This morning I listened to the recent hearing on climate science for the house of representatives committee on science, space, and technology. I found the exchange very fascinating. I was disappointed to hear the naive questions coming from the representatives. Some are still touting the myth of the cooling predictions in the 70’s. Another congressman seemed to be on a witch hunt by aggressively asking a panel witness to prove that he wasn’t part of the union of concerned scientists. Aside from the conduct of the representatives, I wanted to share some thoughts about the conduct of the panel. Continue reading
In spite of considering myself a “climate expert” I still struggle a bit with understanding how climate sensitivity is estimated. Admittedly, part of my confusion is because the climate system has multiple definitions of sensitivity depending on the timescale of interest. That’s why a thought experiment from a recent RealClimate.org article caught my eye. The post was written by Gavin Schmidt and describes why the earth system sensitivity (ESS) cannot be estimated by regressing temperature and radiative forcing estimates across ice-age cycles. Continue reading
On my Global Climate page I have some long term time series of the annual global temperature, but these plots are a bit too coarse to see the recent variations in global temperature. So I created a new plot that covers that last couple years of monthly data to be able to look at this. I also included breakdowns of land vs ocean and hemispheric averages. Continue reading
I added a map of current surface temperature anomalies from the last 3 months of NASA GISS data on my climate data page. I might add maps of other data sets, but right now NASA seems to provide the “cleanest” in the sense that there is less missing data. I’m not sure if they are just faster with their data processing or if they incorporate more data than other datasets. Either way, the differences don’t bother me much, since the time series of various datasets shows reasonable agreement. Continue reading
Recently Gavin Schmidt tweeted out the figure below, which is a nice way to see the trend associated with global warming in context of the seasonal cycle. It might seem odd that there is a seasonal cycle of global mean temperature, but this is simply due to the fact that there is a lot of dry land in the Northern Hemisphere and a lot of open ocean in the Southern Hemisphere.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to tackle the problem of misinformation in the global warming debate. Shouting matches on the internet just feed the trolls and rarely achieve anything, and people don’t want to read accurate technical, science-y things, so what can we scientists really do? We can’t attack peoples’ character even when they attack ours, because that just makes us look bad, and fuels the global warming denier image of being an “underdog” or an “outsider”. These people are not on a crusade against science, they are just concerned (and a bit paranoid).
Global warming deniers are people too.
One of the many ongoing internal debates I have with myself is how to best combat ignorant climate skeptics. It is a never-ending task that can feel like wasted effort. I would argue that it’s actually much easier for skeptics to spread misinformation than it is for actual scientists to explain how the climate system works. This problem boils down to two key issues. Continue reading
Someone made a link to my blog in the comments of this recent article about the congressional science committee reaction to a paper by Karl et al. (2015) in the journal Science which claims that the hiatus never really occurred based on new bias corrections in the data. The corrections primarily dealt with weighting buoy data over ship intake water for ocean temperature measurements. But a quote in this other article by Naomi Oreskes got me thinking that questions about the existence of the “hiatus” are actually bad ones to ask. Continue reading
A lot has been said on this topic, but I feel there is a lot left to say. I used to avoid using the phrase “global warming” in favor of “climate change“, because I thought the former was too politically charged. But after some reflection, I think “global warming” is the better term, and this post outlines my reasons. Continue reading