Syrians find escape from stressful war by practising Tai Chi


Syrians find escape from stressful war by practising Tai Chi

A group of Syrians practice Tai Chi, a relatively new sport in Syria, at a center in the Jaramana neighborhood south of the capital Damascus on Dec. 13, 2018. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

For a handful of Syrians, Tai Chi, an internal Chinese martial art, has become a way of escaping the daily stress caused by the country’s more than seven-year war.

With the calm rhythm of spiritual music, a group of people gathers to synchronize their Tai Chi moves twice a week in a training center in Jaramana neighborhood, south of the capital Damascus.

For Syrians, Tai Chi is a new kind of spiritual sport which can help them get through the hard times.

Although Tai Chi is not as popular as other sports in Syria, it has been spread by its followers.

The sport first started to be spread in Syria when Wissam Abanni, a musician, met with a friend who practised Tai Chi in Britain.

His friend told him about this sport and started to teach him some of the moves.

Abanni instantly fell in love with the Chinese martial art. After mastering it, he started to spread it to his musician fellows and local community in Jaramana, which was one of the targets of rebels’ mortar shells during the war around Damascus.

The trainer said he started a few years ago with 30 trainees and the number has been growing.

During the war, his students braved the tough weather to come to the center to practise the sport.

“In February last year, mortar shells were raining down on the area. In spite of that, people still came. We used to be practising here with the window shaken by the shelling,” Abanni told Xinhua.

Abanni said their advertisement for Tai Chi is still limited, hoping that more people would soon be introduced to the sport.

As for those who practise Tai Chi and get trained by Abanni, they said they have found peace and an escape from pressure.

Rama Dunia, a 24-year-old psychology student, said she has long been interested in Yoga and her readings online have led her to the only Tai Chi training center in Damascus.

“Tai Chi has given me a kind of relaxation and inner rhythm. I have become more focused on my life and job … So it’s something deeply and positively reflects on all aspects of our lives,” Dunia told Xinhua.

Syrians, in particular, need to be introduced to this sport and practise it because of the high stress people have suffered over the past seven years, the Syrian woman explained.

“In fact, we are in need of these kinds of activities because of all the stress and the tension we have endured throughout the crisis … we need to relax and Tai Chi helps a lot to make us less stressful,” she said.

Mukhles Kansah, a 52-year-old merchant, said he has been practising Tai Chi for two years.

“In my opinion, Tai Chi is so necessary as it helps us get balanced and relive the stress we are living with. It also helps us relax and develop more sense of awareness and perception,” he told Xinhua.

Raid Bager, a maths teacher, told Xinhua that she has been searching for calmness for a long time as she used to get angry easily with all the stress at school, especially during the war.

Now, she has found the inner peace after practising Tai Chi.

“My job requires me to be calm and Tai Chi has helped me gain the calmness I need in my life. It helped me learn how to deal with inner conflicts,” she said.

“We used to come here under the shelling or in the bad weather and we were so determined to do so as we had to come because Tai Chi helped us escape this conflict,” she added.

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El Niño events will intensify under global warming


After decades of uncertainty, it now seems clear that global warming will enhance both the amplitude and the frequency of climate phenomena known as eastern Pacific El Niño events, with widespread climatic consequences.

During El Niño events, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Pacific Ocean increase. These rising temperatures cause considerable reorganization of atmospheric circulation, resulting in extreme weather events worldwide and strongly affecting ecosystems, human health and the global economy. The reorganization is greater for El Niño events that generate maximum warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific than for those producing maximum warming in the central equatorial Pacific — referred to as EP- and CP-El Niño events, respectively. Despite the huge impact of these phenomena, there has been no consensus on how the SST variability associated with El Niño events will change with global warming1,2. But on page 201, Cai et al.3 report robust agreement among climate models that both EP-El Niño SST variability and the frequency of strong EP-El Niño events will increase.

Conventionally, the response of El Niño SST variability to global warming has been investigated in climate models using SSTs at a fixed location. In the case of EP-El Niño events, this location is typically in the eastern equatorial Pacific (the ‘Niño3’ region: 5° S–5° N, 150°–90° W). Such an approach assumes that all models simulate an EP-El Niño centre — corresponding to the location of peak SST variability — that is the same as the observed centre. Cai and colleagues’ breakthrough comes from the realization that this fundamental assumption is invalid. The authors find that the longitude of the simulated centres differs greatly between models, and they examine the response of EP-El Niño SST variability to global warming at the centre of each model.

Another common limitation of climate models is their inability to simulate distinctive CP- and EP-El Niño events4. Cai et al. show that this limitation reflects a deficiency in simulating asymmetries between CP- and EP-El Niño events, and between these phenomena and their counterpart La Niña events, which are associated with cold SST anomalies (departures from average conditions).

The cold SST anomalies of La Niña events, particularly extreme episodes, tend to occur in the central Pacific. Consequently, in the central Pacific, these anomalies are typically larger than the warm SST anomalies associated with CP-El Niño events — the anomalies are negatively skewed (Fig. 1a). By contrast, in the eastern Pacific, SST anomalies are positively skewed (Fig. 1b). The location of maximum negative SST skewness is the CP-El Niño centre, whereas the location of maximum positive SST skewness is the EP-El Niño centre. As a result, models that more accurately simulate these skewed features produce more-distinctive CP- and EP-El Niño centres.

Figure 1 | Two types of El Niño event. El Niño events are associated with changes (anomalies) in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Pacific Ocean. These anomalies result in a reorganization of atmospheric circulation. El Niño events typically have a centre in either the central equatorial or the eastern equatorial Pacific, and are referred to as CP- and EP-El Niño events, respectively. a, In the central Pacific, SST anomalies are negatively skewed. Anomalies in the region marked by blue hatching are negatively skewed by more than 0.1 °C from December to February — the season in which El Niño events typically mature — based on data from 1948 to 2015. The anomalies are averaged over the 1990–91, 2002–03, 2004–05 and 2009–10 CP-El Niño events. b, In the eastern Pacific, SST anomalies are positively skewed. Anomalies in the region marked by yellow hatching are positively skewed by more than 0.5 °C. The anomalies are averaged over the 1982–83 and 1997–98 EP-El Niño events. Cai et al.3 show that the SST variability associated with EP-El Niño events will increase under global warming. (Data taken from ref. 9.)9

A technique called empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis is often used to study spatial patterns of climate variability and how the amplitude of such patterns changes with time. Data are projected onto these spatial patterns to obtain variables known as principal components, which describe the amplitude of the patterns at each time step. To distinguish between CP- and EP-El Niño centres, at least two principal components representing two distinctive patterns are required5.

Cai and colleagues obtain these variables from an EOF analysis of SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific, which yields two dominant principal-component time series and two associated anomaly patterns5. They then use a linear combination of these principle components and patterns to identify an individual EP-El Niño centre for each climate model. Finally, they introduce an EP-El Niño index for each model, which represents the model’s EP-El Niño centre and pattern. The authors report that a reasonable consensus emerges: 24 of the 34 available models (71%) predict an increase in EP-El Niño SST variability under a climate-change scenario (known as RCP8.5) that assumes greenhouse-gas emissions will continue to rise steeply throughout the twenty-first century.

However, most of the models underestimate the SST skewness. Cai et al. show that nonlinear processes responsible for the negative skewness in the central Pacific are tightly connected to those for the positive skewness in the eastern Pacific, and are represented by a nonlinear relationship between the two principle components. Focusing on 17 models that simulate these nonlinear processes realistically, the authors find an even stronger consensus: 15 of the 17 models (88%) predict a rise in EP-El Niño SST variability under the RCP8.5 emissions scenario.

Cai and colleagues’ work shows that, under global-warming conditions, warming occurs more quickly at the surface layer of the ocean than in subsurface layers6. This increases the vertical temperature gradient of the ocean, which in turn enhances the dynamical coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean. Consequently, the equatorial ocean–atmosphere system becomes more efficient at converting stochastic fluctuations in winds into a potential EP-El Niño event, leading to increased EP-El Niño variability. The authors’ results also indicate that, by a similar mechanism, SST variability in the central Pacific is enhanced (albeit not as strongly as in the eastern Pacific). This translates into an increased frequency of CP-El Niño events and of extreme La Niña events — a conclusion that is consistent with previous studies7,8.

The authors’ finding of increased EP-El Niño variability under global warming represents a milestone in climate research, and will inspire studies of the worldwide impact of future changes in El Niño events. However, the work also raises many questions. For example, why do so many climate models fail to simulate the nonlinear processes associated with the SST skewness? What leads to the large discrepancies in the model simulations? And how sensitive is the reported consensus to future models? Cai and colleagues’ results therefore need to be assessed further as other model simulations become available. Nevertheless, the projection of more-frequent and stronger El Niño events must be taken seriously, as we prepare to deal with the consequences of global warming.

Scientists prove there was no hiatus in global warming after confirming controversial study


This NOAA Corps photo shows the deploying an Argo float to capture ocean temperature data

This NOAA Corps photo shows the deploying an Argo float to capture ocean temperature data

A reported pause in global warming between 1998 and 2014 was false, according to US-British research published on Wednesday that confirmed the findings of a controversial US study on ocean warming.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of York corroborated the results of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) research paper in 2015.

The paper had shown that ocean buoys now used to measure water temperatures tend to report slightly cooler temperatures than older ship-based systems.

Animation: 100 years of global warming in less than a minute Watch | Animation: 100 years of global warming in less than a minute

The switch to buoy measurements had hidden some of the real-world warming during the 1998-2014 period, the NOAA scientists concluded.

The NOAA paper had drawn outrage from some scientists who insisted that there had been a “global warming hiatus” and from critics who consider global warming a hoax.

The US House of Representatives, controlled by the Republican Party, had even demanded that the NOAA scientists provide lawmakers with their email exchanges about the research.

The US government agency agreed to transmit data and respond to scientific questions but refused to hand over the emails of the study’s authors, a decision supported by scientists worried about political interference.

“Our results mean that essentially NOAA got it right, that they were not cooking the books,” said Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s energy and resources group and lead author of the new study.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in a report published in September 2013, said the average global warming between 1951 and 2012 had been 0.12 Celsius (0.22 Fahrenheit) per decade.

But between 1998 and 2012, warming had amounted to only 0.07C per decade, indicating a “global warming hiatus”.

The 2015 NOAA analysis, which was adjusted to correct for the “cold bias” of buoy measurements, found there was no detectable slowdown in ocean warming over the previous 15 years.

Reporting in the journal Science, the NOAA scientists said the oceans has actually warmed 0.12C per decade since 2000, nearly twice as fast as the earlier estimates of 0.07C per decade.

That brought the rate of ocean temperature rise in line with estimates for the previous 30 years, between 1970 and 1999.

The new study uses independent data from satellites and Argo floats, a worldwide satellite-based location and data collection system, as well as from buoys.

The information gathered confirmed the NOAA results in 2015 were correct, the scientists said.

“We were initially skeptical of the NOAA result, because it showed faster warming than a previous updated record from the UK Met Office,” said Dr Kevin Cowtan of the University of York.

“So we set out to test it for ourselves, using different methods and different data. We now think NOAA got it right, and a new dataset from the Japan Meteorological Agency also agrees,” he said.

The new findings were reported in the US journal Science Advances.

Not Even Bacteria Are Safe from Climate Change


Climate change has started to touch every living thing, and not even bacteria are immune from its effects.

The Earth’s warmer environment is killing off some of the world’s microbiological diversity, some of which acts as warning signals for greater environmental impacts in their ecosystems, according to a study published this week in Nature Communications. Since microbes make up the foundation of any food chain, any major impact to them might trickle down through the food chain and could impact entire ecosystems.

The study looked at bacteria and other microbes in various ecosystems, including harsh ones like high-elevation areas or frozen tundras. It found that microbes in icy environments were similar to ones in mountainous tropical regions. This suggests changes in temperature and other impacts are causing some types of microbes to die off, reducing the Earth’s microbial diversity.

“We’ve historically studied birds, mammals and plants, but we know very little about biotechnology of microbes,” said Janne Soininen, a study author from the University of Helsinki in a statement.

Figuring out how temperature changes and the increase in nutrients in water from climate change can help scientists understand how climate change will affect the very building blocks of certain ecosystems, a release announcing the study stated.

“The typically austere, i.e. nutrient-poor, waters in the north, for example, are extremely susceptible to temperature variations, and as the climate warms up, species that have adapted to the cold will decline.”

House Science Committee Tweets Story Skeptical of Climate Change


A tweet sent out by the Committee’s official Twitter account linked to the following Breitbart News story, a story so erroneous that one should question the inclusion of “science” in the committee’s name:

“Big El Ninos always have an immense impact on world weather, triggering higher than normal temperatures over huge swathes of the world… It has now been replaced by a La Nina event—when the water in the same Pacific region turns colder than normal. This also has worldwide impacts, driving temperatures down rather than up,” David Rose wrote for Daily Mail.

There’s nothing new about Breitbart News, the noted conservative website lately associated with the neo-white nationalist “alt-right” movement and President-elect Donald Trump, calling global warming a “scare” or “propaganda,” and using testimonies from biased experts to support their narrative. (The author quoted David Whitehouse, science editor of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which according to SourceWatch is the United Kingdom’s “most high-profile climate denier group.”) This is, after all, the same website that once labeled climate change as “the greatest-ever conspiracy against the taxpayer.”

On the other hand, the House Science Committee’s tacit endorsement of such baseless, factually deficient opinions is genuinely disturbing to anyone who values science. A Committee spokesperson forwarded my request for comment to another spokesperson, who had not responded at the time of publishing.

Earlier this year, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported that 2016 was set to become the hottest year on record. While it’s true that this year’s El Niño was one of the strongest ever, causing droughts, flooding, and hurricanes around the globe, it’s false to attribute rising temperatures—fanned by man-made emissions—solely to the climatic changes brought about by the atmospheric phenomenon.

“With the demise of El Niño, those temperature departures have dropped slightly, but are still at record-high levels,” wrote Scientific American about NASA’s data in July.

But the House Science Committee seems at ease with sowing distrust of government climate scientists. At the very least, it’s content with legitimizing the agenda of anti-science advocates.

El Niño and La Niña are two atmospheric phenomenons that climate change deniers love to misrepresent. The degrees to which El Niño and La Niña have been cherry-picked can explain why, in the face of science, global warming is often falsely described as a cyclical weather event.

Breitbart and Daily Mail based their stories on a statistically incomplete infographic that appears to have been created by the latter publication. It cites climate data from 1998 to 2016 without proper context, and for a specific reason.

“This is the portion that people usually show if they want to avoid showing the large increase in temperature over the forty previous years. If you look at the longer temperature record, there’s a clear upward trend,” Daniel Walton, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Center for Climate Science, told me.

“Both 2015 and early 2016 were very warm periods. Often El Niños are followed by La Niñas, which could bring cold anomalies. Just because one year has especially high or low temperatures doesn’t contradict idea of a long-term trend because we expect there to be considerable interannual variability,” he added.

Global land temperature anomalies since 1880.

What’s especially important here, however, is that this isn’t the first time the House Science Committee has betrayed its core mission to oversee the advancement of science and technology. As I’ve covered before, the Committee’s leader, Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas, has routinely abused his authority to suffocate scientific freedom.

Most recently, Smith used his subpoena power to defend ExxonMobil against an investigation into its holdings by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He’s targeted scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and accused them of altering climate data. Smith has also come down on environmental groups, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, for their role in challenging ExxonMobil’s awareness of climate change.

While a tweet isn’t the end of the world (although climate change might be), the House Science Committee’s agenda under Smith and a newly-cemented Republican majority Congress, with a noted climate-change skeptical President in charge, is concerning. If our elected officials continue to get their science facts from sources like Breitbart News, our future is looking very dire, indeed.

There Is No Global Warming Hiatus After All


Improved data and better analysis methods find no slowdown in the pace of global temperature rise, NOAA scientists report

noaa-ship.jpg
The NOAA ship R/V Roger Revelle collects climate data in the Antarctic in 2008.
 Did global warming take a breather in the early 21st century? Not at all, according to fresh analysis of temperature data that incorporates more information and better methods for parsing historical trends.

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an assessment report that found what appeared to be a halt in the pace of warming. The rate at which surface temperatures rose between 1998 and 2012 was only about a third to a half that seen between 1951 and 2012. This was termed the “hiatus,” and climate change skeptics jumped on the result as evidence that there was no reason to worry.

Earlier this year, though, scientists at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880. And now researchers have found that the record temperatures, when combined with better analysis methods, have eliminated any evidence of a pause in global warming.

When the IPCC report was unveiled, scientists tried to figure out where the missing heat had gone. Some thought it may have gotten stored away in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Others noted that 1998 was the year of a strong El Niño that caused particularly warm weather around the globe, and using it as the starting point for any trend was problematic.

In their new study, published online today by Science, NOAA scientists address another concern about the temperature data—inconsistencies in how and where it was collected.

“We know that the raw temperature records contain various inconsistencies over the long time history,” says co-author Boyin Huang. “Stations may have been moved, sensors are replaced and improved, observation techniques change, and so on.” Before World War II, for instance, most researchers took water temperatures by putting a bucket over the side of a ship. After the war, water temperatures were mostly monitored at engine intakes. Later, more of the water data was collected at buoys instead of from ships.

Each method of collecting data produces slightly different results, similar to what might happen if someone measured their oven temperature with both a mercury and a digital thermometer—the data may be close, but it’s not an exact match. Accounting for those differences using established mathematical methods makes the full dataset more consistent.

“These homogenization techniques make it possible to compare temperature data collected from locations around the world and over many decades, improving the accuracy of temperature trend estimates,” Huang says. “The homogenization methods used are carefully documented in journal articles and agency websites that are publicly available.”

karl1HR.jpg
(NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information)

There have also been advancements made in where air temperature data is collected on land. Many parts of the Earth, especially in Africa, Asia, South America, the Arctic and the Antarctic, have had few measurement stations. But due to a recent effort, the number of data collection stations has doubled, and coverage has improved.

The new analysis accounts for the changes in data collection on land and sea, and the results show that the rate of global warming between 1998 and 2012 is almost double that reported in the IPCC assessment. Adding 2013 and 2014 to the dataset increases the rate further, and the pace of warming between 2000 and 2014—0.209 degrees Fahrenheit per decade—is nearly the same as that seen in the latter half of the 20th century, the researchers note.

“Science is a cumulative and continuous process, and this is reflected in our continued improvements to the land and ocean surface temperature datasets,” says study co-author Huai-Min Zhang. “The notion of a warming hiatus in the most recent decades, as defined by the [IPCC report], is no longer valid. The global warming rate has been just as fast over the last 15 years as over the previous 50 years.”

Global Warming Has Broken Antarctica’s Frozen Ice Sheet Into 8,000 Blue Lakes!


Antarctica, the white desert, is supposed to the largest ice mass on Earth, and now global warming is melting it apart.

Antarctica

8,000 stunning blue meltwater lakes spotted over East Antarctica’s Langhovde Glacier between 2000 and 2013 are a clear sign that global warming is making its presence felt.

These lakes are formed as a result of warm air heats an ice sheet’s surface.  And, water from the lakes is trickling down the glacier, weakening structural strength

antarctica lakes

‘The parallels between these mechanisms, and those observed on Greenland/the Antarctic Peninsula, suggest that lakes may similarly affect rates and patterns of ice melt, ice flow and ice shelf disintegration in East Antarctica,’ researchers wrote in Geophysical Research Letters.

Antarctica blue

digiglobea

The same thing happened to Greenland’s ice sheet, which has lost 1 trillion tonnes of ice between 2011 and 2014.

What we really know about Zika virus?


Whatever we read and know it’s just an iceberg.
This is not mentioned in medical text or any text of virology..even if mentioned..not in such detail. It’s great that no report of Zika infection from Rio..thanks to the people of Brazil who made this Olympic safe from Zika.
So the issues are which we should discuss are…
1) Why suddenly this Zika became too infective and spread from Brazil to Florida beach?
2) Is there a direct relationship of Zika and Microcephaly?
3) Are the banned pesticides or larvacides responsible for microcephaly? And not the virus itself?
4) For those who are infected may develop pre senile dementia in the long run? Does Zika affects the adult brain too?
5) Is this Zika spread like Ebola is related to global warming?
6) Till now we don’t have a cure for Zika infection. Whatever is there is just symptomatic like in cases of Ebola or Dengue.
7) People are claiming for a vaccine but how effective would be this in phase IV ?
😎 Convince me that it’s not a normal strain..and it’s a some GM?
9) How GM mosquitoes work against Zika?
10) Chemitrail….Yes or No. This was done in Florida few days back but the government is covering this. Why?

 

I hope someone would answer my silly questions.

Please post your comment in the comment box.

It’s the End of the World — How Do You Feel?


Terry Root often goes to sleep at night wondering how she’ll be able to get up the next morning and do it all over again. Then the sun comes up and she forces herself out of bed. She might go for a run to release the pent-up anxiety. Sometimes she cries. Or she’ll commiserate with colleagues, sharing in and validating each other’s angst. What keeps Terry up at night aren’t the usual ailments; it’s not a tyrant boss or broken heart.

The diagnosis: global warming.

A senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, Root has spent the past two decades unraveling the thread between climate change and the eventual mass extinctions of countless species of plants, animals — and, yes, humans. “That’s a tough, tough thing to cope with,” Root says in a weary, jagged voice. There’s more. When the gray-haired bird watcher shares her End of Days findings, she’s often met with personal attacks; naysayers hurl their disagreement and disdain, complete with name-calling and threats from politicians. But the absolute worst part of her job? We’re not listening. “It’s harder than hell to carry that,” says Root.

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Stanford University built a non-secular spiritual center on campus called Windhover, where students and faculty can go to meditate and reflect. It opened last year.

Armageddon aside for a moment, that an acclaimed scientist will say h-e-l-l to a reporter and use words like cope is a sign of changing times. Not only are we living on a warming planet but a progressively emotive one. It started with parents coddling their kids (no more advice to “just suck it up”), then it was emojis (punctuation isn’t enough) and now it’s climatologists tweeting “we’re f’d” and field researchers speaking up about climate depression — or even pretraumatic stress disorder.

There is a paradigm shift taking place in the field of science with the recognition that even the most stoic minds of the world need a way to process their doomsday findings. All of this is fueling a debate that’s raged since before Galileo and until recently landed on one central question: What place does human emotion have in scientific reasoning? But in 2015, there’s another layer that’s been schlepped into the controversial heap: What do you do when your job is to document the end of the world?

For centuries, professors say, the scientific fraternity has adhered to a “hidden curriculum” — right there, in invisible block letters, beneath the sign saying Goggles must be worn at all times. No. Crying. In. Science. And for good reason, many argue. In this world of double-blind trials and peer-reviewed articles, objectivity rules all. Otherwise cracks open up and doubt seeps in, rotting the very foundation science is built upon.

But what if the entire goddamned profession gets wiped out in a hurricane? Then what? There’s a growing sense of urgency as worsening environmental catastrophes play out before us. In the midst of what many in the science community — by “many,” we mean upward of 95 percent — are calling a planetary crisis, more researchers are finding that they can’t simply present their data in a vacuum, then go home at the end of the day and crack open a beer. “Scientists are going from these totally objective outsiders into being much more subjective and a part of the community,” says Faith Kearns, an outreach coordinator for the California Institute for Water Resources, which tries to solve drought-related challenges.

Indeed, the façade of total objectivity has deteriorated in recent years alongside intensifying environmental cataclysms. In 2012, Camille Parmesan, who shared a Nobel Prize with Al Gore in 2007 for her climate work, publicly announced her professional depression and frustration with the current political stalemate. Shortly after The Atlanticnamed Parmesan one of its 27 “Brave Thinkers,” alongside Steve Jobs and Barack Obama, for her efforts to save species, she temporarily left her university job in Texas for a reprieve across the pond. Then last summer, climatologist Jason Box’s tweet — “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d” — went viral, provoking a media frenzy. The public relentlessly chastised him for a) making a definitive statement instead of dealing in the usual probabilities and b) expressing emotion.

And now there’s the website Is This How You Feel?, which publishes handwritten letters from climate scientists expressing their frustrations, fears and hopes. One professor writes, “It’s probably the first time I have ever been asked to say what I feel rather than what I think.” Another scrawls, “I feel exasperation and despair. … I feel vulnerable that by writing this letter I will expose myself to trolling and vitriol.” Joe Duggan, the mohawked Aussie with a nose ring and master’s degree in the growing field of science communications who manages the site, says he’s been shocked at how many responses he’s gotten in the mail: “There is a movement of scientists looking for new ways to connect; they’re emoting in ways they never have before,” he says.

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Stanford’s Windhover integrates nature throughout the center to help visitors re-connect with and replenish their spirits.

Elizabeth Allison turns off the lights. She instructs her students to stack one vertebra on top of the next until their spines are straight and long. Then to focus on the rhythm of their breath. In. And out. In. And out. Acknowledge any feelings or sensations that arise, then let them go. After 15 minutes she slowly guides them back into the present. Feet and hands begin to stir. Eyelids slowly make their way to full attention.

OK, that’s it. See you all next week — and don’t forget your homework assignment is due. After all, this is graduate-level course PAR 6079.

So much for that centuries-old hidden curriculum. From professors like Allison taking students through a guided meditation after a discussion on retreating rainforests to scientists signing up for workshops on compassion and communication to support groups for climatologists, human emotion has wedged itself into every step of the scientific method. Marilyn Cornelius, a Stanford-trained researcher, has found the best way to explore creative solutions for the planet’s woes is to meld behavioral science, biomimicry, meditation and design thinking. Now she works as a consultant, taking energy experts on wilderness retreats and teaching lab coats to connect with themselves and nature. “I made a decision to work on behavior change,” Cornelius says, “because it’s a positive way to work on the climate problem.”

This isn’t just about managing the feelings of scientists, though. Kearns, from the California Institute for Water Resources, acknowledges how painful it can be to watch academics try to relate to everyday folks and has made it her mission to make these interactions less cringe-inducing. The soft-spoken brunette first began thinking about this impasse after some years back she hosted a community workshop on emerging “stay or go” science that weighs whether home owners can — and should — protect their property from increasingly frequent and ferocious wildfires. Her audience was a small northern California community that had recently faced that very dilemma. Fear, anger and helplessness pulsed through the room. “I started to feel their anxiety,” Kearns says. “Our research has an effect on people’s lives. My scientific training hadn’t prepared me to cope with the emotions that come with that.”

But there is still the camp that believes feelings erode credibility and breed bias. It’s the naturalistic fallacy, and it’s the difference between the is and the ought. The philosophy is that facts can’t substantiate value judgments. Science is perhaps the last frontier of neutrality, especially in today’s polarized society. As Philip Handler, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, once said, scientists “best serve public policy by living within the ethics of science, not those of politics.”

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Windhover is named after Nathan Oliveira’s renowned series of paintings that were ”inspired by kestrels swooping above the Stanford foothills,” according to the website.

The seismic sentimental shift among scientists parallels an outpouring of feeling — and narcissism — across American society. Once-detached psychotherapists are hugging their clients, journalists have come to love the personal essay (in fact, it seems like everyone has a story to tell these days), even man-eating corporations are experimenting with emotional leadership. Or think of the impassioned protests around Black Lives Matter, the outrage at sexual abuse and the pleas against social inequality. “There’s been more space in the public realm for bringing up and dealing with emotional stuff, and that has cracked the shell of otherwise very removed scientists,” says Allison, a professor at the California Institute for Integral Studies. Then again, maybe climatologists are more cunning than we give them credit for, and they’re simply taking a page out of their opponents’ playbook.

Indeed, emotions are a powerful tool for those who know how to use them. Which is why those leading the climate-change charge aren’t looking to labs anymore. Instead, eager students are following Cornelius’s path, pursuing studies in contemplative environmentalism or transformational ecology, which looks to shrinks, money and Facebook to protect the planet. With the future of everything at stake, what has traditionally separated science from sentiment is a lot less defined — and perhaps even irrelevant.

But emotions are less predictable than facts and figures. Root remembers giving a talk once at the University of Utah. Afterward a few students came up to ask questions; one young man had tears in his eyes. “Is it really this bad?” he pleaded. Root told him it’s worse. He went on to become an activist and was sent to prison for one of his illegal protests. Root has always felt responsible.

“I’d always thought that facts and the truth would win out; then I realized that wasn’t the case,” Root says.

Why Half a Degree Change in Global Warming Matters


As the world celebrated Earth Day on Friday, a team of European researchers has found substantially different climate change impacts on Earth for a global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and two degrees Celsius by 2100.

The two temperature limits are included in the Paris climate agreement, researchers said, adding that the additional 0.5 degrees Celsius would mean a 10 cm higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves and would result in virtually all tropical coral reefs being at risk.

“We found significant differences for all the impacts we considered,” said Carl Schleussner, lead author of the study published in the journal Earth System Dynamics.

“We analysed the climate models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report focusing on the projected impacts at 1.5 degrees Celsius and two degrees Celsius warming at the regional level,” Schleussner added.

The team considered 11 different indicators including extreme weather events, water availability, crop yields, coral reef degradation and sea-level rise.

With researchers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands, they identified a number of hotspots around the globe where projected climate impacts at two degrees Celsius are significantly more severe than at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In tropical regions, the half-a-degree difference in global temperature could have detrimental consequences for crop yields, particularly in Central America and West Africa.

On average, local tropical maize and wheat yields would reduce twice as much at 2 degree Celsius compared to a 1.5 Celsius temperature increase.

On a global scale, the researchers anticipate sea level to rise about 50cm by 2100 in a two degrees Celsius warmer world, 10 cm more than for 1.5 degrees Celsius warming.

“Sea level rise will slow down during the 21st century only under a 1.5 degrees Celsius scenario,” noted Schleussner.

“Our study shows that tropical regions — mostly developing countries that are already highly vulnerable to climate change — face the biggest rise in impacts between 1.5 degrees Celsius and two degrees Celsius,” added William Hare, senior scientist at Climate Analytics, a non-profit climate science and policy institute.