We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Measurement, Knowledge, and Representation: A Sociological Study of Arctic Sea-Ice Science

SEDDON, LAURA,JANE (2022) Measurement, Knowledge, and Representation: A Sociological Study of Arctic Sea-Ice Science. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


Satellite-derived observations of Arctic sea ice are instrumental in contemporary sea-ice research. Through the production and dissemination of data products, these observations shape our understanding of Arctic sea-ice conditions, knowledge of which is essential for informing policy responses, decision-making, and action in the face of unprecedented climate change. However, due to the complex, dynamic, and indeterminate nature of sea ice and various scientific and technological challenges involved in its observation, measurement, and representation, the accuracy to which these products depict Arctic sea ice is limited. Moreover, the methodologies used to acquire, process, and report satellite data vary between scientific institutions, resulting in inconsistent estimates of key sea-ice parameters.

Informed by social constructivist arguments developed within science and technology studies and critical cartography, this thesis contends that satellite-derived sea-ice data products represent a particular way of observing, interpreting, and classifying complex geophysical conditions that is socially and culturally contingent. This raises important questions about how sea-ice knowledge is constructed through the interactions between sea ice, sensing technologies, and social practices. Accordingly, this thesis integrates ethnographic and visual methodologies to critically explore how dynamic and indeterminate geophysical data are acquired, processed, and reported in Arctic sea-ice science. By examining sea-ice data products in terms of their underlying practices and technologies, institutional settings, and the broader socio-cultural, political, and historical contexts in which they are embedded, this thesis provides insights into the sociological nature of contemporary sea-ice research. It concludes that greater recognition of the social contingencies shaping how sea-ice data products are generated and disseminated is needed to foster more democratic and socially responsible forms of scientific knowledge. The findings presented in this thesis may provide valuable starting points for critically examining how sea-ice science may be made more equitable and enriched or improved by alternative perspectives.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 May 2022 13:12

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter