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Of tempests, barren ground and a thousand furlongs of sea

Filed under: — group @ 21 May 2009

Guest commentary by Ron Miller, NASA GISS

Several studies have shown that hurricane activity is generally reduced during years when there is a thick aerosol haze over the subtropical Atlantic. The haze is comprised mainly of soil particles, stripped by wind erosion from the barren ground over the Sahara and Sahel. These particles are lifted into the atmosphere and carried by the Trade winds as far as the Caribbean and Amazon basin. Plumes of dust streaming off the African coast are easily recognized in satellite imagery, and were even described by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle.

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The tragedy of climate commons

Filed under: — gavin @ 7 May 2009 - (Svenska)

Imagine a group of 100 fisherman faced with declining stocks and worried about the sustainability of their resource and their livelihoods. One of them works out that the total sustainable catch is about 20% of what everyone is catching now (with some uncertainty of course) but that if current trends of increasing catches (about 2% a year) continue the resource would be depleted in short order. Faced with that prospect, the fishermen gather to decide what to do. The problem is made more complicated because some groups of fishermen are much more efficient than the others. The top 5 catchers, catch 20% of the fish, and the top 20 catch almost 75% of the fish. Meanwhile the least efficient 50 catch only 10% of the fish and barely subsist. Clearly, fairness demands that the top catchers lead the way in moving towards a more sustainable future.

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Filed under: — rasmus @ 6 May 2009 - (Italian)

Two recent papers (Lockwood & Fröhlich, 2008 – ‘LF08’; Scafetta & Willson, 2009 – ‘SW09’) compare the analysis of total solar irradiance (TSI) and the way the TSI measurements are combined to form a long series consisting of data from several satellite missions. The two papers come to completely opposite conclusions regarding the long term trend. So which one (if either) is right, then? And does it really matter?

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Monckton’s deliberate manipulation

Filed under: — gavin @ 2 May 2009

Our favorite contrarian, the potty peer Christopher Monckton has been indulging in a little aristocratic artifice again. Not one to be constrained by mere facts or observable reality, he has launched a sally against Andy Revkin for reporting the shocking news that past industry disinformation campaigns were not sincere explorations of the true uncertainties in climate science.
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Welcome to the fray

Filed under: — group @ 1 May 2009

As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we’ve naturally been delighted that a number of sites have sprung up over the past few years with missions complementary to our own focussing on the science of climate change. Last year, we were introduced to “climate ethics”, whose mission it is to focus on the ethical dimensions of climate change. Now there is “RealClimateEconomics”, whose aim it is to focus on the economic considerations surrounding climate change. Neither this site nor has any formal relationship with RealClimate, despite the similarity in name. We do nonetheless welcome them to the fray. We are pleased to add them to our blogroll, which we hope has become a useful resource for those wishing to explore the broader discourse on climate change that lies beyond the science.