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AGU 2013 preview and participation

Filed under: — group @ 8 December 2013

So, it’s that time of year again.

Fall AGU is the largest Earth Science conference on the planet, and is where you will get previews of new science results, get a sense of what other experts think about current topics, and indulge in the more social side of being a scientist. The full scientific program is available for searching here.

In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of virtual content – including live streaming of key sessions and high profile lectures, and continuous twitter commentary (follow the hashtag #AGU13), that give people not attending to get a sense of what’s going on. Gavin and Mike are attending and will try and give some highlights as the week goes along, here and via twitter (follow @ClimateOfGavin and @MichaelEMann).

Some obvious highlights (that will be live-streamed) are the Frontiers of Geophysics lecture from the Jim Hansen (Tuesday, 12:30pm PST), Senator Olympia Snowe (Monday, 12:30pm), Judith Lean (Tues 10:20am), the Charney Lecture from Lenny Smith (Tues 11:20am), James Elsner on tornado connections to climate change (Tues 2:40pm), David Grinspoon (the Sagan lecture, Thurs 9am), and Bill Ruddiman (Thursday 2:40pm). Some full sessions will also be livestreamed – for instance, The future of IPCC session (Tues 10:20am-12:30pm), and the Climate Literacy sessions (Tues 4:00pm-6:00pm, Wed 8am-12:30pm).

For attendees, there are a number of events close to our hearts: A bloggers forum for discussion on science blogging (Mon 5pm), the Open Mic night hosted by Richard Alley (Mon 7:30pm at Jillian’s Restaurant), and the AGU 5k run on Wednesday morning (6:30am).

Also AGU and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund have organised a facility for individual consultations with a lawyer (by appointment via lawyer@climatesciencedefensefund.org) for people either who have found themselves involved in legal proceedings associated with their science or people who are just interested in what they might need to be prepared for. There is a brown bag lunch session on Friday (12:30pm PST) for a more informal discussion of relevant issues.

There are obviously many individual presentations that will be of interest, but too many to list here. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments and look out for updates all next week.

Statistics and Climate

Filed under: — rasmus @ 18 November 2013

Do different climate models give different results? And if so, why? The answer to these questions will increase our understanding of the climate models, and potentially the physical phenomena and processes present in the climate system.

We now have many different climate models, many different methods, and get a range of different results. They provide what we call ‘multi-model‘ and ‘multi-method‘ ensembles. But how do we make sense out of all this information?

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A new experiment with science publication

Filed under: — rasmus @ 28 June 2013

A while ago, I received a request to publish a paper on a post that I had written here on RealClimate, exposing the flaws in the analysis of Humlum et al., (2011).

Instead of writing a comment to one paper, however, I thought it might be useful to collect a sample of papers that I found unconvincing (usual suspects), and that have had a fairly high public profile.

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References

  1. O. Humlum, J. Solheim, and K. Stordahl, "Identifying natural contributions to late Holocene climate change", Global and Planetary Change, vol. 79, pp. 145-156, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.09.005

Introducing PubPeer.com

Filed under: — group @ 25 May 2013

Guest post from PubPeer.com

The process of reviewing published science is constantly occurring and is now commonly being called post-publication peer review. It occurs in many places including on blogs such as this one, review articles, at conferences around the world, and has even been encouraged on the websites of some journals. However, the process of recording and searching these comments is, unfortunately, inefficient and underused by the larger scientific community for several reasons: To successfully impact the publication process, this database of knowledge has to accomplish two important tasks. First it requires participation by a large part of a given scientific community so that it reflects an average impression instead of an outlier’s impression. Second, it requires that the collective knowledge is centralized and easy to search in order find out what the community collectively thinks about an individual paper or a body of work. A recent initiative, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), echoes many of these same concerns.

In an attempt to assemble such a database, a team of scientists, have put together a website called PubPeer.com that is searchable and encourages participation by the larger scientific community. With a critical mass of usage an organized system of post-publication review could improve both the process of scientific publication as well as the research that underlies those publications.

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AGU time again…

Filed under: — group @ 1 December 2012

This week is Fall AGU, the biggest climate-related conference around. Not everything is related to climate – there is a lot of other geophysics and astrophysics, but it is generally the place to go if you want to see and be seen (and incidentally, be crushed, be excited, be friendly and be frustrated that you can’t be in three places at once).

If you are not going, you should check out the improvements in the ‘Virtual meeting‘, which will offer live streaming of some big sessions, and for those and many additional sessions there is video-on-demand (VOD) after the fact. Many posters will also be available via ePoster. The twitter hashtag is #AGU12.

And if you are going to be there, here is a limited selection of sessions that will discuss issues that often come up here (more details in the scientific program).

Monday, Dec 03:

PP11F. The Climate of the Common Era I + II
8:00 AM – 12:30 AM; 2010 (Moscone West) (including Kevin Anchukatis, Philip Brohan, Eric, and many others).

12:30 PM – 01:30 PM: San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Salon 10 Brown Bag Lunch Workshop with Michael Gerrard on “Legal Duties to Preserve and Disclose Scientific Data and Personal Communications” (note that anyone who wants a private one-on-one session with a lawyer related to these or related issues, can email lawyer(at)climatesciencedefensefund.org to set up a meeting).

PA13B. Countering Denial and Manufactured Doubt of 21st Century Science
1:40 PM – 3:40 PM; 302 (Moscone South)

6:30 PM – 8:30PM; Open Mike Night hosted by Richard Alley. Jillian’s, 175 4th Street, Suite 1070.

Tuesday, Dec 04:

PA21B. Communication of Science Through Art: A Raison d’Etre for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM; 104 (Moscone South) (VOD)

GC22B. Communicating Climate Science—Seeking the Best of Old and New Paradigms
10:20 AM – 12:20 PM; 3014 (Moscone West) (including Mike, Richard Alley, Dan Kahan, Richard Somerville and Naomi Oreskes)

PA23B. PA23B. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs: Science Communication Gone Social—The Social Media 101
1:40 PM – 3:40 PM; 302 (Moscone South) (Including Mike, Michael Tobis, Peter Sinclair, and Zeke Hausfather)

Bloggers Forum: Science on the Web:
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: 3000 (Moscone West)

Wednesday, Dec 05:

Session Title: A32D. New Atmospheric Sciences Fellows Presentations I + II
8:00 AM – 12:20PM; 3002 (Moscone West) (including Tony DelGenio, Mike, Ron Stouffer, Dave Neelin… ) (VOD)

PP31D. Continental Archives of Past Climate and Seismic Events II
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM; 2006 (Moscone West) (including Ray B. discussing this)

PP32A. Emiliani Lecture
10:20 AM – 11:20 AM; 103 (Moscone South)
“No future without a past” or “History will teach us nothing”? (Invited) Richard E. Zeebe (VOD)

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM; Brown Bag lunch with Pete Fontaine “An inside look at the Michael Mann case”. 226 (Moscone South)

GC33F. Construing Uncertainty in Climate Science
2:40 PM – 3:40 PM; 3003 (Moscone West) (including Naomi Oreskes, Gerard Roe)

GC44B. Links Between Rapid Arctic Change and Midlatitude Weather Patterns
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM; 3001 (Moscone West) (including Steve Vavrus, Judah Cohen)

Thursday, Dec 06:

GC43I. Tyndall History of Global Environmental Change Lecture:
2:40 PM – 3:40 PM; 2022-2024 (Moscone West): “Successful Predictions” (Invited), Raymond Pierrehumbert (VOD)

U44A. Dissolving Boundaries Between Scientists, Media, and the Public
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM; 102 (Moscone South) (Including Eric as speaker and panelist).

Friday, Dec 07:

C54B. The Ice Core Record of Carbon Cycle History and Processes
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM; 3007 (Moscone West)

Feel free to advertise other sessions/talks that might be of interest in the comments. Hopefully we’ll get some reports of interesting sessions to share with you (and if anyone wants to send us anything, we’ll post it up that evening).

Data presentation: A trend lesson

I just came across an interesting way to eliminate the impression of a global warming. A trick used to argue that the global warming had stopped, and the simple recipe is as follows:

  • Cut off parts of the measurements and only keep the last 17 years.
  • Plot all the months of these 17 years to get plenty of data points.
  • A good idea is to show a streched plot with longer time axis.
  • More »

    Copernicus and Arrhenius: Physics Then and Physics Today

    Filed under: — eric @ 21 December 2011

    There was a really interesting article in Physics Today this past October on the parallels between the slow acceptance of the idea of anthropogenic climate change and of the idea that the earth circles the sun.
    More »

    Curve-fitting and natural cycles: The best part


    It is not every day that I come across a scientific publication that so totally goes against my perception of what science is all about. Humlum et al., 2011 present a study in the journal Global and Planetary Change, claiming that most of the temperature changes that we have seen so far are due to natural cycles.

    They claim to present a new technique to identify the character of natural climate variations, and from this, to produce a testable forecast of future climate. They project that

    the observed late 20th century warming in Svalbard is not going to continue for the next 20–25 years. Instead the period of warming may be followed by variable, but generally not higher temperatures for at least the next 20–25 years.

    However, their claims of novelty are overblown, and their projection is demonstrably unsound.

    More »

    References

    1. O. Humlum, J. Solheim, and K. Stordahl, "Identifying natural contributions to late Holocene climate change", Global and Planetary Change, vol. 79, pp. 145-156, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.09.005

    AGU 2011: Day 5 and wrap-up

    Filed under: — group @ 11 December 2011

    (Day 1)(Day 2)(Days 3&4)

    After 5 days, there is a definite slowdown in energy, desire to ask questions and attendance. But there were still a lot of good talks to be seen. Perhaps most relevant here were a few sessions talking about initial results from the CMIP5 models and the data with which they are being assessed. Overall, most comparisons to the CMIP3 models showed that despite substantial improvements in resolution, completeness, and scope, the CMIP5 models do not show any dramatic differences at the broad-scale diagnostics (global means etc.).

    This is not particularly surprising, since it is expected that the importance of the new simulations will be seen in the differences between model types (i.e. including carbon cycles, atmospheric chemistry etc.), or in new kinds of diagnostics from say, the initialized decadal predictions, that weren’t available before.

    Looking back at the whole meeting (20,000+ scientists, dozens of simultaneous sessions), it is perhaps worth noting the reasons why such meetings are so important. Obviously, no-one can see everything that is relevant to their research, or talk to everyone they might want to, but there is a lot that can be seen and absorbed much more efficiently than would be possible at home. The social aspect of conferences is also important – beer is an essential lubricant for geophysicists it seems. More important than the sessions are often the chance encounters on the escalators or corridors. Many people get to meet in person who only ever emailed – and this includes other bloggers as well as scientists. We met Eli Rabett, John Cook (Skeptical Science), Zeke Hausfather, Kate @ ClimateSight, Steve Easterbrook, and many others who are only known by their screen names and comments. Many of the scientists whose work has been discussed here recently were also present – Andreas Schmittner, Robert Rohde (of BEST), Jim Hansen, Ben Santer, Roy Spencer, along with many, many first timers whose work will become more prominent. The palpable sense of excitement at the directions the science is taking is very much driven by the bright ideas and new approaches being generated by the younger scientists – including undergraduates and graduate students. And it is the serendipitous encounters with these new voices that are the most unanticipated (and unplanned) benefits of these meetings. This doesn’t happen with Skype unfortunately.

    We know that we didn’t see everything we wanted to, so if any other attendees are reading this, we encourage them to point out in the comments any particular highpoints they came across – especially if the talks were part of those broadcast, or if the poster is available on-line.

    AGU 2011: Day 2

    Filed under: — group @ 7 December 2011

    (Day 1)

    Tuesday


    There were two interesting themes in the solar sessions this morning. The first was a really positive story about how instrumental differences between rival (and highly competitive) teams can get resolved. This refers to the calibration of measurements of the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). As is relatively well known, the different satellite instruments over the last 30 or so years have shown a good coherence of variability – especially the solar cycle, but have differed markedly on the absolute value of the TSI (see the figure). In particular, four currently flying instruments (SORCE, ACRIM3, VIRGO and PREMOS) had offsets as large as 5W/m2. However, the development of a test-facility at NASA Langley the
    University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder
    Colorado
    – an effort led by Greg Kopp’s group – has allowed people to test their instruments in a vacuum, with light levels comparable to the solar irradiance, and have the results compared to really high precision measurements. This was a tremendous technical challenge, but as Kopp stated, getting everyone on board was perhaps a larger social challenge.

    The facility has enabled the different instrument teams to calibrate their instruments, and check for uncorrected errors, like excessive scattering and diffusive light contamination in the measurement chambers. In doing so, Richard Wilson of the ACRIM group reported that they found higher levels of scattering than they had anticipated, which was leading to slightly excessive readings. Combined with a full implementation of an annually varying temperature correction, their latest processed data product has reduced the discrepancy with the TIM instrument from over 5 W/m2 to less than 0.5 W/m2 – a huge improvement. The new PREMOS instrument onboard Picard, a french satellite, was also tested before launch last year, and they improved their calibration as well – and the data that they reported was also very close to the SORCE/TIM data: around 1361 W/m2 at solar minimum.

    The errors uncovered and the uncertainties reduced as a function of this process was a great testament to the desire of everyone concerned to work towards finding the right answer – despite initial assumptions about who may have had the best design. The answer is that space borne instrumentation is hard to do, and thinking of everything that might go wrong is a real challenge.

    The other theme was the discussion of the spectral irradiance changes – specifically by how much the UV changes over a solar cycle are larger in magnitude than the changes in the total irradiance. The SIM/SOLSTICE instruments on SORCE have reported much larger UV changes than previous estimates, and this has been widely questioned (see here for a previous discussion). The reason for the unease is that the UV instruments have a very large degradation of their signal over time, and the residual trends are quite sensitive to the large corrections that need to be made. Jerry Harder discussed those corrections and defended the SIM published data, while another speaker made clear how anomalous that data was. Meanwhile, some climate modellers are already using the SIM data to see whether that improves the model simulations of ozone and temperature responses in the stratosphere. However, the ‘observed’ data on this is itself somewhat uncertain – for instance, comparing the SAGE results (reported in Gray et al, 2011) with the SABER results (Merkel et al, 2011), shows a big difference in how large the ozone response is. So this remains a bit of a stumper.

    The afternoon sessions on water isotopes in precipitation was quite exciting because of the number of people looking at innovative proxy archives, including cave records of 18O in calcite, or deuterium in leaf waxes, which are extending the coverage (in time and space) of this variable. Even more notable, was the number of these presentations that combined their data work with interpretations driven by GCM models that include isotope tracers that allow for more nuanced conclusions. This is an approach that was pioneered decades ago, but has taken a while to really get used routinely.

    (Days 3&4)(Day 5 and wrap up)

    References

    1. L.J. Gray, J. Beer, M. Geller, J.D. Haigh, M. Lockwood, K. Matthes, U. Cubasch, D. Fleitmann, G. Harrison, L. Hood, J. Luterbacher, G.A. Meehl, D. Shindell, B. van Geel, and W. White, "SOLAR INFLUENCES ON CLIMATE", Reviews of Geophysics, vol. 48, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009RG000282
    2. A.W. Merkel, J.W. Harder, D.R. Marsh, A.K. Smith, J.M. Fontenla, and T.N. Woods, "The impact of solar spectral irradiance variability on middle atmospheric ozone", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 38, pp. n/a-n/a, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011GL047561