HSHM 211 Lecture 9: Global Catastrophe 9

3 Pages
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Department
Hist of Science, Hist of Med
Course Code
HSHM 211
Professor
William Rankin

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HSHM 211: GLOBAL CATASTROPHE SINCE 1750 th 3/1/17: Weather maps in 19 century  Global warming 1. Industrial society has been changing the atmosphere a. CO2 and other gases warming the planet 2. Some say humans are destroying the planet a. 2003: global warming could “trigger a catastrophe which rivals the worst mass extinction in the planet’s entire history” 3. Others say global warming is false, or a hoax  Themes 1. Cartoons a. Progress vs. decline b. Science as savior vs. science as enemy 2. Scientific consensus a. Forms of evidence, styles of science, worldviews 3. Science, industry, government a. Single interrelated system 4. Social-political change a. Sustainability, precautionary principle, uncertainty, responsibility  Differences with global warming issue 1. Complexity a. Global fluid dynamics, chaos theory, very difficult equations 2. Invisibility a. Climate change is purely statistical, not experiential b. Problem of shifting baselines that has nothing to do with our own experience  Science and data 1. Huge amounts of data a. Great difference between scale of our experience and scale of scientific data 2. Understanding data a. A circular relationship between data and theory? o Data  theory? And theory  data o Cannot say which comes first and which is result b. Meteorology becoming increasingly scientific o From mere observation and judgment to general laws and calculation o Small data to big data o There has never been enough data, but the data that we have is always too much  The early weather map 1. Triumph of data collection and scientific hand-waving 2. The visual rhetoric of totality a. Humboldtian science o Humboldt’s map of temperature (1817) showed isotherms (temperature lines) do not match up with longitudinal lines across the globe  Today we know this is because of the gulf stream 3. Creating isolines a. Collect data from individual places over a long time, average them all and plot them as a single dot b. Draw lines separating dots of different values c
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