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The AGU Q & A Service–Open for Business

Filed under: — group @ 6 December 2010

This is just a brief notice for those members of the media who may not be aware of the American Geophysical Union‘s (AGU) re-vamped question and answer service for climate science questions. There are about 700 participating AGU scientists, with several answering questions at any given time. This service should be highly useful for getting relatively quick answers to specific, climate science questions during the United Nations COP-16 negotiations in Cancun, Mexico this week, as well at the AGU annual meeting which runs the following week. The service will continue some time beyond the AGU meetings as well.

Contrary to incorrect media and blog stories last month, this service is for climate science questions only from members of the media–no policy or politically related questions are fielded. Go here for more background and procedural information if interested.

Update: The Service’s coordinator informs us that bloggers are considered part of the media, and so their questions are welcome as well.

Update 2: Jeff Taylor, the service’s coordinator, has addressed, in the comments, a number of the questions and suggestions raised, and provided further links for those with more questions about climate and/or the service’s operation.

62 Responses to “The AGU Q & A Service–Open for Business”

  1. 51

    #49 Iso

    And the band played on…

  2. 52
    Hank Roberts says:

    Illegitimi non carborundum, Jim.
    And check the IP numbers for sock puppets every now and again.

  3. 53
    Brian Dodge says:

    “Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.”
    “During recent millennia of relatively stable climate, civilization became established and populations have grown rapidly. In the next 50 years, even the lower limit of impending climate change—an additional global mean warming of 1°C above the last decade—is far beyond the range of climate variability experienced during the past thousand years and poses global problems in planning for and adapting to it.”

    What part of that is “AGU’s implication that there ever has been or can be a ‘balanced’ climate,…” or is “certainly questionable…” ?

  4. 54
    Anna Haynes says:

    Clearing up my confusion – some kind person recently linked to NASA’s “uncertainties” page, which says this about [past, natural] abrupt climate change:
    “climate scientists often discuss “abrupt climate change,” which includes the possibility of “tipping points” in the Earth’s climate. Climate appears to have several states in which it is relatively stable over long periods of time. But when climate moves between those states, it can do so quickly (geologically speaking), in hundreds of years and even, in a handful of cases, in only a few decades. These rapid ‘state changes’ are what scientists mean by abrupt climate change. They are much more common at regional scales than at the global scale, but can be global. State changes have triggers, or “tipping points,” that are related to feedback processes. In what’s probably the single largest uncertainty in climate science, scientists don’t have much confidence that they know what those triggers are.”

  5. 55
    Brian Dodge says:

    “At the end of the day, AGW could be beneficial, as noted by deniers such as Lindzen.”
    “I’m with Lindzen.”
    “P.S. Stick to plant science.” Comments by Iso

    Sticking to the plant science, I’d like to point out that field observations have already confirmed that AGW is detrimental to rice yields –
    “Here we report that annual mean maximum and minimum temperatures have increased by 0.35°C and 1.13°C, respectively, for the period 1979–2003 and a close linkage between rice grain yield and mean minimum temperature during the dry cropping season (January to April). Grain yield declined by 10% for each 1°C increase in growing-season minimum temperature in the dry season…”

    as predicted by plant scientists in 1983 – ‘Climate Change and Rice’, S. Peng K.T. Ingram H.-U. Neue L.H. Ziska (Eds.)
    “There is a large body of literature on the individual effects of CO2 and temperature on rice physiology.”
    “For tropical areas, increased temperature leads to faster crop development (Nishiyama 1976), higher respiration rates (Munakata 1976), spikelet sterility (Yoshida et al. 1981; Mackill et al. 1982), and reduced grain yield (Imai et al. 1983).”

    When did Lindzen predict global warming would be beneficial? Hows that working out for him?

  6. 56

    #54 Anna Haynes

    That’s an excellent link. I started an uncertainties page a while ago and at the moment the only thing in it is that link. I will have to get back to it soon and add more contexts.

    What the NASA quote is saying is what I was trying to say in my post #47:

    “Natural variation is likely to have odd perturbations during forcing changes.”

    That could be causing the rapid shifting that was observed in the ice cores. Sort of like upsetting the apple cart, so to speak, by changing the path.

    Relative thermal equilibrium seems more stable and possibly more predictable than when larger forcing changes are occurring due to the total energy content of the system combined with how that might affect natural variation oscillations along with slow feedbacks.

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  7. 57

    Iso 49: AGW could be beneficial…

    BPL: What part of “rapidly increasing drought will crash harvests all over the world and civilization will end without food” do you not understand?

  8. 58
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    I read a funny book awhile back. In it, there was an afterlife — Heaven, if you will — but it wasn’t really eternal. You did everything you ever wanted to do. You enjoyed every pleasure imaginable. Etc. Eventually, though, you were satiated and satisfied. Existence was ok, but a bit too much in the end. So having exhausted every possibility, finally, you simply willed yourself to fade out. And that was that. No anxiety. No recriminations. No memory.

    What was funny was that the last people to let go were academics. English Lit, I believe. As long as someone were willing to argue the contrary, they were there, heels dug in. If the author were going to update the last chapter, I think he’d recast the last group with AGW deniers. (Assuming Heaven is far more forgiving about some things than we expect.)

  9. 59
    flxible says:

    Ron Crouch mentioned in the Cloud Feedback post comments, Spencer has pretty much issued a challange to the AGU Q&A Service, maybe someone could arrange to help him eat that foot?

  10. 60
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Iso illustrates the sort of ignorant complacency that challenges any sort of risk mitigation effort:

    Scientists have identified several specific threats–some potentially severe–arising from climate change. Iso merely asserts that there might be benefits–totally unspecified–of the changes.

    Iso, that isn’t how risk mitigation works–or science for that matter. Threats and putative benefits must be specified as narrowly as possible so that costs/benefits and probabilities for them can be estimated. If all you want to do is reassure yourself and pull the covers over your head, fine. Just don’t make any pretense that your attitude is scientific and let the adults deal with the problem.

  11. 61

    Anyone who has published nonfiction and has an agent, could you please ask them if I could contact them? And if so, give me contact info? I just got “The Case for Global Warming” turned down by Universal [sic] Publishers. No response from the agents I’ve contacted directly.

  12. 62
    Tim Jones says:

    Re #49

    If AGW includes rising sea levels, more severe alternating droughts and floods as well as continually record breaking storms in both summer and winter occurring more frequently than in the past, how exactly is this beneficial? Are we supposed to assume that rebuilding cities away from the coast, elevating infrastructure, cleaning up after storms and relocating populations and/or burying the victims is beneficial because it stimulates the economy?

    Sure, AGW could be beneficial – in the same way wars are beneficial to people selling guns.