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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. 101
    Hank Roberts says:

    But, Eli, don’t forget the need is for a three part ratio of moderator:signal:noise and what we’re short on here is climatologists’ time to moderate.

    I think that’s the limiting factor, and that’s not _bad_.

    I imagine a lot of the he-said-they-said stuff isn’t appearing here, so people when they just gotta rant know to go elsewhere. I know I do (grin).

    My guess is this one unthreaded topic can be rolled over from time to time and it’s serving as a catch-all for ideas, from which topics can be created if there’s potential, quickly.

    Speaking of which, the inimitable Benny Peiser recently circulated in his email list a pointer to a report that the world’s oceans suddenly cooled off in the psat couple of years, I believe it’s going to appear in the AGU Geophysical Letters. The article he linked to was captioned “Draft” and not meant for distribution so I closed my eyes and backed slowly away from the keyboard. But, does that sound familiar to anyone who’s seen anything for publication on ocean temps recently?

  2. 102

    Who does moderate GlobalChange?

  3. 103

    Participants on this list are welcome on the globalchange list at

    of which I am a co-founder and co-moderator.

    That group is intended to replace the now hopelessly juvenile and noise-filled usenet group sci.environment, and it presents a usenet-like interface for those who are familiar with that approach. See

    for more details on how to access globalchange through a newsreader or an email subscription.

    Our intention is to provide a lightly moderated discussion of all matters involving the global environment, not limited to environmental science. While we’ve had a couple of marginal cases, on the whole it tends to be obvious which articles to allow and which to purge.

    I think it would be fine if realclimate referred requests for an open discussion to that list.

    However, I don’t agree with Eli’s suggestion that we should rename the list to realclimateforum or such, and not just for technical reasons. We are trying to provide a venue for discussion of a broader range of topics than those covered on realclimate. Any issue involving the science, politics or philosophy of anthropogenic global change(not limited to climate change) is on topic on the globalchange list.

    Anyway, please feel welcome to join in!

  4. 104
    Hank Roberts says:

    Here’s a promising increase in the useful amount of LED light produced by the devices — from about 2% to 41% — by better aiming the photons actually emitted. Wow.

    NIST Tech Beat – July 20, 2006

    “LEDs …. typically emit only about two percent of the light in the desired direction: perpendicular to the diode surface. Far more light skims uselessly below the surface of the LED, because of the extreme mismatch in refraction between air and the semiconductor. The NIST nanostructured cavity boosts useful LED emission to about 41 percent and may be cheaper and more effective for some applications than conventional post-processing LED shaping and packaging methods that attempt to redirect light.”

  5. 105
    Eli Rabett says:

    #101 Already all over sci.environment, and RP Srs blog

    #103 reasonable. I do think this forum would be much better if it were threaded.

  6. 106

    Pat, this story you linked above on the most current topic, needs rebuttals, especially since all the science presented seems flawed or exagerated…. I think its a job for RC Forum!

    “Northland Scientists Have Different Opinions On Global Warming

    May 15, 2006 – Posted 10:53 a.m. – Global warming has been a hot topic for a number of years now.

    Meteorologist Dave Anderson talked to several Northland scientists to see if consensus has been reached.

    Recently, a group called Environmental Defense teamed up with the Ad Council to make a series of public service announcements warning people of the dangers of global warming.

    To learn about those dangers myself, I talked to three of our area’s weather professionals.

    I found they had three different opinions.

    Mike Stewart is the meteorologist in charge of the Duluth National Weather Service office.

    He tells us that global warming has not yet been proved or disproved.

    â��Bottom line is we’re not really sure what is causing global warming or if it is even going on,â�� said Stewart. â��It could be a combination of human causes and natural causes.â��

    Stewart cautions people against thinking short term weather events are proof of long term climate change.

    He says our warm January is evidence of that.

    â��People say that’s global warming. Global warming does not cause the warmest January on record in Duluth while northern Europe had some of the coldest winters on record.â��

    In Stewart’s opinion, we need more data before we can say for sure what is going on.

    â��We’ve only had reliable data for 50 or 60 years since the war across the world. In the U.S. we may have 100 years of data. It will require many years of research.â��

    Dr. Al Pekarek is an associate professor of geology at St Cloud State University.

    He doesn’t believe global warming is happening and he says he’s not alone in that belief.

    �18,000 scientists signed a petition saying the global warming model as presented in the popular media is just plain wrong,� said Pekarek.

    Dr. Pekarek feels if any warming is even taking place, it is due to solar activity.

    �If you correlate temperature with solar activity the correlation is almost perfect.�

    Dr. Pekarek thinks the theory that global warming is caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is wrong.

    He cites the same polar ice core data as those who pin global warming on human causes.

    �When you really dig into the ice core data what we find is that temperature changes first and CO2 follows usually by several centuries, or even millennia.�

    Dr. Bob Wilson is a meteorology professor at Northland College in Ashland.

    He believes the evidence for human driven global warming is increasing.

    â��We can’t be certain that human activity is driving this right now, but if we keep increasing CO2 and other gases at the rate we are it’s inevitable that we will trigger such a reaction,â�� said Wilson.

    Dr. Wilson says the reaction is beginning.

    â��In my opinion, the preponderance of evidence indicates it is occurring. There’s been so much activity taking place from increased sea surface temperatures to ablation of glaciers to dramatic weather events that I think that evidence is accumulating that it is.â��

    Because of the accumulating evidence, Dr. Wilson thinks we need to act now to slow or stop global warming.

    â��I don’t think you can wait until the ambulance comes around the corner until you take some corrective action, and that’s why I’m in favor of developing a balanced plan to do that now instead of waiting until it is too late.

    Dr. Wilson feels the best way for people to take corrective action is as simple as trading a gas guzzling vehicle in for a smaller one.

    He did that himself recently.

    �It gets me where I need to go and it does it in a zippy fashion, so I think conservation methods like that, particularly with automobiles, is the way to fly.�

    Meteorologist Dave Anderson, the Northland’s NewsCenter.”

  7. 107
    Hank Roberts says:


    Putting a value on carbon dioxide, and deciding who owns it, for purposes of carbon credits and carbon trading.

    Moguls –if you’re writing a big long term fuel contract, this might be an issue worth addressing in anticipation.

  8. 108
    Carol Endicott says:

    I asked a question a month or so ago regarding the hockey stick (#74). I’m afraid I’m still being lazy and wanting spoon feeding. (Hell, I am incredibly literate on evolution/creation issues. Diving into a new controversy, outside my science is daunting). I had a conversation with a coworker who is a skeptic of global warming….[edited]…Note that a paleoclimatologist referred me to this site. I have “Climate over the past millenia ” by Jones and Mann, which I will read over the weekend. I’d also like a citation for the National Academy of Sciences review of the hockey stick investigations.

    Anyway, any input?

    [Response: (Comment was edited to preserve the information, but to remove inappropriate comments of said coworker). Thanks for your interest in our site. You can find a substantial discussion of (and link to) the NAS report in our previous post back in June here. Links to other reputable climate science blogs are provided in our blogroll, and you can find useful additional discussions there. I hope you find the information you’re looking for in these resources. – mike]

  9. 109
    C. W. Magee says:

    Any chance of you guys summarizing the salient points of various scientific publications for those of us who aren’t climate or modelling specialists? Comments on things like climate related EOS articles, for example, would be great for those of us who are curious about the field, but spent little professional time in it.

  10. 110
    Chris says:


    There’s a very interesting, but very weird, observation in the Law Dome record for CO2. In their classic paper [Etheridge et al (1996) J. Geophys. Res. 101, 4115-4128], it was pointed out that the CO2 levels “stabilized” or even decreased slightly during 1935-1945. I’m not sure this has been taken much note of in the subsequent years.

    Now the same group have made a more detailed analysis of the Law Dome cores and come up with the same conclusion. [MacFarlingMeure et al. (2006) Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L14810, doi:10.1029/2006GL026152]

    They say that “The new high density measurements confirm this result and show that CO2 concentrations stabilised at 310-312 ppm from ~1940-1955”

    Anyone got an expert view on that? It seems an extraordinary notion. It would fit with the mid 20th century “cool” period, but that’s already explained by manmade aerosols. It’s rather weird too, that this period corresponds to that just before the Manua Loa record started. But there must be directly measured [CO2] records going back before Manoa Loa, towards the start of the 20th century? or maybe not???

    Any expert evidence/opinion on this?

    The authors suggest an “oceanic sink”…

  11. 111

    I have another matter, which I feel should be of major concern to scientists and the public. Over and over again meteorologists in the US downplay and ignore regional climate change and global climate warming in their comments and articles to the public.

    “A Look at Weather History: Heat Waves of the Past Century” (in Sept. 2006 Twin Cities Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, AMS), is another example.

    The AMS article failed to note that July 2006 was the warmest of record (1898-2006) at Leech Lake Federal Dam climate station in northern Minnesota.

    The article failed to note that the climate station at Minneapolis was moved from downtown to the airport site in January 1937. Thus, average temperatures in July 1936 included downtown urban heat island which should be considered in making comparisons to temperatures at the airport site following 1936.

    The article failed to note warming trends at all climate stations in Minnesota over recent decades.

    The article failed to note that Minnesota weather is influenced by
    global temperature change and that climate change in the Arctic is taking place at alarming rates.

    Link to AMS Newsletter article: …then click on Newsletters…

    Link to Leech Lake temperature plots:

    More examples of meteorologists in the US downplaying or ignoring regional climate change and global climate warming in comments and articles they make for the public are at:

  12. 112

    #106, I didn’t write that! Must be a mistake of sorts… Please erase this comment when corrected.