2004, the Exploratorium covered a conference in the Galapagos Islands
organized by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (www.esig.ucar.edu/galapagos/index.html).
The conference, held at the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa
Cruz Island, focused on atmospheric science, biological and conservation
issues, and the social implications of El Niño forecasting
on developing Pacific Rim countries. Conservation scientists have
a growing interest in climate forecasting and early warning systems
to improve their efforts in researching ecosystem responses, including
human responses, to various "shocks." Shocks are disturbances or
abrupt changes in an ecosystem, caused by such things as extreme
weather, natural disasters, and climate shifts (the latter are responsible
for El Niño and La Niña). Shocks can also be human-caused
disturbances, such as deforestation, pollution, and over fishing.
and correspondent Mary K. Miller posted dispatches and images from
the conference as well as streaming audio files of individual sessions.
Some of the topics explored at the meeting and on the Exploratorium
Web site include the unique setting in the Galapagos and the challenges
posed by both climate fluctuations and a burgeoning population on
this iconic biological preserve. In 1998, the Exploratorium first
teamed up with NCAR, producing a live audio Webcast and dispatches
from the La Niña Summit. (www.exploratorium.edu/la_nina).