The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

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JANUARY CLIMATE-ORIENTED MEETINGS (YES, PLURAL):

Two World-Class Experts on Global Climate Change to Speak at January Meetings of The Explorers Club

The Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club has scheduled two dinner meetings during January 1999 where two world-class experts will make presentations about global climate change. Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will speak at the University Club in San Francisco. Ben was the lead author of the controversial chapter in the International Global Climate Change Conference Report stating that there now appears ample evidence to suggest an anthropogenic component of the global warming we are experiencing. This first meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM on Friday, 22 January. The second of the chapter's two January dinner meetings will be held at John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. Dr. Robert A. Wharton, Jr., Ph.D. FN-84, Vice President for Research at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., who headed the long term research project in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys will make his presentation. Dr. Wharton is quoted extensively in an article about this project that was just published in the October 1998 issue of National Geographic Magazine. The second meeting begins at 6:45 PM on Saturday, 30 January.

This is the first time that the Northern California Chapter has scheduled a meeting in the Reno / Sparks, Nevada area. This dinner meeting was scheduled in a hotel facility with ample parking, which is located just one-half block from Amtrak's Sparks station, at a time on a Saturday evening to permit residents of Northern California who are winter sports enthusiasts to ski before and/after the meeting. Those who are less athletically inclined can enjoy a relaxing time just looking at the snow while visiting with other club members as they ride in comfort over Donner Summit on Amtrak's California Zephyr. Train 6, departs Emeryville, Calif. on Saturday, 30 January at 10:40 AM. It stops to pickup passengers in Martinez at 11:26 AM, Davis at 12:19 PM, Sacramento at 12:55 PM, Roseville at 1:17 PM, Truckee at 4:28 PM, and arrives in Sparks at 5:57 PM. Attendees can return to California on Amtrak's train 5 which is scheduled to depart Sparks, Nev. on Sunday, 31 January at 9:41 AM and is due to arrive back in Emeryville, Calif. at 5:30 PM. There are coordinated bus and train connections to Central Valley points at Martinez and Sacramento. There is connecting Amtrak bus service departing from San Francisco for Emeryville at 9:10 AM.

By reserving space on these trains, attendees can avoid driving in the snow. Amtrak has blocked a group of seats for this event, but because group tickets must be purchased at least 45 days in advance to qualify for the very substantial group discount of $130, reservations (accompanied by a check in full payment) must be must be received by Jerry Athearn in Oakland no later than Monday, 14 December 1998. Use the coupon at the bottom of this newsletter to make reservations. Although transferable, once purchased, Sparks reservations and train tickets are not refundable. The Chapter cannot handle hotel reservations. Attendees desiring to make hotel reservations for the night of 30 January at John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, should call direct to the hotel's reservations desk at 1 (800) 843-2427.

Climate Change - Natural or Human Induced?

Dr. Benjamin Santer, JANUARY 22 LECTURE

In 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate". This talk will discuss key aspects of the scientific evidence that led to the IPCC's historic conclusion. It will focus on two topics. The first deals with so-called "fingerprint" studies, in which scientists compare observed patterns of climate change, such as temperature fields at the Earth's surface, with predictions made by computer models of the climate system. Such research is useful in gaining an improved understanding of the causes of climate change. The second topic covers recent attempts to resolve the disagreement between thermometer measurements of atmospheric temperature change at the Earth's surface and estimates of temperature change derived from satellites.

About the Speaker

Ben Santer was born in Washington D.C. in 1955. In 1966, his father took a position with an American company in Germany, and transplanted the entire Santer family to Dortmund. Ben attended a British Army school, where he was the only student who could not play soccer, rugby, or cricket. After completing his British University entrance examinations, Ben attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where he obtained his B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences (with First Class Honors) in 1976. While at East Anglia Ben was introduced to mountaineering and rock-climbing, twin hobbies which he still pursues actively (although somewhat less actively than in his student days). In 1983, Ben decided pursue his interest in climate modeling and enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. His thesis supervisor was Prof. Tom Wigley, and the subject of his research was the use of Monte Carlo methods in the validation of climate models. He obtained his Ph.D. in climatology in 1987, and immediately thereafter took up a post-doctoral position at the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. It was the director of the Max-Planck Institute, Prof. Klaus Hasselmann, who first suggested that Ben should direct his attention towards the problem of identifying a human-induced "signal" in observed records of climate-change. After spending five years in Hamburg, Ben joined Prof. Larry Gates' group at the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Ben's research at PCMDI focuses on model validation and climate-change detection and attribution. In 1994, Ben was asked to act as Convening Lead Author of Chapter 8 ("Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes") of the 1995 Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Ben's involvement with the IPCC Report was an experience best described as "character-building". When not searching for "fingerprints" of human activities on climate, Ben is usually exploring California with his five-year-old son Nicholas.

ABOUT THE JANUARY 30 LECTURE

Dr. Robert A. Wharton, FN-84 will make the January 30, 1999 presentation of The Explorers Club at a meeting held in Reno, Nevada. He is Vice President for Research, and Research Professor at the Desert Research Institute's Biological Sciences Center in Reno. He has an international reputation for his studies of cold desert environments in polar regions and is particularly well known for his research of perennially ice-covered lakes in Antarctica. Dr. Wharton developed and led the NSF-funded McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project for five years which involved extensive field work. He has developed and led NASA/NSF supported studies of ice-covered lakes in the Arctic and Antarctica as terrestrial analogs of early Martian environments. Wharton developed and led a joint NASA/NSF supported project to test technologies relevant to the exploration of Mars.

About the Speaker

Dr. Wharton received his B.A (Botany) and M.A. (Biology) from Humboldt State University and his Ph.D. (Botany from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. As Vice President for Research, Dr. Wharton provides scientific vision and leadership for the Desert Research Institute's 400 faculty and staff through the development and implementation of business, marketing, and strategic plans. His research areas include polar ecology, microbiology of extreme environments, cold deserts, space exploration, the Arctic, Antarctica, Mars, and Europa.

DECEMBER'S MEETING

New Officers:

  • Bill Isherwood, FN-70, Chairman
  • Lesley Ewing, FN-93) - Co-Chair
  • (open) - Secretary
  • Jerry Athearn, MN-82 - Treasurer

    Ellen Purcell should be on retainer with the Tasmanian Tourist Bureau. Beautiful slides of formal gardens, wildcraft gardens, historic buildings, agricultural fields, rivers, and of course, the animals from Down Under. Tasmania is the size of 3 Massachusetts and has, or had, thriving industries in logging, wool, cold crop fruit and shipbuilding. 1/3 of the entire island is protected as parkland and there is a 12-day walking trail through the island parks. 150 different species of eucalyptus and as Ellen reminded us, eucalyptus is native to Tasmania and is not viewed as invasive species as it is here. Pademelons and wallabies are plentiful, as are Tasmanian Devils. Tasmanian Devils are small dog-like/pig-like marsupials with a black and white marking. They are carrion eaters and make an unbelievable "growling" noise that they use to keep other animals from taking away their food.

    Bob's Schmeider's (FN-86) dinner quiz: What uncontested national landmass is closest to the magnetic south pole? There were several guesses for two of Bob's prior expedition sites - Heard Island and Easter Island. Our new chapter chair, Bill Isherwood had the correct answer -- Macquarie Island (Australia), which is approximately 800 miles ENE of the magnetic pole.

    EARL EXPLORERS MONTHLY ARTICLE

    From: Mallory
    Grade: Fourth
    Teacher: Mrs. Denise Nulph

    Explorer News September 25, 1998

    "Testing: one, two, three. Testing: one, two, three...Bob, is this thing working?...Oh, am I on? Hello, this is Channel 3 reporting live on the Dennis G. Earl School campus. Isn't this great?

    Well, let's get down to business. Wow! That's a picture of Dennis Earl. The school was named after him because he was a great explorer! Let's go find a seat, if we can. There are 1,500 people here. Mrs. Marta Kyte has been planning this since, well, let's just say for ten years. Right now a skit is coming on with Earl the Explorer, his friends, El Ni-o, and his tap-dancing clouds. It was hard to get El Ni-o(he was booked), but teacher Mrs. Nulph, did it! She also directed the skit. Look, the explorers are dedicating the time capsule and the third-graders are singing a song. Teacher Mr. Arnold and his wife, along with his band, have started in with a rock and roll version of the school song, "Earl Explorers"...I would love to talk more, but the aeronauts are coming.

    'Everybody get your autograph books and pens!" says Mrs. Kyte. She's great, isn't she? I want to be the first one to see the skydivers, but Mrs. Kyte said, 'Children first!' That lady amazes me!

    We're all looking skyward. Two of them down, two more to go! Three, four...The last two have American flags on their parachutes. Quite a spectacular sight! Got their autographs and now to the explorers. Boy, I received George Washington, Davy Crockett, Christopher Columbus, Jacque Cousteau, Betsy Ross, and Sally Ride's autographs! I bet these students will treasure this night forever!

    On to the dinner...Wish you could try some. Outback Steakhouse provided the meal as a fundraiser...Bob, do you HAVE to film me while I'm eating?...Looking around, I see children nibbling on popcorn and cotton candy.

    Quite and event here at Earl Elementary School in Turlock, California! Mallory, reporting live...Back to you, Dan and Jennifer!

    NEWS OF MEMBERS

    Lee Pryor, MN-89, long time club member, has moved to San Francisco from New Orleans and before that, from New York. Many voyages across the Atlantic -solo and with company. Guests for the evening were Virginia and Walter Paige(?) and Tracy Johnson who, among other adventures, was on one of the first kayaking trips running the Boh in Borneo.
    Dave (MN-98) and Barbara Shirley, attended as new members; they first became involved with EC through Jerry (MN-82) and JoAnn Athearn.
    Dana Isherwood is back from China where she spent a month traveling with Tibetan explorer Pamela Logan, FN-97 (January 1998 speaker) and Don Heyneman, FN/78. Dana is next going to climb Antarctica's Vinson Massif, (16,864'). Les DeWitt, MN-96 and Hank Skade, MN-90 will be at Vinson at the same time, on a different expedition.
    Charlie (MN-92) and Louise Geraci just returned from a round-the world trip, stopping to see tigers in India and participate in the 2nd International Conference on Domestic Violence.

    BOOK REVIEW

    An Affair with Africa - Expeditions and Adventures Across a Continent, by Alzada Carlisle Kistner, Ph.D., FN-87, Island Press/Shearwater Books, 1998

    Reviewed by John H. Roush, Jr., D.B.A., FN-80

    It is surprising for a big-game hunter to find that this delightful book tells of exciting encounters while searching for obscure little bugs. Yet the chase is there, sometimes facing great hazards with courage and calm resolve to continue to hunt. Having been in many of the places the author takes us, the captivating tales of innocents abroad, unarmed, sometimes facing real dangers, were most interesting. I found the book compelling reading.

    Most of us are most impatient with bugs, especially the stinging kinds, yet the search for rare creatures, albeit small, can force one into unexpected adventures. Personally, I like to seek out larger game - animals carrying impressive headgear. Nevertheless, there are in this book real people courageously running perilous risks, while the reader gains a keen glimpse of many African counties and their human turmoil in transition from colonialism to independence. Any of you who have been in the wilds of Africa will find the volume engaging, well worth the time on an arm-chair safari.

    Reservations for January meetings

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    Please return this reservations form no later than Tuesday, January 12, 1999 to:

    Jerry Athearn
    The Explorers Club
    Northern California Chapter.
    7037 Chabot Road
    Oakland, CA 94618
    Jerry's phone: (510) 653-2572

    Please reserve spaces for the Benjamin Santer talk, at the University Club on Friday, January 22, 1999.

    $40/person... $45 if postmarked after January 15, $50 after January 19 and at the door. Cocktails, 6:30 PM, Dinner, 7:30 PM, Speaker, 8:30 PM.

    Your Name: _______________________________________

    Your Address: _____________________________________

    ______________________________________

    Guests: ______________________________________

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Please return this reservations form no later than Tuesday, January 20, 1999 to:

    Jerry Athearn
    The Explorers Club
    Northern California Chapter.
    7037 Chabot Road
    Oakland, CA 94618
    Jerry's phone: (510) 653-2572

    Please reserve spaces for the Robert Wharton talk, at the Nugget Casino Resort, in Sparks, Nevada on Saturday, January 30, 1999.

    $35/person... $40 if postmarked after January 23; $45 after January 27 and at the door. Cocktails, 6:30 PM, Dinner, 7:30 PM, Speaker, 8:30 PM.

    Your Name: _______________________________________

    Your Address: _____________________________________

    ______________________________________

    Guests: ______________________________________

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    Date created: 12/07/1998
    Last modified: 01/21/2002

    Web page by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster, Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club. email to Mike

    c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404

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