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Climate Change 

August 25, 2011

Regime change

Arctic sea routes open as ice melts

“Whether we reach an absolute minimum or not, this year again confirms that we are in a new regime with substantially less summer ice than before.”

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 7:29 pm

August 10, 2011

The art of climate change

When people think of batiks, many probably think of psychedelic wall hangings made in crafts class or at summer camp. They haven’t seen Mary Edna Fraser’s work. (read more…)

From Crave, the gadget blog from CNET.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 7:25 pm

July 14, 2011

Citizen Science Goes to Sea – Science Today

The Royal Navy was taught to be very thorough during World War I. At sea, despite battles and storms, they recorded the weather every four hours dutifully into logbooks.

Posting an oldie, but it’s a good story!

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 7:52 pm

June 7, 2011

Bay Sea Level Rise – Science Today

The San Francisco Bay may soon feel the effects of sea level rise.

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 3:01 pm

June 6, 2011

Of Glasshouses and the People who live in them

roop_PICT0022.JPG“On 15 May, USA Today reported that a controversial 2008 study in the journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis (CSDA) was going to be retracted because parts of the article contain plagiarized material. … The study, Social networks of author-co-author relationships, analyzed the different styles of such networks and their implications for peer review. It grew out of work done for a report to Congress by statistician Edward Wegman of George Mason University. The so-called Wegman report said that paleoclimate studies done in 1998 and 1999 used poor statistical analyses. It also asserted that the authors may have benefited from favorable treatment by their peers who presumably reviewed the papers.” (read more here.)

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 2:58 pm

May 20, 2011

Some comments on mathematics, models, etc.


High school student Lyla asked in a comment on a previous post if I would be willing to answer a few questions regarding models for her class. The questions were excellent, so I’m posting them here, along with my answers. Thanks Lyla!

What is the role mathematics plays in understanding the implications of climate change?
Climate is very complicated, because it involves so many controlling factors and influences, many of which interact with each other, and because they operate on sometimes vastly different time scales (a few years to tens of thousands of years). Mathematical models help us to formalize what we know and understand about climate in a very precise manner, allowing us to ask “what if” questions, and essentially conduct experiments that could not otherwise actually be performed.

How is modeling used to help to predict the future of global warming?
One of the major influences on climate are greenhouse gas concentrations. Since those are climbing at alarming rates, and are the source of so much concern, we can increase their concentrations in models and see what the outcomes are. The ways in which we increase the concentrations are based on estimates of how much we think the concentrations will increase over time, like the next 100 years.

How can we stay educated and updated on recent research done about global warming?
There are several excellent blogs online dedicated to discussions of global warming (just Google “climate change blogs”), as well as websites for major organizations such as the IPCC, the NRDC, and the National Academy of Sciences. Some of these are more understandable than others, but they/we are all eager to explain what we are talking about.

What do you think is the most important thing high school students should know about global warming?
The most important thing? That is an interesting and difficult question. I think two things. First, we humans are the cause of the problem because of our huge rates of consumption. We consume too much energy, and we consume too many goods. We simply must learn how to get by with a little less! Second, this is your future, but it’s not far off. There is little point in blaming the past, since the past is the past. But we can work on the future, and we have to do it now. Global warming and the climate change that it is driving are happening now. The effects are already all around us, but it is not too late to get a reasonable handle on the problem. Be educated, concerned and pro-active. If you are, then you’re also allowed to be optimistic.

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 8:54 pm

May 16, 2011

Science Today – Oil in the Gulf, one year later

Three local scientists describe their work in the Gulf after the largest oil spill in US history.

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 7:55 pm

April 8, 2011

New York set to be big loser as sea levels rise

“New York is a major loser and Reykjavik a winner from new forecasts of sea level rise in different regions.” (read more here)

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 7:11 pm

March 31, 2011

A lawyer, an economist and a marketing professor walk into — A Science Hearing!

Scientist Beloved by Climate Deniers Pulls Rug Out from Their Argument.Today, there was a climate science hearing in the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Of the six “expert” witnesses, only three were scientists. The others were an economist, a lawyer, and a professor of marketing.” Read the full article here. (Good Magazine)

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 5:02 pm

March 22, 2011

Biodiversity’s ills not all down to climate change

Biodiversity’s ills not all down to climate change.

This is an excellent interview with valuable insight based on a paper in an upcoming issue of Nature Climate Change. It highlights the complexities involved in attributing biodiversity changes, and ecological in general, to climate change and specific aspects of climate change. This is a difficult task as it is, requiring collection of large quantities of data, and understanding patterns and processes on spatial and temporal scales at the edge of ecological (and evolutionary) resolution. The task is made all the more difficult by the drive to provide “useful” data for policy makers and conservation managers, a theme all too frequently heard these days. But exactly what are useful data? A commonly held piece is the prediction of where a species will supposedly relocate to as climate continues to change. But making that prediction requires far more than identifying a species’ current climate requirements, because those are not the sole, and often not the most important factors that determine current distributions. Biotic interactions and their ecological contexts (chemistry, what other species are present, etc.) are usually paramount, and those are far more difficult to quantify and model. Furthermore, in a majority of cases, the foretold negative impacts of global warming are exacerbated by other agents of anthropogenic disturbance, such as habitat destruction, and most biological communities are already in states far from pristine and natural. Therefore, as climate change progresses, and continues to have an impact on species, we should, as recommended by the author, speak in terms of probabilities and likelihoods. It really is unfortunate that policy-makers, and the population in general, are uncomfortable with this. It’s simply the way that Nature is.

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 5:55 am
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