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You are browsing the archive for climate change communication Archives - The Plainspoken Scientist.

11 June 2021

#AntarcticLog: An Abecedarium of Pleasures and Perils 

Now I know that Antarctica is not designed to be hospitable to humans. In fact, from the moment you arrive — and even before (ask me about the Drake Passage sometime) you sense that the place is set up to kill you. It helped that I had created this #AntarcticLog comic, a list of just a few of the ways the place can kill you. (Believe me, I had to leave a lot out!) 

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4 June 2021

#AntarcticLog: Antarctic Trees (from long ago)

No, there are no longer trees in Antarctica — though there were, many thousands of years ago. (Did you know Antarctica used to be unfrozen? But that’s another story for another post.)  But trees — especially the oak trees featured in these three #AntarcticLog comics — have plenty to say about what’s going on in their environment, and around the globe. 

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28 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Reeling in Kids

#AntarcticLog is created with a broad audience in mind — from the savviest adults to kids new to the subject of scientific research — and adventure! — in the Antarctic. This week’s examples come from a series created to introduce kids (of any age) to the Antarctic food chain. 

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21 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Plankton is (surprisingly) cool

Before the pandemic, a long time ago (or so it seems), I used to go to New York City and wonder at all the people — and their brilliant personalities, ideas, forms, and functions — concentrated in that small space.   One time I made my way to a midtown gallery where Pete Countway, a researcher at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science, had plankton on display. 

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14 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Polar Seals

The polar seals are another force to be reckoned with as a comic creator.  No, I’m not about to embark on a series of comics about individual species of polar seals, but I did want to check in with a few seal stories so far. Seals have got both the Antarctic and Arctic pretty well figured out in terms of adaptations. Their blubber, fur, swimming and diving ability, and eating habits– not to mention their chill both in terms of attitude and energy conservation (i.e. lying around doing nothing) — equips them to deal with these extreme environments.

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12 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Permafrost isn’t so frosty

Based on the last few thousand years, it’s supposed to be like this: After a winter freeze comes a spring thaw. Not that there isn’t plenty of evidence of climate change: tornadoes and a longer growing season are among the easiest to see. Toward the poles, however, where global warming is multiplied, bigger changes are afoot: underfoot, actually, as the permafrost layer thins, buckles, and crumbles.  

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23 April 2021

#AntarcticLog: Happy Earth Day!

If you think it’s tough scuba diving in icy Antarctic waters, try doing it while pulling up old tires, rails of steel, and other junk. I spent Earth Day, April 22, 2018, at Palmer Station, Antarctica, helping pull old trash out of Hero Inlet.

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19 April 2021

#AntarcticLog: A whale of a time

What animal lives on the edge? If you’re like me, whales aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. And yet… this week’s #AntarcticLog examples tell the stories of whales with vastly different experiences when it comes to eating.

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9 April 2021

#AntArcticLog: Narwhals, narwhals, swimming in the ocean (& other whales)…

One thing I never got to do a comic about during the time at Palmer Station were the whales. Whales spouting at a distance…breaching nearby…diving, fluking, flapping…and, in the gray gloom of an early winter morning, taking an audible inhale before disappearing under the surface, ahead of a background of icebergs.  I extended my comic coverage of whales to the Arctic, as well, for the Polar Whale series. 

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6 April 2021

#AntarcticLog: The movement of glaciers

With a rumble, a rush, a splash, a gush, the glacier that forms our dramatic backdrop makes like a cow — and calves — dropping a blockbuster baby of ice into Arthur Harbor. If you’re lucky, you whirl toward it in time to see the ice fall, far enough away that the wave it creates seems to form in slow motion.  Then the roar of the wave reaches your ears across the distance. 

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