Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Statement here and at the California Governor's office. IIRC, it originally just had scientist signers but is now open to the rest of us. While it leads with climate change, it includes biodiversity, loss of natural lands, pollution, and (brave for a politician) overpopulation.
I could see some quibbling with the one-page summary describing quality of life to suffer "substantial degradation by 2050" if problems aren't fixed, but not enough to avoid signing. For certain aspects of quality of life it's definitely true (four of those five challenges, mixed result for pollution) and the quality of life will be much worse than it would be if we don't address the challenges. A large number of people will die as a result of the failure to solve those challenges. Whether economic outcomes will be worse than present seems hard to justify, but that's not the only way to determine quality of life. The important thing is to do something about these challenges, and taking 30 seconds to endorse it seems reasonable.
Posted by Brian at 2:53 PM
Saturday, December 14, 2013
When Gort first visited in 1951, it spent little effort on climate change issues, focusing on other aspects of our planet instead:
Gort returned in 2012 to answer puny human climatologist questions about whether climate change caused particular weather phenomena by making an obvious point: rather than struggle with theoretical analysis, you can simply use your Climate Changeometer to remove all the excess greenhouse gases and aerosols above natural levels and then measure the outcome. Comments at the link suggested temps on land would respond to Gort quickly, within a week or so, while temps above the oceans could take months and years.
Gort now brings us an upgrade.
The Climate Changeometer now comes with Ocean Dethermalization. The point is to think how current weather patterns are affected by anthropogenic climate change, so it's necessary to consider the vast majority of that heat accumulating in the oceans. Gort instantly removes that heat at the same time as it put the atmosphere back to 1860 levels. The Dethermalizer also depuffenates the oceans from the sea level rise caused by thermal expansion. I'm not sure how quickly the oceans would drop - if it's instantaneous, let's assume Gort will buffer any tsunami type effect.
I'd guess is that if you apply this experiment to a tropical storm a few days away from landfall, it would have a significant effect on that storm. I think this is a helpful way to communicate how we've changed our climate. It's probably more scientifically meaningful on a global and longer term level than about immediate weather phenomena, which might be why there's actual scholarship about it (thanks MMM). On the level of immediate weather, this combats the delayist/denialist dodge that attribution for individual weather events is impossible (allegedly), so there's no point in discussing climate change when we face weather tragedies that are made more likely by climate change.
One other point - I do like the argument that we're living in the Anthropocene such that but for climate change, the individual weather events we see wouldn't have happened. I made the argument a while back, glad to see it more prevalent now.
(And btw, credit to Aaron in the 2012 post for also thinking about ocean heat.)
Posted by Brian at 1:08 PM
Thursday, December 12, 2013
This being the Christmas season, a time of good cheer, charity and thoughtfulness Eli would like to direct the bunnies attention towards support of a cultural icon and a vital climate data set, the Keeling curve. As many are aware funding for long term data sets has always been a problem. The new, the sexy, the different are things that funding agencies have always wanted. Credit to Charles and now Ralph Keeling who have soldiered through tough times to provide us with a reliable, nay a painstakingly reliable record of carbon dioxide mixing ratios.
UPDATE: Fergus Brown joins the campaign
Why should it matter? Because it is difficult enough to achieve public recognition of AGW without making a mess of the important work which lies at the heart of the science, as well as the public outreach. Because we need to know. Because the best science (and climate change projections) comes from the best observations.Spencer Weart describes the uncertainty of early days, with a telling paragraph
If you understand the importance of us having datasets like this, and the importance of consistency and continuity, I follow Eli in suggesting that you may wish to make a small donation. This process has been shown to be effective and the 'cause' in this case is eminently worthy. Give if you can, and promote publically.
"Monitoring" a gas in the atmosphere seemed just dull plodding around a beaten track, calling to mind the discredited statistical climatology of an earlier generation. The NSF was supposed to fund pathbreaking science, and officials looked for striking new results, new ideas that could be published in leading scientific journals — not just that steady, relentless upward march of data points, year after year after year. A reviewer who grudgingly supported one of Keeling's proposals remarked in 1979, " CO2 monitoring is like motherhood.... It does appear, however, that the former is even more expensive."and indeed there is a break in the records where the equipment went south and funds to repair it had to be begged, borrowed, and well, let Eli simply say that Charles David Keeling was, as Roger Revelle said
"Keeling's a peculiar guy. He wants to measure CO2 in his belly... And he wants to measure it with the greatest precision and the greatest accuracy he possibly can."And he did and the results have served us well for understanding climate.
But, and there always is a but, hard times are upon Ralph Keeling and Scripps. Funding is vanishing, and Scripps has launched an appeal. Well, scientist like they buried their lede.
Take a look at the Keeling Curve web site. Where is the appeal?
Up there on the left. Eli OTOH, whatever the Rabett is, is not subtle.
So Ms. Rabett has taken it upon Eli to take up the challenge, and ask the bunnies to support the Keeling Curve. Follow the link, then hit the small button at the bottom of the linked page and donate, a tax deduction, at least in the US. Alternatively mash the large red GIVE button at the top of the blog and just below. Let us get the ball rolling.
Eli would hope that other bloggers spread the word, not only the Friends of the Rabett, but maybe some of those who hold him not so dear. This is an effort everyone should take part in. Will this be necessary on an ongoing basis, it is difficult to say, but if bridge funding is not found quickly the measurements will not be continuous, and worse.
Posted by EliRabett at 10:56 PM
This raises important questions: Eli, is it true that in First Class you get unlimited carrots? Inquiring Minds want to know!
Posted by John at 8:34 AM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 09, 2013
Nonono, not the policy statement, well there is that, but a bunch of resources that ACS has put out there a climate science tool kit for folks to learn from and use, put together by a top notch working group with support from ACS leadership. As part of the effort ACS held a meeting to brief staff about how to approach climate communication
When a conversation turns to climate change, do you know the basic science to take part? Do you understand the far-reaching impacts of climate change and how it's affecting you today? Learn the answers to these questions and more.
There are three professionally illustrated PowerPoint presentations which can be used in toto or from which slides can be select: One for the public, one for educators and one for industry professionals (Powerpoint downloads). And yes, a plug for Skeptical Science
This site is very helpful for a non-climate scientist who wants to stay current with the literature on global warming and climate change. As the description says, many of the posts take to task the published arguments of global warming skeptics and these rebuttals help to sharpen one’s climate science reasoning and logic. Sometimes the comments elicited by these posts also demonstrate the futility of getting into a “tis-taint” argument, if you are trying to engage someone or a group in a climate science conversation.Eli would encourage everybunny to rummage about the site a bit, but to get started here is the part analogies for the greenhouse effect, which starts with the usual that the mechanism is not the same as a greenhouse. Well, Eli has thought about this a bit, briefly put there are three methods of heat transfer, radiation, convection and conduction. The atmosphere is a lousy conductor and so is glass, so that plays no role. Greenhouses work by limiting convection, heat transfer by mass flow. The greenhouse effect works by limiting radiation, heat transfer by photon flow, so there really is a way in which they are the same, the both limit the rate of heat transfer from a hotter to a colder place, but they just affect different mechanisms of heat transfer. Be that as it may, it has become a bit of a distraction to make that analogy.
A different analogy is the atmosphere acting like a blanket. Think of yourself under a blanket in a cold room. You represent the Earth, a warm body giving off energy, what we usually call “heat”. The blanket represents the atmospheric layer of greenhouse gases. As the heat energy leaves your body it is absorbed by the innermost fibers of the blanket. As they give off some of that energy, they warm the next layer of fibers and so on and on until some energy leaves the outermost cold fiber layer and is lost to the room. Just as the sun continually warms the Earth, you continually produce energy through respiration. You will finally reach a balance where the energy leaving the blanket is equal to the energy you produce and your skin will remain at a constant temperature, just like the surface of the Earth.
Among the Earth’s blanket of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is the one you probably hear about most often, because it is increasing in the atmosphere as we burn a great deal of coal, oil, and gas for energy. Besides carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases include water vapor, methane (natural gas), nitrous oxide (from fertilizer use), and chlorine- and fluorine-containing gases used in air conditioning units and as solvents. Adding more greenhouse gas to the atmosphere increases the amount of absorption and release of heat energy required for the energy from the surface to reach the top of the atmosphere and go off into space.
In our blanket analogy, this is like putting on another blanket, so there are more layers of blanket fibers for the energy to pass through to reach the top. The old energy balance is upset and after a time a new one takes its place with you feeling warmer than before. This is what is occurring for the Earth as well. The increased amounts of greenhouse gases our activities are adding to the atmosphere have upset the balance that was in place since the end of the last ice age and the Earth is getting warmer than it was before we started burning large amounts of fossil fuels.Eli had that discussion a long time ago. Atmoz is missed.
Posted by EliRabett at 11:29 PM
Sunday, December 08, 2013
A newish Inquiring Minds podcast by Mooney and Viskontas features a good dialogue between Stephan Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan. Eli and yours truly haven't been all that persuaded with Kahan's interpretation of his own work, which is very critical of climate hawks and pretty silent about the denialists, but in Lewandowsky's presence he moderates it and comes off much more persuasively.
UPDATE: thought I'd add that Kahan and later Viskontas assumed some unproven facts so I thought I'd do the same - if the climate hawks hadn't been out there all these years arguing the facts against the liars and misleaders, then we'd have an even worse public understanding than the present.
And just to be contrarian, I'll agree with Kahan on something and partially disagree with Lewandowsky. Kahan said we should watch for and attempt to prevent partisan group identity development where it has not yet occurred, like on GMOs and vaccinations. Sounds fine to me. Lewandowsky said politicians have not been pushing hard enough on climate - that sounds a bit like the bully pulpit argument that has not fared well among political scientists. I'm not sure the bully pulpit is so completely ineffective in the long term though, and Lewandowsky may have just been arguing that it's time to try out all their new techniques for science communication.
Posted by Brian at 9:44 AM