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Comprehensive climate glossary

Filed under: — rasmus @ 9 August 2008

Glossary cartoon from Marc Roberts Recently we received a request for setting up a glossary-only search mechanism, or perhaps one web page with a long list of glossary entries with hot links to full explanations. The glossary that we already have is a good start, but we are all busy and it’s hard to find the time for extending this.

But there are also a number of external web pages which provide climate-related glossaries, such as the NOAA (they also have a seperate page for paleo-stuff), the Bureau of Meteorology (Australia, and there is even one by the Australian EPA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, the U.S.), and the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC, the U.S.). Wikipedia also has a glossary for climatological terms.

For those who seek the explanation for more bureaucratic terms, both the EU and the UNFCCC provide glossaries that may be useful.

Furthermore, there are some nice resources available, such as the Encyclopedia of Earth.

Bridging the divides

Filed under: — gavin @ 2 August 2008

We often discuss the issues that arise in doing interdisciplinary work in climate science, and Liz Moyer and I have a commentary on that just out in Nature Reports Climate Change. Normally I don’t mention these kinds of pieces on the blog, but in this case the editors commissioned a nice cartoon (from Mark Roberts) illustrating our point. I liked the cartoon a lot, and so it deserves as wide an audience as possible.

A bit of context is probably useful. The three main protagonists are representative of the somewhat different foci of paleo-climatologists, climate modellers and economists. Very broadly speaking, paleo-climate science is built around the analysis of single location time series (often from holes that are drilled). Climate modellers spend a lot of time trying to see what is coming up in all its complexity, while economists tend to eschew complexity and look for insight in highly idealised situations. But in order to increase the credibility of models, they have to do well at simulating past climates and what might happen in the future is certainly informed by what has happened in the past. And in order to better understand the impacts of climate change and various proposed policies, economists will need to embrace the complexity of human-climate interactions while modellers need to better understand what aspects of climate really do make a difference. None of these things will happen if we continue to all look in different directions, and more problematically, fail to support and reward those scientists who want to bridge the divides. Sea monsters notwithstanding.

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