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Unforced Variations: April 2015

Filed under: — group @ 3 April 2015

April already? Time for a new climate science open thread…

339 Responses to “Unforced Variations: April 2015”

  1. 1
    Matt M says:

    I read a comment from Scientific American which stated that the deforestation of the Amazon forest contributes to more carbon dioxide into the environment than all of the car emissions. How does this relate to climate change? Thanks.

  2. 2
    MMM says:

    Hi RealClimateers: I’d be interested in a discussion on model-observation comparisons with regards to sea level rise sometime. I often cite Rahmstorf et al. which showed that observed SLR was at the high end of model projections (in some contrast to surface temperature). But earlier today, I decided to dig into AR5 to see if there was an update on this issue, and found Figure 13.7. Looking at just the post-1990 SLR (given that I think pre-1990 SLR needs to be updated to reflect the Kopp et al. reconstruction), what was interesting to me is that the model-observation divergence is just about equal to the estimated observed contributions from ice-sheets. This has a few takeaways for me:

    1) If we assume thermal expansion is a good reflection of ocean heat uptake, then heat uptake in the models is pretty close to observations. Previously, I had thought that recent rates of SLR might actually indicate that models were underestimating heat uptake. Oddly, I have somewhat more confidence in estimating ocean heat uptake by backing it out of sea level rise than by directly estimating it with ARGO floats or the like…
    2) We’ve had more ice-sheet melt than expected (but we knew that already, and it isn’t clear to me how confident we are that the higher rates of the past 10-20 years means that we should expect higher rates over the next 10)
    3) The supplementary datafiles available at for chapter 13 show that for the 2007-2017 decade, the average SLR projection is about 3.9 mm/year… this is actually somewhat more than the observed rates since 2007 (a little over 3 mm/year), so to keep matching projections, we’ll actually need to see a near-term acceleration in sea level rise over the next 5 years.

    Is that about right?


  3. 3
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    El Niño, The Phantom of the Ocean

    I hear that El Niño has been announced somewhere. This is far from convincing.

    Of course climate conditions including El Niño do not come with labels. El Niño is what we say it is. However it is conventionally defined in terms of several pacific parameters. This is carefully done by some nations south of the equator. El Nino causes them pain, so they seriously want to know when is coming and when it is present. Let’s pay attention to them.

  4. 4
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    In case my links above were neutered the link is of course this:

    I think the link destruction (if this still happens, I haven’t accidentally tried in a while) is punishment for using word processor quote marks instead of text editor quote marks — “” vs “”.

    If the links in my first post work, please do not post this message.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Ron R. says:

    Probably a dumb question. Just wondering if there is satellite that is measuring the reflectivity of the earth over time?

  7. 7
    Ron R. says:

    Oops, forgot the captcha. Probably a dumb question. I’m just wondering if there a satellite that is measuring the reflectivity of the earth over time?

  8. 8
    Jim Baird says:

    MMM, “If we assume thermal expansion is a good reflection of ocean heat uptake.”

    Is this necessarily true? The thermal coefficient of expansion of sea water is less virtually anywhere in the depths than it is at the tropical surface. At 1000 meters it is about half. If the hiatus is a reflection of heat movement into the depths, then wouldn’t SLR also be slower than expected over the past 18 years?

  9. 9
    Bobb says:

    Hi All, I live in Fort Collins, CO, which has grown tremendously over the last 30 years. I’m curious how hard it would be to estimate the effects of land use on summer nighttime temperatures using various temperature time series. What factors would you suggest I look at?

  10. 10
    Stephen Brightwood says:

    The denial sphere is all a flap over the new Bjorn Stevens paper on aerosol forcing:

    What really are the implications of this paper and are his conclusions robust. Since its the latest “killer blow” to climate science it would be nice to have a deeper understanding of a paper which is not even in the public domain but which will dominate debate for the next few weeks/months.

  11. 11
    Nick Rouse says:

    Methane levels, after having plateaued from about 2000 to 2008 started rising again and in the last year have started rising more steeply than ever.
    Has anyone any idea why?

  12. 12
    Hank Roberts says:

    >Nick Rouse … rising ….

    You can’t assume that’s true just by looking at the picture you link.
    This notion of a sudden recent surge comes up over and over, but then when you look back a few years, it was being claimed a few years ago also and it’s not there. That’s the thing about detecting a trend — you need some years of data, not just the most recent bit, to claim a change happened.

    This misunderstanding crops up over and over — often people don’t understand the color code used, or haven’t read the explanation at the original source for the chart and data, and how it’s checked.

    The orange dots are uncorrected — notice there are no orange dots for older dates, only the most recent dates have orange points — uncorrected data.

    The sites have quite a bit of information on this you can look up.

    For example, if the wind was blowing from the diesel generators toward the sample collection site, that’s identifiable as a bad datum.
    Look at the original source for the information.

  13. 13
    Thomas O'Reilly says:

    What the climate movement must learn from religion – by George Marshall
    When preaching to the unconverted, activists need to offer the road to Damascus, not guilt and blame

    Quote: Social research shows clearly that the scientific data of climate change has proven unable to galvanise action.

    Cognitive psychology, supported in recent years by brain neuro-imaging, provides plentiful evidence that our analytic reasoning may accept the data but that we are only compelled to act by emotional triggers based on our values and core identity.

  14. 14
    MARodger says:

    Nick Rouse @8.
    I think your question has yet to be answered definitvely. See Monteil et al (2011), Kirschke et al (2013)(abstract), Pison et al (2013). Ghosh et al (2015). Most studies are saying “It’s nothing to do with us, guv!!”
    I would also echo the caution expressed by Hank Roberts @9. This is prelimenary data you are using, the steep rising trend is but a year in length and it does not (yet) equal the pre-1992 increase rate see here (usually two clicks to ‘download your attachment’) (although the last 3 months are not plotted). Including the last few months of prelimenary data yields the last year at ~10ppb/yr. Pre-1992 it was a sustained 12ppb/yr.

  15. 15
    zebra says:

    So I just won the lottery…

    Not really, but this is a serious question. If I did win the lottery, I would like to make a contribution to the science being discussed here. My inclination would be to do something on the instrumentation side, and with reference to the recently discussed AMOC question, I thought I might finance the following:

    We produce a lot of ARGO-like floats, less expensive because they only report position. We drop a line of them from aircraft say once a month, at two or three different latitudes, and gather data at different depths.

    My question is whether this increase in higher-resolution data would resolve anything. Would the question be settled in five or ten years? Would anyone be able to make a definitive projection about effects on regional climate/weather?

    If yes, why aren’t we doing it? (Yeah, I know, we need that extra fighter plane, but still.)

    If no, what would help?

  16. 16
    Mike says:

    re: 8 and 9

    If methane levels starting to spike as this data suggests it MIGHT be doing, by the time that we are able to look back a few years and determine that the spike and trend is real; that we are moving in the direction of a “hockey stick” methane chart, how serious would that be?

    I know that the future is unwritten, the it has no narrative as Wendell Berry says, that what we truly have is a historical narrative and a present moment to live in, but…

    (car analogy coming, sorry, I think we should give up on cars and car analogies, but they ubiquitous)

    I also wonder if we are trying to drive the global climate by looking in the rear view mirror? when we look at the speedometer, or the temperature of the engine coolant, or notice that the oil light is flashing, and our response is to look in the rear view mirror and watch for oil trail or engine parts on the pavement because those are “real” quantifiable indicators of imminent trouble, is this a sensible approach? If we never take our eyes off the mirror and try to look through the windshield to see if the road ahead suddenly becomes a dead-end, are we being prudent and wise?

    I am of the mindset that believes we have moved into the age of altruism, that we should now act as if our actions matter, that the species has hit some kind of malthusian wall that it will not be able to adjust to. I think it’s a shame that we are taking so many individuals and species out with our philosophy about this planet and our place in it.

    Did anyone read the Gretel Ehrlich piece on the state of ice in Greenland in April issue of Harpers? Moving story. Lots of datapoints of historical data about how the ice conditions have changed in a century, which is of course, the blink of an eye in geologic time.

  17. 17
    Hank Roberts says:

    Why not rely on sites that show charts and tell scary stories?
    Why always find the original source of the data, to see what they say?

    […] fifty thousand years ago there were these three guys spread out across the plain, and they each heard something rustling in the grass. The first one thought it was a tiger, and he ran like hell, and it was a tiger but the guy got away. The second one thought the rustling was a tiger, and he ran like hell, but it was only the wind and his friends all laughed at him for being such a chickenshit. But the third guy, he thought it was only the wind, so he shrugged it off and a tiger had him for dinner. And the same thing happened a million times across ten thousand generations — and after a while everyone was seeing tigers in the grass even when there weren’t any tigers, because even chickenshits have more kids than corpses do. And from those humble beginnings we learned to see faces in the clouds and portents in the stars, to see agency in randomness, because natural selection favors the paranoid. Even here in the twenty-first century you can make people more honest just by scribbling a pair of eyes on the wall with a Sharpie. Even now, we are wired to believe that unseen things are watching us.

    And it came to pass that certain people figured out how to use that. They painted their faces or they wore funny hats, they shook their rattles and waved their crosses and they said, Yes, there are tigers in the grass, there are faces in the sky, and they will be very angry if you do not obey their commandments. You must make offerings to appease them, you must bring grain and gold and altar boys for our delectation or they will strike you down and send you to the Awful Place. And people believed them by the billions, because after all, they could see the invisible tigers.

    Peter Watts – Echopraxia

  18. 18
    vukcevic says:

    On the AMO – Solar activity data border line

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Mike says:

    from the Mar 16 New Yorker, from Jill Lepore article on income inequality:

    “Numbers depersonalize; that remains one of their chief claims to authority, and to a different explanatory force than can be found in, say, a poem. “Quantification is a technology of distance,” as the historian of science Theodore Porter has pointed out. “Reliance on numbers and quantitative manipulation minimizes the need for intimate knowledge and personal trust.” It’s difficult to understand some like income inequality across large populations and to communicate your understanding of it across vast distances without counting. But quantification’s lack of intimacy is also its weakness; it represents not only a gain but also a loss of knowledge.”

    A study of income inequality (or deglaciation) should certainly be based in the numbers, but if we don’t inform those numbers with the intimacy of anecdotal reports that expand the meaning of the numbers, we incur a loss of knowledge.

  21. 21
    Jim Baird says:

    If methane levels starting to spike.

    Mike 16, this is another reason I believe it is imperative to move heat into the deep rather than allowing it to move in accordance with the 2nd law of thermodynamics from the tropics towards the poles. The clathrates are found mostly along the continental shelves or under the permafrost. The oceans have warmed about .1C over the past 50 years, the atmosphere about 6 times that fast and the poles about 3 times that. It seems to me far more likely that the permafrost will melt than the problem will arise from seabed clathrates. When the movement of this heat is in accordance with the 2nd law of thermodynamics into the largest heat sink on the planet you can produce as much energy as is currently derived from fossil fuels. You attack the problem from both ends this way, which IMHO is the way it should be done?

  22. 22
    wili says:

    Magical Thinking behind all emission scenarios that will limit the earth to 2C in the IPCC (conservative) Models

    “Here’s the thing though:

    The vast majority of the scenarios that allow us to stick to the two-degree limit-—the worrying ones, that is—-assume that by some point in the second half of this century, we will have achieved net negative emissions.

    In other words, we will be taking more greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere than we put into it.

    Even many of the scenarios that will likely lead to three degrees of warming—-the frightening ones—-still assume a large role for negative emissions. Even if we don’t manage to achieve net negative emissions, there are a lot of scenarios that require bulk CO2 removal from the atmosphere. It’s just that the amount removed does not exceed the rest of the emissions pumped out, so this will not be enough to dip below zero.

    ‘We are late with mitigation,’ economist Sabine Fuss of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change reminds Road to Paris.

    ‘As a result, many scenarios require negative emissions.'”

  23. 23
    Howling Coward says:

    re: Zebra at 15
    Here is a site with current information on the Argo program:
    3,846 drifters
    Each float lasts about four years, so the international program replaces about 800 floats each year, often with a steadily improving design and additional sensor and reporting capabilities. They cost about $15,000 per float, though I”m sure the price is steadily increasing. Deployment is generally off research vessels and vessels of convenience.
    Deep Argo: Measuring ocean temperatures at depth, is the next initiative, AFAIK:

  24. 24
    Eli Rabett says:

    #9 Bobb as a first cut you could compare it with nearby stations that have much smaller populations but be careful to take local weather patterns and geography into account.

  25. 25
    calyptorhynchus says:

    “Cognitive psychology, supported in recent years by brain neuro-imaging, provides plentiful evidence that our analytic reasoning may accept the data but that we are only compelled to act by emotional triggers based on our values and core identity.”

    You would kind of hope that people already had in their values and core identity a response that told them it was a bad idea not to continue in a paradigm that will lead to sea-level rises, massive climate changes, droughts, famines, floods, epidemics &c

  26. 26
    wili says:

    “Harold Wanless, a leading climatologist and geologist based at the University of Miami, returns to the ‘This Can’t Be Happening!’ program…

    …we are now facing a catastrophe that could see sea levels rising by more than 20 feet by the end of the century, and perhaps, if methane begins seriously erupting from the Arctic seafloor, even reduced oxygen levels that could threaten mammals, including humans.”

  27. 27
    Killian says:

    Help me, I’m meltingggggg!

    New study says 70% of Western Canadian glaciers gone by 2100. Given how these revisions have gone since 2007, I think that means by, oh, 2040?

    Melting Canadian Glaciers, Oh, my!

  28. 28
    Russell says:

    Is Willie Soon the World’s Most Productive Scientist?

    Coauthor Christopher Monckton writes of his hundreds of papers published from 2008 to the present”

  29. 29
    Hank Roberts says:
    Session No. 107
    The Sandy Beaches of Atlantis: Success Stories and Cautionary Tales for Coastal Development
    Colorado Convention Center: Room 402
    8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Monday, 28 October 2013

    Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 45, No. 7, p. 272

  30. 30
  31. 31
    Hank Roberts says:
    23rd Annual Southwest Florida Water Resource Conference
    Florida Gulf Coast University
    Harold R. Wanless, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Miami
    hwanless at miami dot edu

  32. 32
    Hank Roberts says:

    A collapse forecast, and how it’s been misrepresented:
    Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Updated Comparison of The Limits to Growth with Historical Data
    Research Paper No. 4 August 2014
    MSSI Research Papers, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute

  33. 33
    Chuck Hughes says:

    “A leading climatologist and geologist based at the University of Miami, returns to the ‘This Can’t Be Happening!’ program…”

    Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…

    Could you ask for a more deadpan delivery than this one? This is why Climate Science isn’t getting through to the general public. Not that the message isn’t urgent and serious but when you have this sort of navel gazing, laborious, monotone techno-speak that goes on for 50 minutes it makes it tough to get your message across.

    Kudos to wili for posting it and hats off to the interviewer but I seriously doubt most people will make it through the first 30 seconds without dozing off. By the time you get to the end you almost wish the world would end. “This Can’t Be Happening” was exactly what I was thinking the whole time I was listening. We gotta do better than this folks. The scientific community desperately needs an animated spokesperson who can go on the air and deliver the goods.

  34. 34
    mike says:

    Kind of funny, my last post got jammed in spam filter because it contained a word associated with g*am*bl*ing – a certain spinning wheel with a loose ball. It’s entertaining that as our species risks so much with greenhouse gas production, our spam filter and sensibilities are still strongly opposed to g*am*bl*ing

    You have to laugh

  35. 35
    wili says:

    Thanks, Chuck. I would say that one area where he does seem to go beyond the evidence (that I’m aware of, anyway) is toward the end about oxygen depletion this century. My understanding is that it would take a very long time–thousands of years–to seriously deplete the huge store of ‘fossil’ O2 in the oxygen. But if anyone has better info on this in either direction, I’d be interested to hear about it.

    Otherwise, though, he seems to be pretty much spot on. But again, I would be interested in others’ critiques.

  36. 36
    wili says:

    Please do check out hank’s excellent article linked at 32. Here’s the teaser:

    “The Limits to Growth “standard run” (or business-as-usual, BAU) scenario produced about forty years ago aligns well with historical data that has been updated in this paper. The BAU scenario results in collapse of the global economy and environment (where standards of living fall at rates faster than they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions), subsequently forcing population down.

    Although the modelled fall in population occurs after about 2030—with death rates rising from 2020 onward, reversing contemporary trends—the general onset of collapse first appears at about 2015 when per capita industrial output begins a sharp decline.”

    Obviously, these dates were never intended to be precise to the year. Still, the fact that such a prescient study pinpoints this year as the one where long-term collapse gets underway in earnest is…notable.

  37. 37
    wili says:

    My one quibble with hank’s linked article that I just promoted is this passage in the conclusion:

    “Somewhat ironically, the apparent corroboration here of the LTG [Limits To Growth] BAU implies that the scientific and public attention given to climate change, whilst tremendously important in its own right, may have deleteriously distracted from the issue of resource constraints, particularly that of oil supply. Indeed, if global collapse occurs as in this LTG scenario then pollution impacts will naturally be resolved—-though not in any ideal sense!”

    Pollution impacts will not, of course, be totally and magically ‘resolved’ even by a total global collapse. And GW concerns have not ‘distracted from’ anything. We have far, far too little concern about it. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other concerns that also need to be addressed. What is distracting is the Kardashians, the Final Four, and other idiocies that seem to occupy most of just about everyone’s addled brains as the basic systems that support life on the planet swirl ever further down the toilet bowl.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Dan S. says:

    re: 33. “The scientific community desperately needs an animated spokesperson who can go on the air and deliver the goods.”

    This comes across as hyperventilating and exaggeration for no reason. People like Neil DeGrase Tyson and even Bill Nye deliver the goods every day they speak. And Michael Mann is superb.

  40. 40
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Could you ask for a more deadpan delivery than this one?

    Any more excited and he’d be dismissed as alarmist, you know. There’s no pleasing everybody.

  41. 41
    Killian says:

    #26 and #33: I think I have provided a framing for climate scientists to address mitigation and adaptation without confounding/conflating their work as scientists and as policy makers: Risk.

    IIRC there was a post supporting this in the last Unforced Variations. Basically, it’s an issue of translating probability to risk, allowing scientists to speak colloquially about scientific content without distorting it. With climate, the long/fat tail risks are the issue in policy. Certainly short-term issues must be dealt with, but they are exactly the wrong starting or ending point for policy decisions given we know the long-term risk is a potential ELE. Non-trivial risks of that magnitude must be the design criteria at the end of the day. Working back from educated assumptions of long-term consequences is how we inform short- and mid-term decisions.

    E.g., we know Antarctica is melting, Greenland is melting, the Arctic is melting. 3M SLR from Antarctica alone is now considered certain, at least in layman terms. I see no problem with a scientist saying that there is considerable uncertainty (error bars) regarding that 3M, but it is a non-trivial *risk*, and is, again at least in layman’s terms, certain. Thus, we *must* act. Since the risk of it happening within 100 years is also non-trivial, risk assessment says we must act now. Resource constraints greatly constrain our options, as do emissions scenarios. We must begin transition in case the worst case occurs.

    To then point out this 3M is Antarctica alone, not including land-based glaciers (pretty much gone by 2100), not including Greenland, not including events in the Arctic, that 3M by 2100 seems frighteningly likely. In risk assessment, even 20%, or even 10 0r 5%, is a huge when the threat is collapse of society, global war, etc.

    Framing this way takes nothing from the science, does not conflate risk and scientific error, and should allow any scientist to feel comfortable acting in both worlds.

    #32 From the study:

    Somewhat ironically, the apparent corroboration here of the LTG BAU implies that the scientific and public attention given to climate change, whilst tremendously important in its own right, may have deleteriously distracted from the issue of resource constraints

    Yup. This has been obvious for a long time. Both those activists that focus solely on climate and those that focus on Peak Whathaveyou get a big, fat FAIL.

    The disconcerting personal bile here at RC when anyone points out levels of true sustainability fall into the same category. If you don’t understand sustainability, as opposed to ridiculous, e.g. Three Legs-based (People, Planet, Profit) definitions that are really attempts at BAU-maintaining economics-based B.S., then you can’t solve climate…. or collapse.

    There is only one useful definition: Systems that can continue indefinitely, excepting outside, natural shocks (like a massive volcano, asteroid hit, what have you.)

    Glad to see scientists saying what systems-oriented folks have been saying all along. Again.

    Amazing how well LTG has held up.

  42. 42
    Killian says:

    #35 I hadn’t heard of the modeling of cracking in the sheets. Perhaps someone can track down the study of the Western European ice sheet that may have collapsed in as little as 100 years. I’ve never been able to find it since running across it some time ago.

    That paper has long led me to assume our ice sheets will simply not hold up as well as expected. 5M by 2100? I’m nearly to the point of seeing that as a minimum… Why? The reports that over the last 5 years Greenland had doubled melt. Extrapolate that out, as the interviewee states, and you get huge numbers by 2100.

    3mm/yr, doubling every 5 yrs. (Hansen, et al.)… is a looooot of melt.

  43. 43
    Killian says:

    The previously-mentioned ice sheet may have been the BIIS. This abstract mentions a potentially rapid collapse of remaining sheet between Britain and Norway. Haven’t read the article, tho.


  44. 44
    Chuck Hughes says:

    @35 – Just to be clear, I am in no way trying to downplay the message or the messenger and I’m not familiar with Harold Wanless. I’ll have to look him up and do some reading. His message is alarming but he sounds anything but alarmed when talking about it. It’s like Ben Stein telling you your house is on fire.

    You know, it’s really dramatic what’s happening with the Climate and I’ve seen some very good filmography from Joe Romm and others but it’s still not getting the kind of attention it deserves. I said this a few years ago on here and got no response but we really do need a dynamic spokesperson who’s voice and appearance match the gravity of the situation. Scientists have earned a reputation for being dry in their delivery of really important information. The loyal opposition OTOH is anything but. They’re vocal and animated and intense in their opposition to Climate Science. I’m not suggesting that scientists be forced to take acting classes but you could certainly enlist help from people like Leonardo DiCaprio, or Harrison Ford etc. They’re already on board with the message but we need a small army of P.R. folks to take a story like Dr. Wanless’ and light a fire under it. Joe Romm has the right idea but “Years of Living Dangerously” still played to a very limited audience. Only ONE episode was shown on youtube. You CAN’T limit your message to a select crowd like that and expect results.

    We’re in the middle of a deadly propaganda war coming from the likes of the Koch Bros. et al who have enlisted FOX News and a ton of radio stations and they have the resources and money to keep it up for a long, long time. We’re gonna have to fight this battle and win one way or the other. A dry pod cast just ain’t gonna get it. I’m in the entertainment business myself and I know how to win or lose an audience real quick. You gotta make a show of it. Like it or not.

  45. 45
    Doug says:

    I just want to thank Michael Mann for all his outreach efforts. Tuesday night I heard you on a Minneapolis radio station at 10:30 p.m. EST, which I’m assuming you were in Mike. That is late for someone who has a day job!

    You are a true hero.

    Thank you, and keep up the good work!

  46. 46
    John Reilly says:

    Does sea level rise depend upon temperature stratification in the ocean? If expansion is a non-linear function of temperature then wouldn’t two cases with different temperature stratifications result in different sea-level rise under the same heat input?

  47. 47
    Jef says:

    wili – “…public attention given to climate change, whilst tremendously important in its own right, may have deleteriously distracted from the issue of resource constraints…”

    The two issues are unconditionally linked.

    If you can’t eat or drink you die. If you can’t pee or poo you die!

  48. 48
    zebra says:

    #23 HC,

    Thanks for the response; I had looked at that website before posting. I was hoping for a more specific response to my specific question from someone with specific expertise. Usually, people doing this kind of work have a good idea of what tech might contribute to progress, and are more than willing to share that, if only to kvetch a little about not having it.

    The point being that engaging the public sometimes requires concrete projects to which they can relate, locally in space and time. AMOC affecting NE USA sounds like just the ticket. Whereas, the bullet points about the (really) deep Argo efforts give me the uneasy feeling that only when we have a Standard Model equivalent for worldwide climate will anyone attempt to predict anything. The thing is, in 50 years, we in the NE USA will be able to answer the question ourselves. No LHC required, even.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Killian says:

    #15 and #48 Zebra said If I did win the lottery, I would like to make a contribution to the science being discussed here. My inclination would be to do something on the instrumentation side…

    My question is whether this increase in higher-resolution data would resolve anything.

    …Usually, people doing this kind of work have a good idea of what tech might contribute to progress…

    The point being that engaging the public sometimes requires concrete projects to which they can relate, locally in space and time.

    The first question is, what are you trying to help with? What is your end goal? Change? Better science for…?

    It seems you are thinking clearer science would = greater action, and that localizing the science discussions will bring greater action. No?

    First of all, because this is a long tail/fat tail risk assessment, no additional science is needed for policy. Once you get to the worst case scenario, you really don’t alter much in the risk assessment with additional data.

    Second, people don’t respond to data, by and large, as has been discussed here many, many times. They respond to emotional stimuli, as you imply by wanting to localize discussions via locally relevant science talking points. Which brings us to the third point.

    Do you have any idea how many communities or regions or even bio-regions there are on the planet? Neither do I. That’s an awful lot of targeted science, tho.

    An interesting thought with perhaps some localized utility, probably best managed at the bio-regional level to avoid having to pop down every chimney, so to speak. E.g., addressing drought on the West Coast/Southwest, and even along the U.S. southern tier, severe weather events in the midwest affecting food production and tornadoes, or continued severe winters, ever-larger hurricanes in the East, and SLR along costs, particularly low-lying coasts.

    But do we need more info for that? No. Additional info has progressively just made the worst case scenario even worse, and it’s already catastrophic. I see no reason for even worse news to have a greater effect. Denial is, after all, political and ideological, not a matter of info.

    For those that are not deniers, inertia is primarily due to discounting the future, which is difficult to overcome when worst cases are still generally believed to be decades, or centuries, away. This is the one area where more info might help: Even M. Mann has published on serious change by the mid-2030’s, so…