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Research Projects

How does knowledge about climate interact with power relationships in society over the historical long-term?
Book Project | Governing Climate

Based on dissertation research, Governing Climate: History, Power, and the Struggle over Climate Futures traces how scientists came to measure, know, and understand climate, a process that did not unfold through a logic of scientific rationality alone, but was often tied to practices of government, especially state formation and industrial capitalism. I conceptualize this process as “meteorological government,” trace it from around 1780 to 2019, and argue that the relationship between climate science and government stands at a crossroads. One direction aims towards climate justice and human needs, the other aims toward 'climate security' and the protection of some over others. 

Sample Chapter: "Economic Rationalization of Weather: Risk, Prediction, and “Normal” Weather, 1870-1930." Available At this link.

Related publications include:

Baker, Zeke. 2021. “Agricultural Capitalism, Climatology and the ‘Stabilization’ of Climate in the United States, 1850–1920. British Journal of Sociology 72(2): 379-396. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12762.

Baker, Zeke. 2018. “Meteorological Frontiers: Climate Knowledge, the West, and US Statecraft, 1800-1850.” Social Science History 42(4): 731-761. https://doi.org/10.1017/ssh.2017.51.

Baker, Zeke. 2017. “Climate State: Science-State Struggles and the Formation of Climate Science in the US from the 1930s to 1960s.” Social Studies of Science 47(6): 861-887. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312717725205.

How do social groups incorporate marine forecasts into their decisions,
especially under conditions of high risk and uncertainty?
Postdoctoral Project | Decision Support for the Alaska Marine Community

Marine weather forecasts are important to decision-making in the Bering Sea region of Alaska, which hosts among the most productive fisheries and extreme weather in the world. Diverse user groups, especially those involved with commercial and subsistence fisheries, rely on formal weather forecasts alongside other knowledge, experiences, and factors that structure their decision-making. This project uses qualitative interviews and in situ fieldwork to understand how different user groups utilize, interpret, and value marine forecasts. The project will then help to inform how marine forecasts might better engage diverse groups, especially given the risks involved in living and operating in the Bering Sea region and the dramatic socio-environmental changes that presently characterize the region.

This research is organized through the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at the University of Oklahoma and situated within the Arctic Test Bed and Proving Ground (ATPG) at the National Weather Service in Anchorage, Alaska. The research is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).

Related publications:

Baker, Zeke. 2021. “Anticipatory Culture: Weather, Climate, and Temporal Dissonance in the Bering Sea.” Weather, Climate & Society 13: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-21-0066.1

Full Report available here:

Baker, Zeke. 2021. Weather  Information Use in the Bering Sea: A Social Analysis of Risk, Uncertainty and Marine Decision-making. 

How can climate change research more effectively and equitably inform climate change adaptation?