Climate science from climate scientists...
2 Feb 2011 by group
This month’s open thread…
… continued here.
Hank Roberts says
13 Feb 2011 at 12:33 PM
“At any given time, somewhere between three and five atmospheric rivers are typically ferrying water in each hemisphere. More than 1,000 kilometers long, they are often no wider than 400 kilometers and carry the equivalent, in water vapor, of the flow at the Mississippi River’s mouth. ‘That has really captured the imagination of scientists,” says Marty Ralph, also a meteorologist at the Boulder lab. “There are only a handful of these events, and yet they do the work of transporting 90-plus percent of water vapor on the planet.’
Ordinary clouds don’t carry lots of water vapor long distances; they rain out as soon as water droplets coalesce and get heavy enough to fall as precipitation. In the 1990s, MIT researchers calculated from wind and moisture data that jets in the atmosphere, which the scientists termed atmospheric rivers, must exist to help ferry water around the planet.
Since then researchers have gotten a better look at the rivers, using microwave-sensing instruments carried on polar-orbiting satellites….”
richard pauli says
13 Feb 2011 at 12:40 PM
A fraternity hazing technique is to have the initiate hold a burning match while reciting the Greek alphabet. The challenge is to deliver answers before being burned. And similar games are played while holding ice cubes – merely an uncomfortable test.
We live in a world of radical change with an increasing rate of change, measuring astounding events. Scientific effort should be commesurate with the rate of change in our world. To meet the challenges of the future, we need far more research and faster reporting and review. Why not? The need is there.
I point to one amateur’s blog on the problem of ozone pollution… http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/p/basic-premise.html – by a non-scientist and mother, Gail Zawacki, who simply observes serious problems in the world she sees. She is in contact with researchers studing tropospheric ozone – and calls up some serious questions deserving of more study. (O3 generation from ethanol, damage to plant life, increase with heat, etc)
[Response: Well actually you’re giving quite a good example of why “blog science” by amateurs is a real problem–and it doesn’t matter which side of the “AGW fence” you’re on to qualify it as such. You are sure right that we need more science, but that science has to be of high quality, and peer-reviewed by the scientific community, which much “blog science” is decidedly not. You don’t just assemble whatever information you can find, throw it together on a blog, and act like that proves your pet theory (while at the same time accusing the mainstream science community of cover ups, malfeasance etc)–as the blog and person you refer to, has done. Nor do bloggers generally discover any important problems that scientists are not already aware of, though they dearly like to imagine so–Jim]
Blogs are not formal science research – but the rates of change increases and time compresses. In the midst of dire problems, we should welcome all comers who increase reporting.
[Response: NOPE, not unless they show they are credible–they simply add to the noise otherwise.–Jim]
This is no fraternity hazing, right now all humans are touched by increased combustion and rapidly melting ice.
Septic Matthew says
13 Feb 2011 at 1:07 PM
447, Hank Roberts, thanks for the link. It was a good read.
13 Feb 2011 at 1:11 PM
This is not encouraging; good science is being discarded for political PR: http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2011/02/with_friends_like_thesewhite_h.php#c3273544
13 Feb 2011 at 1:35 PM
Thank you, Jim, for that quick sanity check response above.
Gail Zawacki says
13 Feb 2011 at 2:19 PM
“I certainly think that blogs can be of tremendous value in bringing up more context and dispelling the various mis-apprehensions that exist, but as a venue for actually doing science, they cannot replace the peer-reviewed paper – however painful that publishing process might be.”
I totally agree and have tremendous respect for real science. My blog was never intended to be scientific in the proper academic sense of the word.
When I first noticed that all the trees are dying (and they are, all dying, every species of every age in every habitat)
[Response: Is that a fact? You’ve been around the world observing this first hand have you. Or is it that you’ve gone thoroughly through all the various forest inventory data of various countries and analyzed tree mortality with respect to various possible causes?–Jim]
the first thing I did was write to all the scientists I could dredge up who might have some knowledge and ask them, why?
I emailed them pictures of damaged leaves so they could see the symptoms I referred to in my letters, but it was slow and cumbersome for me to send and people to download – and so I started the blog initially so that I could supply a link that would be fast and effortless.
At first I thought the trees were dying from climate-change drought, and so I learned everything I could about climate change. Eventually however I came to the conclusion that this explanation, although it will ultimately disrupt the climate enough to cause mass extinctions, could not be the source of the sudden and precipitous and universal damage to foliage that was occurring, not just on trees growing in the wild, but also young trees being watered in nurseries, and annuals in the ground and in pots with enriched soil, and even aquatic plants that are always in water. The only thing all this vegetation has in common is the composition of the atmosphere. This is the point at which I started looking, reluctantly, into tropospheric ozone.
I discovered there is much evidence that ozone is toxic to vegetation, and so the blog also became a repository for all the legitimate, peer-reviewed research I can find that has been published on the topic.
[Response: Yeah, so are certain insects. And numerous fungi. And invasive earthworms. And acidic precipitation. And over-crowding from alteration of natural disturbance regimes. And resource acquisition and allocation patterns related to age-related stand dynamics. And wind and ice storms. And fire. And….–Jim]
Scientists know that ozone damages plants and kills trees and causes crop yield decreases in the billions of dollars annually. They have proven that exposure to ozone increases the incidence of insects, disease, fungus, impacts from drought and extreme weather, the usual reasons cited for tree death. [edit accusations of conspiracy by scientists]
We should drastically curtail burning fuel, reserve it for only for the most essential purposes, and transition to clean sources of energy on an emergency basis.
[Response: Yep, and we should do it for the right reasons.–Jim]
[Response: if people want to discuss this specific topic can do so on the open thread. It is OT here. I moved a couple of responses there already. Thanks. – gavin]
13 Feb 2011 at 2:21 PM
raypieere, thanks for your comment calculating W/m^2 for venus at the surfaqce, which quite clearly shows it is radiation balance at the top of atmosphere that is important.
Rod B says
13 Feb 2011 at 2:40 PM
Hank, thanks for the references in 428. I have serious Qs on the first (colorado.edu graphic). 1) I assume its TOA in which case it shows far more radiation escaping than not. 2) The representative blackbody 280K curve is way out of kilter (wrong peak and wrong slopes). Am I reading the graphic or its units correctly? (I couldn’t get to the site description.)
[Response: Rod, no matter what people throw at you, all you have are “serious questions.” You never listen to or try to understand the “serious answers,” and I’m still waiting for a concise description of just what it is that’s bugging you about radiative transfer anyway. You’ve done the same thing on other blogs, and I am beginning to doubt your motives. A lot of people have given you the benefit of the doubt for a long time, but this is getting unproductive and I’m not tolerating any more of it. –raypierre]
13 Feb 2011 at 2:55 PM
Kevin McKinney (433), except ‘not fully precise’ are the spin words for something you all have said is FLAT OUT WRONG! (Not including your presumption that high school seniors cannot distinguish between “all matter” and “solids” or between “all frequencies” and “a few frequencies.”)
[Response: Rod, enough of you. You haven’t responded to repeated requests to tell us just what precisely it is you think “doesn’t add up”. This thread is closed, and any further comments by you go to the Borehole. –raypierre]
Chris Colose says
13 Feb 2011 at 3:11 PM
The 280 K blackbody curve is not peaked correctly (it should be at ~10 microns) but this is rather beside the point, and since the Planck tail falls off quite gradually at wavelengths longer than the peak there’s of course plenty of room for absorption by CO2 and other gases. None of the qualitative features in the graphic should be surprising though. It’s rather easy to interpret.
scienceofdoom has a variety of very good articles on the subject. I also have one taking some advantage of Dave Archer’s online MODTRAN model which looks at the TOA perspective
13 Feb 2011 at 3:38 PM
You really damage your cause by blindly blaming everything you see on one thing. The world is more complicated than that, and you don’t even know what an oak apple is. How then can you hope to attribute all the many and various causes of leaf damage?
Some of your “science” links are broken, others refer to articles that don’t support your theories. In one particularly daft example, you attribute sheer fiction to the WHO. If you want to be taken seriously, then get serious. If you want your blog to form a useful adjunct to the science, then it must be accurate (or make a reasonable attempt to be) – or it’s just another anti-science conspiracy site.
If you can’t convince someone like me, think how quickly working scientists will dismiss you as a crank. They already know about ozone. Thinking of yourself as the sole beacon of light and wisdom…. not a good plan.
Ron Crouch says
13 Feb 2011 at 3:43 PM
Good responses Jim.
But you do accuse the foresters for a cover up and hiding the truth from the public on your blog. To simply say that bark beetles killing trees is inaccurate and misleading is meaningless as you fail to support your position with any science. Therefore it is only opinion based upon your observation, that admittedly is not scientific in nature. The USDA makes information readily available to the public. Effects of Ozone Air Pollution on Plants But you yourself cannot state with certainty whether ground level ozone is a contributing factor in all areas that are under attack from bark beetles unless you can provide the science to back that claim. Therefore it is blogs such as yours that are misleading. You may be entitled to your opinion, but remember that accuracy does count.
13 Feb 2011 at 3:59 PM
GailZawaki. Please don’t blame all the dying vegetation around your location on one aspect of the environment world wide [either drought or ozone], there are very many things, even directly related to climate, that have effects on trees and other levels of plant life. There are some varieties of trees in some specific eco-niches in my area that are noticeably dying from direct effects of drought, while other species right next to them are thriving, but the most massively affected areas are the beetle kill forests that are primarily a result of warmer winter temperatures. Ozone isn’t a primary culprit outside major urban centers. Drought, and floods, and heat waves will massively degrade world wide food production well before ozone eliminates all the decorative landscape in your yard.
Yes, burning all our carbon stores is a bad thing, but the low level ozone problem is more directly the NOx and VOC emissions that react with sunlight to create it, and they have come under regulation in the U.S., there is something being done about it. Please put your effort into insuring your newly elected politicians don’t kneecap those regulations!
13 Feb 2011 at 4:10 PM
When I first noticed that all the trees are dying (and they are, all dying, every species of every age in every habitat)
This statement’s simply not true where I live (in the western PNW, and in Portland, where presumably ground-level ozone might be present).
[Response: Not true anywhere, anytime, including those areas most hard hit by mountain pine beetle now.–Jim]
Anyway, I’ve bumped heads with Gail over at Climate Progress, and, unfortunately, she’s as stubborn as any other science crank. Though she seems like a very nice and well-meaning person.
13 Feb 2011 at 5:20 PM
Gail, without meaning to be nasty, your blog is an example of why so many blogs just ain’t representative of the peer review process in science publishing. On your blog you note that you found some dead trees in a forest near your home while on a walk. You then conclude: “I stopped soon after I realized the ecosystem is collapsing.” To echo Jim: “Oh, really?” You see some dead or dying trees, are not sure of the etiology of the dying trees, have not done any systematic survey to determine what genus or species or how many trees are dead or dying, do not appear to have done an exhaustive review of the related research literature, have not determined how this phenomenon relates to other processes in the surrounding ecosystems … and you conclude the ecosystem is “collapsing,” whatever that means.
Do you see the problems here? There are so many steps left out of the rigorous processes of observation, hypothesis formation, literature review, data collection, analysis, determining if your data support your hypothesis, and then having your learned peers methodically review your work.
With regard to climate science blogs, from what I can determine there are many blogs whose proprietors think they are doing science when in fact they have left out many of these steps, or have performed sloppily, or have become blinded by ideology, or are unwilling or unable (due to lack of rigor) to have their work reviewed by qualified peers.
13 Feb 2011 at 8:05 PM
Regarding my earlier comment #6 – I guess I wanted to convey some concern over the pace of climate change and to call for increased levels of science inquiry. Of course blogs have no role in doing science work, no one has asked for that level of respect. And I would not. But certainly we need to hear the calling of important questions.
It is a Berkeley blog that notes the worrisome trend in how formal academic science is funded — posing the question “Are you selling out or buying in?” http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/articles.php?issue=13&article=funding
“The world’s largest oil companies are showing surprising interest in financing alternative energy research at U.S. universities. Over the past decade, five of the world’s top 10 oil companies—ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp., BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell Group, and ConocoPhillips Co.—and other large traditional energy companies with a direct commercial stake in future energy markets have forged dozens of multi-year, multi-million-dollar alliances with top U.S. universities and scientists to carry out energy-related research. Much of this funding by “Big Oil” is being used for research into new sources of alternative energy and renewable energy, mostly biofuels.” http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/10/big_oil.html (another blog!)
In light of this trend, it seems unwise to leave it solely to formal science to select the questions for further inquiry — not doing the science, but selecting the question. RC seems to be very touchy about biofuel combustion – yet there are more than a few formal studies that show http://bit.ly/dVtxOg that biofuels are dangerous.
I hope that academic funding awards will be able to overlook funding biases arising from specified carbon fuel sources. This is precisely the kind of question that can be loaded and misguided by political and business interests. How should this question get the attention it might deserve?
16 Feb 2011 at 11:56 AM
This belongs in unforced variations, but it appears that thread is close. Anyway, in the unlikely event you missed it, the case of the CRU hack has been cracked. No room for illusions any longer. Certainly none for innocence.
16 Feb 2011 at 2:06 PM
Interesting new research on climate change and flooding:
[Response: We’ll have a post on this soon. – gavin]
16 Feb 2011 at 2:55 PM
Majorajam, your link (although fascinating) has absolutely nothing to do with the CRU.
16 Feb 2011 at 3:07 PM
You seem to think that your “biofuels are dangerous” claim has been backed up with evidence (“more than a few formal studies”). Yet the link that you cunningly disguised is to a Google Scholar search for “biofuels worse than fossil fuels” (unquoted). Unsurprisingly, such a search produces few journal articles comparing biofuels to fossil fuels, but even if you narrowed the search, it still wouldn’t back up your “dangerous” claim.
So, are you actually going to provide references?
16 Feb 2011 at 5:30 PM
> CRU hack has been cracked.
BOGUS CLAIM — no mention of CRU whatsoever at that link
Johannes Climatus says
16 Feb 2011 at 5:53 PM
Interesting scientific research (not blog science) on O3 and vegetation:
If it turns out that Zawacki is right, some of you may have little more than your words to eat.
[Response: How interesting that you post exactly the very same link, on the same afternoon, that another individual included in a (deleted) general diatribe of exactly the same kind that climate change deniers typically bring. I know what’s going on OK. Gail Zawacki has a cadre of people that she calls on to submit comments here in support of her beliefs about surface ozone pollution, which she continues to disrupt threads with. Well, here’s the story on that. RealClimate is a climate change science related blog. Not an air pollution blog, not an ozone blog, not a plant physiology blog, not a forest ecology blog, not a timber harvesting blog. The open thread is not an open sewer to throw anything in you feel like throwing out there. Gail Zawacki has already ruined one post with aggressive fixation on ozone, with repeated accusations of scientific cover-ups of the issue, and when called on these things, has responded by cursing out, several times, members of RealClimate, comments which I will post here if necessary. RealClimate is not a dumping ground for pet theories, much less for expressions of open hostility and slander when these ideas are challenged. You are wasting our time and energy here. NO MORE ON THIS TOPIC.
16 Feb 2011 at 7:30 PM
JC, the European result is no surprise, it’s confirming what’s long been known. Yes, it’s a real, major problem. If you only discovered it by reading a blog, you may have the mistaken notion it’s being ignored. Not so.
Ozone at the surface has been and will continue to cause serious problems.
Ground level ozone has long been a big issue for public policy
Look at the modeling results and related articles. Truly scary stuff.
Concerned? The science is there. So are some of the needed laws and regulations. If you mistakenly think this is a new issue the scientists are ignoring, you won’t notice the very hot current policy battle going on.
If you don’t know the decades of history on controlling air pollution, or have some idea of the chemistry that causes it, or recognize the industries producing the precursors that become the problem — you’ll end up yelling at scientists instead of at your representatives.
That would be a mistaken use of your time and attention.
Who’s got leverage? The legislators and industries using their leverage the wrong way, trying to repeal the Clean Air Act and regulations. Look:
Patrick 027 says
16 Feb 2011 at 9:17 PM
I think it was Sunday evening – TWC (The Weather Channel) had a very nice rebuttal to a comment (which was, to paraphrase: ‘it’s cold! you’re political!’) on it’s Earth Watch segment.
16 Feb 2011 at 9:44 PM
Ryan O has a new post (with no vitriol as far as I can tell, which is why I’m mentioning it) at the air vent. He adds false trends to the data analyzed and shows how it affects the reconstructions of S09 and O10. The idea of testing the method seems like a good idea. Can anyone comment here (to the methods or results)?
[Response: I looked at earlier version of this, and one of the things that those results showed is that you still get trends in West Antarctica, even without *any* trends on the Peninsula. In other words, one of the key things McIntyre has been saying for two years, and which they put in the paper — namely that the trends we found were an artifact of Peninsula warming — is wrong. I’m not going to bother reading anything O’Donnell writes, unless it is published, but somehow I doubt that his post admits this point. I could say a lot more but it’s more worthwhile putting it into my next paper on this.–eric]
Philip Machanick says
16 Feb 2011 at 10:24 PM
The blogosphere has been going gaga over this WSJ article, The Weather Isn’t Getting Weirder , which interprets Gilbert Compo as saying that the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project has found no trend in increasing weather extremes. I skimmed the paper but it did not seem to me that the paper itself is making strong claims, but rather presenting a data set and analysis methods. Is WSJ making stuff up again, or is Compo making claims not directly in the paper? Or did I miss something significant?
16 Feb 2011 at 11:26 PM
Philip@476 – I wonder if the blogosphere will use the stuff WSJ made up to trash the Nature article due this week from an Environment Canada study at U. Vic in B.C.
Aldus Worp says
16 Feb 2011 at 11:50 PM
JC@472 and HR@473:
If there is clear evidence of widespread vegetative damage, doesn’t that raise the possibility that the climate models (which, I believe, all make certain assumptions about forests acting a carbon sinks) need to be adjusted?
In other words, if the models call for several trillion tonnes of CO2 absorption annually, but the absorption capacity erodes as carbon sinks decline (isn’t there a point at which carbon sinks become carbon emitters?), wouldn’t the pace of heating accelerate, etc.?
Is this being discussed anywhere? For instance, are the authors of the MIT Probabilistic Forecast considering an adjustment to their projections?
17 Feb 2011 at 12:25 AM
His post has a comment that originally came from an RC thread. It wasn’t claiming there was no warming in West Antarctica. This doesn’t speak to other comments at the time or to what McIntyre said (quite frankly I don’t want to search through 2 year old threads to find everything). I did manage to find the post on air vent originally talking about O10 though (written by Ryan O) and he does specifically state that West Antarctica is warming by 0.10 C/decade and it was statistically significant.
Maybe more specific to the science, what do you think of adding artificial trends to the raw data in order to test the method used in the reconstruction. Can you optimize the method with a technique like this? Is it possible to go one step further? For instance, can you create 3 – 4 models for continent wide behavior (artificially known) and model station error in measurement, discontinuities and variability? This could even guide placement and design of new stations to be installed in order to maximize the useful information.
Sorry if I keep bringing up the personal stuff. I’m actually interested in the science here and I’ll be looking forward to your paper on this topic.
Martin Vermeer says
17 Feb 2011 at 2:58 AM
I want to defend Majorajam #467: no, there is no mention of the CRU hack, but the relevance is obvious. And Majorajam’s inference is not remotely as paranoid as that of the CRU slanderers :-)
Hunt Janin says
17 Feb 2011 at 3:03 AM
I’m looking for an editor for my book-in-progress on sea level rise. The successful candidate will get title page credit (details to be discussed) and 50% of the royalties from sales of the book.
If interested, please contact me off-list at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pete Dunkelberg says
17 Feb 2011 at 8:51 AM
Funding: Can anyone evaluate the gains to science and society if each modeling group had just one (or one more in a few cases where they already have one) supercomputer?
Ray Ladbury says
17 Feb 2011 at 10:26 AM
Well, it would make IBM VERY happy.
John E. Pearson says
17 Feb 2011 at 11:13 AM
470 Didactylos said about biofuels;
Is there evidence that the large scale production of biofuels can possibly work?
I thought I detected agreement amongst the forestry types on here that growing large numbers of trees (a la Dyson’s carbon eating trees) to absorb CO2 couldn’t possibly help reduce CO2. (Before Christmas there was a guy went on & on & on & on about this. He was ruining the site in my view.) I haven’t heard anyone discuss the water needs for the large scale production of biofuels, but if you assume you’re going after the same scale of CO2 reduction as with the carbon eating trees then roughly the same amount of photosynthesis ought to be required, oughtn’t it? If a certain amount of water is required for each carbon fixing reaction then roughly the same amount of water ought to be needed for biofuels as for carbon eating trees? oughtn’t it? I understand the devil is in the details here and I’m shooting from the hip, but I’d really like to be convinced that biofuels are or aren’t a good thing to pursue. I’m not really a fan of Lovelock’s but I don’t immediately disregard everything he says either. Lovelock claims (Revenge of Gaia) that the large scale production of biofuels would be a disaster. It also isn’t clear to me that biofuels are a winner compared to direct removal of CO2 from the air and conversion into liquid fuel using whatever power source you have, nuclear, wind, photovoltaic, …, . All that being said, I’ve supported biofuels research in the past and probably will in the future, but I’d like to see sounder science than I have seen supporting the contention that we can actually hope to get significant carbon reduction from them.
17 Feb 2011 at 11:17 AM
IBM does not have the whole market. China and
Japan can probably beat them on price.
JAXA has a 2008 Fujitsu. What does NASA have?
Then there are personal supercomputers for under $10,000.
So I wonder: how much is research held back by the modeling centers not having computing power that is available for a few dollars more?
17 Feb 2011 at 11:41 AM
Johannes C–check the borehole for examples of out of bounds ozone claims.
There are people who go beyond the science on all sides of issues like this.
None of them deserve slack for exaggeration; they distract from real sources.
Susan Anderson says
17 Feb 2011 at 12:37 PM
I am seeing a lot of references to one Chuck Wiese, a new fake skeptic favorite. So far I’ve found links to icecap, Joe Bastardi of Accuweather, Lubos Motl (string theory denialist), and the new crop of denialists trying to take over our country. I hope someone can flesh out this information.
(new DotEarth article on this, also covered at Climate Central – Wiese is the new hero of the antis.):
Just now, a further article claiming it is not seeking “false balance” which needs early comments from those who are not fake skeptics to leaven the vast pile of nonsense that is about to appear:
17 Feb 2011 at 3:20 PM
Hank Roberts @ 486.
My inbox is filled, at least hourly, with out of bounds claims. I am familiar with the phenomenon – and various solutions.
Let me try posing the problem a different way
[Edited: off topic. Is it a listening problem or a comprehension problem with you? Or is it that you enjoy getting under peoples’ skin? I suspect some combination of the three. Let me go slowly: this is a climate science blog. Got that?–Jim]
Horton Bluett says
17 Feb 2011 at 4:10 PM
Further to John E. Pearson’s @ 484:
I recall seeing an article at, I think, science.com, referrencing some recent research at Stamford linking biofuels with human health issues.
Also (I’ll have to dig through some older posts on another site), a report or two corellating ethanol combustion with increases in PAN and other VOCs.
17 Feb 2011 at 6:10 PM
Martin Vermeer (#480)
I read the article as well, however I don’t see the relevance. The guy mostly used public data such as facebook, twitter, linkedin and other such public access. His other means was to create “fake” friends from high school and such and use that to get access. Besides his prior experience, none of this required more that a 9th grade level of sophistication in order to accomplish. Even speculating that he was the CRU hacker has no merit because it wouldn’t be in his interest (it doesn’t demonstrate any of the “skills” he was trying to demonstrate in order to win contracts).
As far as I know, there are two pieces of information that you can base these speculations on. He hacked RC and he used masked IP addresses. I can probably do the later (engineering degree working in aerospace simulation), however the hacking of RC is likely more complicated, although the number of people capable is likely quite large (nothing in the article demonstrates that this guy is capable however).
I’m assuming you’re referencing the theories that claim someone from within the CRU is responsible (ie as the paranoid inference). While none of this information points to this as a possibility, it also doesn’t remove this possibility. I certainly wouldn’t call it paranoid, although maybe some of the claims do run a bit farther that what I’ve mentioned above (I don’t follow all of those blogs, especially the more extreme ones).
David B. Benson says
17 Feb 2011 at 6:42 PM
Signal to noise ratio is declining…
17 Feb 2011 at 7:41 PM
flxible #477: the rainfall study has also been reported in Australia.
As with any new scientific result, you need to wait for the follow-ups to see if it stands up. The media unfortunately want the latest and most startling result, and don’t go back a year later to check if it stands up. What we are seeing here is totally normal in science. One group comes up with a result, another appears to contradict it. Everyone scurries away and checks whether something is really wrong, or the two are simply not measuring the same thing, and a long-term understanding builds. It’s a self-correcting process, and has worked pretty well for the last 300 years or so, even better when we got rid of political influences like the Inquisition and extremist libertarians.
17 Feb 2011 at 8:40 PM
An excellent site on computational climate modeling is hosted by Steve Easterbrook, professor of computer science at Univ of Toronto.
Recent posting on Systems Thinking for Climate Systems seems especially relevant. http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=2259
17 Feb 2011 at 10:50 PM
[edit – rambling off-topic insults deleted. Nice Sagan quote though.]
The best current estimates of the number and spacing of Earth-mass planets in newly forming planetary systems (as George Wetherill reported at the first international conference on circumstellar habitable zones [Doyle, 1995]) combined with the best current estimates of the long-term stability of oceans on a variety of planets (as James Kasting reported at that same meeting [Doyle, 1995]) suggest one to two blue worlds around every Sun-like star. Stars much more massive than the Sun are comparatively rare and age quickly. Stars comparatively less massive than the Sun are expected to have Earth-like planets, but the planets that are warm enough for life are probably tidally locked so that one side always faces the local sun. However, winds may redistribute heat from one hemisphere to another on such worlds, and there has been very little work on their potential habitability.
Nevertheless, the bulk of the current evidence suggests a vast number of planets distributed through the Milky Way with abundant liquid water stable over lifetimes of billions of years. Some will be suitable for life–our kind of carbon and water life–for billions of years less than Earth, some for billions of years more. And, of course, the Milky Way is one of an enormous number, perhaps a hundred billion, other galaxies.
Carl Sagan, Bioastronomy News, vol. 7, no. 4, 1995.
David Miller says
17 Feb 2011 at 11:07 PM
I think the point to take is that there are groups who are willing to stoop very low indeed in order to have their way. The cited article made it painfully clear how low Aaron Barr and ‘Team Themis’ was willing to go to make wikileaks look bad for BoA. Said members were willing to perform criminal deeds and dig up dirt on spouses and children of their ‘enemies’.
If this doesn’t remind you of what went on with the break-in, theft, and quote mining of climate researchers at CRU you’re being deliberately obtuse. Neither Martin or anyone else implied it was the same people.
David Harper BE (Elec) says
18 Feb 2011 at 2:10 AM
I have recently complete an analysis of monthly temperature data for various sites around Australia using Fourier Transforms. For those who are unfamiliar with this technique it converts time domain data into frequency domain data. The result are very interesting. There is a clear component with a period of 1 year, another large component with a period of 6 months (2nd harmonic) and another peak with a 60 year cycle.
What is the explanation for the 60 year cycle?
18 Feb 2011 at 8:01 AM
David Harper: How long is your temperature record?
Unless it’s several hundred years, I think a better description of your “cycle” is “not a cycle”.
Certainly, if you look just at the last century, any resemblance to a cycle is just an artefact of global temperatures going up, then down, then up. A pattern which is the result of varying climate forcings over the century, not any underlying order.
18 Feb 2011 at 8:32 AM
John E. Pearson:
“Is there evidence that the large scale production of biofuels can possibly work?”
Well, short answer – yes. Brazil is doing very nicely, thank you.
But your comments lump together the almost-zero-carbon energy source aspect of biofuels with the carbon sequestration aspect.
And it’s at this point that we have to remember that different biofuels vary wildly in what they can do and how effectively they can do it. Bundling them all together under one label is not productive, and discussing them all individually is way off topic.
18 Feb 2011 at 9:49 AM
David Harper, lack of data? Apply your Fourier algorithm to the following series:
You can see it looks periodic. What is your next predicted value?
Mine is 4. Why? Because I know these are the digits of the base of napierian logarighms, e.
18 Feb 2011 at 9:59 AM
David Harper BE (Elec): Along with all other physical scientists, I am familiar with the Fourier method. How many years of monthly data did you have? I’m guessing somewhere around 120? I personally find your belief that extraction of a 60 year period from 120 years of noisy data is significant to be flat out goofy, but then that’s just me. I suggest you write up your results and submit them to a reputable journal. Once your analysis has cleared the very low hurdle of suitability for publication it might be worth discussing. Otherwise it is simply blog science. Yuk. I got a little blog science (aka BS) on me. I hate when that happens.