Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Coursera.org free Science of Climate Change class

 There's a interesting online class about climate change starting at https://www.coursera.org/course/globalwarming? - 

It's free, so if you're curious and want to learn more about how our global climate system operates here's a great opportunity.  

Check out the following from their webpage:

Professor Geophysical Sciences
The University of Chicago

Global Warming: The Science of Climate Change

This class describes the science of global warming and the forecast for humans’ impact on Earth’s climate. Intended for an audience without much scientific background but a healthy sense of curiosity, the class brings together insights and perspectives from physics, chemistry, biology, earth and atmospheric sciences, and even some economics—all based on a foundation of simple mathematics (algebra).

About the Course

We start with basic principles governing Earth’s temperature. The class begins with the nature of heat and light, then builds the very simplest conceptual—and algebraic—model for the climate of a planet, including the greenhouse effect.
Over the following weeks, we introduce complexities of the real world to this model: how greenhouse gases are selective about what light they absorb, how the temperature structure and weather in the atmosphere set the stage for the greenhouse effect, and how feedbacks amplify it. From this point on the exercises will be based on on-line interactive models for various aspects of Earth’s climate and carbon cycle, exploring the topics described in the video lectures. 
We then turn to the carbon cycle of the Earth, how it stabilizes Earth’s climate on some time scales but destabilizes it on others. The fate of fossil fuel carbon will be determined by its integration into Earth’s ongoing natural carbon cycle.
The class concludes with a look at the human impact on Earth’s climate: why we believe it’s changing, why we believe we’re changing it, the impacts that could have, and the options we have to mitigate the situation.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Our First Climate Model
Week 2: On Greenhouse Gases and the Atmosphere
Week 3: More on the Atmosphere – and Feedbacks
Week 4: The Carbon Cycle
Week 5: The Perturbed Carbon Cycle
Week 6: The Smoking Gun and Paleoclimate
Week 7: Impacts
Week 8: Mitigation

Recommended Background

This course assumes no scientific knowledge and is geared toward a general audience. The problem sets require high-school-level algebra. The optional data assignments require a fair amount of number crunching, but this can be accomplished with a spreadsheet application such as Google Spreadsheets.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund Needs Your Help!

I'd like to pass along the following public service announcement. 
Please if you can help can, do help, 
because the denialists are getting nastier by the minute.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 



Climate Science Legal Defense Fund Needs Your Help!

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) was launched in January 2012 by Scott Mandia and Joshua Wolfe to provide valuable legal resources to our climate scientists who are in need. CSLDF needs your help.

CSLDF needs to raise $80,000. The great news is that philanthropist Charles Zeller has graciously offered to MATCH the first $40,000 that is raised and philanthropist Peter Cross has offered to put up the first $10,000. This means CSLDF already has the first $20,000 of the $80,000 goal. We need YOU to help CSLDF reach its goal.

For the previous two years, CSLDF has been managed by Scott and Josh  “from their kitchens” They both have full-time jobs and families with small children and neither receives compensation for their time. Scott and Josh have accomplished much over the years on a part-time basis. To date, CSLDF has:
·       Raised litigation fees to help Dr. Michael Mann defend climate science from politically-motivated witch-hunts
·       Provided resources to legal experts from PEER so they could offer free legal advice to scientists at professional conferences
·       Offered legal counsel to scientists hit with frivolous Freedom of Information Act requests
·       Provided legal workshops to scientists at professional conferences. 
·       Offered a series of legal education webinars partnering with American Geophysical Union (AGU).
But now it is time to “go professional” and that is where you can help. $80,000 can move the organization to this next level. CSLDF will use your tax-deductible donations to hire a full-time Executive Director who will manage the day to day operations of providing legal help to our experts as well as increasing fundraising efforts. Having the full-time professional helps to assure that CSLDF will be there for our scientists years down the road. After all, climate change is not going anywhere and the sad fact is that neither will the legal attacks on our scientists.

Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent by visiting the CSLDF website at climatesciencedefensefund.org and clicking the Donate button. Donations are sent to our fiscal sponsor PEER but are earmarked for CSLDF. Through PEER, a private non-profit organization organized under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue code, your contribution will be tax deductible.

You can also send a check made out to PEER, with Climate Science LDF on the memo line, to support effort to help scientists defend themselves:

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund
c/o PEER
2000 P Street, NW #240
Washington, D.C. 20036


International donors can use PayPal. Send to info@peer.org as the recipient and put CSLDF in the subject line of your payment.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Marcia McNutt's ill-considered endorsement of Keystone XL Pipeline



Looking more like Mordor than planet earth - Canadian tar sands mines larger than Greater Manchester dominate the landscape next to the Athabasca River, with no proven way to reclaim the boreal forest. Oil sands are a mixture of bitumen and sand. The province of Alberta has proven reserves of 174 billion barrels of oil, second in size only to Saudi Arabia. (WWF)

Credit: © Rezac / WWF-UK Source: WWF-UK

This image comes from an article that documents how Anthony Watts and friends blatantly misquotes and lies about what scientists have said.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Skeptical Science has published a story that takes Science Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Marcia McNutt to task for her endorsement of the XL Pipeline.  In the process Andy Skuce has produced a concise review of the many reasons why this pipeline needs to be stopped.  It's something worth passing around, so thanks to their generous sharing policy, I'm reposting it here.

For myself, from the beginning the entire XL tar sands seemed a project out of touch with down to Earth realities.  The amount of land, wildlife, biosphere, fresh sweet water and fossil fuels that needs to be consumed (and destroyed) during the production of this alternate fossil fuel is something that could only be justified within a system run by people completely addicted to profits ├╝ber alles, folks who possess a complete disregard, if not total oblivion, to the life support system that is our biosphere… and that we humans desperately need to stop destroying, if for no better reason than our own lives depend on it's health !  

But, I better stop and let Andy Skuce take it from here.


Posted on 3 March 2014 by Andy Skuce


The Editor-in-Chief of Science Magazine is wrong to endorse Keystone XL (via Skeptical Science)
Posted on 3 March 2014 by Andy Skuce An editorial by the Editor-in-Chief of Science Magazine, Marcia McNutt, conditionally endorses the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. Her argument is that: the absence of the pipeline has not stopped oil sands development…

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Open letter to Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon


I try to keep my struggles with climate science denialists over at WhatUpWithThatWatts, et al. - and keep this side to serious constructive science and misc. personal writings.  But there are exceptions.  In this case I think I finally nailed something I've been chasing a long time and I want to share it.  If you like it, help yourself and improve on it.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The last couple days I've been catching up on some of Nielsen-Gammon's articles and comments over at the Climate Change National Forum (more on them later) and I find myself struggling with the way he manages to frame all of his evidence and arguments.  [I should be clear Dr. Nielsen-Gammon is not a denialist, he is a respected scientist familiar with climatology - but what grabbed my attention was how his arguments were framed and that led to this.]  


Here's my open letter to John Nielsen-Gammon, 

Dear JNG,
I read the things you write and seems to me you consistently micro-focus on obscure details.  You play with data and numbers and trumpet man's inability to perfectly replicate Earth's processes in a lab, or climate model.  Using those contrived arguments you tell folks, we have no worries.

I'm asking you to step back a little to consider your assumptions, perhaps reconsider your approach.

I want to suggest everything you {along with the usual AGW "skeptical" suspects} say springs forth from a weltanschauuing of supreme confidence in human ingenuity.  Including a faith that society's only hope is in the free-corporate-market status quo being allowed to run it's course.

Am I correct John Nielsen-Gammon?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Looking beyond the individual you, I suggest it boils down to two different perceptions of our planet and Earth sciences.

At the heart of one is an appreciation that our Earth is a living organism, one that has taken four and a half billion years, evolving one day at a time, to arrive at the beautiful cornucopia that awaited a restless inquisitive human species.

The other mindset sees our planet through the lens of ancient texts and tribal dogmas.  To this group of humanity our life sustaining planet, Earth, isn't any more "real" than a Hollywood movie on the other side of the screen.  It's only function is to fuel our economy.

Therein lies the tragedy of our time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This brings me back to CCNF and their project.  I'll let them speak for themselves and allow time to reveal how they do.

Climate Change National Forum (CCNF) is a national platform, founded and led by scientists, to educate the American public on the science of climate change and its policy implications. Our website, ClimateChangeNationalForum.org, will feature an ongoing and open dialogue on climate change among scientists, experts, and policy makers
Our aim is to serve as an objective source for journalists, policy experts, scientists, and interested citizens. The site will first be used by scientists to discuss the latest research on climate change and share and debate ideas on aspects of climate change relevant to policy making. These scientists will also fact check a continuous stream of outside articles and news clips procured by a professional journalist in the “Climate Change in the Media” section on the homepage. In the second phase of the CCNF project, subject matter experts and policy makers will be able to join the online discussion to compare and debate the benefits and costs of possible responses with the science columnists and other policy columnists commenting under their posts in columnist-only comment threads.
Click on image to view PDF.
Click on image to view PDF
CCNF is going live on 1/2/2014. We have already gathered a diverse community of earth, climate, and physical scientists willing to participate and will further grow this community as our columnists begin publishing. CCNF is soliciting scientist-members of the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and American Institute of Physics in the effort to amass a community of science columnists that is representative of the greater climate and physical sciences publishing community. (See Dr. Nielsen-Gammon’s “Letter to Fellow Physical Scientists,” recently featured on the American Meteorological Society’s blog, The Front Page, and a recent story on the project by the American Geophysical Union on their science and policy blog, The Bridge.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For What It's Worth:

Colorado Floods -
 
Statistical Certainty vs Geophysical Realities 
Friday, October 25, 2013 
http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2013/10/colo-floods-statistics-vs-physics.html



Open letter to Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon


I try to keep my struggles with climate science denialists over at WhatUpWithThatWatts, et al. - and keep this side to serious constructive science and misc. personal writings.  But there are exceptions.  In this case I think I finally nailed something I've been chasing a long time and I want to share it.  If you like it, help yourself and improve on it.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The last couple days I've been catching up on some of Nielsen-Gammon's articles and comments over at the Climate Change National Forum (more on them later) and I find myself struggling with the way he manages to frame all of his evidence and arguments.  And although it's pretty much the same spiel I've listen to and struggled with understanding for the past couple decades, this time I think I've finally stumbled onto something important. 

Here's my open letter to John Nielsen-Gammon, 

Dear JNG,
I read the things you write and seems to me you consistently micro-focus on obscure details.  You play with data and numbers and trumpet man's inability to perfectly replicate Earth's processes in a lab, or climate model.  Using those contrived arguments you tell folks, we have no worries.

I'm asking you to step back a little to consider your assumptions, perhaps reconsider your approach.

I want to suggest everything you {along with the usual AGW "skeptical" suspects} say springs forth from a weltanschauuing of supreme confidence in human ingenuity.  Including a faith that society's only hope is in the free-corporate-market status quo being allowed to run it's course.

Am I correct John Nielsen-Gammon?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Looking beyond the individual you, I suggest it boils down to two different perceptions of our planet and Earth sciences.

At the heart of one is an appreciation that our Earth is a living organism, one that has taken four and a half billion years, evolving one day at a time, to arrive at the beautiful cornucopia that awaited a restless inquisitive human species.

The other mindset sees our planet through the lens of ancient texts and tribal dogmas.  To this group of humanity our life sustaining planet, Earth, isn't any more "real" than a Hollywood movie on the other side of the screen.  It's only function is to fuel our economy.

Therein lies the tragedy of our time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This brings me back to CCNF and their project.  I'll let them speak for themselves and allow time to reveal how they do.

Climate Change National Forum (CCNF) is a national platform, founded and led by scientists, to educate the American public on the science of climate change and its policy implications. Our website, ClimateChangeNationalForum.org, will feature an ongoing and open dialogue on climate change among scientists, experts, and policy makers
Our aim is to serve as an objective source for journalists, policy experts, scientists, and interested citizens. The site will first be used by scientists to discuss the latest research on climate change and share and debate ideas on aspects of climate change relevant to policy making. These scientists will also fact check a continuous stream of outside articles and news clips procured by a professional journalist in the “Climate Change in the Media” section on the homepage. In the second phase of the CCNF project, subject matter experts and policy makers will be able to join the online discussion to compare and debate the benefits and costs of possible responses with the science columnists and other policy columnists commenting under their posts in columnist-only comment threads.
Click on image to view PDF.
Click on image to view PDF
CCNF is going live on 1/2/2014. We have already gathered a diverse community of earth, climate, and physical scientists willing to participate and will further grow this community as our columnists begin publishing. CCNF is soliciting scientist-members of the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and American Institute of Physics in the effort to amass a community of science columnists that is representative of the greater climate and physical sciences publishing community. (See Dr. Nielsen-Gammon’s “Letter to Fellow Physical Scientists,” recently featured on the American Meteorological Society’s blog, The Front Page, and a recent story on the project by the American Geophysical Union on their science and policy blog, The Bridge.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For What It's Worth:

Colorado Floods -
 
Statistical Certainty vs Geophysical Realities 
Friday, October 25, 2013 
http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2013/10/colo-floods-statistics-vs-physics.html

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Collin Maessen vs. Lord Monckton 2013

One of the most astounding and frightening aspects of the "Republican" attitude towards learning about and understanding climate science is the GOP's willingness to embrace serial lies in order to support their political agenda.  

As though having wealth and power makes them superior to our planet's natural forces.  Yet, even though human history is filled with stories of the hubris of greed and power destroying its own civilizations, they remain hostile to rational information.  Why does it seem like the GOP hasn't learned anything in these information rich and supposedly enlighten times?

I've been thinking about it because of the recent farce where one serial liar Lord Monckton has come to the rescue of another deception artist Dr. Richard Lindzen the scientist who loves misrepresenting his colleagues. (also see: “A disservice to the scientific method”: climate scientists take on Richard Lindzen )

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IPCC Working Group I: Physical Science Basis 2013 now available

The waiting is over, the IPCC WGI report is published and their website has been updated at: http://www.ipcc.ch
and the report can also be found at:
http://www.climatechange2013.org

Here is their press release.

Jan 31, 2014
IPCC publishes full report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis