Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
According to the headline in the Los Angeles Times, Berkeley scientists' climate data puts them at the center of national debate.
The LA Times interviews physicist Richard Mueller. The BEST project is accumulating lots of temperature data.
Their critics are quoted also:
in addition to rising temperatures, data that BEST is not collecting includes: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and receding sea ice.Kevin Trenberth is quoted, being critical of BEST, especially because BEST is funded in part by Koch.
I'd say that they're on the periphery of the national debate. And the debate among scientists is about the details, not about whether or not global warming is happening at all. The debate among the lay public is about whether or not global warming is happening, a fact which represents a triumph for the deniers. - John
Posted by John at 8:13 PM
Monday, March 28, 2011
A Pennsylvania State University professor claims climate-change denier Timothy Ball defamed him in an interview published by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Winnipeg-based think tank.
Michael Mann, a professor in Penn State's meteorology department and director of the university's Earth Systems Science Center, claims that Ball defamed him when he said that Mann "should be in the State Pen, not Penn State," for his alleged role in the so-called climate gate email tussle.
Mann says that Ball and the Centre refused to issue an apology and published the words with the "purpose of harming the plaintiff and exposing him to hatred, ridicule and contempt, lowering the plaintiff in the estimation of others, and causing him to be shunned and avoided."
Posted by EliRabett at 7:29 PM
Friday, March 25, 2011
Back in 2007, the Council of the American Physical Society issued a statement saying that manmade global warming is real, and is potentially dangerous. In 2010, a group of physicists, including some prominent deniers, attempted to get the Council of the American Physical Society to revoke their statement. The deniers failed, and the APS Council issued an even stronger statement. Both the old (2007) and the new (2010) statements can be found here.
In the December 2010 issue of APS News, Robert Levine wrote a letter to the Editor in which he claimed that a petition by deniers was thwarted by Curtis Callan, APS President and physics prof at Princeton. Levine claimed that the APS was handling this kerfuffle in ways that violated the Constitution: the APS Constitution.
Levine was apparently hoping to establish an APS-affiliated climate-study group that could be captured by the deniers.
The letter by Robert Levine in turn led to ANOTHER letter in the March 2011 issue of APS News, pointing out that Levine had misunderstood the APS Constitution.
The headline read
Member Actually Reads APS Constitution
Folks, the US Constitution is like the Bible. Everybody cites it or invokes its authorities in arguments. But hardly anybody actually reads either document.
When is the last time that anybody cited the Old Testament book of Joshua, in which Joshua slaughters an appalling number of people: "So Joshua smote all of the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God commanded." (Joshua 10:40)
And the APS Constitution is even more obscure.
Posted by John at 11:18 PM
In a delightful example of time travel, Mary Rosh has gone after Media Matters for misquoting his website, of course, after changing what is on his web site. Mary Rosh you ask, ain't that a her? Well, Deltoid's Tim L, after sexing the dear (it's sort of like sexing chickens which can only be done by Koreans, doing this for sock puppets appears to be a skill that only Aussies have) has an entire file of the fun games that John Lott plays but this is a doozy.
On March 22 Media Matters quoted Lott's site
Lott also criticized Obama for a request made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) citing an out-of-date article, saying that the Obama administration has "also imposed much more extensive reporting requirements on sales of long guns."
and that's what it reads NOW, but not what it read on March 22. Worse, Lott didn't even scrub the page where he made the alterations. It's getting so bad that Eli can't even trust Mary Rosh.
In fact, my quote is "They have also tried imposing much more extensive reporting requirements on sales of long guns." Besides, even if the point had been honestly misread, if someone has tried to check the link, the point would have been clear. Nice try Media Matters.
Posted by EliRabett at 9:04 AM
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As Eli was explaining to James at the Empty Blog, the bunny was innocently (well, somewhat) sitting in Toyland (a local bar complete with Lego) snarfing down an IPA when a hyper under thirties at the bar went on and on about how she was laying in the ever trusty iodine pills. This, of course, in Washington, DC, half a world away.
Well it was happy hour so Eli drank his beer. Even the bunny can't save the world without a second beer but Eli can tell them about Hysplit, an on line trajectory model from the NOAA Air Resources Labs that lets you run trajectories, oh from 37.233 N 141.015 E, which is guess where.
As the image says, this is not a NOAA product, and whether you believe it depends on your view of Eli. OTOH, you can get all sorts of software package versions to do various this and that. An interesting gadget which Eli must bring with him to Toyland (5th and H NE)
Posted by EliRabett at 1:40 PM
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
A keystone to modern climatology has been Hansen and Lebedeff's observation of strong correlation between pairs of weather stations at far remove. Based on this, they constructed global temperature measurements that covered the entire globe. It is worth looking at the original data, although you will have to click on the image.
The interesting point is that the correlations are much higher for high latitudes than they are in the tropics. At mid and high latitudes the correlation was attributed to large scale eddy mixing. They picked a 1200 km radius as the distance at which correlation was at least 0.5 at middle and high latitudes and 0.33 at low ones and used this correlation to construct their first global temperature record.
Inherent to this is the thought that the correlation can vary from season to season. Now Eli has lost a reference to subsequent work that shows major differences between summer and winter, but he was motivated to look again by a string of comments at Rank Exploits that essentially asked where does this come from.
While not able to find the paper that started (some years ago) this train of thoughts, he did find one by Mark New, Mike Hulme and Phil Jones which nicely illustrates the principle. Bunnies who click on the graph to the left will observe that the correlation for temperature (the dots) is highest in winter and lowest in summer. The dashes are the correlation for diurnal temperature range and the solid line the correlation for precipitation. In winter the temperature correlation is well over 1500 km, and in summer it drops, depending on latitude to between 1200 and 800 km, so perhaps the GISSTEMP 1200 is not such a good limit in the summer at low latitudes.
However, this correlation IS encouraging for polar regions, where we see that the 1200 km range is a good solid estimate all year long between latitudes 60 and 90 N. One may assume that the same could, maybe even should, hold true for the southern polar regions.
It is even possible that modern reconstructions should revisit this issue with the goal of improvement. Using latitude and season dependent temperature correlation distances might be of value.
Posted by EliRabett at 6:43 PM
Saturday, March 19, 2011
As Rabett Run said, Eli appears to have torched off a pretty good discussion as to the nature and responsibility of journalism, at least according to the incoming from flacks. This is not sitting well with many, some even have style about it, the ears are buttoned down but the woodwork is boiling over (here, here, here, here, here, here). Eli, of course, is dinged frequently for not tipping the cap and tugging the forelock with proper deference.
So allow Eli to go a bit further. The nature of journalism has changed driven, by the professionalization of the trade and the burgeoning enrollment and number of journalism schools (j-schools) and schools of communication. What they teach shows that there is no longer a dividing line left between public relations, advertising, fiction (film) and journalism. They all take the same classes. You find various combinations at different places.
For example, the alma original, the Missouri School of Journalism, does journalism and public relations, the U Colorado j-school does journalism, advertising and public relations, but they call it media studies which
prepares students for careers as analysts, evaluators and producers of media messages and policies in government and private industry and for graduate education in the social sciences, humanities and law.In addition to faculty who figure out and teach students how to ferret out and report the news there are faculty who are trying to figure out how to sell a message or a product and teach that to the students. Get some smart people in a room and they can come up with some effective stuff.
And then, of course, there is the journalism - public relations complex with bodies moving constantly back and forth. Two examples which spring to mind are the fabled Marc Morano (he was a poli sci major at GMU for what it is worth, worked as a reporter for some right wing organs, then as a flack for Sen. Inhofe and now is at a think tank pouring out daily misinformation), and Jay Carney, President Obama's new press secretary.
If the places where journalism is taught is also the place where churnalists and flacks are trained, perhaps we need a blogger ethics panel?
Posted by EliRabett at 4:32 PM
Friday, March 18, 2011
John Fleck, who has recently acquired an Australian farmer's love of lagomorphia, inquires
Ezra Klein’s nominally talking to economists, but you guys sitting in the back might get something out of this as well:
Listen to political scientists, sociologists, etc. They have perspectives, evidence and training worthy of consideration.
to which John Mashey has a reasonable response
and Eli, being a careful sort with all those Fudds out there after him, cautiously went looking and came up with something interesting, the Earth System Governance Project
I would say: economists, political scientists and sociologists are normally distributed like anyone else. Do the same thing you’d do if you were a hiring manager looking for employees:
look at a number of candidates, check out their track records, and select a few to watch carefully, and if convinced they are good, listen hard to *them*.
The Earth System Science Partnership has four parts, each of which is interesting,
Humans now influence all biological and physical systems of the planet. Almost no species, no land area, no part of the oceans has remained unaffected by the expansion of the human species. The four main global change research programmes, affiliated in the Earth System Science Partnership, see evidence today that the entire earth system now operates 'well outside the normal state exhibited over the past 500,000 years', and that 'human activity is generating change that extends well be-yond natural variability - in some cases, alarmingly so - and at rates that continue to accelerate'. Given this situation, the Earth System Science Partnership has declared an 'urgent need' to develop 'strategies for Earth System management'. Yet what such strategies might be, how they could be developed, and how effective, efficient and equitable such strategies would be, remain unspecified. It is apparent that the institutions, organizations, and mechanisms by which humans currently govern their relationship with the natural environment and global biochemical systems are not only insufficient - they are also poorly understood.
This is the rationale for the Earth System Governance Project, a new long-term research programme developed under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. This Science Plan elaborates upon the concept of earth system governance and on the central questions, methods and processes of a global research effort in this field.
DIVERSITAS - BiodiversityMuch to read.
IHDP - Human environmental interactions
IGBP - How climate change drives biosphere - geosphere interactions.
WCRP - World climate research program
Posted by EliRabett at 6:16 PM
Thursday, March 17, 2011
As all the bunnies know, Wiley Coyote, an occasional visitor has spent many years in pursuit of the Roadrunner. The existential question, of course, is what happens when he succeeds? This video (slightly altered from the original) answers that question.
Posted by EliRabett at 6:20 PM
In a paper in Environmental Science and Technology Libia R. Diaz-Valbuena, Harold L. Leverenz, Christopher D. Cappa, George Tchobanoglous, William R. Horwath, and Jeannie L. Darby crawl down into the cesspool and measure greenhouse gases generated in septic systems. Turns out to be about a factor of two less than the models used by the IPCC, which, as any sane person can tell you were not checked against a rather odious reality, but rather estimated from biological oxygen demand. This study is obviously a front runner for the 2011 IgNobels.
More, although not much, seriously there are a large number of septic systems out there, and while GHG emissions are small compared with those from fossil fuel combustion, in the US, about 0.12 tonnes equivalent to CO2 per person per year, compared to 23 for the total carbon emissions per person in industrialized countries, they are not quite zilch. This illustrates another major failing of the IPCC dependence on models.
Cue the wailers.
Posted by EliRabett at 11:29 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I am writing this text (Mar 12) to give you some peace of mind regarding some of the troubles in Japan, that is the safety of Japan’s nuclear reactors. Up front, the situation is serious, but under control. And this text is long! But you will know more about nuclear power plants after reading it than all journalists on this planet put together.Barry Brook on the situation earlier
Here is a précis of the situation as I understand it:
Eli recommends you go there and read.
1. There is no credible risk of a serious accident. All reactors responded by insertion of control rods to shut down their nuclear reactions. Thus, power levels in all cases dropped quickly to about 5% of maximum output, and the nuclear chain reaction ceased (i.e., all units are subcritical).
Note: I judge the situation would currently be rated INES Level 4: Accident with local consequences on the international nuclear event scale. Update: This level has been confirmed by WNN (5:50 GMT).
2. The concern is providing emergency cooling water to the reactor cores to remove decay heat from the fuel rods. This residual heat comes from the fission products, and will be persistent, but diminishes rapidly over time (i.e., most decay heat occurs over minutes and hours, with cold shutdown within a few days).
3. At one plant, the 40-year old Fukushima Daiichi (unit #1 opened in 1971), the backup diesel generators supply power to the core cooling system failed (apparently due to damage from the tsunami). This allowed pressure to build up in at least one of the reactors cores to about 50% higher than normal (unit 1), and requires venting of very mildly radioactive steam (contains trace levels of tritium). Some discussion here.
Posted by EliRabett at 4:51 PM
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Obviously Eli has torched a nerve with his polite inquiries about science journalism. Equally obviously there are a lot of people telling the journalists and their churnalist cousins, that journalism has a problem, and equally obviously, the recipients are in denial.
Now some, not Eli to be sure, although others would point out that Steve McIntyre comes to mind, would spend the rest of their lives, shall we say recapping all the nasty lies that some, not John Fleck to be sure, have been saying about him, and others would comment endlessly on the witches brew that the Tom Yulsman coven has cooked up. But, gentle readers, that is not Eli's way.
The current attempts to wash the issue from polite discussion is risible. Denial is not a river in Egypt. Defining the problem away by walling all the nonsense into the not journalism category is not even churnalism. So, as some, not Eli to be sure, have said, where does it go from here? Pecrhaps we need a . . . . .
UPDATE: Now that we have all decided that journalism is completely innocent and full of virtue (well a slight exaggeration), perhaps we will get off the kick that all scientists need to be sent to communications re-education camp?
Eli’s entire point was that if journalists are the master communicators, they should communicate, and as MT said, the fact that 1/3 to 1/2 the population believes in utter fables is a pretty good indication that something is not working. Moreover, the fact that fantasy rules in just about every area of human endeavor is a pretty good indication that the fault is not with the science part. What we have here folks is a failure to communicate.
Posted by EliRabett at 5:29 AM
Monday, March 07, 2011
Kloor, Randy Olson and to an extent Andy Revkin, but a whole lot of other people appear to think that scientists are lousy communicators, and indeed, a whole lot of scientists agree and there are workshops, meetings and even, shudder, blogs, devoted to self improvement, or not. This goes into the file under missing the point.
It's not that scientists are or are not lousy communicators (say that and Eli will lock you in a room with Richard Alley for example), but that journalists are lousy communicators. It's their fucking (emphasis added) job and they are screwing it up to a fare-thee-well. It ain't just climate either. What journalists produce often makes the average cut and paste student paper blush with modesty
As described in the Columbia Journalism Review, a new site churnalism.com lets you track down some of the mal mots.
If you wondered why every piece of crazy gets its day in the headlines here is one answer, the churnalists walking, nay sitting on their butts and printing everything that is spoon fed to them without working (shudder) to figure out whether there is any there there. There are lovely examples recently, the collapsing arsenic eating microbe story, the even faster collapsing bacteria in a meteor story, the stuff about vaccines causing autism, which STILL ten years later, after being shown conclusively to be a fraud, endures.
Churnalism has been around a long while. Back in the 1920s Edward Bernays was writing about “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses” as an “important element in democratic society.” In the 1950s Vance Packard warned us about “the large scale efforts being made, often with impressive success, to channel our unthinking habits, our purchasing decisions and our thought processes,” typically “beneath our level of awareness.”
But its power and extent have grown. In the U.S. and U.K. there are now more PR people than journalists. The PR industries in these two countries are numbers one and two in the world in terms of size. In the U.K., PR accounts for over £6.5 billion in revenues. PR is, in the words of Trevor Morris and Simon Goldsworthy, “faster growing, better paid and better resourced” than journalism. “Like it or loathe it, PR has become a key ingredient in many of our lives.”
Churnalism.com, Turn It In for the scribbling generation.
But churnalism is not just copy and paste, it's churn for effect and to hell with understanding.
At root, churnalism is an abdication of responsibility and moral failing worn proudly by an entire profession.
The reply that the churnalists have earned, is do your effing job asshole.
Still, give them credit, some do try to do the job, John Fleck has turned to in depth blogging on water issues, Tom Yulsman has an interesting post on how CO2 concentrations are measured. Andy Revkin is trying to figure it out. Not everything they do, or Eli does, is perfect, but at least they try, which is more than the bunnies can say about most.
Posted by EliRabett at 5:52 PM
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Devils Lake climate, weather, and water decision support system Fiona Horsfall, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and D. Kluck, M. J. Brewer, M. Timofeyeva, J. Symonds, S. Dummer, and M. Frazier
Trends in public opinion on climate change, as reflected in contributions to Australian newspapers David J. Karoly, Univ. of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; and B. Parr Recorded Presentation
Promoting climate information and communication of climate change Kevin E. Trenberth, NCAR, Boulder, CO Supplementary Information
What counts as knowledge? Using science dynamics to communicate climate dynamics James Rodger Fleming, Colby College, Waterville, ME Recorded Presentation
Communicating climate change: from awareness to action Amy K. Snover, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and L. C. Whitely Binder, A. F. Hamlet, and J. Littell Recorded Presentation
Making climate part of the human world Simon D. Donner, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, BC, Canada Recorded Presentation
Communicating uncertainty in the IPCC 5th Assessment Myles R. Allen, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom Recorded PresentationEli wonders whether Myles Allen was thinking of a certain IPCC non author when he said:
Communicating uncertainty is central to the IPCC assessment. One of the most irritating things I saw last summer was a slew of reporting in the British press following the IAC assessment saying that the IPCC has finally discovered thanks to the Inter Agency Council assessment of it that it needs to take uncertainty seriously. As an IPCC author who has done nothing else for the past twenty years or so I found this incredibly irritating.
Posted by EliRabett at 7:06 PM
Saturday, March 05, 2011
UPDATE: A much better title
In the comments, palindrom points to a toy model which has been submitted to EGU.
Over in the wacky world of Huffington Post, a denialist troll posted a link to this odd paper:John points out the obvious (damn it get to work and post stuff, Eli is gonna retire)
in which Hermann Harde, a laser spectroscopist morphs into a climate modeler, inserts some very good molecular data into what appears to be a rather crude, toy, do-it-yourself planetary atmosphere, and decides the CO2 isn't quite what it's cracked up to be as a greenhouse gas. Can someone who is actually expert at this give an authoritative review of this? (Dammit, Jim), I'm an astronomer, not a planetary atmospheres person, so I don't have the requisite deep knowledge of planetary atmospheres models, but the inquiring minds posting here ought to know ...
Harde calculates a smaller rise in global temperature (about 0.45 C) as a result of doubling CO2, compared with the IPCC number (3C), by a factor of about 7.but we still got a factor of three, so Eli went and read the damn thing. It was actually quite nice, some original stuff in there like
The IPCC result is based on: (1) a rise of 1.2 C from doubled ed CO2 in the atmosphere, causing an enhanced Greenhouse effect, and (2) positive feedbacks (ice-albedo, rising water vapor concentrations) which raise the IPCC estimate to about 3 C +_ 1.5 C.
Harde has calculated only the atmospheric effects, and has ignored feedbacks completely. So his result of 0.45 C should be compared with the IPCC "no-feedback" estimate of 1.2 C. Thus the discrepancy is more like a factor of three, not seven.
The propagation length of the sun light in these layers, which depends on the angle of incidence to the atmosphere and therefore on the geographic latitude, is included by considering the earth as a truncated icosahedron (bucky ball) consisting of 32 surfaces with well defined angles to the incoming radiation and assigning each of the areas to one of the three climate zones.but where the factor of three comes from is easy to see
To identify the influence of the absorbing gases on the climate and particularly the effect of an increasing CO2- concentration on the warming of the earth, a two-layer climate model was developed, which describes the atmosphere and the ground as two layers acting simultaneously as absorbers and Planck radiators. Also heat transfer by convection between these layers and horizontally by winds or oceanic currents between the climate zones is considered. At equilibrium each, the atmosphere as well as the ground, delivers as much power as it sucks up from the sun and the neighbouring layer or climate zone.With this model for each climate zone the temperature progression of the earth and the atmosphere is calculated as a function of the CO2-concentration and several other parameters like ozone and cloud absorption, short- and long-wavelength scattering at clouds as well as the reflection at the earth’s surface.The problem is that there are only two levels. The greenhouse effect is driven by the increase in the height of the atmosphere from which radiation that can be absorbed or emitted by CO2 can reach space. This cannot be captured in a two level model, which, of necessity has to crudely average over a lot of parameters. Of course some of the devil is in the details, such as how much water vapor, clouds, etc is in the second level. The figure, of course, is from Rabett Run's reply to Gerlich and Tschuschner. Harde's stuff is of a much higher quality than the G&T joke.
Oh yes, this appears to be a bad week for climate denialists. Roy Spencer took five on the nose, two from Arthur Smith and three from Barry Bickmore
Posted by EliRabett at 5:01 PM
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
In the competition for the place you can publish just about anything, the competition is fierce. Energy and Environment has gone to the mat, but there is always JPANDS and the current title holder, the Journal of Scientific Exploration. So, into the innocent young Bunny's Email box this flies
Invitation to submit to The All Results Journals:ChemAin't these guys ever heard of arXiv? Even Lubos and Oliver "Iron Sun" Manuel publish there. Either this is the best spoof since Denial Depot, or there is something strange going that way, however, Eli, thanks to Marco, has a wonderful suggestion for a submission, which started with a colloquy between john n-g and Eli
To: Eli Rabett
Tired of your experiments failing? Been working for months or even years on a project that's not producing the results you expect or desire? My name is David Alcantara and, on behalf of my editorial board, I’d like to invite you to submit your articles to The All Results Journals: Chem, a new journal that focus on publishing the grey literature that have never been published. Our target is to compile and publish the experiments with negative results and their interpretations and solve the current problems that publication bias is causing.
The All Results Journals:Chem is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing articles with negative results in all areas of Chemistry (pure and applied). The Journal is Total Open Access (no fees to publish and reading) and are being indexed by main scientific databases (Web of Knowledge, Scirus, Pubmed, etc.) certifying maximum exposure of your articles. We expect to publish articles within four to six weeks of submission, and our award-winning OJS Publications Web Editions Platform
will showcase your important findings to the international scientific community.
John, when you say:Marco won the web
Jae- I do sometimes envy certain chemists, who can describe their experimental setup, report on the results of the experiment, and be done with it. Once the experimental setup has been ratified, it's fairly easy to crank out the papers, and there's very little for a peer reviewer to criticize.
There is always the worry that you are not measuring what you think you are, and those errors can be really spectacular. There have been a few of those recently.
[Any examples worth describing? - John N-G]
John, try this one:
http://prb.aps.org/pdf/PRB/v83/i1/e019901 as an example of what may go wrong in chemistry.
A mislabeled bottle, and you suddenly have yourself a breakthrough!
(Received 2 December 2010; published 4 January 2011)
Recently we published a paper entitled “Superconductivity in the Rh-based Heusler family MRh2Sn” [Phys. Rev. B 82, 134520 (2010)]. Due to the mislabeling of a rebottled chemical starting material, the superconductors originally reported in this paper as Rh intermetallics are now known to be Pd intermetallics. The basic superconducting properties of the Pd compounds have been previously reported.And Eli is waiting to hear from the lawyers
This e-mail is from The All Results Journals. The e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. Any unauthorized dissemination or copying of this e-mail or its attachments, and any use or disclosure of any information contained in them, is strictly prohibited and may be illegal. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify or telephone and delete it from your system.but this post surely fits under fair use.
Posted by EliRabett at 6:23 PM