Technical Note: We have changed the contact email for the blog to reduce the amount of unsolicited email. If you want to contact us at the blog, please use contact-at-realclimate.org.
For those who’d like to get the basics of climate change explained first-hand by a climate scientist, here are two video lectures.
In the first, I show some of the basic data sets and findings about global warming, including some comments on historic land marks of our science.
The second lecture deals with the impacts of climate change (with a focus on extreme events and sea-level rise) and the possibilities for holding global warming below 2°C.
These lectures form part of a broader lecture course called World in Transition. It includes 11 themes, presented by the members of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). This is a body of experts appointed by the German government and advising it on global change issues. The lecture series, for which international students can enrol and earn credit points, is based on the WBGU flagship report World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability. This report describes how the transition to a sustainable, climate-friendly global economy and life style can be achieved.
… if your data do not look like a quadratic!
This is a post about global sea-level rise, but I put that message up front so that you’ve got it even if you don’t read any further.
The reputable climate-statistics blogger Tamino, who is a professional statistician in real life and has published a couple of posts on this topic, puts it bluntly:
Fitting a quadratic to test for change in the rate of sea-level rise is a fool’s errand.
I’d like to explain why, with the help of a simple example. Imagine your rate of sea-level rise changes over 100 years in the following way:
The extensive salt marshes on the Outer Banks of Carolina offer ideal conditions for unravelling the mysteries of sea level change during past centuries. Here is a short report from our field work there – plus some comments on strange North Carolina politics as well as two related new papers published today in Nature Climate Change.
The Outer Banks of Carolina are particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion and sea-level rise, partly because the land is subsiding and the banks are naturally moving landward. On the ocean front, land is continually being lost.
Last week the science community was shocked by the claim that 42% of the sea-level rise of the past decades is due to groundwater pumping for irrigation purposes. What could this mean for the future – and is it true?
The causes of global sea level rise can be roughly split into three categories: (1) thermal expansion of sea water as it warms up, (2) melting of land ice and (3) changes in the amount of water stored on land. There are independent estimates for these contributions, and obviously an important question is whether their sum is consistent with the total sea level rise actually observed.
foto (c) Stefan Rahmstorf 2012
A group of colleagues has all but solved one of the greatest remaining puzzles in climate science. But the story is not one of scientific triumph – rather, it is so embarrassing that we had controversial discussions in our group whether to break this to a wider public at all.
The puzzle is known amongst climatologists as the “wrong sign paradox” – our regular readers will probably have heard about it. Put simply, it is about the fact that a whole number of things in climate science would fit very nicely together, if only the sign were reversed. If only plus were minus. More »
Switch to our mobile site