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Palgrave Macmillan

Media and the Politics of Arctic Climate Change

When the Ice Breaks

ISBN 9781137266224
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The Arctic sea-ice reached record lows in 2007, and again in 2012. In the international news media, these moments were reflected via striking images of polar bears, crumbling ice chunks and the use of more alarmist metaphors about global climate change. Through these narratives, and despite the periodic disappearance of climate change from media reports due to issue fatigue, a sharper narrative of climate change has entered public discourse: a new global reality where the future is no longer a given. Going beyond media studies as well as descriptive or highly scientific accounts of the impacts of climate change in the Arctic, this book explores how both historical and contemporary mediations, scientific narratives and satellite technology simultaneously capture and reconstruct this new reality of the Anthropocene, where human activities shape the planet. By highlighting the linkages between science, media, environmental change and geopolitics, the informed contributors to the volume invite the reader to reflect on what is local and what is global in today's connected mediatized world.

Miyase Christensen is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Stockholm University and Guest Professor at the Department of Philosophy and History, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden. Christensen is a co-editor of Popular Communication: the International Journal of Media and Culture, and the author/editor of numerous publications including Online Territories: Globalization, Mediated Practice and Social Space.

Annika E. Nilsson is Senior Research Fellow at Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden. Before receiving her PhD in Environmental Science, she worked as a science writer for several Arctic assessment processes and for the Swedish national radio. Her research is about communication at the science-policy interface, with focus on the Arctic.

Nina Wormbs is Associate Professor at the Division of History of Science, Technology and the Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Head of Department. She has published on conflicts on technological change in media and take interest in how ideas on technology shape ideas of possible action.

List of illustrations
List of maps
List of tables
Notes on the contributors
1. Globalization, Climate Change and the Media: An Introduction; Miyase Christensen, Annika E. Nilsson and Nina Wormbs
2. Arctic Climate Change and the Media: The News Story That Was; Miyase Christensen
3. Eyes on the ice: Satellite remote sensing and the narratives of visualized data; Nina Wormbs
4. An Ice Free Arctic Sea?: The Science of Sea Ice and Its Interests; Sverker Sörlin and Julia Lajus
5. Signals from a Noisy Region; Annika E. Nilsson and Ralf Döscher
6. A Question of Scale: Local versus Pan-Arctic Impacts from Sea Ice Change; Henry P. Huntington
7. Under the Ice: Exploring the Arctic's Energy Resources, 1898-1985; Dag Avango and Per Högselius
8. Changing Arctic – Changing World; Miyase Christensen, Annika E. Nilsson and Nina Wormbs

Dag Avango, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Miyase Christensen, Stockholm University, Sweden
Ralf Döscher, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden
Per Högselius, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Henry Huntington, Arctic Science Director for the Pew Charitable Trusts, USA
Julia Lajus, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia
Annika E. Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
Sverker Sörlin, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Nina Wormbs, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden


'We are all on thin ice when it comes to the Arctic and global climate change. This smart, savvy volume edited by Swedish scholars, Miyase Christensen, Annika E. Nilsson and Nina Wormbs, is essential reading for everyone interested in the future of the planet and the role ice plays in shaping our material reality and social imaginary.' - James Rodger Fleming, Colby College, Maine, USA
'The topic of the study is a multi-focused analysis of a particular event, the 2007 Arctic sea ice minimum and its representation by the media, polar scientists, indigenous residents, and the environmental community. It is a fascinating story of a geophysical phenomenon (an ice low of record scale) that became a media-scripted event tooled to drive the message of global warming to various constituencies, including policy makers, industrial and tourist managers, and environmentalists.' - ACS Newsletter
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