Kerry Emanuel (whose influential scientific work we’ve discussed here previously) has written a particularly lucid and poignant popular article on climate change for the literary forum “Boston Review”. The article is entitled Phaeton’s Reins: The human hand in climate change. We thought it worth passing along.
Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, David Archer, Stefan Rahmstorf, William Connolley, and Raymond Bradley
Andy Revkin, who’s one of the best journalists on the climate beat, wrote a curious piece in the NY Times discussing the ‘middle stance’ of the climate debate. It’s nice to see news pieces on climate that aren’t breathless accounts of a new breakthough and that take the time to point out that the vast majority of relevant scientists take climate change extremely seriously. To that extent, the message of this piece was a welcome one. The curious part, however, was the thread running through the piece that this middle ground is only now emerging, and even curiouser, that this middle ground can be characterized as representing some sort of ‘heresy’.
Heresy, is commonly defined as ‘an opinion or doctrine at variance with the official or orthodox position’. So where does this idea come from, and why is it now ’emerging’?
This is just a pointer to a ‘Quick Study’ guide on The physics of climate modelling that appears in Physics Today this month, and to welcome anyone following through from that magazine. Feel free to post comments or questions about the article here and I’ll try and answer as many as I can.
A lighthearted look at the climate science goings-on over the last year:
Best highlight of the gap between the ‘two cultures’:
Justice Scalia: ‘Troposphere, whatever. I told you before I’m not a scientist. That’s why I don’t want to have to deal with global warming’ .
Least effective muzzling of government climate scientist by a junior public affairs political appointee:
George Deutsch met his match in Jim Hansen.
Most puzzling finding that has yet to be replicated:
Methane from plants
Worst reported story and least effectual follow-up press release:
Methane from plants
Best (err… only) climate science documentary on public release:
An Inconvenient Truth.
Most worn out contrarian cliche:
Medieval English vineyards.
Previously prominent contrarian cliche curiously not being used any more:
“The satellites show cooling”
Most bizarre new contrarian claim:
“Global warming stopped in 1998”.
By the same logic, it also stopped in 1973, 1983, and 1990 (only it didn’t).
Most ironic complaint about ‘un-balanced’ climate coverage on CNN:
Pat Michaels (the most interviewed commentator by a factor of two) complaining that he doesn’t get enough exposure.
Best popular book on the climate change:
Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Field Notes from a Catastrophe”
Least unexpected observations:
(Joint winners) 2006 near-record minima in Arctic sea ice extent, near-record maxima in Northern Hemisphere temperatures, resumed increase in ocean heat content, record increases in CO2 emissions
Best resource for future climate model analyses:
PCMDI database of IPCC AR4 simulations. The gift that will keep on giving.
Best actual good news:
Methane concentrations appear to have stabilised. Maybe they can even be coaxed downward….
Biggest increase in uncertainty as a function of more research:
Anything to do with aerosols.
Least apologetic excuse for getting a climate story wrong:
Newsweek explains its 1975 ‘The Cooling World’ story.
Most promising newcomer on the contrarian comedy circuit:
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Least accurate attempted insinuation about RealClimate by a congressional staffer:
‘There’s so much money’: Marc Morano (Senate EPW outgoing majority committee staff, 5:30 into the mp3 file)
Boldest impractical policy idea:
Boldest practical policy idea:
Creation of a National Climate Service, which could more effecitvely provide useful climate information to policymakers.
Most revealing insight into the disinformation industry (fiction):
Thank you for smoking
Most revealing insight into the disinformation industry (non-fiction) and year’s best self-parody:
‘CO2 is life’
Feel free to suggest your own categories and winners…
It turns out that there were almost 14,000 attendees at AGU last week, which apparently makes it the largest Earth Science meeting ever held. To be sure, not all of that is climate related – there was lots of seismology, planetary and more theoretical/small-scale stuff, but a lot of it was. At most times there were at least half a dozen sessions that I would have been interested to attend – and they were often discussing overlapping themes.
It used to be that one could go to a meeting like this and get a wide overview of the work being done much more efficiently (and speedily) than reading the journals. However, that is clearly no longer true. And of course, we can’t keep up with all the relevant journal articies in the wider field either, and so how do scientists manage?