This month’s open thread on climate science topics.
Archives for 2021
Making predictions with the CMIP6 ensemble
The CMIP6 multi-model ensemble is a unique resource with input from scientists and modeling groups from around the world. [CMIP stands for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, and it is now in its 6th Phase]. But as we’ve discussed before (#NotAllModels) there are some specific issues that require users to be cautious in making predictions. Fortunately, there are useful ‘best practices’ that can help avoid the worst pitfalls.
A new paper by McCrystall et al that has just appeared in Nature Communications illustrates these issues clearly by having some excellent analyses of the changes in Arctic precipitation regimes at different global warming levels, and examining the sensitivity of their metrics to both local and Arctic warming, but unfortunately relying on the CMIP6 multi-model mean for their headline statements and press release.[Read more…] about Making predictions with the CMIP6 ensemble
- M.R. McCrystall, J. Stroeve, M. Serreze, B.C. Forbes, and J.A. Screen, "New climate models reveal faster and larger increases in Arctic precipitation than previously projected", Nature Communications, vol. 12, 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27031-y
Net Zero/Not Zero
At the COP26 gathering last week much of the discussion related to “Net-Zero” goals. This concept derives from important physical science results highlighted in the Special Report on 1.5ºC and more thoroughly in the last IPCC report that future warming is tied to future emissions, and that warming will effectively cease only once anthropogenic CO2 emissions are balanced by anthropogenic CO2 removals. But some activists have (rightly) pointed out that large-scale CO2 removals are as yet untested, and so reliance on them to any significant extent to balance out emissions is akin not really committing to net zero at all. Their point is that “net-zero” is not zero and hence will serve as a smokescreen for insufficient climate action. To help sort this out some background might be helpful.[Read more…] about Net Zero/Not Zero
Forced responses: Nov 2021
A bi-monthly open thread related to climate solutions. This month will start off with COP-26 and many targets and plans and mechanisms will be proposed and discussed. Look out for the updated impacts of the evolving NDCs such as this one from Climate Resource, suggesting that the world could be on track for just a little less than 2ºC warming (relative to the pre-industrial) (if everyone does what they pledge and we are lucky with respect to climate sensitivity). Please be respectful and constructive.
Unforced variations: Nov 2021
This month’s open thread. The first two weeks will be dominated by COP-26, and various science updates that will be announced there, including this year’s Global Carbon Project report. Curiously, there is some archival interest in the climategate affair possibly in connection to COP-26 (a BBC dramatization “The Trick“, a BBC radio series on the security aspects “The Hack that Changed the World”, and a couple of months ago, a podcast episode of “Cheat!”). Please stick to science-related topics on this thread.
A science-based move to climate change adaptation
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
Tributes to Geert Jan van Oldenborgh
As many of you will know, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh died on Oct 12, 2021, and in the last week a number of very touching tributes have appeared. Notably, a lovely obituary in the NY Times by Henry Fountain, a segment on the BBC’s Inside Science from Roland Pease, a piece on Bloomberg News by Eric Roston and, of course, an appreciation from his colleagues at World Weather Attribution (including Friederike Otto, the co-recipient of the TIME 100 award to Geert earlier this year).
Geert’s work had been featured often at RealClimate (notably the rapid attribution work for the Pacific North West heat wave earlier this year), and we have made frequent reference to Climate Explorer, the tool he built to provide easier access to many sources of climate data. He also provided us with annual updates for the comparison between a 1981 climate projection to subsequent observations.
He let us know earlier this year that this was likely the last update. Moge hij rusten in vrede.
A Nobel pursuit
Last week, the Nobel physics prize was (half) awarded to Suki Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann for their work on climate prediction and the detection and attribution of climate change. This came as quite a surprise to the climate community – though it was welcomed warmly. We’ve discussed the early climate model predictions a lot (including some from Manabe and his colleagues), and we’ve discussed detection and attribution of climate change as well, though with less explicit discussion of Hasselmann’s contribution. Needless to say these are big topics which have had many inputs from many scientists over the years.
But RC has a more attuned audience to these topics than most, and so it might be fun to dive into the details of their early work to see what has stood the test of time and what has not, and how that differs (if it does) from their colleagues and rivals at the time.[Read more…] about A Nobel pursuit
Unforced Variations: Oct 2021
Fall is here (in the northern hemisphere at least), along with articles about the impact of climate change on autumnal colors. LandSat9 successfully launched to continue an almost 50 year long series of remote sensing (since 1972!), and the World Economic Forum has proposed and Earth Operations Center to monitor greenhouse gases and climate change. Please stick to climate science topics, and remember that (most) other commenters are real people.
The definitive CO2/CH4 comparison post
There is a new push to reduce CH4 emissions as a possible quick ‘win-win’ for climate and air quality. To be clear this is an eminently sensible idea – as it has been for decades (remember the ‘Methane-to-markets’ initiative from the early 2000s?), but it inevitably brings forth a mish-mash of half-remembered, inappropriate or out-of-date comparisons between the impacts of carbon dioxide and methane. So this is an attempt to put all of that in context and provide a hopefully comprehensive guide to how, when, and why to properly compare the two greenhouse gases.[Read more…] about The definitive CO2/CH4 comparison post