Canadian Journal of Communication Vol 38 (2013) -442
©2013 Canadian Journal of Communication Corporation 

Forecast Earth: Hole, Index, Alert

Chris Russill

Carleton University

Chris Russill is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, 4301 River Building, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON  K1S 5B6. Email: .

ABSTRACT  The author discusses the media developed to record and process sunlight as an environmental threat, especially ozone holes, ultraviolet indexes, and automated hazard alerts. These media are illustrative of how environmental precaution is produced by Earth-observing systems and indicative of how the politics of industrial transformations are shaped by the logistics of maintaining a data-processing infrastructure for observing dangerous environmental changes. The article attempts to process the effects of the shifting technological dimensions of Earth-observing with respect to the mathematical models and media infrastructure required for processing signals of environmental change, and to re-situate how we understand precaution on this terrain.

KEYWORDS  Environmental media; Kittler; Ozone hole; NASA; the Weather Channel; UV index

RÉSUMÉ  L’auteur discute des médias développés pour enregistrer et évaluer la lumière du soleil en tant que menace pour l’environnement, surtout en ce qui a trait aux trous dans l’ozone, aux index de lumière ultraviolette et aux avertissements de danger automatisés. Ces médias illustrent comment les systèmes qui observent la Terre sont à la source de précautions environnementales. Ils indiquent aussi comment les politiques sur les transformations industrielles sont formulées à partir de la logistique requise pour le maintien d’une infrastructure de traitement de données sur l’observation de changements environnementaux dangereux. Cet article tente d’évaluer les effets des dimensions technologiques fluctuantes de l’observation de la Terre par rapport aux modèles mathématiques et à l’infrastructure médiatique nécessaires pour traiter les indices de changements environnementaux. It tente en outre de resituer comment nous envisageons la précaution dans de telles circonstances.

MOTS CLÉS  Médias environnementaux; Friedrich Kittler; Trou d'ozone; NASA; MétéoMédia; Indice UV.

At issue is the claim that the machines, structures, and systems of modern material culture can be accurately judged not only for their contributions to efficiency and productivity and their positive and negative environmental side effects, but also for the ways in which they can embody specific forms of power and authority.

— Langdon Winner (1986, p. 19)

In 2005, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) was launched. Its purpose is to observe our environmental situation by engineering a global infrastructure able to generate near-real-time data, forecasts, monitoring systems, and warnings. Media old and new, public and proprietary, inexpensive and capital-intensive, minute and massive, aquatic and aerial, terrestrial and space-borne will no longer differentiate according to technical standard, disciplinary specialty, institutional program, or national interest. Instead, the diverse procedures through which environmental processes are decomposed into and re-assembled as media will become transmissible across every variety of technical standard, regulatory norm, scientific domain, business model, institutional protocol, and cultural difference. Or so it is promised.

The “system of systems” component of GEOSS refers to its engineering philosophy. Typically, “system of systems” designs attempt to make the data generated by complex systems sharable without changing the purpose, design, or reporting of the sub-systems that are integrated. Integrating a flood gauge, for example, into a global tsunami warning system, would not alter the operation or use of water measurements by the actors for which the gauge was initially implemented. In the case of GEOSS, its main aspiration is freer transmission of data for better computability. In terms of transmission, an overarching system is developed to provide greater access to information from a wider variety of observing platforms. In terms of computability, all the media involved in recording environmental changes should be amenable to mathematical models designed for processing such changes. The “system of systems” concept promises greater access (freer transmission of data) but also encourages more technically complex processing capacities, which initiates a complex tangle of technical, political, and infrastructural issues.

The media generated from such processing have two qualities that render their description unfamiliar and difficult. One, they are infrastructural, in the sense that they derive from and depend upon large-scale, capital-intensive socio-technical systems that are engineered to register, store, and process environmental change.1 Two, they are numerical in nature and generated through mathematical models. Taken together, these qualities demonstrate the profoundly material yet disembodied nature of Earth-observing media. I say “profoundly material” because these media register very basic processes in the world (light waves, sound waves, chemical composition, etc.) in ways unconstrained by familiar forms of human symbolism. I say “disembodied nature” since the senses that were extended by optical, acoustic, and seismic media in the era of differentiated Earth-observing media are now reorganized in terms of observations that are strictly numerical in nature; we have text, images, and sounds that couple human populations to data-processing infrastructures on the basis of observations of environmental processes that no human could see, hear, or feel.

These claims will be unpacked and elaborated with specific reference to the subset of media developed to register sunlit spaces as environmental threats. I will discuss some of the most popular forms of media generated by earth-observing systems—ozone holes, ultraviolet (UV) indexes, and hazard alerts for UV radiation—as they are embedded in educational, journalistic, weather, public health, and personalized media contexts. There are several advantages to centring attention on these media. They are not too technical in nature or proprietary and thus relatively accessible to analysis. The long history of recordings of sunlight allows us to register how technological changes either reflect or facilitate shifts in how precautionary assessments are made. As well, the current banality of UV measurements permits us to sidestep the “Big Data, Open Data” discourses that capture contemporary discussions on the nature of GEOSS. Although the recording of sunlight to measure stratospheric ozone and to warn of UV threats is only one aspect of contemporary Earth-observing, it can help us ground discussions of technological politics in an understanding of media as an infrastructural accomplishment following the work of Paul Edwards (2003, 2010) and Lisa Parks (2013).

The media discussed below derive from records of sunlight passing through the atmosphere. While my primary goal is to describe how environmental precaution is produced by Earth-observing systems, some historical background is useful. Initially, photographs and spectrographs of sunlight were taken from ground-based units in a few locations in Europe and occasionally attached to balloons in order to calculate the height, depth, and concentrations of stratospheric ozone (which prevents certain UV wavelengths from reaching the Earth’s surface). The first systematic measurements sought to correlate meteorological phenomenon with newly disclosed patterns in the upper atmosphere, especially with respect to the formation of cyclones, the promise of which permitted ozone observers to utilize pre-existing weather networks (Dobson, 1931). By the late 1950s, these observing sites had multiplied, acquired network properties, and developed a formal institutional presence in the World Ozone Data Centre based in Toronto, largely as the result of the International Geophysical Year (Dobson, 1968). By the 1980s, an infrastructure was developed to address the stratospheric ozone depletion crisis, which involved new instruments, special aircraft, satellites, and institutions for consolidating diverse expertise. In many respects, the account given by Paul Edwards (2010) for the emergence of a meteorological infrastructure holds up well as an account of ozone observing capabilities. The upshot is a 100-year-old media system for recording how sunlight enters, is absorbed, and is scattered into space, and its evolution is a story of how the logistics of operating an Earth-observing system reshape the politics of precaution that once met industrial and military transformations of the air.

In the next section, “Theory,” I consider how the processing of light has become a theoretical concern for scholars. In “Forecast Earth,” I revisit a notable attempt by news media to critically assess our current situation: the 2005 investigation conducted by the Washington Post into the Weather Channel’s production of stratospheric ozone depletion warnings.2 In subsequent sections, I describe ozone holes, the UV index, and hazard alerts. The discussion is not exhaustive, and these vignettes are intended primarily to chart a historical trajectory for how precaution is generated from Earth-observing systems. In “Hole,” I describe one of the icons of environmental awareness, the ozone hole, which is widely viewed as organizing social support for restraining industrial practice through precautionary reasoning. In “Index,” I illustrate how the observing capacities underpinning the generation of the ozone hole are subsequently integrated with assessments of physiological and biological function. In “Alert,” I discuss the development of automated hazard alerts that simply declare certain sunlit environments dangerous in hopes of eradicating the last vestiges of human experience and interpretation from appraisals of appropriate precaution.


The recording and processing of light to understand environmental change is of ancient origins.  If essays had match cuts, this one would juxtapose GEOSS with the opening vignette of Harold Innis’ Empire and Communication (2007). Here, on the river’s edge in ancient Egypt, at the intersection of sun, earth, and water, Innis draws our attention to the calendar. It is a curious beginning, since the significance of the Egyptian calendar is its detachment of time measurement from familiar forms of Earth-observing, not its medial properties. The calendar’s appearance is brief, its description unclear, and the resulting consequences are still more ambiguous, as Innis moves quickly to writing and its medial conditions. Yet Innis’ main point is obvious. Lunar calendars (based on observations of sunlight reflected from the moon) were reconciled with the solar year obtained by sidereal means (observations of starlight) and developed into timekeeping devices for regulating activities to accord with cyclical flood patterns. Here, in Innis’ first paragraph, we have the key insight: “Detachment of the calendar from the concrete phenomena of the heavens and application of numbers which provided the basis for the modern year …” (p. 32). Earth-observing is released from the direct experience of sunlight. Calculated light synchs human activity to water flows. Empire ensued.

For Hannah Arendt (1958), it is the telescope that brings this issue into the modern age. The telescope conjoins an ancient distrust of the senses to modern numerical observation and facilitates a conception of the whole Earth as subject to mathematical formulations. The telescope is a medium, “at once adjusted to the human senses and destined to uncover what definitely and forever must lie beyond them,” a means of light processing surpassed in importance only by the satellite (p. 258). Satellites, in particular, make it possible to imagine leaving the earth. The release of observation from an earthbound observer, or the development of an “Archimedean point” that is bound to no earthly point of view, is discussed by Arendt in terms of “earth alienation,” and its most significant feature is that the mathematics for processing observations is unconstrained by human experience or earthly context (pp. 264–265). These innovations leave us with mathematical ways of processing reality that “no longer lend themselves to normal expression in speech and thought” (p. 3).  The political character of such scientific observations is beyond question for Arendt, yet the automated and mathematical nature of our “flight from the earth into the universe” (p. 6) cannot easily be appraised via our usual political mechanisms.

Friedrich Kittler (1999) elaborates more fully the implications of processing light via mathematical models by insisting on the significance of advanced computing. By conceptualizing how media as storage, delivery, and processing systems are constitutive of communicative contexts, Kittler distinguishes between achieving interoperability of previously separate media and making these media amenable to advanced forms of data-processing. There are two key dimensions to this account: first, a technological differentiation of optical, acoustical, and graphing devices that enables new recordings of natural processes, and second, the de-differentiation of these media by computers and fiber optics that permit the processing of environmental changes in ways unconstrained by human experience.

In terms of the differentiation of media, “one can record nature itself” (Krämer, 2006, p. 94), which is to say that producing data to store records of environmental changes no longer requires transformation into the usual symbols of human language. Since the mid-nineteenth century, new processes can be brought to light, sounded, or otherwise registered and made amenable to investigation. Physical effects are captured in light and sound that previously required humans to observe and consciously record in written notation. Or, as John Peters (2010) emphasizes,

 “[t]he era of analog media—that of optical media proper—frees the act of visual depiction from the human hand and the act of visual perception from the human eye. A series of photographic devices allows for a kind of direct transcription of sunshine without intervention of the pencil or brush, and liberates the realm of the visible from the physiology of the eye. (in Kittler, 2010, p. 11)

Records of environmental processes that exceed the audible and visible capacities of people can be made (see Krämer, 2006). At one time, the way light entered the earth’s atmosphere required a hand to record what the eye registered. Today, the material effects of light are recorded and made calculable even if they leave no immediate trace on the human body (see Kittler, 2010). Stratospheric ozone observations, which originate in photographs and spectrographs of the sun, are made possible by such capacities, even as these records will eventually point to conditions that threaten the sunlit eyeball. A.W. Brewer, unlike Gustav Fechner (see Kittler, 1999), would not go blind to make his point about the relationship of sunlight and the eye.

In terms of the ensuing de-differentiation of text, optics, and acoustics, and with the advent of fiber optic cables, there is new ease of transmission across different technical formats. Transmitting data as light permits information to flow more freely across and through the earth. However, for Kittler (1999), the crucial point is that different forms of processing can be brought to bear on all the acoustic, optical, and seismic recordings made. This processing entails the automation of a vast variety of observing practices, a point well appreciated by most readers of Kittler, yet it also puts into wide and authoritative circulation observations of environmental change that are essentially numerical: “quantity without image, sound, or voice” (p. 1). Many environmental warning systems, in particular, are the product of mathematical models, and alarms are issued on the basis of observations that decouple knowledge of earth systems from embodied observers.

The implications of this situation are difficult to assess. It is one thing to suggest that, “numbers and figures become the key to all creatures” (Kittler, 1999, p. 19). It is another thing to locate the nature of contemporary observing capacities, or the relationship between “systems of equations and sensory perception” (Kittler, 2010, p. 228), so firmly in military contexts. Kittler tends to suggest that these light processing capacities are not only militaristic in their initial development but that they entrain civilian life into military infrastructures that inevitably suborn political matters to matters of technical logistics. This leads to a rather negative assessment of how numerical observations supplant human experiences of environmental change. In addition, Kittler is frequently critiqued for his digital teleology and his resistance to most accounts of how media are embodied (see Peters, 2010; Packer, 2013). As Winthrop-Young (2011) notes, the way psychophysical and data-processing capacities become entwined is not always clear in Kittler’s work, an issue I return to in discussing UV indexes.

Lisa Parks (2005, 2006) permits us to articulate these theoretical reflections to matters of “Earth-observing” most directly. In her earliest writings on satellite-based modes of observation, Parks looked at how satellite derived media were introduced into public discourse in highly constrained and ambiguous ways. By seeking to anchor satellite imagery, for example, within the sign systems of journalism, foreign policy, and political resistance, news discourse developed a strange interplay between expectations of “diachronic omniscience” (Parks, 2005, p. 91), the idea of a comprehensive record of global space across time, and the need to anchor the profoundly ambiguous products that circulated within the semiotic conventions of more familiar media. This situation disclosed the deep societal inequality in capacities to process and act on these rapidly proliferating visual observations.

Parks’ work is more patient than Kittler (1999, 2010) or Arendt (1958) in its documentation of how media orient social change by infusing everyday practices in a variety of ways. On the basis of this research, Parks illustrates how the imagery derived from satellite platforms is not well understood. Images are designed to resemble mechanically reproduced media, or to suggest live immersion or real-time recording, but the depiction offered is at best an anticipation or approximation of an event (see Parks, 2005). The manipulation of temporality fails to spur public reflection since older media conventions (cartographic, photographic, and televisual) elide how earth-observing products are developed. As well, steps permitting a freer dissemination of processing capacity among users are resisted as a matter of routine: a failure to automate the circulation of metadata and the restrictions on resolution capacity of publicly circulated satellite materials are but two examples.

In addition to the strange latency and digital qualities of satellite imagery, Parks (2005) illustrates how the shifts in epistemic scale (toward “the global” and “the universal”) made possible by earth-observing impact our conceptions of observer and witness as well as our notions of environment (Parks, 2013). How does “global scale” knowledge reconfigure regulatory and governance institutions, and how can specific populations be made responsive to knowledge of global or earth-scale systems? These questions are developed and grounded by Parks in terms of specific events or analyses. In the following sections, I build from Parks’ example to discuss three key quantities (ozone holes, UV indexes, and sun danger alerts) in terms of how civilians were prepared to receive them, and with respect to the sorts of media generated.

The Forecast Earth films

In 2005, the Washington Post used documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act to ask whether several “video capsules” produced by the Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth program for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constituted “covert propaganda” (Lee, 2005). The “Forecast Earth films,” as they were subsequently labelled, promoted the EPA’s SunWise Program and were distributed widely to classrooms and online in exchange for $40,000. The G.W. Bush administration’s lack of interest in environmental regulation made the Post’s inquiry a curious one. Yet the United States had inaugurated and hosted the first International Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in 2003, the year the videos were made, and Congressional oversight hearings into GEOSS had been held just months before the Post story was published. Clearly, the U.S. government had taken an interest in preparing politicians and civilians for the next generation of Earth-observing media.

In his article, the reporter, Christopher Lee (2005), observed how the Bush administration tended to promote “executive branch policies in messages that resemble news stories and do not always fully disclose the government’s role” (p. A13). In particular, “prepackaged stories” (p. A13) that were designed and produced to promote federal policy were often aired in unaltered form by broadcasters. Lee’s documents showed that the Forecast Earth films were funded as “part of the Bush administration’s efforts to inform the public about climate change” (p. A13). On the basis of such concerns, the icon of investigative journalism interrogated government involvement in the public dissemination of Earth-observing media.

Lee investigated the content, production, and context of the films. It was immediately clear that the Weather Channel had written and produced the videos, not Bush officials. A staff meteorologist read the scripted text, not an actor, and the Weather Channel had retained “editorial control” of the final product (Washington Post, 2005, p. A13). Independent experts commissioned by the Washington Post to evaluate the films determined that the material was “straightforward, educational, and scientifically sound” (p. A13). In his background interviews, Lee did uncover additional agreements between the Weather Channel and governmental agencies, including other EPA programs, the Forest Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Yet these too seemed above reproach. Those sources the journalist contacted for comment argued that such public-private partnerships were a cost-effective way to warn the public about environmental danger. Even the litigious National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was in a conciliatory mood, as their spokesperson described the films as a good use of government funds. The resulting story was buried deep in the paper and died quickly after a brief scatter of blog posts.

The films are short “public service announcement”–style videos that deal with stratospheric ozone depletion and radiation danger, not climate change. They centre on the ozone hole and UV index, respectively. One film, Ozone Depletion: Science and Response, discusses “the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation,” and features Nobel Prize winner Sherwood Rowland talking about industry reticence to environmental regulation: “When the Antarctic ozone hole was identified in 1985, then the, uh, resistance fell away very rapidly” (EPA, 2003a). Narrated by the Weather Channel’s Nick Walker, we hear of Rowland’s discovery of potential ozone depletion in 1974, of regulation in 1987, and of the EPA’s role in facilitating “progress” through support of scientists and international agreements.3 The 13-year gap between warning and ameliorative measures goes unremarked, as does the fact that the EPA was sued in the 1980s by the NRDC for failing to respond properly to such warnings.

A companion film, Health Effects of UV Radiation, references an “invisible health risk” and recommends the cultivation of “SunWise habits” (EPA, 2003b). “SunWise” is the nationwide EPA program for ameliorating the consequences of increased radiation exposure due to stratospheric ozone depletion. In brief, it is a cultural program intended to train citizens in the proper use of media to recognize and cope with such dangers. Changes in individual lifestyle are recommended and include wearing UV-proof shirts, hats, sunglasses, and sun block, and reducing one’s exposure to sunlight. Individual precaution is emphasized, and the unavoidable and long-term effects of exposure to ultraviolet radiation are underscored by reference to deaths from cancer. One in five Americans, we are told, will develop skin cancer.

In another film in this series, UV Radiation and UV Index, radiation warnings are explained and Nick Walker encourages us to heed the daily UV index reports found on the Weather Channel. The film includes Margaret Ehrlich, a skin cancer victim, lamenting her failure to acknowledge such warnings, as she asks “Why did I do that to myself?” (EPA, n.d.). The film closes with a solemn invocation to heed the Weather Channel’s daily UV index reports, as Nick Walker’s voice-over warns, “It’s something Margaret Ehrlich wishes she’d done” (EPA, n.d.).

The fruitlessness of the Post’s investigation is more surprising when considered in historical perspective, and its failure presents an interesting puzzle for those seeking to describe the EPA films as propaganda or ideology.4 In the mid-1980s, after the discovery of the ozone hole mentioned by Rowland, political opposition to regulating industrial transformations of the atmosphere remained firmly entrenched in public discourse. In one notable example, anti-regulatory advocates in Ronald Reagan’s administration argued for a “personal protection plan” and proposed a “public relations campaign” (Cagin & Dray, 1993, pp. 332–334) to encourage lifestyle changes in lieu of intergovernmental regulation of CFC production. Adaptation, they argued, made more sense than avoidance of imagined conditions with ill-defined consequences. Education and the development of a consumer goods industry (clothing, sunglasses, and lotions) would permit state and market mechanisms to cope with environmental changes.

The NRDC had previously challenged such positions as unlawful in the U.S. courts and sued the EPA (Pielke & Betsill, 1997). The upshot of the resulting agreement was clarification of the burden of proof required to regulate industrial transformation of global systems. Pejoratively, this shift was described as “ban now—find out later” (Shapiro, 1975 p. 30), but the agreement basically acknowledged that empirical observations were not required in order to pursue regulation, especially when the capability to detect such changes was limited. In this later instance, the NRDC simply leaked news of the “personal protection plan” directly to the Washington Post, which reported critically on the idea before opposing it editorially in the strongest possible terms (“D. Hodel, Boy Environmentalist,” 1987). U.S. president Ronald Reagan, given the option of endorsing anti-regulatory ideology or integrating industrial activity into an Earth-observing infrastructure, chose the second option.

While scholars have offered various reasons for why Reagan permitted international environmental regulations to curtail a profitable industry (see Barrett, 2003), the contemporary puzzle involves the striking similarity of the personal protection plan of the 1980s to the Forecast Earth films of today. The resemblance no doubt spurred the investigation into suspicions of covert propaganda by the Washington Post. All the same actors are involved: the Washington Post, the NRDC, the EPA, and a right-wing executive branch of the U.S. government. Yet today, the cultural programs and consumer industries designed to accommodate human populations to an industrially transformed atmosphere remain inaccessible to political contention of this sort.

Why is this the case? Why is propaganda analysis or ideology critique unable to inspire political contention over ozone holes or industrial alterations of the planet? Precaution, I will suggest below, is the complex object of a data-processing infrastructure, and we need to centre our analysis on the way institutions and populations are made responsive to the records of environmental change produced by this system. These observations are numerical in nature, not representational, at least not primarily. The hole, as we will see, is not so much a representation of reality as a metaphor used to make sense of a number. UV indexes are developed to modulate human behaviour to the numbers generated through data-processing techniques. Hazard alerts use these same numbers to automate declarations of dangerous space for set periods of time.

Visual materials, like the ozone hole or graphic displays of UV danger, resemble photographs and maps, yet they derive from complex modes of digital signal processing to assess danger and precaution. The infrastructural requirements of such media are embedded within—and might well require—specific forms of industrial and military operation, and the protocols developed from this data-processing infrastructure tend to reduce the politics of precaution to technical matters of logistical coordination. This is why Margaret Ehrlich believes—and the schoolchildren of North America are taught—that her illness is her own fault.


The media generated by complex modes of signal processing often elicit photographic conventions. Stewart Brand (1977), for instance, has ascribed the emergence of global environmental consciousness ex nihilo to the wide circulation of whole Earth imagery. Brand had famously asked why photographs of the planet from space were unavailable given NASA’s exploits. Among the unceasing flow of earthly imagery his request spawned, there is AS17-148-22727 (subsequently known as Blue Marble). AS17-148-22727 is the first colour photograph picturing the “whole Earth,” though interestingly enough with Antarctica and Africa at the centre of things. Countercultural protest, Brand has hinted, propelled the public release of Earth-observing media: NASA’s representations of the planet raised global consciousness, motivated civil society, and promoted progressive environmental change. This narrative is as ubiquitous as reproductions of the photograph itself.

AS17-148-22727 is perhaps the only “instantaneous” picture of the whole Earth taken by humans from space, yet subsequent images are designed to confirm the conventions of photorealism and slip easily into the discursive contours of the narrative suggested above (Belden-Adams, 2008). It surprises no one to learn that today’s Earth images are always digital, composites of distinct photographs and/or data points acquired at different times and spatial coordinates to produce a probable appearance—an average, if you will—of the planet (since the readings were collected over a period of one day, or one week, or one month, etc.). Descriptions of the technical features of these imaging processes encourage all manner of philosophical speculation regarding the nature of reality, the fate of image-saturated societies, and implications of manipulating temporality. Whether or not one views digital imaging processes as a radical break with previous modes of producing visual material, it is clear that the idea of photographs raising collective consciousness that directs social change is too simple an account of our implication in Earth-observing processes.

Ozone hole images illustrate the problems in relying on Brand’s narrative. The light stored on AS17-148-22727 made perceptible environmental processes from a hitherto unattainable perspective. However, much remains invisible, including the presence of CFCs and the stratospheric ozone layer over Antarctica, which would soon deplete and become a key source of political contention in the 1980s. Photographic conventions elide the fact that no media can rejoin our senses to such phenomena.

NASA’s ozone hole images are not light from Earth stored on paper; they are numbers stored on machines. They are not simply photographs capturing Earth observations; they are graphic depictions of stratospheric ozone concentration over a geographical area as measured by satellite-flown instrumentation, processed by computers, and calibrated with records from ground stations, rockets, and aircraft. Explained in simple terms, observations of stratospheric ozone are calculated by comparing different wavelengths of sunlight as they enter the atmosphere or reflect into space. By selecting two wavelengths, one that passes easily through the atmosphere and one that is absorbed by stratospheric ozone, a wavelength pair can be compared to produce an approximation of the amount of ozone present in the upper atmosphere (Dobson, 1968; Farman, 1989). These are the records of light that underpin ozone concentration images. They are calculations given graphic form. The resulting images only make sense, I will argue, in the context of the data-processing capacities that make such images possible.

Figure 1: Green Earth

Figure 1: Green Earth

Source: NASA, 2009c


An ozone image depicting a “hole” is assembled when average measurements for a set period of time drop below 220 Dobson Units (DU), the standard unit of measure for the concentration of ozone (NASA, 2009a). Dobson Units measure the number of molecules needed to create a .01 millimeter layer of ozone at 0 degrees Celsius and surface level air pressure (NASA, 2009a). The threshold for depicting a “hole” is based on the historical claim that ozone concentrations below 220 DU were not found over Antarctica prior to 1979 (NASA, 2009a). Figure 1 depicts our situation on October 4, 2004.

When was “the hole” first discovered? The first published data of surprising ozone depletion described the situation as one of “large losses,” as opposed to a “hole,” and depicted the average ozone concentration for October under a recording station in Antarctica between 1958 and 1984; it plotted this information against increasing concentrations of two kinds of CFC (as measured across the entire Southern hemisphere) to suggest a probable cause for the decline (Farman, Gardiner, & Shanklin, 1985, p. 209; see Figure 2). The correlation was good although the explanatory mechanism was not.

Figure 2: Graphed ozone depletion

Figure 2: Graphed ozone depletion

Source: Farman et al., 1985, p. 208

 Arguably, this is the discovery of the hole. However, there are no images, the term is not used, and no criteria for indicating especially significant thresholds are discussed. Still, Joseph Farman, the lead researcher, is usually given credit for its discovery, a point I return to below. (Interestingly, almost all subsequent depictions of ozone holes offer far less information for assessing the significance of the depletion or how it came to pass.)

NASA’s first visualization used the term “decrease” instead of “large losses” (Stolarski, Krueger, Schoeberl, McPeters, Newman, & Alpert, 1986). The term “hole” had appeared in advance media reports of NASA’s confirmation of Farman et al. (1985), notably in Walter Sullivan’s (1986) report for the New York Times. An initial draft of the NASA manuscript had used the term “hole” in the title, which was removed on publication in favour of “decrease” to appease a peer reviewer (Shanklin, 2010). The advantage of satellite instrumentation was the larger geographical expanse for which a significant decline could be noted. Indeed, since 1978, Nimbus 7 satellite instruments could map total ozone for the globe on a daily basis, and this capacity helped to illustrate the regional nature of the decrease. 

Figure 3: Mapped ozone depletion

Figure 3: Mapped ozone depletion

Source: Stolarski et al., 1986, p. 809

 Figure 3 depicts the ozone concentration average over a single day, rather than a month, and uses contour lines and shading to distinguish differences in spatial ozone concentration of 30 DU units. Again, no criteria for distinguishing or drawing a hole are suggested. Figure 4 uses a globe-like graphic (instead of a boxed map) to compare monthly October averages, 1979 to 1985, instead of offering a daily composite.

Figure 4: Global ozone depletion

Figure 4: Global ozone depletion

Source: Stolarski et al., 1986, p. 810

It is clear that the calculation of stratospheric ozone concentration and its reporting in terms of Dobson Units (DU) can be manipulated in terms of extension (a specific geographical point, like Halley Bay, or a region, or even the globe) and duration (over a day, month, year, and so on), and that this is simply a numerical observation—one that a wide variety of figural, tabling, or graphical conventions have been used to display.5

In fact, as one might expect, the display of such data in visual form has expanded immensely, infusing the historical record, promising near-real-time updates as well as depictions of various futures (those achieved, those avoided, and those still possible). For example:

The past is now rendered visually, as historical readings of DU levels can be used to construct images and to show that the hole found in 1985 did not seem to exist prior to the late 1970s (NASA, 2009a). It is also possible to track the widening and “healing” of the hole across decades.

The present state of ozone concentration is depicted in seeming real time; we can watch the Antarctica ozone hole open or widen each September.

The future can be modelled as both “avoided” and “expected.” NASA (2009b) scientists simulate the expected future of stratospheric ozone depletion, and these simulations underpin widespread claims that the hole will be healed/repaired by 2050.

The “avoided future”of a globally depleted ozone layer is also simulated by NASA (2009b) in order to argue for the effectiveness of international ozone regulations, and the colourized contrast between the expected and avoided future leaves little doubt about which condition is to be preferred.

Yet none of these descriptions indicate when the hole was discovered. This is because the evidence, its processing, its imaging, its publication, and its interpretation in metaphorical terms were distributed through an infrastructure. As Lisa Parks (2005) has observed, the image does not exist “until it is sorted, rendered, and put into circulation … . Satellite image data only becomes a document of the ‘real’ and an index of the ‘historical’ if there is a reason to suspect it has relevance to current affairs” (p. 91). These two statements bring together the fact of complex modes of digital signal processing with the fact that images are always chosen with respect to contemporary contexts and preferred sense-making frameworks. Data processing offers only “an approximation of an event, not a mechanical reproduction of it” (p. 90), yet the imaging of such data relies on media conventions that imply representational capacities. What matters most are the data-processing procedures that bring the hole and other kinds of precautionary media into existence, as well as the way institutions and populations are made responsive to Earth-observing capacities.

If we examine the situation from the perspective of a developing infrastructure, the hole is a momentary and rather inconsequential feature of how our century-long record of sunlight is processed. Typically, the history of stratospheric ozone observing details the fascinations of a single scientist, G.M.B. Dobson, as he seeks to establish and automate a network of observing stations for recording, storing, transmitting, and processing observations of stratospheric ozone concentration. The long record of stratospheric ozone observations established by Dobson and others is important because it provided a baseline for assessments of the significance of the depletion that was recorded in the Antarctica and elsewhere throughout the 1980s. At the same time, this record also underpinned expectations that measurements of systemic and rapid decline were not possible and so not trusted when first registered by human eyes (Stolarski, 2003). Theoretical warnings of danger and atmospheric models for projecting future changes had ruled out the possibility of significant, systematic declines of the sort depicted graphically in ozone hole observations.

It would seem the first person to recognize the extent of stratospheric ozone decline in the data was not an atmospheric scientist. It was Jonathan Shanklin, the computer programmer responsible for automating how ozone concentration was calculated from the atmospheric observations of the British Antarctic Survey (Shanklin, 2010). In 1983, Shanklin was tasked with quelling public concerns over ozone depletion and was presenting two decades of data to this end when the pattern in seasonal decline became evident to him. In other accounts, Farman is said to have recognized the data as early as 1982 (Roan, 1989). In either case, Farman’s research team offered no warning until 1985, although it appears they did seek confirmation from NASA (Conway, 2008; Shanklin, 2010). Roan (1989) has reported that Farman even blocked the scholarly reporting of data of decline in order to obtain a more systematic record of the decline. The resulting paper by Farman, Gardiner, and Shanklin (1985) displayed their findings in the graph reproduced above (see Figure 2). Interestingly, it inverts the right Y-axis in order to synch up visually the decline of ozone with the presence of industrial chemicals (Shanklin, 2010, notes how this was an unconventional and dramatic way of displaying such information).

Similarly, NASA’s failure to report the ozone hole in a timely fashion involved data-processing difficulties as well. The problems here involved the nature of the computer processing system, which took years to place data in the hands of researchers; the sheer amount of measurements made daily (approximately 200,000); and the automated quality control program, which treated low measurements as errors. The proper characterization of this situation has been subject to debate, as some regard the situation as a regrettable mistake or oversight by NASA (Gribbin, 1988; Lambright, 2005; Pearce, 2008), while others suggest this process simply reflected the normal procedures of calibration and confirmation of data (Conway, 2008; Edwards, 2010; Stolarski, 2003). In any case, data of significant depletion were simply overlooked until the publication of Farman et al. (1985), and despite evidence of decline dating to the late 1970s.

The upshot of the discovery of the ozone hole was that human capacities to process environmental changes were fallible. Precaution, in this context, entailed restraining industrial transformations of the planet even when observations of damage were not forthcoming. A better observing system and better data-processing infrastructure were needed to address—if not remove—the human fallibilities that permitted experts to disregard a half-decade-old record of an industrially destabilized Earth system. Additional study was needed to prove that industrial alteration of the stratosphere by the chemical industry was responsible for the rapid depletion of stratospheric ozone.

The actual development of an Earth-observing system able to register industrial transformations in the upper atmosphere changes the nature of environmental precaution in a fundamental way. Despite clear evidence of industrially caused destabilization, there were still no immediate bans or halts on production. Instead, the atmosphere acquired a precautionary setting, one that modulated the degree of industrial change and instigated the development of ameliorative techniques for moderating its more dangerous consequences. The material composition of the atmosphere thus becomes an object of precautionary politics. Observing systems permit geographically and temporally specific warnings of the dangerous environmental changes that result from industrial transformation. Precaution, in this context, is produced by observing capabilities and is about making populations responsive to the media generated by earth-observing systems.


So called Man is split up into physiology and information technology.

—Kittler (1999, p. 16)

Indexes illustrate the contemporary nature of precaution in a more direct way than the preceding discussion of ozone imaging and help us better locate the politics of media generated from numerical processing of records of environmental change. Indexes are not unlike the composite nature of the imaging processes discussed above; records and forecasts of environmental change are inputted into algorithms to produce calculations. There is one key difference. Whereas the ozone hole is a number that lacks all reference to embodied humans, the indexes discussed below connect such observations to human physiology and biology.

Often, a meteorological index is intended to predict our “feel” for various environmental conditions, as with the “wind chill” factor or the more recent proliferation of “real feel”–type indexes, which promise a more accurate feel for heat and cold than the reporting of temperature as registered by mercury thermometers. Instead of reporting a thermometer reading of 20°C, a real-feel number is reported—say, 22°C—which is the product of an algorithm involving thermometer readings and other variables. In some cases, the set of procedures is known and shared publicly, although increasingly these algorithms are considered proprietary, protected by patents, and treated as trade secrets. Whereas barometer and thermometer readings have been used for centuries to guide anticipations of weather, contemporary indexes combine such measures and other relevant data to link assessments of meteorological condition to physiological function.

There are also indexes designed to improve our “feel” for conditions we cannot properly sense or experience as dangerous. It is more obvious in these cases that indexes displace our senses and automate the anticipations or inferences we might typically derive from observing a handful of instrument readings. Personal experience is discredited in favour of an explicit calculation of environmental changes.The key point is the insufficiency of responding to environmental changes as perceived, as felt first-hand, or via an ad hoc assessment of the various public measures that are routinely available (temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc.).

The UV index is a good example of how records of sunlight in the atmosphere are integrated with assumptions of physiological function. Introduced in Canada in 1992, and subsequently adopted and standardized for global dissemination by the World Health Organization in 1994, the UV index incorporates measures of sunlight reaching the ground, other environmental measures (like ground elevation), and simulated conditions (cloud cover, weather forecasts) to calculate how anticipated radiation exposure might directly damage human skin using an erythemal action spectrum, which expresses how radiation reddens (see Figure 5) certain kinds of human skin (Fioletov, Kerr, & Fergusson, 2010).

Figure 5:  Burn threat graphic for UV Index

Figure 5:  Burn threat graphic for UV Index

Source: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), 2012

Expressed as a simple number, from 0 to 25, the UV Index does not derive from or offer a representation of the atmosphere or environment. It converts select variables into an appraisal of potential danger that determines acceptable loads of radiation, usually with respect to the ameliorative techniques available for managing such loads (such as SPF-rated sunscreen, appropriate eyewear, et cetera). While the UV Index can be expressed graphically, by plotting it on a map using shades of colour to highlight geographical differences in threat level, it is strictly numerical. It both activates and is embedded in precautionary protocols that are affirmed or ignored.

This is why it makes sense to distinguish precaution from representation. The index does not make UV light visible. In fact, UV indexes are often forecasts, not real-time measures of radiation risk. With the UV Index, we enact protocols of precaution in ritualistic fashion, or we fail to do so, as Margaret Ehrlich lamented in the Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth films.

This situation is best described in a deeper historical context. There is nothing new, for instance, in linking physiological ailments to atmospheric change, or in the development of ameliorative strategies to meet such anticipations. In the nineteenth century, specific climates were prescribed for chronic conditions so routinely that Nietzsche (1996) predicted, “In the end, the whole earth will be a collection of health resorts” (p. 356). Environmental conditions, it was widely recognized, are registered physiologically and often subconsciously, with aching joints and headaches only the most well known of human responses to an ever modulating atmosphere. In fact, the dominance of physiological-inspired psychology in the nineteenth century issued in a profound experimental fascination with the implications of almost insensible shifts in light, weight, indigested things, and other concerns with respect to bodily functioning. According to Peters (2004), such intense inquiry underpins the development of nineteenth-century media and remains a crucial horizon for our understanding of media theory. To be sure, such fascinations far outpaced the conscious development of media for recording environmental processes. In fact, physiological recordings of environmental change competed with barometers and other nineteenth-century forecasting equipment in anticipating the weather. It was in this sense that Nietzsche considered himself a “weather prophet” and a human barometer, given his extreme sensitivity to changes in atmospheric conditions.

Contemporary indexes extend and reconfigure older ideas regarding the relationship of physiological and environmental change, while displacing the human senses, automating the anticipations and inferences once drawn from instrument readings, and more finely synching physiological response to environmental condition. They are a product of the materialist revolution in light processing identified by Kittler (2010), as the effects of light are inscribed independently into both technical storage media and the physiological operation of human organisms that cannot sense radiation danger. UV indexes presume this distinction in light recording capacities insisted upon by Kittler in order to bring bodies in line with the technical processing of light to create an anticipatory assessment of danger for precautionary purposes.

We might say the UV Index is a tool for retrofitting human populations to an industrially altered planet. Humans become dependent on a data-processing infrastructure to produce warnings of dangerous environmental change. The physiological elements made into objects of scientific inquiry during the age of differentiated media are now recombined in light of the observations of environmental change that escape all human sensation.


It might be suggested that the preceding account of the UV Index presumes a rather undifferentiated set of cultural responses, and that users will make of the index what they will. The UV Index, after all, is simply one element in a complex media flow, and its effects are mediated by social relations, cultural context, and past experiences.

This is, of course, the case. The cultural training programs organized by educational, environmental, public health, and weather agencies suggest as much. The constant appeals from the UV-proofing industries—sunglasses, lotions, clothing, and personalized warning devices—speak to the non-automated nature of consumer protection. The ubiquity of solar radiation ailments in especially dangerous geographical locations and the diversity of graphic formats utilized in warnings are illustrative of the difficulties involved.

If this is not proof enough of the irrepressible nature of human semiosis, there is focus group data. Humans, it seems, are sometimes confused by UV indexes or interpret their warnings variously (Gray & Beckman, 2011). Polysemy, in this instance, equals public health danger.

The solution is automated alert systems (Gray & Beckman, 2011). In New Zealand, the Sun Protection Alert (Figure 6) is now reported in place of the UV Index. Descriptions and forecasts of environmental change have been displaced by automated warnings that declare a geographical space dangerous for a set period of time. The alert tells people what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. The last vestiges of a description of our environmental surroundings are no longer reported to affected populations. Industrially altered Earth systems are simply declared dangerous or not.

Figure 6: Automated UV alert

Figure 6: Automated UV alert

Source: Health Promotion Agency, 2012

In Punta Arenas, Chile, the “solar stop light” signals whether or not sunlit space is dangerous. Punta Arenas is especially famous because the Antarctic ozone hole occasionally opens up over the heads of city residents. This typically results in a brief flurry of news or blog posts, but as the citizens of Punta Arenas know well, the existence of the hole is no reliable indicator of the degree of danger they face. The stoplight is the better indicator, since it incorporates ozone measures with other environmental conditions that determine danger.

Figure 7: Personalized UV alerts

Figure 7: Personalized UV alerts


In Canada, there is an app for sun hazard alerts. These programs for mobile devices permit individually tailored warnings of radiation danger, as users can enter the variables informing the algorithm that triggers the warning. These variables include the nature of the environment, an identification of one’s skin shade, and the ameliorative measures employed. In this way, interpretative capabilities for reading the signs of nature are redeveloped into programming capacities for a data-processing infrastructure. Instead of dragging the chained into the sunlight in order to realign their perception, as Plato would, we now force our children into the shadows, where computer screens are legible, and where industrial transformations in the way the Earth processes sunlight are not quite so threatening.


1. According to Edwards (2003), socio-technical systems are infrastructural when they involve hardware, organizations, tacit background knowledge, wide acceptance, ubiquity, and reliability.

2. In many respects, the precursor and closest analogue for GEOSS is the relationship between the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS, under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA) and commercial weather services; in particular, the initial agreement between NWS and the Weather Channel in the early 1980s drew on similar rhetoric and created analogous problems to those facing GEOSS.

3. Nick Walker, a.k.a. “The Weather Dude,” is known for producing media to prepare children for weather danger, including his songbook and CD Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared. See Walker, 2011.

4. Of course, using funding that is earmarked for climate change education to promote concern with UV radiation is not above criticism. Yet Lee’s (2005) article reaches the grudging conclusion that the Bush administration is to be commended for these programs of environmental precaution, not challenged.

5. Put simply, the ground-based Dobson Unit measure is arrived at by comparing wavelengths of light that pass through ozone with wavelengths of light that are absorbed by it; the Dobson spectrophotometer measures wavelength pairs to made this determination, while Brewers can take multiple wavelength pair readings at the same time in order to improve accuracy (Brewer, 1973).


Feedvision: UV index app. URL:


Arendt, Hannah. (1958). The human condition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Barrett, Scott. (2003). Environment and statecraft: The strategy of environmental treaty-making. London: Oxford University Press.

Belden-Adams, K. (2008). Time implosion in N.A.S.A’s whole Earth photographs. Spectator, 28(2), 23–30.

Berland, Jody. (1996). Mapping space: Imaging technologies and the planetary body. In S. Aronowitz, B. Martinson, & M. Menser (Eds.), Technoscience and cyberculture (pp. 123–137). New York, NY: Routledge.

Berland, Jody. (2009). North of empire: Essays on the cultural technologies of space. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Brand, Stewart. (1977). Why haven’t we seen the whole Earth? The sixties: The decade remembered now, by the people who lived it then (pp. 168–170). New York, NY: Rolling Stone Press.

Brewer, A.W. (1973). A replacement for the Dobson spectrophotometer? Pure and Applied Geophysics, 106-108; 919–927.

Cagin, Seth, & Dray, Philip. (1993). Between earth and sky: How CFC’s changed our world and endangered the ozone layer. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.

Conway, Erik M. (2008). Atmospheric science at NASA: A history. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

D. Hodel, boy environmentalist. (1987, June 7). The Washington Post, p. B6.

Dobson, G.M.B. (1931). Ozone in the upper atmosphere and its relation to meteorology. Nature, 3209(127), 668–672.

Dobson, G.M.B. (1968). Forty years’ research on atmosphere ozone at Oxford: A history. Applied Optics, 7(3), 387–405.

Edwards, Paul. (2003). Infrastructure and modernity: Force, time, and social organization in the history of sociotechnical systems. In Thomas J. Misa, Philip Brey, & Andrew Feenberg (Eds.), Modernity and technology (pp. 185–225). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Edwards, Paul. (2010). A vast machine: Computer models, climate data, and the politics of global warming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (n.d.). UV radiation and UV Index [Transcript of film]. URL: [May 15, 2013].

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2003a). Ozone depletion: Science and response [Film]. URL: [May 15, 2013].

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2003b). Health effects of UV radiation [Film]. URL: [May 15, 2013].

Farman, J.C. (1989). Measurements of the total ozone using Dobson spectrometers: Some comments on their history. Nature, 37(12), 1601–1604.

Farman, J. C., Gardiner, B. G., & Shanklin, J. D. (1985). Large losses of total ozone in Antarctica reveal seasonal ClOx/NOx interaction. Nature, 315, 207–210.

Fioletov, Vitali, Kerr, James B., & Fergusson, Angus. (2010). The UV index: Definition, distribution, and factors affecting it. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 101(4), I5–I9.

Gray, Rebecca, & Beckman, Wayde. (2011). Communicating UVR information to the public. Wellington, New Zealand: Health Sponsorship Council.

Gribbin, J. (1988). The hole in the sky: Man’s threat to the ozone layer. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Health Promotion Agency. (2012). URL: [May 15, 2013].

Innis, Harold. (2007). Empire and communications. Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press. (Original work published 1950)

Kittler, Friedrich A. (1999). Gramophone, film, typewriter. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Kittler, Friedrich A. (2010). Optical media: Berlin lectures, 1999. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Krämer, Sybille. (2006). The cultural techniques of time axis manipulation: On Friedrich Kittler’s conception of media. Theory, Culture & Society, 23(7–8), 93–109.

Lambright, W. Henry. (1995). NASA, ozone, and policy-relevant science. Research Policy, 24(5), 747–760.

Lambright, W. Henry. (2005). NASA and the environment: The case of ozone depletion. Washington, DC: NASA.

Lee, Christopher. (2005, July 18). EPA paid Weather Channel for videos. The Washington Post, p. A13.

Litfin, K. (1994). Ozone discourse: Science and politics in global environmental cooperation. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). (2009a). Antarctic ozone hole: 19782008. URL: [April 5, 2010].

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). (2009b). New simulation shows consequences of a world without Earth’s natural sunscreen. URL: [April 5, 2010].

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). (2009c). Ozone facts: What is the ozone hole? URL: [April 5, 2010].

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) [New Zealand]. (2012). Our services. URL: [May 15, 2013].

Nietzsche, Friedrich. (1996). Human, all too human: A book for free spirits. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Packer, Jeremy. (2013) Screens in the sky: SAGE, surveillance, and the automation of perceptual, mnemonic, and epistemological labor. Social Semiotics, 23(2). 173–195.

Parks, Lisa. (2005). Cultures in orbit: Satellites and the televisual. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Parks, Lisa. (2006). Planet patrol: Satellite imaging, acts of knowledge, and global security. In A. Martin & P. Petro (Eds.), Rethinking global security (pp. 132-150). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Parks, Lisa. (2013). Earth observation and signal territories: Studying U.S. broadcast infrastructure through historical network maps, Google Earth, and fieldwork. Canadian Journal of Communication, 38(3), 285–307.

Pearce, F. (2008, September 20). Ozone hole? What ozone hole? New Scientist, 199(2674), 46–47.

Peters, John Durham. (2004). Helmholtz, Edison, and sound history. In Lauren Rabinovitz & Abraham Geil (Eds.), Memory bytes: History, technology, and digital culture (pp. 177–198). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Peters, John Durham. (2010). Introduction: Friedrich Kittler’s light shows. In Friedrich Kittler, Optical Media (pp. 1–17). London: Polity.

Pielke, R.A., & Betsill, M.M. (1997). Policy for science for policy: A commentary on Lambright on ozone depletion and acid rain. Research Policy, 26(2), 157–168.

Roan, S.L. (1989). Ozone crisis. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Schellnhuber, H.J. (1999). ‘Earth system’ analysis and the second Copernican revolution. Nature, 402, C19–C23.

Shanklin, Jonathan. (2010). Reflections on the ozone hole. Nature, 465(7294), 34–35.

Shapiro, I.S. (1975, June 30). The ozone layer vs the aerosol industry: DuPont wants to see them both survive. The New York Times, p. 30.

Stolarski, Richard. (2003). A hole in the Earth’s shield. In Laura Garwin & Tim Lincoln (Eds.), A century of nature (pp. 283–289). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Stolarski, R.S., Krueger, A.J., Schoeberl, M.R., McPeters, R.D., Newman, P.A., & Alpert, J.C. (1986). Nimbus 7 satellite measurements of the springtime Antarctic ozone depletion. Nature, 322, 808–811.

Sullivan, Walter. (1986, November 7). Low ozone level found above Antarctica. The New York Times, p. B21.

Walker, Nick. (2011). [Online bio]. URL: [March 26, 2011].

Winner, Langdon. (1986). The whale and the reactor: A search for limits in the age of high technology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Winthrop-Young, Geoffrey. (2011). Kittler and media studies, London: Polity.

  •  Announcements
    Atom logo
    RSS2 logo
    RSS1 logo
  •  Current Issue
    Atom logo
    RSS2 logo
    RSS1 logo
  •  Thesis Abstracts
    Atom logo
    RSS2 logo
    RSS1 logo

We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.