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Round up and thanks

Classé dans: — group @ 25 février 2007

A few tidbits from around that may be of interest:

  • Tom Yulsman is running a new blog (now linked in our blogroll) for the Center for Environmental Journalism at U. Colorado, Boulder, covering climate change as one of his ‘beats’.
  • The Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), made up of business leaders, NGOs and academics released a statement on climate change. (Coverage BBC, Reuters)
  • The UN Foundation (an independent NGO established to support the UN mission) has helped put together a site called ‘IPCC facts‘ to help with the outreach associated with the IPCC Fourth Assessment. We haven’t examined every page, so if there are any questions, this is as good a place as any to go over them.

On the lighter side, those people who are fond of the offsetting concept (usually applied to carbon emissions) may find this site interesting (hat tip to Yarrow).

Finally, the more multi-lingual of our readers may have noticed the proliferation of translations of RC posts in recent weeks. We now have regular contributors translating articles into French, Slovak, Swedish and Portugeuse (as denoted by the hybrid flags associated with relevant articles). We can offer them nothing more than our deep gratitude – recent contributions have been from: Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Fernando Manuel Ramos and Ivan Bergier Tavares de Lima (ClimaGaia), Alexander Ač, Olivier Daniélo, Etienne Pesnelle, Jacob Wallström and Yves Fouquart. Many thanks to all!

(And if anyone else would like to help out on an occasional basis translating posts to their native language, please let us know. )

Update: And now turkish! (thanks to Figen Mekik).

Climate Reporting in Physics World

Classé dans: — rasmus @ 23 février 2007 - (Português) (English)

PhysicsWorld cover, Volume 20, no. 2, February 2007 The February 2007 issue of PhysicsWorld contains several articles relevant to climate research, with a main feature article on climate modelling written by Adam Scaife, Chris Folland, and John Mitchell, and a profile on Richard Lindzen as well as an article on geoengineering in the ‘News & Analyses’ section. The magazine also contains an article (‘Living in the greenhouse’) under ‘Lateral Thoughts’ that brings up a bunch of tentative analogies to a wide range of topics completely unrelated to the greenhouse effect in a technical sense, and an editorial comment ‘Hot topic‘, arguing that it would be wrong of PhysicsWorld to ignore those outside the mainstream. To be more precise, the editorial comment devotes a few lines justifying the profile on Lindzen and the report on geoengineering, with a reference to a Feynman quote: “There is no harm in doubt and scepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made”. Wise words! Nevertheless, I cannot resist making some reflections.

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Aerosols: The Last Frontier?

Classé dans: — group @ 21 février 2007 - (Português) (English)

Guest commentary from Juliane Fry, UC Berkeley

The recently released IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment Report Summary for Policymakers reminds us that aerosols remain the least understood component of the climate system. Aerosols are solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere, consisting of (in rough order of abundance): sea salt, mineral dust, inorganic salts such as ammonium sulfate (which has natural as well as anthropogenic sources from e.g. coal burning), and carbonaceous aerosol such as soot, plant emissions, and incompletely combusted fossil fuel. As should be apparent from this list, there are many natural sources of aerosol, but changes have been observed in particular, in the atmospheric loading of carbonaceous aerosol and sulphates, which originate in part from fossil fuel burning. While a relatively minor part of the overall aerosol mass, changes in the anthropogenic portion of aerosols since 1750 have resulted in a globally averaged net radiative forcing of roughly -1.2 W/m2, in comparison to the overall average CO2 forcing of +1.66 W/m2.
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Sauvez la planète ! Gagnez 25 millions de dollars !

Classé dans: — group @ 19 février 2007 - (Português) (Türkçe) (English)

Juliane Fry, UC Berkeley, Traduit par Etienne Pesnelle

Le 9 février dernier, Richard Branson, président du groupe Virgin, a annoncé qu’il offrait 25 millions de dollars à quiconque pourra présenter « une invention commercialement viable qui permette de retirer de l’atmosphère les gaz à effet de serre d’origine anthropique, de façon à contribuer sensiblement à la stabilisation du climat de la Terre ». A la conférence de presse où il annonçait son « « Défi Virgin pour la Terre » », Branson a été rejoint par Al Gore, et le comité des juges de ce concours comprend d’autres célébrités du réchauffement climatique : James Hansen, James Lovelock, Tim Flannery, et Sir Crispin Tickell.

L’objectif du concours est de trouver une méthode qui pourra retirer de l’atmosphère au moins un milliard de tonnes de carbone par an. Il va être très intéressant de voir quelles idées de nettoyage de l’atmosphère vont émerger. 25 millions de dollars devraient encourager la créativité ! (et bien sûr, quand ça fonctionnera, ça devrait rapporter une somme significative en crédits de compensations d’émissions de carbone). Il y eut du grabuge l’année dernière, quand le débat à propos de l’injection de SO2 dans la stratosphère, visant à produire des sulfates en aérosol réfléchissant la lumière solaire qui contreraient le réchauffement climatique, a donné l’impression aux scientifiques qu’ils avaient besoin d’exposer leur position sur cette proposition mal comprise et controversée.

Durant ce débat, un article de fond du *New York Times* (décrit ici) a commenté les différentes options de « géo-ingénierie » ayant un effet refroidisseur contrant le réchauffement climatique. Au moins cette fois-ci, on ne cherche pas à ajouter quelque chose de nouveau et d’incertain à l’atmosphère, mais bien à en retirer ce qu’on y a ajouté.

Qu’est ce qui déclenche les glaciations?

Classé dans: — rasmus @ 16 février 2007 - (Português) (Türkçe) (English)

by Rasmus Benestad, with contributions from Caspar & Eric

In a recent article in Climatic Change, D.G. Martinson and W.C. Pitman III discuss a new hypothesis explaining how the climate could change abruptly between ice ages and inter-glacial (warm) periods. They argue that the changes in Earth’s orbit around the Sun in isolation is not sufficient to explain the estimated high rate of change, and that there must be an amplifying feedback process kicking in. The necessity for a feedback is not new, as the Swedish Nobel Prize winner (Chemistry), Svante Arrhenius, suggested already in 1896 that CO2 could act as an amplification mechanism. In addition, there is the albedo feedback, where the amount of solar radiation that is reflected back into space, scales with the area of the ice- and snow-cover. And are clouds as well as other aspects playing a role.

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