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From Siberia to the Tropics with a Thermometer

• June 16, 2011 • 5:43 PM

Marine biologist Steve Katz has tapped a Russian family’s multigenerational measurements of the temperature of a Siberian lake to explain how climate there is part of climate everywhere.

We are all connected. A low pressure atmospheric wave moves off the west coast of Africa and, 10 days later, a hurricane batters down the door of Florida. The waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean warm up and, as a result, savage droughts roll through Australia.

Finding these global patterns of climate connection is expensive, usually requiring measurement tools like satellites and aircraft. But, sometimes, people find these patterns of planetary connection in the most unexpected of ways, as Dr. Steve Katz discusses in this podcast.

A marine biologist with the National Marine Sanctuary Program, Katz talks about a Russian family of scientists who stumbled upon an incredible pattern of global climate connectedness. Just by dropping a thermometer in the water again and again over decades, they discovered how one particular Siberian lake was connected to global currents of wind and water.

He also talks about a recent paper in the journal PLoS ONE, where 65 years of temperature measurements reveal the connection
between Lake Baikal, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and all points in between.

***

Audio used in Curiouser & Curiouser includes Bring It On No Vox by Jamie Miller and David Matheson and  Winter Mask by Grizzly616.

Jai Ranganathan
Dr. Jai Ranganathan is a biologist and his research focuses on questions of species conservation. He can be reached at jai.ranganathan at gmail.com.

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