Science is naturally conservative and the scepticism to new ideas ensures high scientific quality. We have more confidence when different scholars arrive at the same conclusion independently of each other. But scientific research also brings about discoveries and innovations, and it typically takes time for such new understanding to receive acknowledgement and acceptance. In the meanwhile, it’s uncertain whether they really represent progress or if they are misconceived ideas. Sometimes we can shed more light on new ideas through scientific discussions.[Read more…] about The established ground and new ideas
Guest post by Mark Richardson who is a Research Scientist in the Aerosol and Clouds Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. All opinions expressed are his own and do not in any way represent those of NASA, JPL or Caltech.
Should scientists choose to believe provably false things? Even though that would mean more inclusive debates with a wider range of opinions, our recent paper Richardson & Benestad (2022) argues no: “instead of repeating errors, they should be acknowledged and corrected so that the debate can focus on areas of legitimate scientific uncertainty”. We were responding to Connolly et al., who suggested that maybe the Sun caused “most” of the warming in “recent decades” based on a simple maths mistake.[Read more…] about Serious mistakes found in recent paper by Connolly et al.
- M.T. Richardson, and R.E. Benestad, "Erroneous use of Statistics behind Claims of a Major Solar Role in Recent Warming", Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 22, pp. 125008, 2022. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1674-4527/ac981c
In recent years, the idea of climate change adaptation has received more and more attention and has become even more urgent with the unfolding of a number of extreme weather-related calamities. I wrote a piece on climate change adaptation last year here on RealClimate, and many of the issues that I pointed to then are still relevant.
The dire consequences of flooding, droughts and heatwaves that we have witnessed the last couple of years suggest that our society is not yet adapted even to the current climate. One interesting question is whether the climate science community is ready to provide robust and reliable information to support climate change adaptation when the world finally realises the urgency to do so. In other words, we need to know how to use the best available information the right way.[Read more…] about The #ConcordOslo2022 workshop
I have a feeling that we are seeing the start of a new wave of climate change denial and misrepresentation of science. At the same time, CEOs of gas and oil companies express optimism for further exploitation of fossil energy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at least here in Norway.
Another clue is William Kininmonth’s ‘rethink’ on the greenhouse effect for The Global Warming Policy Foundation. He made some rather strange claims, such as that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) allegedly should have forgotten that the earth is a sphere because “most absorption of solar radiation takes place over the tropics, while there is excess emission of longwave radiation to space over higher latitudes”.[Read more…] about New misguided interpretations of the greenhouse effect from William Kininmonth
The African rainfall deficit appears to be widespread: the Cairo Review reports severe droughts that have been experienced across the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and Southern Africa in 2011 and 2020. But the picture is also more complicated, as heavy rains have unleashed massive flooding across South Sudan according to the Red Cross.
A similar ambiguity can also be seen in the future prospects for this region. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (Assessment Report 6, often referred to as ‘AR6’) presents maps showing projected changes in the precipitation, e.g. in Figure SPM.5 and the IPCC Atlas.
The most recent precipitation projections reveal a remarkable dark green blob covering parts of Sahel and Sahara in addition to the Arabian peninsula, suggesting that this dry region may be blessed with more rainfall in the future (e.g. Figure 1).
Figure 1. A map from Figure SPM.5 from IPCC AR6 slides, showing percentage change in annual mean precipitation from a historical baseline (1850-1900). These results represent the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (also known as ‘CMIP6’) Global Climate Models (GCMs).[Read more…] about Future rainfall over Sahel and Sahara
All countries in the world urgently need to adapt to climate change but are not yet in a good position to do so. It’s urgent because we are not even adapted to the present climate. This fact is underscored by recent weather-related calamities, such as flooding in Central Europe and heatwaves over North America. It’s also urgent because the oceans act like a flywheel, making sure that cuts in emission of greenhouse gases will have a lagged effect on global warming.
Climate change adaptation was addressed in the Paris Agreement from 2015, the Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021, and will be one of four key priorities during the upcoming COP26. Proper climate adaptation of course needs meteorological and climatological data for mapping weather-related risks to prepare us for future extreme weather. However, I would argue that the climate research community has not had a visible presence during any of these meetings. Instead the summits have been dominated by politicians and NGOs.[Read more…] about A science-based move to climate change adaptation
I followed with great interest the launch of the sixth assessment report Working Group 1 (The Physical Science Basis) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on August 9th.
The main report is quite impressive (see earlier posts here, here, here, and here) but the press conference didn’t come across as being focused and well-prepared. In my opinion the press conference on 9 August 2021 didn’t do justice to the vast effort that went into it.[Read more…] about Deciphering the ‘SPM AR6 WG1’ code
Climate adaptation steams forward with an accelerated speed that can be seen through the Climate Adaptation Summit in January (see previous post), the ECCA 2021 in May/June, and the upcoming COP26. Recent extreme events may spur this development even further (see previous post about attribution of recent heatwaves).
To aid climate adaptation, Europe’s Climate-Adapt programme provides a wealth of resources, such as guidance, case studies and videos. This is a good start, but a clear and transparent account on how to use the actual climate information for adaptation seems to be missing. How can projections of future heatwaves or extreme rainfall help practitioners, and how to interpret this kind of information?[Read more…] about Climate adaptation should be based on robust regional climate information
Future global warming will be accompanied by more intense rainfall and flash floods due to increased evaporation, as a consequence of higher surface temperatures which also lead to a higher turn-around rate for the global hydrological cycle. In other words, we will see changing rainfall patterns. And if the global area of rainfall also shrinks, then a higher regional concentration of the rainfall is bound to lead to more intense downpours (the global rainfall indicator is discussed here).[Read more…] about A potential rule of thumb for hourly rainfall?
It’s encouraging to note the growing interest for regional climate information for society and climate adaptation, such as recent advances in the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the climate adaptation summit CAS2021, and the new Digital Europe. These efforts are likely to boost the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) needed as a guide to decision-makers on matters influenced by weather and climate.[Read more…] about Regional information for society (RifS) and unresolved issues