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Introducing RC forum

Filed under: — group @ 18 July 2006

It’s clear that there is a need to have some posts and discussions that specifically deal with up-to-the-minute articles and issues that we don’t necessarily want to cover in our usual detail. This might be related to a recent op-ed which just repeats the same talking-points as usual, or pointers to good discussions on other sites. To that end, we are introducing a separate category of post, called “RC forum”, where we will post these more minor items. Hopefully, this will help make interesting comment threads, which now sometimes occur under completely unrelated posts, easier to find and reference. The big pieces will still appear on the front page and in the RSS and Google feeds but the RC forum pieces will not. Right now, a notification email is sent out for every post, but we could restrict this to main page items if needed. There is now a link on the top bar to the RC Forum page and recent comments on Forum pieces will appear on the sidebar. Please let us know if you think this is a good idea or if you have ideas to improve it.


112 Responses to “Introducing RC forum”

  1. 51
    Sacha says:

    Re: #47

    The following letter appeared in today’s Australian in response to Alan Woods’ opinion piece at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19897053-21223,00.html

    Science and climate change
    July 25, 2006
    ALAN Wood (“Debate on climate change far from over”, Opinion, 19/7) notes that the recently released Wegman Report criticises statistical analyses of certain data on global warming. As Wegman and his colleagues point out, those analyses have been debated for some years; there is certainly room for disagreement with them.
    However, there is so much sound statistical evidence from so many other sources, that it would be quite wrong to suggest that the critique discussed by Wood materially weakens the argument that global warming is here, today, on a threateningly large scale. Wegman himself, when giving evidence to the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 19, took pains not to connect his report to any position on climate change.

    Indeed, the consensus among scientists on this issue is especially broad. In a joint statement last year the national science academies of all the G8 countries, and of Brazil, China and India, jointly concluded that “there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring (and) it is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities”. Although some journalists might wish to suggest that the existence of climate change is a theory open to debate, the scientific community is almost unanimous in asserting that it is virtually a proven fact.

    Ross Crozier
    Professor of evolutionary genetics
    James Cook University

    Peter Hall
    Professor of statistics
    Australian National University

  2. 52
    Sacha says:

    Helen Caldicott wrote an opinion piece in today’s Australian (see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19897882-7583,00.html) talking about the recent development of much cheaper (competitive with coal) solar cells by Prof. Vivian Alberts in South Africa (eg see this story
    http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=143&art_id=vn20060211110132138C184427 ):

    “In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun…”

    Does anyone know what is happening with this?

  3. 53
    Sacha says:

    Re #51: One thing about Helen Caldicott’s opinion piece is that it mentions in passing the “30,000 other species that cohabit this planet”. I hope this is a typo or a sub-editors mistake… my popular science readings suggest that she’s at least two orders of magnitude out here!

  4. 54
    Mark A. York says:

    I’ve lived in SoCal for ten years. This is hottest summer ever. It’s been 119 here and severely humid. All I want is to get the hell out.

  5. 55

    I find it funny that amidst the hoopla of the Republican investigation into science, we are having heatwaves all over, e.g. 90 deg here in Oxford etc. Perhaps Myron Ebell’s god is angry? ;-)

  6. 56
    Fernando Magyar says:

    Re #54: Where you headed? Mars or the shores of the methane lakes on Titan?;-)

    What I wonder is if the problems with power distribution are a sign of things to come? Being off grid with solar and wind is starting to look more and more sensible.

  7. 57

    I checked out the LA times today regarding the Californian heat wave. It sounded a lot like our last Canberra summer. People were complaining that the nights did not cool down; same thing happened in Canberra last summer.

    In the articles in the LA times I noted a tendency to downplay global warming in relation to the heatwave. The articles bought up the “heat island effect of urbanization”. It would be interesting to see some data published that would enable the “heat island” effect to be quantified, especially in the context of the current heatwave. Surely there are some weather stations in California outside urban areas.

    Can anyone help?

  8. 58
    Mark A. York says:

    “Where you headed?”

    I don’t know, but last summer in Ketchum, Idaho sure beat this. When I got back here in October my neighbors were still complaining and it was still very hot. This started earlier. I don’t know how long it will last into the fall.

  9. 59
    Steven T. Corneliussen says:

    You wrote at the top: “Please let us know if you think this is a good idea or if you have ideas to improve it.” I take it that no one plans to answer my earlier criticisms — criticisms from a big fan of RC — but here goes again:

    If you hear about RealClimate.org somewhere or somehow — as happens every day, now that RC is justifiably famous — and if you seek to learn from it, and if you then visit the home page, you won’t know about the RC forum threads unless you already know to choose the “rc forum” button.

    That’s it. If you don’t happen to explore that far, you miss the RC forum discussions. (Though yes, for the moment it’s true that the “Introducing RC Forum” thread on the home page could help. But that will eventually recede down the page and into the archive, presumably.)

    It’s disappointing, maybe deplorable, to see the political discussion that is ultimately RC’s reason for being segregated, obscured, and hobbled.

    I just flat don’t get it. The only way I can understand it is by wondering if it’s just another case of scientists wishing for “pristine” discourse (please see comment 32) in a world where only scientists get to have that.

  10. 60
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 59 Steven T. Corneliussen wrote: “It’s disappointing, maybe deplorable, to see the political discussion that is ultimately RC’s reason for being segregated, obscured, and hobbled.”

    That statement is at odds with the stated mission of RealClimate:

    “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”

    I agree (and also noted this previously) that it is difficult for the uninitiated to find the RC Forum threads (I stumbled upon the Forum by clicking on one of the “Recent Comments” items for a thread whose title I didn’t recognize).

  11. 61

    Does anyone have an opinion of the current state of ENSO? Looks kind of, much warmer off the coast of Peru….

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo&hot.html

    Thanks

  12. 62
    Steven T. Corneliussen says:

    Chuck Booth makes a fair point in comment 60, though RC’s new segregation and demotion of political discussion also apparently extends to the RC Forum’s handling in Google, and is not solely a clarity-of-home-page thing.

    And it’s also true that the point he makes is at the center of a debate that is as old as RC itself. The dividing line between politics and science is hard to define. We’ve debated this often before.

    I say again: ultimately RC is a political enterprise — and thank heavens for it. It’s true that scientists can help best by refereeing the factual science. But it’s also true that the RC site is — quoting what Chuck Booth quoted — “for the interested public and journalists.”

    If the site is really for the interested public and journalists, then RC Forum is a mistake. RC is now almost hiding what’s of most value to the interested public and journalists: discussions in which scientists clarify the factual aspects of public news and commentary about climate science.

    At a minimum, the new arrangement should be reversed. Put the RC forum on the main page, and let the regulars — the initiated, as Mr. Booth might possibly call them — know to go looking for semi-hidden pristine scientific posts.

  13. 63
    pat neuman says:

    Re: 57.

    Lawrence McLean wrote: … It would be interesting to see some data published that would enable the “heat island” effect to be quantified, especially in the context of the current heatwave. Surely there are some weather stations in California outside urban areas. Can anyone help?

    Good question, but who? NWS staff and the State Climatologists have access to the historical and operational climate data (at no charge) but have done little or nothing that I know of related to climate change. While I was a NWS employee doing hydrologic modeling and prediction, I asked NWS supervisors if I could do a comparison study on rural vs urban temperature data. I wanted to do it for snowmelt runoff modeling and for evaluation of climate change in the Upper Midwest. NWS supervisors did not allow me to do that.

    I did the comparison study at home on my own time but didn’t have it published. It was against NWS policy to publish a study on a “controversial subject” like climate change, even with a disclaimer that as not representing NWS. NWS directors said the public might still associate the my views with NWS even though I included a disclaimer that I was representing myself as a private citizen only. There was no way I could have shown my years of background and experience in hydrologic modeling and prediction without mentioning NWS and still appear credible, so I didn’t even try to have it published.

  14. 64
    Lawrence McLean says:

    Re: #63.

    Thanks for your reply Pat. I find it rather odd that someone like yourself cannot easily point me to any data analysis regarding the “Heat island” effect, and yet, it is touted in the press as if it is a well established fact. It may well be true, however at this stage it is starting to look like a desired fact by folks who align themselves with the climate change skeptics.

  15. 65
    pat neuman says:

    Re 64.

    Lawrence – My 2004 Urban Heat Island (UHI) did show an UHI effect for climate stations in the Midwest. The UHI effect is larger at times when wind speed is low and humidity is high (dog days). For example in the Twin Cities this AM the temperature at sunrise at the Minneapolis Airport climate station was 77 degrees F while the temperature in my yard was 69 degrees F. The official Minneapolis airport station is located in a grassy area near the end of one of the runways. My yard is 20-25 miles to the southwest of downtown Minneapolis. Both urban and rural climate stations show warming in recent decades. The warming is greater is at urban stations having more buildings, people, roads and traffic, however the warming in recent decades at rural and forested areas is also significant.

  16. 66
    Lawrence McLean says:

    Re #65.
    Thanks Pat,
    In the place I am living at the moment there does not seem to be much of a heat island effect, however, it is a relatively small urban area.

    The contrainian machine is rocking and rolling, take a look at the article: http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/10370. It would be interesting to see an analysis of the points raised in that particular article, including the accuracy of the reference to the Newsweek article, and if the Newsweek article did exists as stated: how acurate did that article reflect the science at that time and who were the scientists (if any) that provided the information to Newsweek. I suppose what I am suggesting is a bit of a “cold case”.

    As far as I am concerned it is about 30 years ago that I started to be aware that the climate was warming.

  17. 67
    johna says:

    Re: 57, 63,63,66 (Urban Heat Island, sometimes called UHI)
    .
    Lawrence – hi Pat!
    .
    The effect is real (and can be deadly) in a big city. But UHI is too small to explain the measured increases in global temperatures. Here is a link to the UN’s IPCC 2001 report and to the section that discusses it.
    .
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/ and specifically, the scientific basis of the land-surface temp record starts here-
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/052.htm#222
    .
    Jones evaluated the variation in the temperature record due to UHI between 1900 and 1990. He estimated it was only 0.05 C. [UK�s Hadley Centre has a bigger set of world temp records than anyone � � the sun never sets on the B.E. � and Jones is a top scientist]
    .
    The graphs in figure 2.1 show annual average world temps. The grey band in (2.1 b.) is an error bar, and it includes the 0.05 C UHI uncertainty.
    .
    See Box 2.1 for a simple discussion.

    So, the urban heat-island effect was considered and is included. And those who say otherwise are either confused, liars or both.
    .
    More support comes from a recent short study by David E. Parker (2004). “Climate: Large-scale warming is not urban” in Nature 432: 290.
    .
    His findings buttress the conclusions of Peterson. He compared and analyzed temperatures in cities and rural areas during both calm and windy conditions.
    .
    But note, your question was the first article contributed by William.
    .
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=43
    .
    Hint: next time make use of the great Search Option this site provides.

  18. 68
    johna says:

    Re: 66 (impending ice ages)

    Lawrence –
    Ignore any changes to the world around you. They are not noteworthy, a hefty hoax donned to discredit the sanguine senator.
    .
    Seriously, contrarian fluff has more lives than Bela Lugosi.
    .
    William C. has copies of many articles. You can read just what was written. I recall it only as interesting speculation and the beginnings of concern in popular magazines. Reviewing a few of them on his site has not changed my mind. William effectively contrasts those articles with was being written in the science literature.
    .
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/
    .
    The first paragraph in the Newsweek article has the key idea � possible food problems. The whole thing isn�t even 1,000 words long. The phrases the reporter uses are all qualified �
    â�¦ominous signâ�¦may portendâ�¦ could begin quite soonâ�¦perhaps only 10 years from nowâ�¦ –
    .
    Bear in mind that near the end of every year, magazines run prediction stories. Often by respectable people. These articles should be given about the same weight. I was so sure Oprah and Stedman would have little ones by now…

  19. 69
    pat neuman says:

    re 67. I agree, the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is real (and can be deadly) in a big city, but is too small to explain measured increases in global temperatures.

    I’m concerned about people and temperature increases in large urban areas, as greenhouse gases reach higher concentrations. Unfortunately, UHI has shown it’s deadly nature many times (Chicago 1995, Europe 2003, California 2006, …).

  20. 70
    Hank Roberts says:

    57, 63, etc. etc. whoah! Did you guys do any searching at all before starting this chat about how nobody can document urban heat measurement biases?

    I am sure there is both awareness of and routine correction for the ‘urban heat’ effect done in modeling and prediction.

    I can’t do the homework for you right now, but for starters:

    Here are 204 hits from Google Scholar. Don’t doubt this is getting attention since these are the academic search tool results.

    No doubt you all can improve on my quick dirty search.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=%2B%22urban+heat+island%22+%2Bcorrection+%2Bmodeling

  21. 71
    pat neuman says:

    re 70.

    Hank,

    There are few scientific studies on Urban Heat Island (UHI) in the US because managers of federal agencies in the US have discouraged research related to climate change – due to what managers claim are the political and controversial nature of climate change and global warming. Low income people, most with no A/C, know it is hot in the city during a heat wave but don’t know why or when it is so much hotter than elsewhere and by how much. No studies provide that kind of information in the Midwest which I know of. It seems the people that should be doing that kind of work are employed by the National Weather Service (NWS) offices, but I know first hand that NWS staff were discouraged from doing UHI studies due to the controversial nature of UHI. The skeptics on global warming were successful in putting a stigma on people and work dealing with local/regional climate change concerns, including those concerns about the dangerous aspects of UHI for groups of people living in low income areas (including New Orleans).

  22. 72
    Hank Roberts says:

    Pat, I modified my search to your criteria in Google Scholar — here’s what you’ll find if you search: Results — 161 for “Urban Heat Island” +midwest.
    It’s too bad they didn’t treat you well at NHS. “A prophet is without honor in his own …” [Agency?]

  23. 73
    pat neuman says:

    Hank,

    I doubt that any google search will give what’s needed for UHI in the Midwest. Instead of spending my time looking at what others did, I’m doing my own UHI study using July temperature data at Minneapolis and Farmington 3 NW MN climate stations. Figures are at my link below showing average daily minimum and maximum for July (1891-2005). I’m working on tables which may help in showing any trends. It’s important to note that the station at Minneapolis was moved from downtown to the airport in 1937. Farmington 3 NW, which is 20 miles south of downtown Minneapolis, was a rural area until the late 1990s when it started to become suburban.

    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/patneuman2000/my_photos

  24. 74
    Carol Endicott says:

    I would prefer a message board format that facilitates discussions and questions and answers. I’m an aquatic ecologist with a great interest in understanding these critical climate issues. Although I have substantial scientific literacy, I lack the time to dig into peer reviewed papers to understand the issues.

    Of current interest to me is the hockey stick controversy. My coworker tells me this is based on a study with grossly inadequate sample size and fraught with bias. I see from this website that more than one study supports the hockey stick model of Northern Hemisphere temperatures. A forum that encourages interaction would be useful in addressing these discrepancies. Moreover, I could refer my naysayer coworker for additional information.

    Perhaps this is in the nature of science being complicated (like duh!), but the amount of information covered here, combined with the format, makes it difficult to make surgical strikes in finding the information I need.

    I’d appreciate any feedback.

  25. 75
    pat neuman says:

    re 73.

    Better viewing of the UHI influence at Minneapolis, MN is shown at the link below. Off the bat, more UHI means warmer overnight minimum temperatures at Minneapolis vs Farmington but little or no effect on daily high temperature readings at Minneapolis).

    http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display/43444/index.php

  26. 76
    Grant says:

    Re: #74

    It is indeed true that the “hockey stick” of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes is only one of many paleoclimate reconstructions for the last 1,000 years (some extend over the last 2,000 years). It’s also true that although they show varying degrees of fluctuation, they all show essentially the same “big picture” — modern temperatures are anomalously warm, and modern warming is anomalously rapid. The MBH reconstruction shows very little fluctuation over the last 1,000 years, the reconstruction by Moberg et al. shows much more.

    The reconstructions are hardly “fruaght with bias”; this is a mischaracterization due to the successful smear campaign of denialists. To my knowledge, only one statistical flaw has been uncovered, but when it is corrected it’s clear that it has no significant impact on the final result.

    It is true that the sample suffers from incomplete geographic coverage. It’s not a case of “grossly inadequate sample *size*” but of limited geographic coverage. This is the main criticism in the National Academy of Sciences report; on this basis they concluded that there is “less confidence” in reconstructions back to 900 A.D. Note that nowhere do they state that the results aren’t valid; they simply express “less confidence.” Further in the past, there is even less geographic coverage, so the NAS report indicates “low confidence.” However, the NAS report indicates that reconstructions, even back before 900 A.D., are definitely “plausible.”

    Back to 1600 A.D., the NAS report claims “high confidence.” That’s for two reasons: 1. better geographic coverage by the data; 2. the last four centuries include reconstruction data from borehole temperature profiles. Boreholes represent the temperature, the whole temperature, and nothing but the temperature — while other proxy data (esp. tree rings) respond to other conditions than just temperature (esp. rainfall) and even their temperature response is more keyed to the growing season than to the yearly average. The one drawback to borehole temperature reconstructions is that they represent *ground surface temperature*, not surface *air* temperature, but it’s abundantly clear that the two are closely related.

    If you want even more information on this, do a search on this site for “hockey stick.” Also, go to wikipedia and read up on “paleoclimate” — among other things, you’ll find a lovely graph showing most of the temperature reconstructions of the last 1-2 millenia.

    Probably the most important factor about the hockey stick regarding global warming, is that it’s only *one* of a *vast* number of evidences of climate change. Frankly, even if the hockey stick (and all its cousins) were shown to be grossly untrustworthy, it wouldn’t negate the overwhelming case; climate has been changing due to human activity, and it will continue to change. There’s a good deal of warming yet to come; how much, and how fast, depends on whether or not we can limit human interference with the climate system, and on what kinds of “feedbacks” exist in the system and how soon they’re triggered.

    One final note: yes, there’s a lot of information on this site, which makes a “surgical strike” for information more difficult. But if you read here *regularly*, you’ll soon find that you pick up a solid background and good context, so you’ll be both better informed overall, and better able to find what you’re looking for when you need something specific. In short, if you become a regular, you’ll be mighty glad you did.

  27. 77
    Hank Roberts says:

    About the format, addressed to the Contributors:

    I’d welcome a separation between conversations between climatologists — academic but out in the open — and the chatter-filled threads.

    Much as you all try to filter, there’s endless repetition of the PR talking points and rebuttals everywhere; it’s hard to tell the kids and naive new readers from the trolls so everyone gets answered.

    What I love most here is the conversations that are among the working scientists — the visiting specialists and the authors whose work is mentioned who come here and comment (including those with diverging points of view). I could never post in such a thread. I’d learn more from it.

    What about flagging some threads as “heavily moderated science” somehow — maybe have a parallel thread for reader questions?

    I’ve seen this done on one weblog, have to think where — the main page was solely threads by the log’s owners; there was also a “forum” link that led to standard “forum” threads, one for each main topic, for questions and answers, and some threads for general chatter.

    I know, more work.

    —> The added sidebar link for “with inline responses” is very helpful now — if the software allowed that to become a page of its own, showing names of those who posted the responses, that’d be comparable.

    Only other thought, I know I”m nagging — responders, please, use paragraphs; use outline form; separate thoughts with formatting. The responses inline are the best information on many subjects and they are offten stream of thought unformatted and almost unreadable, coming in later on ‘sideways’ to them. They work in linear reading but not trying to look for information later on.

    It’s great. It’s getting better.

  28. 78
    Hank Roberts says:

    Some nice graphics here for energy alternatives
    http://agbe.typepad.com/the_african_uptimist/

    http://agbe.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/sep2.png

    and a wonderful quote:

    “Citing Edwin Land, the father of Polaroid photography, Lovins attributes inventions such as the Soft Energy Path concept to a â��sudden cessation of stupidityâ�� and an ability to â��stop having old ideas.â�� As illustrated in Figure 2, a Soft Energy Path: … involves efficient use of energy, diversity of energy production methods (matched in scale and quality to end uses), and special reliance on…”soft technologies” (a.k.a., alternative technology) such as solar energy, wind energy, biofuels, geothermal energy, etc.

  29. 79
    Hank Roberts says:

    I lost track of where people were wondering about local climate information from the US National Weather Service.

    It’s coming along — here’s one quite local example:
    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/crnews/display_story.php?wfo=sgf&storyid=3157&source=0

    “Little Known Services Web Link: Local Climate Information

    Have you ever needed to know the High and Low Temperature or the amount of Precipitation on a certain day? Have you wondered what day was the warmest or coldest on record?

    Your National Weather Service in Springfield has set up a web page full of answers to these questions and many more!

    On our main page, you will see a list of Quick Links on our site. One of these is Local Climate Info. The Local Climate Info site contains climate data for 4 locations in our office�s area of responsibility: Springfield, Joplin, Rolla/Vichy, and West Plains.

    At the top of the Local Climate Info page, you will see a blue box titled Preliminary F6 Data. Just select the station (Springfield, Joplin, Rolla/Vichy, West Plains), the month, and year. Notice that F6 data for Springfield and Joplin are available from January 2000 to Present, while Rolla/Vichy and West Plains are available from May 2002 to Present….”

  30. 80
    pat neuman says:

    re 79.

    Staff at NWS Weather Service Offices can do a few things differently (below), but one common theme to all NWS offices is that their staff will not discuss regional climate change or global warming. Senior meteorologists with NWS have told people off the record that there is no global warming problem.

    Hottest Month on Record at Duluth
    http://twincities.indymedia.org/newswire/display/28089/index.php

    Drought blamed on Mother Nature
    http://twincities.indymedia.org/newswire/display/28084/index.php

  31. 81
    pat neuman says:

    Another example of your NWS at work talking with the media and public, but not about climate change:

    “At a state drought task force meeting Tuesday”
    http://www.kstp.com/article/stories/s17971.html

  32. 82
    Dan says:

    re: 80. After giving a public presentation not related to climate change, a local NWS meteorologist in my home town was asked by a member of the audience about global warming. His first response was that he was not going to touch that question with a 10-foot pole. Where upon he proceeded to talk about climate change in great detail as a natural phenomenom. The audience was genuinely interested in learning about it (they were mostly senior citizens). I was quite disgusted about how they were completely mislead and mis-educated (if there is such a word!) by half-truths and gross misinterpretations of fundamental data. Of course the meteorologist proceeded to say that it was just his opinion! In other words, even though he would not touch the question officially, he would not hesitate to misinform the general public. And this was a public group with general scientific interest. I did not challenge the meteorologst as he was the guest and was clearly quite full of himself. Although I could not resist asking where he had received his meteorological degree. ;-)

  33. 83
    pat neuman says:

    re 82.

    Dan,

    If possible I’d appreciate knowing the city name of the NWS office of the “local NWS meteorologist”.

  34. 84
    Hank Roberts says:

    I posted this as a response at Stoat, but want to commend it to the Contributors here — there’s serious work being done on why people — specifically “highly educated adults enrolled in university graduate programmes” — don’t understand climate science.

    It’s like the Piaget stages for maturation, like understanding conservation of mass — add duration (change over time) and very few adults comprehend this!

    Nobody has a chance as a specialist to read other specialties; I hope we gadflies can be of some use flitting back and forth with stuff like this. These folks might be worth inviting.

    “Math is hard” as Barbie says. Even without math, climate is hard. People don’t get it. Here’s the research, found while looking for more by Donella Meadows on leverage.

    Mentioned here: http://www.sustainabilityinstitute.org/climate_change/index.html
    Illustration:
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/content/articles/2455/images/bathtub.gif
    Overall research info here: http://web.mit.edu/jsterman/www/cloudy_skies.html
    Source of quote below here: http://web.mit.edu/jsterman/www/StermanSweeney.pdf

    Quote:
    “Why do people underestimate the time delays in the response of climate to GHG emissions? To explore this question, we presented highly educated adults enrolled in university graduate programmes with descriptions of past greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and global mean temperature.

    “Subjects were asked to predict the behavior of CO2 levels and global temperatures in response to changes in human-generated CO2 emissions. No mathematics was required and data was drawn from the non-technical reports of the 2001 UN report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    “We found a widespread misunderstanding of climate change dynamics. Two-thirds of the subjects believed global temperature responds immediately to slight or dramatic changes in CO2 emissions. Still more believed that reducing emissions near current rates would stabilise the climate, when in fact emissions would continue to exceed removal, increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and radiative forcing.

    “Such beliefs make current wait-and-see policies seem entirely logical, but violate basic scientific principles of conservation of matter.”

  35. 85
    pat Neuman says:

    re 84. … “We found a widespread misunderstanding of climate change dynamics.” …

    Hank,

    Coming from a big family and having pretty good communications with brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews; my general impression is that most people rely on what they hear from TV stations and friends to form their own opinions about when global warming might get bad and how bad it might get. Their behavior of not cutting back on energy use and travel tells me that they accept a wait-and-see approach. Most people think they need the energy they use, and besides, reducing their GHG emissions wouldn’t make a difference anyway. A friend of mine from way back who travels a lot told me that he may accept that global warming is happening because of our fuel emissions but added that he would not to let that change the way he lives. Clearly we need leadership, even much greater than the leadership shown recently by the mayor of New York during the heat wave, who seemed to attempt to make a strong pitch that everyone needed to cut back/conserve energy now… to prevent blackouts. The problem is that most people don’t understand the difference between demand, need or want. Most people think want and need are the same thing. To me, need should mean that without something there is a risk of serious loss or injury. I may think I need to keep cool so I need A/C. However, if I keep my body in shape I can get by without A/C. Thus, I really don’t “need” A/C at all, just a want… like an addiction to too much oil.

    by pat Neuman

  36. 86

    Alarmed? I am not so, despite seeing astounding climate change in my Arctic abode, we are creatures born from climate change, and will cope with anything coming our way, it is those conservatives who like to keep things the same who will be alarmed, eventually, after reading about our warnings in Internet archives.
    Prophets, even science ones, are never listenned in their own communities.

  37. 87
    pat neuman says:

    Comment #86 says …we are creatures born from climate change, and will cope with anything coming our way, …

    I disagree that we will cope with anything coming our way. For example, in a July 31 Pielke Jr blog comment, I wrote that … global warming may lead to the end of the world by itself or through human conflicts that develop as a result of global warming. … For Pielke Jr., R. to suggest that RealClimate.org scientists fail to see that …, is unacceptable in this world created by God. … The problem for this century and beyond is the rapid rate of global warming, a result of power generation from billions of fossil fuel burning machines. … In other words, the “end of the world” by global warming will be caused by the rapid speed of anthropogenic global climate change, much too fast for plants and animals to adapt/evolve. My view or the “end of the world” is when plants and animals on earth have become extinct. Many people will be surprised at how quickly things change. … Excerpt from: Ice in Southeast vanishing twice as fast as expected By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK

  38. 88

    #67, Pat, we will survive, because that is our in our nature to survive, but it may not be pretty. Instead of an explosive rate of GW, I rather think it will be a strong one, towards balance, which would bring the Earth back to the Miocene, something that was 20 million years ago. When semi-tropical trees and alligators lived at 80 degrees North. The rate of change would be impossible to cope with in many countries, the way things are would not be the same at all. Scary yes, but end of the world no.

  39. 89
    pat neuman says:

    re 87. 86.

    Wayne,

    Having it “in our nature to survive” is not enough to guarantee survival of our species. The dinosaurs ruled the world for more than 100 million years.

    Also, in clarification re 84,

    On his Prometheus web page, Roger Pielke wrote

    “I criticized scientists at RealClimate last week for serving as agents of divisiveness in political debates.” …

    … “an internal memo from the Inter-Mountain Rural Electric Association that details, among other things, that the IREA have donated $100,000 to support the activities of Patrick Michaels, a long-time political advocate on the climate issue.”

    “But the response to this memo, at RealClimate and elsewhere, suggest to me that many involved in the climate debate would much rather bash their opponents than work with them to find common ground. In a democracy, action occurs most often through compromise rather than complete annihilation of oneâ??s opponents. Until this point is realized by those calling for â??actionâ?? expect gridlock to continue.” —

    I replied


    The point is that Pielke Jr., R. does not understand, believe or care that global climate change research means much more to the world than other sciences. That global warming may lead to the end of the world by itself or through human conflicts that develop as a result of global warming.

    For Pielke Jr., R. to suggest that RealClimate.org scientists fail to see that in a democracy action occurs most often through compromise rather than complete annihilation of oneâ??s opponents, and then for Pielke Jr., R. to blame RealClimate scientists for contributing to gridlock (which is happening but is not in any way a result of the efforts by RealClimate scientists to educate the public on global warming), is unacceptable in this world created by God.

    What I meant by “unacceptable in this world created by God” was that it is morally unacceptable for people to mislead others about the consequences of global warming – which may essentially end up being the end of the world.

  40. 90
    pat neuman says:

    re 82. Dan wrote … a local NWS meteorologist in my home town … proceeded to talk about climate change in great detail as a natural phenomenom. … Of course the meteorologist proceeded to say that it was just his opinion! …

    I’m curious now if the local NWS meteorologist, described by Dan as clearly quite full of himself, is aware of a recent statement in the latest issue of NOAA News which says:

    “NOAA scientists add that no single episode of extreme heat can be blamed exclusively on human-induced global warming, but instead heat waves will become more likely and progressively more intense over the course of decades.”
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2677.htm

    The statement by NOAA that heat waves will become more likely and progressively more intense over the course of decades is an admission that rapid global warming is occurring.

    Also see:
    Table showing All-Time-Record High Temperature set in July 2006 at:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2006/jul/julyext2006.html

  41. 91
    Ron Taylor says:

    Re #90

    Pat, maybe there really is hope!

    Yesterday I sent an email to the NOAA Paleoclimatology people expressing surprise that their webpage on climate change had not been updated since 2000, and asked when we could expect an update. Today, I received this response from Bruce Bauer:

    “Should be sometime this fall. We have an update essentially
    complete – it is in peer review at the moment. I’ll let you know when it is ready!”

    A sea change?

  42. 92
    pat neuman says:

    re 91.

    Ron,

    Maybe there is hope but that would not excuse NOAA administrators and National Weather Service supervisors who intentionally ignored or misled the public on climate/hydrologic change and global warming for more than six years. Their failure to tell the truth was a criminal act which will have severe and long lasting consequences to the world. Those at fault should be held accountable. Do you agree?

  43. 93
    Ron Taylor says:

    Re 92

    You bet I agree! On the other hand, it is important for these folks to put aside ideology and address the science. There seems to be a simmering revolt among government scientists in departments where they have been muzzled. Also, I suspect that Rove and friends are reading the pole numbers about global warming.

  44. 94

    There seems to be a further warming of an apparent EL-Nino, wonder if this affects ENSO prognosis?

  45. 95
    pat neuman says:

    FYI.

    EL NIÃ?O/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO)
    DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION
    issued by
    (NOAA NWS) CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP
    July 6, 2006

    Weekly ENSO Update (PDF, PPT) – updated Mondays

    Synopsis: ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to prevail during the next 3 months.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/index.html

  46. 96

    Pat, that is old news, things have evolved much warmer since that time, also, number of hurricane predictions have been going down by at least two institutes, current events seem similar to 1997…

  47. 97

    Here is an Australian assessment, a little bit interesting:

    “Most of the ENSO prediction models surveyed at the end of July showed a continuation of neutral conditions, although on the warm side of normal. A sustained warming beginning at this time of year would be unusual, given that ENSO events typically begin to evolve between March and June.”

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#current

  48. 98
    Hank Roberts says:

    Pat, see here:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.ppt
    Update prepared by
    Climate Prediction Center / NCEP
    August 8, 2006

    ” The recent atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns indicate near-average (ENSO-neutral) conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
    However, equatorial Pacific surface and subsurface temperatures have increased in recent months and are above average.
    Statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate that either ENSO-neutral or weak El Niño conditions are most likely through early 2007.
    Based on recent trends and a majority of the forecasts, ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to continue during the next 1-3 months. Either ENSO-neutral or weak El Niño conditions are likely for late 2006/ early 2007.”

  49. 99
    pat neuman says:

    re 93.

    Ron,

    Muzzled may be the correct word for what they did to Jim Hansen earlier this year, but others who couldn’t be muzzled were rewarded with memorandums of suspension and removal from government service.

  50. 100
    Eli Rabett says:

    IMHO an unthreaded discussion such as this has a very small S/N ratio. Moving this Forum over to groups.google.com/global change would provide the organization it needs (some of those leading RC are also moderating the google group.

    The group could be renamed realclimate forum.


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