[Response: Not really. That book was mostly about Lonnie Thompson, with sidelights on a lot of important historical figures in climate science. "Thin Ice" seems to be a popular title, c.f the Midwestern Noir mystery flick Thin Ice , set in Kenosha, Wisconsin right at the end of the Union Pacific Metra North line. --raypierre]
One can hope the current explosion of phony skepticism is in its supernova phase. I get the impression those who choose a position and go for broke to support it are not pervious to the true scientific habit of mind. They think *they* are the ones doing science, and have no sense at all of the curiosity and openness that is at the core of real science.
Very few people can imagine that others are not just like them. If they have an agenda, they will assume you do too.
Speaking of which, a nice little bit from Feynman:
“Yes, of course. We have to learn that these are the kinds of disciplines in the field of science that you have to learn – to know when you know and when you don’t know, and what it is you know and what it is you don’t know. You’ve go to be very careful not to confuse yourself.”
I’m a big fan of knowing what one doesn’t know. It’s a start.
Great to see this! Have forwarded to a number of community contacts here in BC, Canada. Wishing that someone who might be wavering, takes a firm step and then another to being more tuned in and active on this topic!
For a Thin Ice screening near you visit: thiniceclimate.org/screenings. If you’d like to host a screening, please email your details (see thiniceclimate.org/launch) to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15th, 2013.
‘Thin Ice’ is a popular title because of it suggests the metaphor “skating on thin ice” —which is what the human race is doing at the moment.
Comment by John Russell (@JohnRussell40) — 9 Apr 2013 @ 5:17 AM
With due respect to you & Stefan, Ray, it is refreshing to see a host of new faces (to me, anyway!) and hear fresh voices. But, thanks to you pioneers (Real Climate and SkS for two!), science communication of this topic has come a long way.
It may sink in with the public that climate science is a lot more than the few individuals we see sitting in front of congressional committees – but that is all there is to the deniers.
The trailer is definitely Dawkinsesque – English scientist sees attacks on science and seeks the truth! – but that is not a bad thing.
Comment by Christopher Squire — 9 Apr 2013 @ 6:27 AM
I hope that the movie will be available for download, or on DVD, after Earth Week. I’m in the process of moving into a continuing care retirement community in southern New Hampshire, and I have plans to start a course on climate change for residents of this community after I’m moved in. The moving process won’t be completed until early May, so I’ll be late for Earth Week under the best of circumstances. More likely I’ll be about 4 months late, because I need to plan my course. I envision it starting in September. “Thin Ice” would be an ideal vehicle for the course I’m planning! Thanks to you and the other film makers for producing it.
I just watched the trailer. I’m impressed. I will want to see the whole film before final judging. I’ve felt the tone of the current voices of discontent is quite different from 40 years ago. The pendulum swings over to the various sciences from time-to-time. I remember during the Cold War nuclear science was “not good”. NASA and the Apollo Program caused a major swing the positive way with a following negative swing over biologists and evolution. The current attack on climate scientists is very personal and seems somewhat of a mass hysteria, at least within a small vociferous mass. Best wishes.
Looking forward to it – just one question in http://vimeo.com/46397395 “2.6-Factors besides CO2″ Wally Broecker says when you include the effect of water vapour the CO2 climate sensitivity increases from 1.2 deg C to 3.5 deg C – is that correct ? – that sounds too high to me – especially if you include the lapse rate
More generally – has someone been through doing a ‘fact check’ on all the commentary – it would be a shame to hand any easy ammunition to the critics (although I’m sure they will invent some reasons to not like it, even if everything is 100% defensible)
[Response: The 3.5C number would be the full IPCC mid-range sensitivity, and Wally was in error (but not too much) in attributing all of that to water vapor. Some of the difference over the raw CO2 Planck-only sensitivity comes from cloud feedbacks, largely dissipation of low clouds. I don't know if the Thin Ice team had an independent fact-checker, but they are quite knowledgeable and are likely to have caught anything major (I haven't reviewed all of the supplementary footage personally). A lot of the material was circulated earlier and some things got caught that way, but in a movie like this it's hard to guarantee against some faults slipping through. For that matter, in a movie based largely on interviews, there's the question of how a slight inaccuracy like Wally's should be handled. You'd lose a lot of spontaneity if you went back and did a re-take, and it would all start to look scripted. At this point, I think the best thing would be for us all to help keep a log of things that need correction, and have the Thin Ice team compile this and make it available on the site. You raise a good point. I'll suggest this to them. --raypierre]
Those who study message delivery note that Hollywood really won’t touch global warming. Instead they blunder past the science and go for the cinematic calamity. Or will bury the issue deep into subplot or poetic metaphor.
A pity, because this really is the greatest saga, an epic tale, and possibly a momentous tragedy. And all real. Endlessly interesting conflicts, dramas and huge battles with very, very powerful, very wealthy and ruthless forces.
I see it as beyond interesting, captivating and I expect there are some people who might follow this issue just for the drama. Everything is thrilling, because everything matters. And the struggle between power and ethics alone is vastly consequential. Huge.
Just look at the pitched PR battles between blogs, each is an encampment. We see troll battles in the comments below any blog devoted to the issue. Any substantially wise and insightful YouTube presentation will produce rants and counter-rants. Giant issues reduced to hockey stick images, and bashing personalities. Obscene and vicious PR campaigns detailed by Oreskes, Mann and Gelbspan. Perfectly cast heroes, martyrs and villains everywhere.
There are dramatic issues of the moment, it used to be about thermometers and data issues enough to make statistics interesting, then Arctic ice melt, hidden methane, stratosphere warming, jet stream meanders and oceanic currents, thermohaline and acidification… there are hundreds of fascinating sub-plots and intrigues. I would think that there would be documentarians lining up. Drama is everywhere. ALL the sciences are somehow involved – even tangentially – try astroclimatology, paleotempestology.
Because the stakes are infinite, no issue is too small. So the chess game becomes real. Where the actions of the pawns become as powerful and important as the Queens and Kings (royalty loses status on a global planet – all are equalized).
There is no other issue more important. Eventually, soon maybe, everyone will be paying very close attention.
What a saga! And the ending is not written. We get to author the ending.
Really thrilling. Can’t wait to see this movie, and to help author a continuing saga and be in every scene that I can.
I want to see the movie, I like what you are doing, but you have got to get a different poster.
That poster is for scientist’s bulletin boards, not for attracting an audience to view the film.
I will download print this, but I am pretty sure that posting it will not be that effective. Or rather it could be better. Time to call upon the Hollywood movie poster designers…really. Design a poster that makes people want to see it.
[Response: I'm sure you are right. The problem is that this movie was put together on a shoestring, and within the budget limitations I think they did what they could. It was a small miracle that they managed to scrape together enough to finish production at all. If there is a good graphic artist out there who would like to contribute a better poster, I'm sure the Thin Ice team would appreciate the help. --raypierre]
To answer a few questions here- the film WILL be available for download starting on April 24th, 2013. You will be able to purchase and download it from the Shop that will be listed on the ThinIceclimate.org website.
I really liked how the short videos gave me insight into what climate scientists do on a daily basis. In particular, showing how blowing carbon dioxide over the radiation detector changed the spectrum of the received radiation was fascinating. But how many people will understand what it means?
However, the trailer is seriously flawed. What I remember is a guy pretending to read to his daughter but really ignoring her, followed by “Climate Science is a Fraud” repeated many times, with the last sentence, the one people will remember, “is it all a lie?”
This is a great template for a crude anti global warming brainwashing campaign, but I don’t think that was the intention. A basic rule for communicating a controversial subject is to not repeat the statements you are trying to debunk. People remember the simple statement (its a fraud) rather than the complex information that follows (reference). Instead, make positive statements that undermine the false information.
I realize this project was a lot of hard work, and it is easy for me to sit here and criticize, but this trailer really misses the mark.
I also enjoyed a few of the trailers, despite a few scientific quibbles here and there. I’m looking forward to the entire thing. This is also the first time I heard a satisfactory explanation of the greenhouse effect in a “popular source” video such as this.
I like presenting what scientists do rather than just the science…its easier to relate to people who have family, friends, job stress, and who can share a beer with colleagues …rather than some secret club that declares what is truth and not from the ivory tower. Meeting the scientists is probably a very good first step toward building public confidence in science as a way to make the world intelligible.
I will have to free up time to check this out – looks interesting. The “Thin Ice” title reminds me of 2 concerns that have appeared on my radar recently. Bedmap2, which shows much more of the Antarctic ice is grounded well below sea level than previously thought, and increasing evidence of deep ocean warming.
These two things add up to increased support for the view of some like James Hansen that very rapid sea level rise is possible.
Comparing to An Inconvenient Truth, I think this is better suited to the times.
A lot of money was spent on the older film, Al Gore pitched it as evenly as possible, but it comes across now as a trifle haranguing, moralistic and a bit cliched – I am talking about the brooding menacing music, the storms floods, fires and droughts depicted. Time I think we got away from all that – its shock value is limited.
This film has excellent presentation and production values, but I loved the intimacy it achieve with the scientists. They are so obviously sincere, enthusiastic and loving their work. It as different as listening to a speech, and having a chat with a knowledgeable mate down at the pub. I hope it gets distributed as widely as possible, and penetrates into the schools, where I think it will light enthusiasm for science among the young.
Universities with decent commercial art courses of study can be loaded with students, often very talented, desperate to build a portfolio. Some art professors occasionally welcome outside requests from people with little or no budget to speak of who need promotional art work. These jobs may be put to a class as a competition, or given to specific students (depending) and are developed under the professional direction of the professor and the watchful eye of the client. You can throw in a little cash reward, too, although I hate to say it, be aware that it may be pocketed by the teacher.
Anyhow, it wouldn’t hurt to investigate your local art schools/departments and see if there’s a possible fit for you.
Thin ice is actually photogenic, it has meaning especially if you photograph it often. Arctic Sea ice in fact is describing what is happening. After years of observing sea ice horizon shifts, I have determined a new way to measure ice thickness optically, which is ideally intertwined with the surface to air interface, in other words, the radiation budget of sea ice itself. http://eh2r.blogspot.ca/
Putting a “…human face on climate science…” is sorely needed, and I eagerly anticipate seeing the documentary. Attacking people should be beneath all of us, especially when there are so many misguided ideas worthy of the skewer.
The stated goal: “…ultimately we have to quit using fossil fuels” should be “Petrochemical Husbandry (PH),” as there are far better uses for them that don’t include moving 2 tonnes of metal and plastic around to transport 100Kg of protoplasm, etc., etc. (lots of other wasteful things to choose from).
The risk taken in connecting CO2, climate, and (randomly) extreme weather events to PH is extraordinarily high, in that the current disconnect between temperatures and CO2 is undermining the environmentally correct PH goal. This is the real “Thin Ice” being trodden upon!
This was a great film. Just finished watching it, downloading for future perusal. The film was much more powerful than the trailer, that I watched a week ago, would indicate. After watching the trailer, I had an idea it might be a little… well, flippant.
Good to see the likes of Raypierre and Phil Jones making an appearance, and also the excellent portrayals of the many dedicated, and dare I say unsung heroes of climatology working right at the coal face.
Hopefully this will go a step or two beyond just preaching to the converted.
Ed, check your Mac control panel for a Flash control button, might be something there. Flash may be off by default for security reasons (a good idea); you may need to find a downloaded installer and invoke it to run to install, and give it permission to store files on your computer, for the time it takes to do a download or streaming view. Just guessing of course.
It’s really nicely made, although I wonder how it comes across for people without any science background. It helped me really understand better what these folks are doing. And the amount of commitment is amazing. I hope at least that stays as a take-home message.
One thing I didn’t like so much — but then I’m a bloody scientist — was the longish shot of the Earth from the space station, aurorae and city lights etc. Beautiful, beautiful footage that I could gaze into for hours — like a fireplace, or a bubbling brook — but what has it got to do with climatology?