In August 2013 we set sail from Stromness on our second Sea Change expedition, aboard Lerwick community boat The Swan, with a crew of 27 artists, scientists and informers. More ›

The Crew

The expedition crew of 27 includes a wide range of scientific and creative folk.
Meet the crew ›

Read posts by



Video highlights

Watch video highlights from the expedition ›

Day 3, Blog 2: Weather and Climate, Cities and Seas

Cliffs north Shetland

Cliffs north Shetland

Our ship The Swan is stuck in harbour, victim of passing gale-force winds. Winds that are a regular ol’ weather event, not a mind-bending indicator of climactic events to come. But enough to change course.

Weather has always been more important outside cities, than in. Camping, canoeing, sailing or even putting up your laundry; everyday activities are affected by everyday weather. Rural minds are more keenly tuned to it. In cities, it affects where we drink our pint: patio or bar. Or whether we take our bike to work, or transit. Air-conditioners strain in hotter summers, but we can turn them up. And think ourselves protected from weather.

All that is changing, as weather becomes climate. Calgary’s floods, Toronto’s overwhelming downpour and of course, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina are harbingers of cities under siege. When statistics shift, extreme weather events – extended droughts, floods, and an onslaught of record temperatures – become hard evidence of climate becoming hostile.When record highs beat record lows by a margin of 3:1, those highs are climate change. Individual pixels become a pattern, eventually. We are there.

Yesterday, with artist David Buckland taking photos of projected phrases like “Natural Control” at night on pounding surf, we got a bit wet. Exhilarated wet. David’s combination of semantic and visual (my favourite is “Discounting the Future” in white light with a giant iceberg as background, taken on one of his Arctic adventures) jam simple but scary truthes into scenes of stunning beauty.

In the meantime, here in the Shetlands, we await calmer weather. Which in the here and now, at least, is on the way. We cannot say the same over the longer term for ur cities, agricultural belts, and shorelines.

Climate change is to cities as weather is to the sea. Something you can’t ignore.


Author: Tom Rand


Joins the expedition for week 2 and 3 Tom focuses his efforts on carbon mitigation and is active in Cleantech venture capital, technology incubation and commercialization, and public advocacy.
View profile ›

Recent posts by Tom Rand

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

James Brady’s expedition blog for ecoartscotland

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 11.44.52
See James Brady’s blog here:   http://ecoartscotland.net/    

Leaving Fair Isle

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.26.15

Andy Crabb’s Sea Changes Part 1 now on vimeo

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 18.55.32
Sea Changes, part 1 featuring Karine Polwart from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. Part 1 of a film about Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition, on board the Swan LK243. The Swan is a traditional Shetland fishing sail boat, restored and operated by a community based trust in Shetland swantrust.com/. She is a truly beautiful boat. The film... Read more ›

Carbon Cycle

1.carbon sink
CARBON/SINK Site-specific organic drawing, North Haven pier, Fair Isle (peat and fresh water / 12” x 120”)     A musing on the ecology of the Carbon Cycle and the human intervention within it’s system: the symbiotic links between the entropy of organic matter – moorland as a carbon sink – fossil fuels – carbon... Read more ›

Wind, stone

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.52.21
Wind, stone: by Teresa Elwes

Fish For The Table

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.35.38
FishForTheTable 03 vimeo from Tam Treanor.

Microcosms: Eons, Tides and Dreams

‘I go to the rockpool at the slack of the tide to mind me what my poetry’s for.’ –      Jen Hadfield (from the poem, Daed-traa*)           ‘The parent materials were gathered together as volcanoes poured them out in fiery streams, as waters running over the bare rocks of the continents wore... Read more ›


bunk and deck
quota n 1. the proportional or part of a whole that is due from, due to, or allocated to a person or group 2. a prescribed number or quantity, as of items to be manufactured, imported, or exported, immigrants admitted to a country [from Latin quota pars how big a share?, from quotus of what... Read more ›

Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 10.29.03
“Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013. from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. In August 2013 members of Cape Farewell’s “Sea Change” project explored the landscapes, history and future of the Orkneys whilst sailing on board The Swan, a beautifully restored Shetland Fifie. The group consisting of artists,... Read more ›

Pelagic Gannets

When the seas calmed and I was no longer confined to my sick bunk, it was wonderful to be on deck and to observe my new watery surroundings, I saw gannets flap and glide past the Swan and was amazed to see their large wingspan for the first time. They truly are a majestic bird!... Read more ›

Sea change See change

Go  2
Poet. Climate change.  Environmentalist.  Scientist. Carbon economy. (Ex-)soldier. Renewables. Conservationist.  Fishing quota.  Artist. Sustainability. Writer.  Everyday words susceptible to our own interpretation, predisposition and characterisation.   Words that can be polarising and divisive.  So what happens when you mix them with a few associated ingredients?  On the one hand there is the potential for an explosive... Read more ›

Big words + Lumpy times

scalloway map
LUMPY adj lumpier, lumpiest full of or having lumps (Transport / Nautical Terms) (esp of the sea) rough confused seas We headed south on ‘lumpy’ seas from Scalloway towards Sumburgh Head.  Our direction towards the East side was guided by the weather forecast and I was pleased to be moving at last. I have been... Read more ›