms. We have no other sources of food, the people in my community are completely dependent on hunting, trapping, and fishing, said Rosemarie Kuptana, a resident of Banks Islands only town, Sachs Harbour. We have no means of adapting to a different environmental reality, and that is why our situation is so critical.
When I was a child, I never heard thunder or saw lightning, but in the last few years weve had thunder and lightning, said Kuptana. The animals really dont know what to do because theyve never experienced this kind of phenomenon. We dont know when to travel on the ice and our food sources are getting further and further away, said Kuptana. Our way of life is being permanently altered.
Until February 2001, snow was in short supply across much of Alaska. For several weeks, unusual rain soaked Anchorage region. The snowless tundra along Norton Sound, near the end of the 1,760-kilometer Iditarod race trail, was so bare in December that it caught fire. Sufficient snow to hold the race had fallen by March, however, when the race is held. During training for the race in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley 40 miles north of Anchorage, much of the ground was bare. The trails were so icy that dogs risked injury.
In Antarctica, several large ice sheets have crumbled into the ocean during the last few years. Glaciologists Eric Rignot and Stanley S. Jacobs have been studying the physical mechanisms behind accelerating melting of Antarctic ice. They reported in Science, June 14, 2002, that As continental ice from Antarctica reaches the grounding line and begins to float, its underside melts into the ocean. Results obtained from satellite radar interferometry reveal that bottom melt rates experienced by large outlet glaciers near their grounding lines are far higher than generally assumed.
Furthermore, Rignot and Jacobs wrote, The melting rate is positively correlated with thermal forcing, increasing by 1 meter per year for each 0.1 degree C. rise in ocean temperature. Where deep water has direct access to grounding lines, glaciers and ice shelves are vulnerable to ongoing increases in ocean temperature. If Antarctica is melting around the edges (the same pattern has been reported in Greenland), why are interior Antarctic temperatures dropping? Such reports have become grist for anti-warming skeptics in recent months. One of the scientists who brought these reports to light has expressed a sense of irritated concern that many of the media have blown his findings out of proportion vis-à-vis the general debate on global warming.
Slawek Tulaczyk of the University of California at Santa Cruz told Keay Davidson of the San Francisco Chronicle (February 4, 2002) that press reports had left him increasingly frustrated by sometimes-careless media coverage of the global warming issue. Tulaczyk and Ian Joughin of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena reported in the January 18, 2002 issue of Science that the movement of the glacial Ross ice streams appears to be slowing, allowing the ice to thicken.
In another recent study, 13 scientists reported in the January 13, 2002 issue of Nature that while other continents have warmed to record-high temperatures in recent years, most of the Antarctic surface has cooled since 1966. Some editorial writers assumed that if Antarctica is getting cooler, then maybe the whole planet is cooling, too. Is Another Ice-Age On the Way? asked an editorial in the Rocky Mountain News.
A headline over an editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune minced no words about it: Scientific findings run counter to theory of global warming. The editorial sarcastically asked: Oh dear. What will the doomsayers say now? How will they explain away yet two more scientific studies that clearly contradict the global warming orthodoxy? A headline in the National Post, a Canadian newspaper, declared: Antarctic ice sheet has stopped melting, study finds.
Some media mistakenly equated the phenomenon studied by Joughin and Tulaczyka change in ice flow rateswith ice melting rates. The mistake contributed to the erroneous belief that the studies constituted, as it were, scientific tests of the global warming theory, wrote Davidson.
Contrary to some news reports, the ice-sheet growth that we have documented in our study area has absolutely nothing to do with any recent climate trends, Tulaczyk said. I keep repeating to journalists that climate science is much like economics. Both deal with complex systems, Tulaczyk observed. Just as a single stock going up or down cannot be interpreted as a reliable indicator of economic recovery or collapse, we have to accept the occurrence of contradictory trends in the global climate.
Contrary to these and other newspaper reports and opinions, Global warming is real and happening right now, Peter T. Doran of the University of Illinois at Chicago, lead author of the Nature paper told Davidson. Doran said the cooling trend in Antarctica appears to be a surprising, regional exception to the overall planetary warming.
Doran emphasized that his teams report in Nature does not change the nature of global warming in any significant way. Roughly half the Antarctic continent is still warming, even given the new reports, as is most of the rest of the planet. For example, the Antarctic Peninsulas Larsen Ice Shelf has warmed 2.5 degrees Celsius during the last half century, as it disintegrates into the ocean. The Antarctica Peninsula (stretching northward toward South America) has been warming very rapidly, about 5 degrees over the past 50 years, 10 times the global average, matching temperature rises in Alaska.
The Antarctic cooling may stem from changes in wind patterns. An explanation of this apparent paradox may lie in a climactic master switch over the high southern latitudes, a circular wind pattern (the Antarctic Oscillation) that is being driven faster by the depletion of stratospheric ozone.
Writing in the May 3, 2002 issue of Science, David W. J. Thompson, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, and Dr. Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, assert that ozone depletion over the Antarctic may help explain both contradictory trends. Ozone seems to be capable of tickling the Southern Hemisphere patterns, Thompson said.
Thompson and Solomon link cooling in the stratosphere induced by depletion of ozone levels to acceleration of the winds. During the summer-fall season, Thompson and Solomon have written, The trend toward stronger circumpolar flow has contributed substantially to the observed warming over the Antarctic Peninsula and Patagonia and to the cooling over eastern Antarctica and the Antarctic plateau.
Thompson and Solomon show that a vortex of winds blowing around Antarctica that traps cold air at the South Pole have strengthened in the past few decades, keeping the cold air even more confined. The Antarctic peninsula lies outside the wind vortex and thus escapes the cooling effect. Ozone depletion may be a key causal factor in strengthening the wind pattern, according to Thompson and Solomon. Thats where we speculate, Dr. Thompson said, and the emphasis is on the word may.
Marylands population of Baltimore orioles, long in decline, could vanish altogether late this century because of dramatic changes in migration patterns and declining habitats strongly influenced by global warming. A study by the National Wildlife Federation and the American Bird Conservancy suggests that global warming effects may be driving state birds from Maryland and a half-dozen other states.
According to the report, rising temperatures are changing migration patterns and threatening some well-known birds ability to survive. Iowa and Washington state would eventually see their last American goldfinch, as New Hampshire would fall outside the range of the purple finch. California quail would skip that state and Massachusetts black-capped chickadee would vanish. Georgia would lose the brown thrasher and Maryland would fall outside the range of the Baltimore oriole, according to the study.
Rising water temperatures caused by global warming also could drive several cold-water species of trout and salmon from many U.S. waterways, by the end of the century. In many areas, these fish already are living at the margin of their temperature tolerance. Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council assert that by the end of the century, many salmon and trout will be restricted to the northernmost sections of the United States. The groups analysis covers four species of troutbrook, cutthroat, rainbow, and browand four species of salmonpink, coho, chinook, and chum. Researchers looked at air and water temperature data from more than 2,000 sites across the U.S.
Wild trout and salmon populations are already stressed by factors such as loss of habitat to development, competition with hatchery fish, invasive exotic species, and more. Now we must add climate change to the list of challenges they face, said Mark Shaffer, senior vice president at Defenders of Wildlife. If we dont address the cumulative impact of all these factors, we will see more of these populations switching from a recreational resource to being listed as threatened or endangered.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.