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The Anxieties of a Science Diplomat: Field Coproduction of Climate Knowledge and the Rise and Fall of Hans Ahlmann's "Polar Warming"
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology.
2011 (English)In: Osiris, ISSN 0369-7827, E-ISSN 1933-7827, Vol. 26, 66-88 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the decades between the world wars there were several attempts to document and explain perceived tendencies of atmospheric warming. Hans Ahlmann, a seminal figure in modern glaciology and a science policy adviser and diplomat, constructed a theory of "polar warming" using field results from glacier melting in the Arctic. This article aims to link the rise and fall of "polar warming" with Ahlmann's style of fieldwork. In Ahlmann's view, fieldwork should (1) enhance credibility of polar climate science by emulating laboratory methods and (2) secure knowledge in remote places through collaboration with local residents and fieldworkers. The bodily nature of this style of knowledge production turned out to be an asset in establishing Ahlmann's theory of polar warming but ultimately proved nonresilient to theories of anthropogenic climate change, which became influential from the 1950s onward.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 26, 66-88 p.
National Category
History of Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40689ISI: 000293098800004ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79959806044OAI: diva2:442454
QC 20110921Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-20 Last updated: 2011-09-21Bibliographically approved

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