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Friday, October 8, 2010

Climate Change

My ADHD mind operates in funny ways. I am a peripatetic collector of information related to subjects of interest. Before the “gathering” capacity of the internet, I clipped from newspapers and magazines and kept the clippings in manila folders sorted by subject. Those files tracked the complex politics and media battle of the Tongass rainforest. Other files like them served as the text base of my book, "OVERLOOKED IN AMERICA: THE SUCCESS AND FAILURE OF FEDERAL LAND MANAGEMENT" (Aperture, New York, NY, 1991). The information contained in it spanned 20-years of clipping collecting.

Callison, Charles and Robert Glenn Ketchum, "Overlooked in America: The Success and Failure of Federal Land Management", Aperture, New York, NY, 1991.
Currently two issues I follow closely are the struggle to protect the salmon fishery and wild parklands of southwest Alaska and Bristol Bay, and the growing effects of climate change around the world. The net offers me many more sources of information and many new ways to collect “clippings”.

Over the past 12-years I have published 2-books (Rivers of Life: Southwest Alaska, The Last Great Salmon Fishery, Aperture, NY, 2001 and Wood-Tikchik: Alaska¹s Largest State Park, Aperture, NY, 2003) and have put together a national traveling exhibit to protecting the parklands and wildlands of Southwest Alaska and offshore fishery of Bristol Bay from the industrial invasion of oil and gas leasing and a huge open pit mine.
I track things in the press that have meaning for me when I see their "collective” effect. Many times stories I believe are truly important are buried in short bytes on page 18 of some newspaper, or more often stories come from widely disparate world news sources so never all readable in one place. Blogging lets me present some of these collections to you in real-time as they occur so I am dedicating specific blogs to specific subjects if you would like to follow what I am tracking.

With regard to climate change, as most of you know, myself and many of my affiliates at the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) have worked on related stories for more than two decades. My own tracking interests follow earthquake and volcano activity which I believe are being fueled by the ice melting off great land masses like Greenland and Antarctica, allowing those land masses to “move around” and disrupt all the other tectonic plates.

Photo Credit:  Les Scott.  Volleyball-sized hail from Vivian, SD, July 23, 2010. 
There is also amazing science and discovery related to weather, and thunderstorms in particular. Massive thunderstorms are delivering microburst rains that are setting rainfall records and flooding large parts of the world at this moment. These storms are also conjuring up ever-larger hailstones that are establishing records and wreaking awesome damage.

Photo Credit:  NASA.  554 Wildfires Rage Throughout Russia, Covering Moscow in Smoke, August 8, 2010.
Simultaneously, 2010 proved to be the hottest summer in world history causing raging wildfires worldwide. Russia burned and melted down, and how far north is Moscow? New research now has identified that mega storms and mega hail are fueled by the very specific particulate matter that is created from wildfires. So, as we get hotter and burn more, it makes the storms larger, more dangerous and capable of delivering more water. These storms are also off-the-chart electrical, and the lightening strikes just fuel more fires.

Photo credit:  Jay Fine/Caters News
 We rate hurricanes by degrees, Class 4, etc, tornadoes by force strength, F5, and earthquakes by numbers that top out at 10.0 That does not mean larger storms and earthquakes aren’t possible, we have just never seen them at such scale. Nor do I want to!

I am no scientist, I am just sayin', this is interesting, and I think it is much bigger than we know...

~ Robert Glenn Ketchum


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