100 degrees in Siberia? 5 ways the extreme Arctic heat wave follows a disturbing pattern

Mark Serreze

Research Professor of Geography and Director, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder

June 25, 2020 3.17pm EDT • Updated June 26, 2020 2.17pm EDT

***

This Arctic heat wave has been unusually long-lived. The darkest reds on this map of the Arctic are areas that were more than 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the spring of 2020 compared to the recent 15-year average. Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

The Arctic heat wave that sent Siberian temperatures soaring to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the first day of summer put an exclamation point on an astonishing transformation of the Arctic environment that’s been underway for about 30 years.

As long ago as the 1890s, scientists predicted that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to a warming planet, particularly in the Arctic, where the loss of reflective snow and sea ice would further warm the region. Climate models have consistently pointed to “Arctic amplification” emerging as greenhouse gas concentrations increase.

Well, Arctic amplification is now here in a big way. The Arctic is warming at roughly twice the rate of the globe as a whole. When extreme heat waves like this one strike, it stands out to everyone. Scientists are generally reluctant to say “We told you so,” but the record shows that we did.

As director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and an Arctic climate scientist who first set foot in the far North in 1982, I’ve had a front-row seat to watch the transformation.

Arctic heat waves are happening more often – and getting stuck

Arctic heat waves now arrive on top of an already warmer planet, so they’re more frequent than they used to be.

Western Siberia recorded its hottest spring on record this year, according the EU’s Copernicus Earth Observation Program, and that unusual heat isn’t expected to end soon. The Arctic Climate Forum has forecast above-average temperatures across the majority of the Arctic through at least August.

Arctic temperatures have been rising faster than the global average. This map shows the average change in degrees Celsius from 1960 to 2019. NASA-GISS

Why is this heat wave sticking around? No one has a full answer yet, but we can look at the weather patterns around it.

As a rule, heat waves are related to unusual jet stream patterns, and the Siberian heat wave is no different. A persistent northward swing of the jet stream has placed the area under what meteorologists call a “ridge.” When the jet stream swings northward like this, it allows warmer air into the region, raising the surface temperature.

Some scientists expect rising global temperatures to influence the jet stream. The jet stream is driven by temperature contrasts. As the Arctic warms more quickly, these contrasts shrink, and the jet stream can slow.

Is that what we’re seeing right now? We don’t yet know.

Swiss cheese sea ice and feedback loops

We do know that we’re seeing significant effects from this heat wave, particularly in the early loss of sea ice.

The ice along the shores of Siberia has the appearance of Swiss cheese right now in satellite images, with big areas of open water that would normally still be covered. The sea ice extent in the Laptev Sea, north of Russia, is the lowest recorded for this time of year since satellite observations began.

The loss of sea ice also affects the temperature, creating a feedback loop. Earth’s ice and snow cover reflect the Sun’s incoming energy, helping to keep the region cool. When that reflective cover is gone, the dark ocean and land absorb the heat, further raising the surface temperature.

Sea surface temperatures are already unusually high along parts of the Siberian Coast, and the warm ocean waters will lead to more melting.

The risks of thawing permafrost

On land, a big concern is warming permafrost – the perennially frozen ground that underlies most Arctic terrain.

When permafrost thaws under homes and bridges, infrastructure can sink, tilt and collapse. Alaskans have been contending with this for several years. Near Norilsk, Russia, thawing permafrost was blamed for an oil tank collapse in late May that spilled thousands of tons of oil into a river.

Thawing permafrost also creates a less obvious but even more damaging problem. When the ground thaws, microbes in the soil begin turning its organic matter into carbon dioxide and methane. Both are greenhouse gases that further warm the planet.

In a study published last year, researchers found that permafrost test sites around the world had warmed by nearly half a degree Fahrenheit on average over the decade from 2007 to 2016. The greatest increase was in Siberia, where some areas had warmed by 1.6 degrees. The current Siberian heat wave, especially if it continues, will regionally exacerbate that permafrost warming and thawing.

A satellite image shows the Norilsk oil spill flowing into neighboring rivers. The collapse of a giant fuel tank was blamed on thawing permafrost. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2020CC BY

Wildfires are back again

The extreme warmth also raises the risk of wildfires, which radically change the landscape in other ways.

Drier forests are more prone to fires, often from lightning strikes. When forests burn, the dark, exposed soil left behind can absorb more heat and hasten warming.

We’ve seen a few years now of extreme forest fires across the Arctic. This year, some scientists have speculated that some of the Siberian fires that broke out last year may have continued to burn through the winter in peat bogs and reemerged.

A satellite images shows thinning sea ice in parts of the East Siberian and Laptev Seas and wildfire smoke pouring across Russia. The town of Verkhoyansk, normally known for being one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth, reported hitting 100 degrees on June 20. Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

A disturbing pattern

The Siberian heat wave and its impacts will doubtless be widely studied. There will certainly be those eager to dismiss the event as just the result of an unusual persistent weather pattern.

Caution must always be exercised about reading too much into a single event – heat waves happen. But this is part of a disturbing pattern.

What is happening in the Arctic is very real and should serve as a warning to everyone who cares about the future of the planet as we know it.

***

Mark Serreze

100 degrees in Siberia? 5 ways the extreme Arctic heat wave follows a disturbing pattern

first published in “The Conversation” under a Creative Commons license

art, the built environment, & the Bizot Green Protocol

Works of art. History. Cultural heritage. The market. Galleries. Art fairs. Museums. Private museums. Institutional and private collections. Fiduciary care. Value.

Let’s consider a pressing issue:

How collections are housed, managed, and cared for and the protection of works of art and tangible assets in an age of increasingly erratic weather, increasing sea-level rise, floods, fires, storms, … and pandemics – which in themselves and the response to which can be devastating.

Does one barricade the art behind flood walls and barriers? Insure the works of art? (Insurance is a good idea. Insurance does not, however, mitigate or prevent future damage. Insurance is used to protect the “value” of the art, not the work of art itself. It is used after damage occurs to recover value.)

Can we protect works of art while mitigating possible future damage?

Atmospheric CO2 is a key factor leading towards the storms, floods, and fires that can be so damaging to art and tangible assets. Is it possible to care for our collections while reducing emissions of CO2 into the air?

The Bizot Group of museum directors, or the International Group of Organizers of Large-scale Exhibitions, thinks so.

Max Hollein, now the Director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, was Chairman of the Bizot Group in 2014. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Gugenheim Museum, and Glen Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art, are members.

Wangechi Mutu (Kenyan, born Nairobi, 1972), “The Seated II” (bronze, 2019) situated in one of four niches in the facade of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Courtesy of the the artist, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.


Wangechi Mutu (Kenyan, born Nairobi, 1972), “The Seated II” (bronze, 2019). Courtesy of the the artist, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam from 2006 until June of 2019 when he left the Van Gogh Museum to take up a new appointment as Chief Executive of London’s Royal Academy of Arts, is a member.

So are many others.

The Bizot Group agreed the Bizot Green Protocol in 2015:

The directors agree that museums can reduce the amount of CO2 emissions they are responsible for while recognizing their duty of care to collections:

1.  Guiding Principles
Museums should review policy and practice, particularly regarding loan requirements, storage and display conditions, and building design and air conditioning systems, with a view to reducing carbon footprints.

Museums need to find ways to reconcile the desirability of long-term preservation of collections with the need to reduce energy use.

Museums should apply whatever methodology or strategies best suit their collections, building and needs, and innovative approaches should be encouraged.

The care of objects is paramount. Subject to this,

environmental standards should become more intelligent and better tailored to specific needs. Blanket conditions should no longer apply. Instead conditions should be determined by the requirements of individual objects or groups of objects and the climate in the part of the world in which the museum is located;

where appropriate, care of collections should be achieved in a way that does not assume air conditioning or other high energy cost solutions. Passive methods, simple technology that is easy to maintain, and lower energy solutions should be considered;

natural and sustainable environmental controls should be explored and exploited fully;

when designing and constructing new buildings or renovating old ones, architects and engineers should be guided significantly to reduce the building’s carbon footprint as a key objective;

the design and build of exhibitions should be managed to mimimise waste and recycle where possible.

2.  Guidelines
For many classes of object containing hygroscopic material (such as canvas paintings, textiles, ethnographic objects or animal glue) a stable relative humidity (RH) is required in the range of 40 – 60% and a stable temperature in the range 16-25°C with fluctuations of no more than ±10% RH per 24 hours within this range. More sensitive objects will require specific and tighter RH control, depending on the materials, condition, and history of the work of art. A conservators evaluation is essential in establishing the appropriate environmental conditions for works of art requested for loan.

Environmental Sustainability – reducing museums’ carbon footprint,”National Museum Directors Council

See:

Environmental sustainability – reducing museums’ carbon footprint,” National Museum Directors Council

Wangechi Mutu: The NewOnes, will free us,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Facade Commission, 9 September 2019 – 9 June 2020

Wangechi Mutu, Gladstone Gallery

Axel Rϋger Appointed Chief Executive of London’s Royal Academy of Arts,” Artforum, 13 February 2019

Axel Rüger,” 40 Under 40 Europe 2018, Apollo Magazine, 3 September 2018

Groupe Bizot, Letter of 26 February 2014 to Mr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Q&A: Could climate change and biodiversity loss raise the risk of pandemics?

Q&A: Could climate change and biodiversity loss raise the risk of pandemics?

Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief, 15 May 2020

***

Across the world, millions of people have tested positive for Covid-19 – and countless more have seen their lifestyles completely transformed as a result of the virus.

It is not yet known exactly what triggered the current outbreak, but researchers suspect that the virus passed from bats to humans through an unknown intermediary animal, possibly a pangolin.

Politicians in the UK have called this pandemic a “once-in-a-century” crisis. But scientists have warned that the ongoing disturbance of species through human activities and climate change could be raising the risk of potentially pandemic-causing diseases passing from animals to humans.

The study of the “spillover” of disease from animals to humans has received renewed focus in light of the pandemic. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a major international collaboration of climate scientists – is now looking into how the influence of warming on such events could be included in its next major climate report due next year.

In this explainer, Carbon Brief examines what is known about how climate change and biodiversity disturbance, including habitat loss and human-animal conflict, could influence the risk of diseases being transmitted from animals to humans.

How does an animal-to-human disease spillover turn to a pandemic?

When humans come into contact with other animals, they can pass harmful pathogens between one another. The passing of an infection or disease from a vertebrate animal to a human is known as a “zoonosis”, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). (Vertebrate animals include mammals, birds and reptiles, but not insects, such as mosquitoes.)

Such diseases have a major impact on health, accounting for two-thirds of all human infectious diseases and three out of four newly emerging diseases.

Serious diseases that have spilled over from animals to humans include Ebola in Africa, Marburg in Europe (and subsequently in Africa),  Hendra virus in Australia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Nipah virus in east Asia. Some have gone on to have a lasting, global impact, such as HIV/AIDS and swine flu (H1N1). The current Covid-19 pandemic was also most likely caused by a spillover.

The number of potentially harmful viruses circulating in mammal and bird populations that have not yet spilled over to humans is estimated to be up to 1.7m, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). (IPBES is an independent group of international researchers monitoring biodiversity issues).

The spillover of disease from animals to people can happen in many ways, including directly through animal bites, the consumption of raw or undercooked animal meat or products such as milk, or through contaminated water. Diseases can also spread indirectly if humans come into contact with a surface that has been contaminated by an infected animal. Both wild animals and livestock can pass on disease.

A mouse opossum (Marmosa sp.) raids the trash in Peru. Credit: Anton Sorokin / Alamy Stock Photo
A mouse opossum (Marmosa sp.) raids the trash in Peru. Credit: Anton Sorokin / Alamy Stock Photo

(Sometimes, transmission occurs through an intermediary species that can carry the disease without getting sick. Scientists suspect this is how the Covid-19 pandemic started.)

Out in the wild and in settings where humans and animals come into contact, these kinds of interactions happen regularly – and it is rare for one to end with a human being infected by a new disease, explains Dr David Redding, a research fellow at the Zoological Society of London. He tells Carbon Brief:

“There are lots of different factors that need to all overlap at the same time for there to be a contact that is both effective in terms of transferring a live pathogenic organism and then also for that very rare situation where that pathogen has an adaptation that allows it to invade our immune system.”

Even if a disease is effectively transmitted from an animal to a person, it is unlikely that they will then pass it on to someone else, he adds:

“I would say most – possibly 99% – of all diseases that are caused in that way can’t then be passed on. So we’ve got another ‘filter’ that dictates that people have to be infected in a particular way that allows them to shed viruses effectively to other people.”

This “virus shedding” can happen in various ways. Like other respiratory diseases, Covid-19 can be transmitted when a carrier coughs or sneezes in close proximity to another person. (Scientists are still debating whether the virus can also be passed on in other ways.)

The ability of the new pathogen to spread directly from person to person is a key ingredient for a disease to take hold in a population, Redding says. (Some animal-borne diseases require a vector to spread from person to person, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease.)

An illness outbreak is said to become an “epidemic” when its impact on people in a single community or region is “clearly in excess of normal expectancy”, according to the WHO. The term “pandemic” describes the worldwide spread of a new disease. (When a disease is “endemic” it has a continuous presence in a population or area.) 

Since 1900, there have been pandemics at “intervals of several decades”, according to the WHO. The worst in this time period was Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 50 million people from 1918-19.

A group of people standing outdoors wearing masks over their mouths, probably taken during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Credit: Niday Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
A group of people standing outdoors wearing masks over their mouths, probably taken during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Credit: Niday Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Prior to Covid-19, every outbreak considered to be a pandemic by the WHO since 1900 has been caused by influenza, a virus that transmits from person to person. Some new strains of flu originate in animals, such as bird flu, but most new strains arise in human populations – and so would not be considered animal-borne.

There are many factors that can determine whether an outbreak reaches epidemic or pandemic status. These include human factors, such as preparedness and early action to prevent the illness from spreading, and also the traits of the pathogen itself, says Redding:

“The characteristics of the pathogen and its ability to spread are two key components in causing these rare events.”

For instance, if the pathogen causes very severe illness, the sufferer is less likely to be able to travel to a new place to pass on the disease, Redding says. This is also the case if the mortality rate is particularly high.

In contrast, if the disease causes mild to undetectable symptoms for at least some sufferers – as is the case with Covid-19 – it is more likely that people will inadvertently spread it to new places, he says.

This may go some way to explaining why previous serious animal-borne disease outbreaks have not reached pandemic status, Redding explains.

Members of a burial team prepare for a burial in Komende Luyama village. Eastern Sierra Leone was a hot spot for Ebola for several months, but eventually authorities managed to bring down infection rates to just a few cases per week. 17 October 2014 Credit: Tommy E Trenchard / Alamy Stock Photo
Members of a burial team prepare for a burial in Komende Luyama village. Eastern Sierra Leone was a hot spot for Ebola for several months, but eventually authorities managed to bring down infection rates to just a few cases per week. 17 October 2014 Credit: Tommy E Trenchard / Alamy Stock Photo

For example, Ebola – a disease initially spread to humans by fruit bats – has caused several serious epidemics in West Africa, but has not established itself on a worldwide scale. It has a mortality rate of around 50%. The mortality rate of Covid-19 is not yet known, though it is likely to be below 10%.

It is also worth noting that the likelihood of a disease turning to a pandemic has been heightened in recent decades by increased global connectivity, particularly through frequent air travel, Redding says:

“Plagues in the medieval times took years to spread across Asia. Whereas we look at today’s outbreaks and we can see that they can spread in hours.”

Overall, for a spillover event to turn into a pandemic, there must be a “perfect storm” of several complex factors all occurring at the same time – which, at present, does not happen very often, says Redding: “I think history shows us that these sort of large outbreaks happen a couple of times a century.”

Could climate change and biodiversity disturbance affect the risk of spillover?

Every new animal-borne disease starts with humans coming into contact with wildlife. And it is likely that climate change and the disturbance of biodiversity could play a role in shaping the frequency, timing and location of these meetings, says Prof Hans-Otto Poertner, head of biosciences at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and co-chair of the impacts chapter of the next major assessment report from the IPCC. He tells Carbon Brief:

“Climate change is clearly a factor that can influence these relationships. Climate change shapes the biogeographical distribution of species. If, in the future, we see species moving into areas where humans are prevalent, we could see new opportunities for pandemics to evolve.”

Research has shown that climate change is shifting where species live, both on land and in the ocean. This is because, as temperatures increase and rainfall levels change, some species are being forced to seek out new areas with climate conditions they are able to tolerate. (Species that are not able to adapt could face extinction.)

A review published in Science in 2017 looking into 40,000 species across the world found that around half are already on the move as a result of changing climate conditions.

In general, species are seeking cooler temperatures by moving towards the Earth’s poles. Land animals are moving polewards at an average rate of 10 miles per decade, whereas marine species are moving at a rate of 45 miles per decade, according to the review.

Dugong feeding in the seagrass bed, Dimakya Island, Palawan, Philippines. Credit: Nature Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

However, the movement of animals is complicated by other factors, such as the changing availability of food, the shifting distribution of predators and changing patterns of human land-use, the review says. This makes it difficult to predict exactly where species will move to.

It is likely that the movement of species will have consequences for human health, says Prof Birgitta Evengard, a senior researcher of infectious diseases at Umea University in Sweden, who was one of the authors of the review. She tells Carbon Brief:

“When land-based animals move, they bring with them their [viruses] – and they will spread them.” 

So far, there has not been a great deal of research into how climate change-driven shifts to animal ranges could affect the chances of disease spillover on a global scale, says Poertner.

In one example, a research paper by Redding found that climate change could heighten the risk of new Ebola outbreaks in various parts of Africa by 2070.

This is because climate change could cause regions that are currently desert to become warmer and wetter, leading to the formation of the lush plants that bats use as a habitat. The movement of bats into these new areas could increase contact between them and humans, increasing the chances of disease spillover, the study found.

A fruit bat (flying fox) in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. Credit: paul kennedy / Alamy Stock Photo
A fruit bat (flying fox) in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. Credit: paul kennedy / Alamy Stock Photo

Another study found that climate change could enhance the risk of spillover of the Hendra virus, an animal-borne disease that can pass from flying foxes to humans through horses, which are also affected by the virus.

The virus was first identified when an outbreak broke out in Hendra, a suburb in Brisbane, Australia, in 1994. Since then, there have been at least eight separate outbreaks along the coast of northern Australia, according to the WHO. It has a mortality rate of 50-75%.

Recorded Hendra virus outbreaks in Australia. Source: WHO

The research found that climate change could cause the geographic range of flying foxes to expand southwards and further inland. “Spillover events could potentially increase farther south, and inland with climate change,” the authors say.

Elsewhere, a recent preprint – a preliminary study that has not yet completed peer review – suggests that climate change could drive substantial global increases in the passing of novel diseases from mammals to humans by 2070.

Using modelling, the study maps where around 4,000 mammals species and the diseases they carry are likely to move to by 2070. It finds mammals are “predicted to aggregate at high elevations, in biodiversity hotspots, and in areas of high human population density in Asia and Africa, sharing novel viruses between 3,000 and 13,000 times”.

The authors add: “Most projected viral sharing is driven by diverse hyper-reservoirs (rodents and bats) and large-bodied predators (carnivores).”

It will be important for the IPCC to include the emerging evidence of how climate change could affect the passing of diseases from animals to humans in its next major assessment report, currently due for release in 2021-22, says Poertner:

“We expect to include aspects as they become apparent from the literature.”

The scale of the impact of climate change on wildlife is currently second only to the damage caused by human land-use change, including deforestation, other types of habitat loss and human-animal conflict.

In its first major assessment on biodiversity published in May 2019, IPBES reported that humans have “significantly altered” 75% of the land surface and 66% of the global ocean. During 2010-15, 32m hectares of natural or recovering forest were cleared by humans. This area is roughly equal to the size of Italy.

As a result of ongoing pressures on biodiversity, around one million species are currently threatened by extinction within decades, the report concluded.

The report noted that ongoing pressures on wildlife are likely to increase contact between animals and humans, altering the chances of disease spillover. In chapter three of the full report, the authors say:

“Complex links between increased human disturbance, land-use change, habitat loss/degradation and biodiversity loss have all been linked to increases in the prevalence and risk of zoonotic [animal-borne] disease for a variety of pathogens.”

However, research into how biodiversity disturbance could affect animal-borne disease risk at a global level has so far been limited, it notes:

“Causal mechanisms are only well known for a handful of infectious diseases and it is sometimes hard to pick apart the drivers of disease to isolate the direct effects of environmental change from other human actions.”

Research has shown that bushmeat huntingdeforestation and the trade of wildlife at markets can heighten the risk of diseases passing between animals and humans.

In 2018, a study warned of a possible link between deforestation in southeast Asia and a heightened risk of spillover of novel coronaviruses from bats to humans. The authors say:

“Owing to evolving land-use, bat populations are setting up in areas closer to human dwellings…This increases the risk of transmission of viruses through direct contact, domestic animal infection, or contamination by urine or faeces.”

***

Q&A: Could climate change and biodiversity loss raise the risk of pandemics?

Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief, 15 May 2020

Published under a CC license. You are welcome to reproduce unadapted material in full for non-commercial use, credited ‘Carbon Brief’ with a link to the article. 

coronavirus, climate change, the environment, & the arts: positive steps forward

“To my mind, one does not put oneself in place of the past; one only adds a new link.”

 Cy Twombly, quoted by Gagosian

“an elemental Dionysian force of madness rising, like a ‘fire that rises from the depths of the sea'”

Malcolm Bull, “Fire in the Water,” in Cy Twombly Bacchus Psilax Mainonmenos, exh. cat., New York, 2005, p. 55), quoted in Lot Essay, Cy Twombly (1928-2011), “Untitled” (acrylic on canvas, painted in 2005), Christie’s, Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, New York, 15 November 2017, Lot 15 B

Cy Twombly (1928-2011), “Untitled” (acrylic on canvas, painted in 2005). “Untitled” sold at the Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale of 15 November 2017 in New York realizing a price of US$ 46,437,500

Over ten feet high and sixteen feet in length, “Untitled” is the largest example from a group of giant-scaled paintings that Twombly created beginning in 2003 at age 75.

Twombly makes use of spirals of linear loops, culminating fifty years of regularly invoking scrawls, whirls, and writing/drawing.

In his catalogue essay, “Fire in the Water” that accompanied the first exhibition of Twombly’s Bacchus series in 2005, Malcolm Bull argued that the abiding theme of these paintings was that of an elemental Dionysian force of madness rising, like a “fire that rises from the depths of the sea” (M. Bull, “Fire in the Water,” in Cy Twombly Bacchus Psilax Mainonmenos, exh. cat., New York, 2005, p. 55).’ – Lot Essay

Like Dionysian forces of madness, we are all experiencing the dislocation caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.  

Individuals, families, supply chains, industries, markets, businesses, nations – all are affected.

This pandemic, however terrible, unexpected, and unprepared for, may in part be an outcome of behaviors that we have, however unwittingly, engaged in over decades.

We are all – individuals, peoples, cultures, animals, plants, functional objects and works of art, buildings, systems of transportation, agriculture, and education, etc. etc. etc. – inextricably embedded in nature. We are part and parcel of and subject to the forces of physics. Part and parcel of and subject to the elements and interactions of chemistry. 

As living, breathing creatures, moreover, and complex systems of systems. we are part and parcel of and subject to the complex forces of biology.  We are calibrated precisely, over long periods of time, to our biosphere.

If and should we take our biosphere for granted, fundamentally alter the composition of our atmosphere, and tamper with our climate, the unexpected can occur. Mayhem may let loose,

And so it has.

Yet, in the arts we are global. We reach across time, across space, across borders, across cultures, across nations. We represent mind and passion, interests and preferences. We come from an abundance of backgrounds and industries. 

We may lead, each in our own place, taking steps to realize our ambitions anew.

Together we will have impact.

While we work in our many spheres of activity, what steps, however simple, might we take to realize our objectives while mitigating risks of future such dislocations?

If we want “to do something to prevent disease emergence, first of all we need to seriously reconsider how we do business with the biosphere.”

Q & A: A Harvard Expert on Environment and Health Discusses Possible Ties Between COVID and Climate,”

“We need to hear what nature is trying to tell us, which is clear: let’s be smarter about how we do business with the biosphere and stop disrupting the climate we depend on.” 

 Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE

Two recently published articles are insightful. In them, Dr. Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH, Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard C-CHANGE) offers guidance.

Please take a few minutes to read them in full:

Neela Banerjee, “Q & A: A Harvard Expert on Environment and Health Discusses Possible Ties Between COVID and Climate,” Inside Climate News, 12 March 2020

A Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE, ” Harvard C-CHANGE  

Excerpts follow, giving us some idea of what we probably already know but don’t always think about or consider in the decisions we make on a daily basis:

The bottom line here is that if you wanted to prevent the spread of pathogens, the emergence of pathogens, … you wouldn’t transform the climate.”

Q & A: A Harvard Expert on Environment and Health Discusses Possible Ties Between COVID and Climate,”

The separation of health and environmental policy is a dangerous delusion. Our health entirely depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with.”

A Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE

Simply put, “The likelihood is high that this [a next pandemic] will happen. This has happened through human history but the data we have shows that the pace is accelerating. That’s not terribly surprising. We’re living in highly dense urban places. Air travel is much more prevalent than it used to be. And climate is a part of what is fundamentally reshaping our relationship with the natural world.”

Q & A: A Harvard Expert on Environment and Health Discusses Possible Ties BetweenCOVID and Climate

You look at climate change, we have transformed the nature of the Earth. We have fundamentally changed the composition of the atmosphere, and, as such, we shouldn’t be surprised that that affects our health.”

If you look at the emerging infectious diseases that have moved into people from animals or other sources over the last several decades,the vast majority of those are coming from animals. And the majority of those are coming from wild animals. We have transformed life onEarth. We are having a massive effect on how the relationships between all life on Earth operate and also with ourselves. We shouldn’t be surprised that these emerging diseases pop up.

The principle is that we’re really changing how we relate to other species on Earth and that matters to our risk for infections.”

Q & A: A Harvard Expert on Environment and Health Discusses Possible Ties Between COVID and Climate”

Historically, we have grown as a species in partnership with the plants and animals we live with. So, when we change the rules of the game by drastically changing the climate and life on earth, we have to expect that it will affect our health.

A Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE

How might we in our private and business capacities be smarter about how we do business with the biosphere and stop disrupting the climate we depend on?

First, think.

All industries, markets, and economies, including the arts, the art market, and the art economy, are interconnected and all are viable only within our shared biosphere.

“Art” is not self-existent. Art as a phenomenon, culture as a phenomenon, works of art, cultures, collections of works of art, collectors, and all parties to art are inextricably embedded in and dependent on nature.

Take time and steps to learn about and understand the biosphere. Take steps to reconsider how we, in every sphere of work and activity, do business with the biosphere.

We have an opportunity to consider ways to optimize connections, culture, art, the business of art, and the biosphere jointly.

Some simple steps that can be taken:

Minimize travel

Whether curator, museum director, staff, or trustee, collector, dealer, gallerist, advisor, interested party – vet travel requirements.

Minimize travel powered by combustion of hydrocarbons.

“We need to drastically decrease our greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.”

A Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE

It goes without saying that travel by foot or by bike is encouraged. Travel by electric-powered cars, buses, and trains – especially insofar as the electricity is generated from renewable, non-hydrocarbon sources – is also encouraged.

Amsterdam-based art dealer Jan Six XI, for instance, bikes to and from work, and across town to consult with experts. (Russell Shorto, “Rembrandt in the Blood: AnObsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered,” The New York Times Magazine, 27 February 2019)

Work with local partners

We are all somewhere. We do not need to be everywhere.

If you need to do work or close a transaction somewhere else, research, identify, vet, and work with local partners.

Optimize resources and connections made available online

Information, images, and opportunities to meet and discuss face-to-face, even in groups, abound online. As we are now seeing in abundance, education and research can be conducted online. Relationships developed through written and verbal communications optimized online, by mail (even mail that goes through the post office), and by telephone.

As much activity is migrating online, vet also your online service partners and their delivery options.

This website, for instance, is hosted by AISO.net. AISO.net is powered 100% by solar energy generated on site. The company does not make use of carbon credits. Members of staff are knowledgeable, of course, very personable, and extraordinarily helpful. They are great to work with.

Reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions from ongoing operations of physical plants

Galleries,museums, homes, businesses, offices, schools and universities, hotels,hospitals – all house works and collections of art.

Real-life steps can be taken to reduce use of hydrocarbon-based energy sources and achieve net-zero energy.

Expert and experienced stakeholders including architects, engineers, designers, builders, energy consultants, and sources of finance are able and ready to assist.

Information about service providers will follow.

Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum can serve as a model. The Van Gogh Museum operates 100% on renewable (wind)energy. (See Van Gogh Museum, sustainability, and accompanying infographic.)

Change habits of mind and behavior

Allow time for foot and bike travel. Schedule meetings and work requirements accordingly. 

Enjoy the great outdoors en route to work, home, meetings, and shopping.

Enjoy your locality

See:

Cy Twombly (1928 – 2011), “Untitled” (acrylic on canvas, painted in 2005), Christie’s, Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, New York, 15 November 2017, Lot 15 B 

Coronavirus, climate change, and the environment, A Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE”, Harvard C-Change, 20 March 2020

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH, C-Change,Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Neela Banerjee, “Q&A:A Harvard Expert on Environment and Health Discusses Possible TiesBetween COVID and Climate,” Inside Climate News, 12 March 2020

Russell Shorto, “Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat,Rediscovered,” The New York Times Magazine, 27 February 2019

your money, your life, your choice ・ Harvard invests in water

‘Because we believe its physical products are going to be in increasing demand in the global economy over the coming decades,”

Harvard Management Co., the Harvard University endowment manager, likes the natural-resources asset class.

In a warming planet, few resources will be more affected than water, as droughts, storms and changes in evaporation alter a flow critical for drinking, farming, and industry.

Even though there aren’t many ways to make financial investments in water, investors are starting to place bets.

“Buying arable land with access to it is one way.

“In California’s Central Coast, ‘the best property with the best water will sell for record-breaking prices,’ says JoAnn Wall, a real-estate appraiser specializing in vineyards, ‘and properties without adequate water will suffer in value.'”

The Harvard Management Co. has, since 2012, been buying agricultural land, with rights to sources of water, on California’s Central Coast. The idea was pitched to Harvard by agricultural investment advisory firm Grapevine Capital Partners LLC, founded by Matt Turrentine, formerly of his family’s Central Coast grape-brokerage business, and James Ontiveros, a local vineyard manager.

Harvard’s investing guidelines say respecting local resource rights are of increasing importance ‘in the coming decades as competition for scarce resources, such as arable land and water, intensifies due to increasing global population, climate change, and food consumption.’”

Investors who see agriculture as a proxy for betting on water include Michael Burry, a hedge-fund investor who wager against the U.S. housing market was chronicled in the book and movie ‘The Big Short.’ In a 2015 New York Magazine interview, Mr. Burry was quoted as saying: ‘What became clear to me is that food is the way to invest in water. That is, grow food in water-rich areas and transport it for sale in water-poor areas.'”

In California vineyards, the water-proxy math is compelling. When grapes are harvested, about 75% of their weight is water. Owning vineyards effectively turns water into revenue.”

Kat Taylor, an environmentalist and wife of hedge-fund billionaire and liberal activist Tom Steyer, resigned earlier this year from Harvard’s board of overseers in protest of the endowment’s investments in things such as fossil fuels and water holdings she says threaten the human right to water.

‘It may, in the short run, be about developing vineyard properties,’ she says of Harvard’s California investments. ‘In the long run, it was a claim on water.'”

See:

Harvard Amasses Vineyards – and Water. A bet on climate change in California gives it agricultural land and the rights below it,” Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 11 December 2018

In Drought-Stricken Central California, Harvard Hopes to Turn Water Into Wine,” Eli W. Burnes and William L. Wang, The Harvard Crimson, 13 April 2018

Michael Burry, Real-Life Market Genius From The Big Short, Thinks Another Financial Crisis Is Looming,” Jessica Pressler, New York Magazine, 28 December 2018

our daily bread (& rice) | wheat, rice, & CO2

Plants need carbon dioxide to live, but its effects on them are complicated.

As the level of carbon dioxide in the air continues to rise because of human activity, scientists are trying to understand how the plants we eat are being affected.

According to recent studies, rice, wheat, and other staple crops lose nutrients when exposed to levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere expected by 2050.

Samuel Myers, principal research scientist at Harvard’s School of Public Health and director of the Harvard-based Planetary Health Alliance and colleagues have conducted studies in which crops are grown bathed in air that simulates the predicted atmospheric conditions expected both by 2050 and by the end of the 21st century. The studies showed declines in protein, iron, and zinc in wheat, and declines in iron and zinc in soybeans and field peas.

The scientists compared nutrient levels in field crops grown in ambient CO2 levels, about 380-390 parts per milliion (ppm) at the time of the work, with those grown in the elevated CO2 levels expected by 2050. The latter level, 545-585ppm, is expected even if substantial curbs on emissions are put in place by the world’s governments. In order to take account of variable growing conditions, the researchers analysed 41 different strains grown in seven locations on three different continents.

Wheat grown in high CO2 levels had 9% less zinc and 5% less iron, as well as 6% less protein, while rice had 3% less iron, 5% less iron and 8% less protein. Maize saw similar falls while soybeans lost similar levels of zinc and iron but, being a legume not a grass, did not see lower protein.

The precise biological and physiological mechanisms that cause nutrient levels to fall when CO2 levels increase are not yet well understood.

See:

“Major crops lose nutrients when grown in elevated carbon dioxide levels,” Harvard School of Public Health, 19 June 2018

“As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops Are Losing Nutrients,” Merrit Kennedy, NPR, 19 June 2018

“Climate change making food crops less nutritious, research finds,” Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 7 May 2014

Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition,” Samuel S. Myers, Antonella Zanobetti, Itai Kloog, Peter Huybers, Andrew D. B. Leakey, Arnold J. Bloom, Eli Carlisle, Lee H. Dietterich, Glenn Fitzgerald, Toshihiro Hasegawa, N. Michele Holbrook, Randall L. Nels, Michael J. Ottman, Victor Raboy, Hidemitsu Sakai, Karla A. Sartor, Joel Schwartz, Saman Seneweera, Michael Tausz & Yasuhiro Usui, Nature, International Journal of Science, 7 May 2014

your money, your health, your life | the olive

The olive (botanical name “Olea europaea”, meaning “European olive”) is a species of evergreen tree or shrub in the family of Oleaceae in the order of Lamiales. The tree is typically short and squat, seldom taller than 26 – 49 feet (8 – 15 meters). The trunk is gnarled and twisted.

With a sturdy and extensive root system, the olive tree can tolerate drought well, live for centuries, and remain productive for long periods if pruned correctly and regularly.

Hundreds of cultivars (assemblage of plants selected for desirable characters that are maintained during plant propagation) of the olive tree are known.

Many olive cultivars are self-sterile (self-incompatible; when a pollen grain produced in a plant reaches a stigma of the same plant or another plant with a similar genotype, the process of pollen germination, pollen-tube growth, ovule fertilization and embryo development is halted at one of its stages and consequently no seeds are produced). Olive trees are generally planted in pairs with a single primary cultivar and a secondary cultivar selected for its ability to fertilize the primary one.

Only a few olive varieties can be used to cross-pollinate. Olive trees are, then, propagated by various other methods, including grafting (in Greece grafting the cultivated tree on the wild tree is a common practice) and budding (asexual reproduction; in Italy, for instance, embryonic buds, which form small swellings on the stems, are excised and planted under the soil surface).

With common ancestors that go way (way) back, long before written history (“the most recent common ancestor of each Mediterranean lineage dates back to the Middle or Upper Pleistocene: 139 100 BP for E1 (95% CI: 49 200–482 100), 284 300 BP for E2 (95% CI: 84 400–948 100) and 143 700 BP for E3 (95% CI: 37 100–542 700″), the olive tree was first domesticated in the Eastern Mediterranean between 8,000 and 6,000 years ago, according to research published in February 2013 in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences): “The complex history of the olive tree: from Late Quaternary diversification of Mediterranean lineages to primary domestication in the northern Levant.”

We can say there were probably several steps, and it probably starts in the Levant,” or the area that today includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, said study co-author Gillaume Besnard, an archaeobotanist at the National Center for Scientific Research in France. “People selected new cultivars everywhere, but that was a secondary diversification later.”

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, are based on the genetic analysis of nearly 1,900 samples from around the Mediterranean Sea. The study reveals that domesticated olives, which are larger and juicier than wild varieties, were probably first cultivated from wild olive trees at the frontier between Turkey and Syria.

Tia Ghose, “The Origins of the Olive Tree Revealed,” LiveScience, 5 February 2013

The cradle of primary domestication of the olive tree is located in the northeastern Levant, where populations currently contain substantial genetic diversity, although not the highest in the Mediterranean basin (i.e. the Strait of Gibraltar [13,43]). This paradox can be explained by the fact that advanced civilizations emerged in the north Levant, such as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B [51,52], and that they had enough genetic resources to succeed in domesticating a self-incompatible tree. The domestication of the olive tree appears to have been a long and continuous process that involved numerous genetic exchanges between the cultivated trees and wild gene pools, as already reported for other crops [53]. The first domesticated gene pool of olive was more likely to have spread with agriculture, first to the whole Levant and Cyprus [54] before being progressively disseminated to the western Mediterranean. Genetic evidence for multi-local origins of cultivars previously reported by several authors [612,55] may be explained by secondary domestication events involving crosses between newly introduced cultivars and local oleasters across the entire Mediterranean.

Besnard G, Khadari B, Navascues M, Fernandez-Mazuecos M, El Bakkali A, Arrigo N, Baali-Cherif D, Brunini-Bronzini de Caraffa V, Santoni S, Vargas P, Savolainen V. 2013 “The complex history of the olive tree: from Late Quaternary diversification of Mediterranean lineages to primary domestication in the northern Levant“. Proc R Soc B 280: 20122833. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.2833

To unravel the history of the olive tree, the team took 1,263 wild and 534 cultivated olive tree samples from throughout the Mediterranean and analyzed genetic material from the trees’ chloroplasts, the green plant structures where photosynthesis takes place. Because chloroplast DNA is passed from one tree to the descendant trees that spring up around it, the DNA can reveal local changes in plant lineages, study co-author Gillaume Besnard, an archaeobotanist at the National Center for Scientific Research, said.

The researchers then reconstructed a genetic tree to show how the plant dispersed. The team found that the thin, small and bitter wild fruit first gave way to oil-rich, larger olives on the border between Turkey and Syria.

After that first cultivation, modern-day domesticated olives came mostly from three hotspots: the Near East (including Cyprus), the Aegean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. They were then gradually spread throughout the Mediterranean with the rise of civilization.

Tia Ghose, “The Origins of the Olive Tree Revealed,” LiveScience, 5 February 2013

See:

Besnard G, Khadari B, Navascues M, Fernandez-Mazuecos M, El Bakkali A, Arrigo N, Baali-Cherif D, Brunini-Bronzini de Caraffa V, Santoni S, Vargas P, Savolainen V. 2013 “The complex history of the olive tree: from Late Quaternary diversification of Mediterranean lineages to primary domestication in the northern Levant“. Proc R Soc B 280: 20122833. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.2833

Author for correspondence:

G. Besnard
e-mail: guillaume.besnard@univ-tlse3.fr

Electronic supplementary material is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.2833 or via http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org.

Tia Ghose, “The Origins of the Olive Tree Revealed,” LiveScience, 5 February 2013

Olive,” Wikipedia

Budding,” Wikipedia

Plant Propagation,” Wikipedia

Self-incompatibility,” Wikipedia

the compounding costs of California’s year-after-year wildfires

The compounding costs of California’s year-after-year wildfires are making it increasingly difficult for any party to absorb the expenses.

So observes Mark Cooper, Yale PhD, former Yale University and Fulbright Fellow, and Senior Research Fellow for Economic Analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment of Vermont Law School currently working on Energy Assessment.

PG&E electrical equipment, including power lines and poles, has been found to be responsible for at least 17 of 21 major Northern California fires of autumn 2017.

While the cause of California’s Camp Fire has not yet been determined, PG&E, one of California’s largest utilities, disclosed to the SEC on 9 November that an outage and damage to a transmission tower were reported in the area shortly before the fire started.

In the SEC Form 8-K of 9 November, PG&E declared that it may face billions of dollars in potential liabilities, far more than its insurance would cover, for the wildfires of 2018.

The Form 8-K reads, in pertinent part:

On November 8, 2018, a wildfire began near the city of Paradise, Butte County, California (the “Camp Fire”), located in the service territory of the Utility.  The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (“Cal Fire”) Camp Fire Incident Report dated November 13, 2018, 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time (the “incident report”), indicated that the Camp Fire had consumed 125,000 acres and was 30% contained.  Cal Fire estimates in the incident report that the Camp Fire will be fully contained on November 30, 2018.  In the incident report, Cal Fire reported 42 fatalities.  The incident report also indicates the following: structures threatened, 15,500; single residences destroyed, 6,522; single residences damaged, 75; multiple residences destroyed, 85; commercial structures destroyed, 260; commercial structures damaged, 32; and other minor structures destroyed, 772.

The cause of the Camp Fire is under investigation. On November 8, 2018, the Utility submitted an electric incident report to the California Public Utilities Commission (the “CPUC”) indicating that “on November 8, 2018 at approximately 0615 hours, PG&E experienced an outage on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line in Butte County. In the afternoon of November 8, PG&E observed by aerial patrol damage to a transmission tower on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line, approximately one mile north-east of the town of Pulga, in the area of the Camp Fire. This information is preliminary.” Also on November 8, 2018, acting governor Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation for Butte County, due to the effect of the Camp Fire.

As previously reported, during the third quarter of 2018, PG&E Corporation and the Utility renewed their liability insurance coverage for wildfire events in an aggregate amount of approximately $1.4 billion for the period from August 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019. For more information about wildfire insurance and risks associated with wildfires, see PG&E Corporation and the Utility’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2018.

While the cause of the Camp Fire is still under investigation, if the Utility’s equipment is determined to be the cause, the Utility could be subject to significant liability in excess of insurance coverage that would be expected to have a material impact on PG&E Corporation’s and the Utility’s financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, and cash flows.

United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Form 8-K, filed by PG&E on 9 November 2018

Citigroup estimates that PG&E’s exposure to liability for at least 17 of 21 major Norther California fires that took place in autumn 2017 is $15 billion. Citigroup estimates further that if it is found responsible for the Camp Fire, PG&E could face another $15 billion in claims. This number could rise, the fire is as yet only partially contained.

PG&E’s customers, both business and residential, may find themselves responsible for covering the bill for the company’s liabilities through higher costs.

California state  legislators took steps this year to shield PG&E and the state’s other investor-owned utilities from overwhelming legal claims, allowing them to pass the expense on to ratepayers.

California Senate Bill 901, signed into law on 21 September 2018, applies to fires beginning in 2019, and to some that occurred in 2017.

The bill enables utilities to sell bonds to cover liability costs and pay them off over time through higher rates.

(14) The existing restructuring of the electrical services industry provides for the issuance of rate reduction bonds by the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for the recovery of transition costs, as defined, by electrical corporations. Existing law authorizes the PUC to issue financing orders, to support the issuance of recovery bonds, as defined, by the recovery corporation, as defined, secured by a dedicated rate component, to finance the unamortized balance of the regulatory asset awarded Pacific Gas and Electric Company in PUC Decision 03-12-035.

This bill would, under specific circumstances, authorize the PUC, upon application by an electrical corporation, to issue financing orders to support the issuance of recovery bonds to finance costs, in excess of insurance proceeds, incurred, or that are expected to be incurred, by an electrical corporation, excluding fines and penalties, related to wildfires, as provided.

SB 901, Dodd. Wildfires.

PG&E’s company shares dropped by more than 20 percent yesterday (Wednesday). More than half of its market value has been lost since late last week as the fires have spread.

Shares of other investor-owned utilities in California, Edison International (operated Southern California Edison) and Sempra Energy (owns San Diego Gas and Electric), dropped earlier this week.

California’s power supply is likely not to be at risk. PG&E could face bankruptcy if it cannot cover the liabilities it faces. Such a bankruptcy would eliminate shareholders’ equity and affect bondholder investments.

See:

California Utility Customers May Be on the Hook for Billions in Wildfire Damage,” Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, The New York Times, 14 November 2018

SEC Form 8-K filed by PG&E, dated 9 November 2018

California Senate Bill No. 901

Material Ecology

Brilliant, beautiful, and stylish MIT polymath Neri Oxman, coiner of the term Material Ecology and pioneer in the research discipline, observes how matter is not secondary to shape but is, rather, a progenitor to form.

Today, perhaps under the imperatives of growing recognition of the ecological failures of modern design, inspired by the growing presence of advanced fabrication methods, design culture is witnessing a new materiality. Within the last decade in both industrial design and architecture, a new body of knowledge is emerging within architectural praxis.

Examples of the growing interest in the technological potential of innovative material usage and material innovation as a source of design generation are developments in biomaterials, mediated and responsive materials, as well as composite materials. With the growing relevance of “materialization”, new frontiers of material science and digital fabrication are supporting the emergence of new perspectives in architectural and industrial design.

Thus the role of digital design research as the enabling environment of the transformation to a new age of material-based design in various design disciplines has become the cutting edge of computational design research. Here we are at the cusp of a new paradigm inspired by the Troika structure of craft, at the interaction of Materials Science, Digital Fabrication and the environment.

Material Ecology is an emerging field in design denoting informed relations between products, buildings, systems, and their environment (Oxman, 2010).

Defined as the study and design of products and processes integrating environmentally aware computational form-generation and digital fabrication, the field operates at the intersection of Biology, Material Science & Engineering, and Computer Science with emphasis on environmentally informed digital design and fabrication.”

See:

Neri Oxman, “Material Ecology.” Abstract, 21 February 2014..

Neri Oxman, Mediated Matter, MIT Media Lab People

Style | Who is Neri Oxman?,” Penelope Green, The New York Times, Style, 6 October 2018

Miami museums prepare as Hurricane Irma approaches

What a month.

Museums in Miami and Miami Beach are taking precautionary measures ahead of the possible landfall of Hurricane Irma.

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), The Wolfsonian—Florida International University (Wolfsonian-FIU, www.wolfsonian.org), the Institute of Contemporary Arts Miami (ICA Miami), Dimensions Variable, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and Faena Art closed yesterday (Wednesday) and will remain closed through the weekend.

The Pérez Art Museum Miami was designed and engineered to withstand the vicissitudes of extreme weather.

The ICA Miami’s new building, expected to open to the public in December, is also designed to weather extreme storms. The museum “’collection is currently being held in a state-of-the-art storage facility, which also adheres to hurricane codes’”.

The Bass Museum of Art, currently undergoing expansion and expected to open in October, has an action plan to protect the building, the collection, and employees.

See:

Miami museums hunker down ahead of Hurricane Irma” | Helen Stoilas, The Art Newspaper, 6 September 2017

Pérez Art Museum Built ‘Like Rock of Gibralter’ for Hurricanes” | Rudabeh Shahbazi, CBS Miami, 9 June 2017

Pérez Art Museum” | Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering

#art #museums #Miami #MiamiBeach #artcollections #resilience #realestate #climatechange #climaterisk #HurricaneIrma #Irma #smartluxury