Glaciers, National Security, and the Roots of Cutting Edge Climate Science
with Mark Carey, PhD, associate dean and associate professor of history in the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon
Glaciers are all over the news these days, not only because their melting contributes to global sea level rise, alters hydrology, and changes landscapes, but also because ice cores from glaciers provide some of the planet's best data about climate change. How did glaciers come to play such a fundamental role in climate science and global warming discussions? The answer, explains environmental historian Mark Carey, has a lot to do with national security concerns dating back many decades.
Ever since the Titanic sank, the International Ice Patrol has been trying to keep the North Atlantic safe, often trying to bomb icebergs while also studying oceanography and icebergs. In Greenland, ice cores were first extracted at Camp Century, a secret nuclear-powered military base built under the ice sheet with the corresponding proposed Project Iceworm to house nuclear warheads to defend the West. The correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature emerged by studying an Antarctic ice core at the Soviet Vostok base, established at the height of Cold War geo-politicking. Join us for this talk as we explore these crazy schemes in the past and learn how they help us understand glaciers and climate science in the present.
Mark Carey, PhD, specializes in environmental history and the history of science. He earned his PhD in history from the University of California, Davis, and held a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Geography department at the University of California, Berkeley. Carey’s research has focused on several topics: climate change, glacier-society interactions, natural disasters, mountaineering, water, and health/medicine. His research is currently funded by a major five-year National Science Foundation CAREER grant on “Glaciers and Glaciology: How Nature, Field Research, and Societal Forces Shape the Earth Sciences.” This project examines the global history of human-glacier interactions, from the Alps and Andes to Greenland and Antarctica.
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