Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ocean acidification already eating away at tiny creatures

Today the Seattle Times had a disturbing front page story by Craig Welch reporting on his four years worth of research into current impacts of an acidifying ocean on the life forms within our oceans.

"Acidification already eating away at tiny creatures along our coast" 
Craig Welch  |  Seattle Times  |  April 30, 2014
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Documenting Sea Change: The story begins.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Scientific Debate vs Political Debate, Victor Venema

A couple days ago I posted some thoughts about the difference in debate styles over at my WUWTW.  Reflections on my years long and oh so futile efforts to engage climate science "skeptic(s)" in an actual on-point constructive "debate" focusing on rationally comparing our respective 'scientific facts' and "observations" in order to explore which arguments carry the most weight. 

On the same day Victor Venema posted his own observations comparing a "scientific debate" with the public debate.  Since Victor is a real scientist he does a nice in-depth dissection.  It's definitely worth reading - mine is earthier given my own simpler "spectator's" perspective.  Still I like to think they make a nice complement and I'm happy to share his article over here at CC.   

Worth adding is Ezra Klein's "How Politics makes us stupid" looking at Dan Kahan's work on the politics of how we process scientific information.:
" The theory is particularly prevalent in Washington, where partisans devote enormous amounts of energy to persuading each other that there’s really a right answer to the difficult questions in American politics — and that they have it. 
But the More Information Hypothesis isn’t just wrong. It’s backwards. Cutting-edge research shows that the more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become. "   E.Klein
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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Are debatable scientific questions debatable?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

SkyTruth, keeping an eye on illegal fishing, etc.

There's a website I like checking out once in a while, it's put together by William Hughes-Games off in New Zealand and it's called "Thoughts on the Roof" and it is consistently interesting, thoughtful, at times enlightening, stuff. 

Recently he wrote about the an organization called "SkyTruth" including a radio talk transcript from Michael Field that I've been meaning to post since receiving permission from Mr. Hughes-Games.

FEBRUARY 16, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 free Science of Climate Change class

 There's a interesting online class about climate change starting at - 

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.