Happy one year anniversary

by Judith Curry

I’m not very good at remembering birthdays or anniversaries.  This amnesia extends to my own birthday and anniversaries, and I was reminded of this when I spotted this post at Jean Goodwin’s blog:  Happy Birthday, Climate Etc.!

So happy one year anniversary to the Denizens, and of course, moi.  This anniversary provides the opportunity for some reflection.

What were my expectations a year ago, and how have they changed? I originally envisioned doing one thorough post per week on a scientific topic, sort of a mini-assessment (e.g. my hurricane post), with discussion threads on newsy items.  Well, the real world in terms of too many demands on my time got in the way of of developing posts for the blog with a lot of original content from me.  I have a backlog of 36 posts that I have started but haven’t finished, my topic selection has been more pragmatic in terms of topic selection (what lands in my email box or I encounter googling around) and something that I can prepare in less than 45 minutes.

The number of hits and comments (and type of comments) on various topics and types of threads has also had a feedback effect on what I post.   My in depth thorough analyses generated relatively few hits and comments.  Also, my explorations of the social science and communication aspects draw few comments or hits, although they have attracted some very interesting people here from whom I have learned much.  People seem most interested in any controversy surrounding high-profile personalities, discussion threads on timely and high profile topics, and essays that are critical of the IPCC.  The basic physics of the greenhouse effect also has an enduring appeal as a discussion topic, which is the topic that has generated by far the most comments of any category.

So at this point I see my role as more of a “talk show host”, picking provocative topics to discuss, with the main point most often the actual discussion of the “guests.”

The community of Denizens has also evolved over time, including the number of participants and the specific individuals that have come and gone, and also a maturing of the more active Denizens that have been active participants from the inception.  The arguments are better, there is less tolerance for flame wars (remember the heady days of ianash), and we have a more balanced participation in terms of convinced/consensus  versus skeptical perspectives.

So what am I getting out of this personally?  Well, first, it is a lot of fun, I very much enjoy the dialogue (well most of the time anyways, sometimes it gets out of hand).  I have personally learned a lot, and have particularly appreciated the astute comments and suggestions on my papers and presentations.  And most importantly, the blog has motivated me to explore more widely the multiple dimensions of the climate issue.  While some have little tolerance for my forays into communication and the social sciences, I suspect that the blog would have been less successful if I had not been paying attention what communication and social science experts have to say.

I originally envisioned more guest posts from climate scientists.  That hasn’t happened.  I’ve invited a number of people to do a guest post, invariably they say they would like too, but are too busy right now, maybe later.   I’m hoping that the increased emphasis in our field on communication and engagement will motivate other scientists to blog.  I will add that many climate scientists that I’ve encountered at meetings, etc.  tell me that they are avid readers/lurkers of Climate Etc.  One scientist at the NOAA meeting last week said that he regarded it as an essential resource for keeping up to date on and understanding all the politics and stuff surrounding the climate change issue.  Also, whenever I do a post highlighting the work of an individual academic researcher, invariably I get an email later that day from that researcher thanking me for my post, providing some further comments, etc.  This includes academics in Europe and also social scientists and philosophers that I’ve discussed here.  While I suspect that few of these are regular readers, presumably they received an email from someone that was.  Also, several academics are using the blog in their courses, not just climate change courses but on topics ranging from communication to conflict resolution(!).  So there is some penetration of the blog into the academic world, which I am very pleased about.

And finally, I am very pleased at how my blogospheric experiment is working out.  I feel that Climate Etc. is an honest place to have a fair argument over the science, policy, etc. issues surrounding climate change.  I’m hoping that everyone is broadening their perspectives, challenging their own beliefs, and learning something.  Learning something from a technical discussion on a blog is a different way from learning from a text book.  It doesn’t replace text book learning, but it certainly enriches and develops understanding both for the technical minded and those that don’t have time or capacity for learning from sophisticated text books. I am particularly appreciative of those that have provided guest posts, or otherwise spend a lot of time here contributing their expertise to answering questions and discussing the issues in a substantive way.

Here’s to another year!  I would appreciate any feedback or comments that you have re improving Climate Etc.  Thanks to all of you for your continued participation.

ccccccc

109 responses to “Happy one year anniversary

  1. Happy birthday Climate Etc & thanks Judith.

    The website is part of my life now (I hope that doesn’t make me sad, hey we’re all allowed hobbies, right?) not a scientist, but I think I learn from the posts and comments!

    Kind regards

    Paul

  2. Congratulations and thank you.

  3. Happy birthday, Climate Etc! and Judith! The best that have ever happened for the possibilities to sort out all the wrongs in climate science, and give the politicians what they deserve. Thank’s!

  4. Professor Curry, You can use a few of the carbon credits I earned from the experiment at the ACS meeting to light a birthday candle if you so desire.

    Also, is the readership ready to hear “The Rest of the Story” about how the ACS symposium/webinar came about?

    Cheers, Pete

  5. >I originally envisioned more guest posts from climate scientists. That hasn’t happened. I’ve invited a number of people to do a guest post, invariably they say they would like too, but are too busy right now, maybe later. <

    Happy birthday. You are a gracious host of a lovely party.

    I wish the other climatologists had the balls to come along and join the salon. They make themselves look like pretty nice sissy boys compared to the give and take you both accept, and dish out, Judith.

    May you continue to have fun and advance the frontiers of this little edge of science.

  6. Dr. Curry:
    You provide one of the more balanced blogs on climate science, attracting people from both sides of the bus.
    I appreciate your efforts, and look forward to more in the coming year!

    Roy Weiler

  7. Also, several academics are using the blog in their courses, not just climate change courses but on topics ranging from communication to conflict resolution(!).

    As an object lesson is how not to approach resolving conflict, no doubt!

    Congrats.

    • Wow…you really need some good schooling!

      Roy Weiler

      • Roy –

        Just to clarify, it wasn’t a dig at Judith.

        I was just laughing that anyone would consider the banter on these threads as useful models for resolving conflict.

        But thanks for proving my point.

      • You win! Great for you :)

        Roy Weiler

    • Whoops, broke my first and second rule, do not engage in mindless antics with people who do not know what they are talking about!

      FAIL!!

      Roy Weiler

  8. 100,000 comments and counting. A great monument to a great debate. Congratulations indeed!

  9. I will burn a tire in your honor later this evening.

  10. CWon- no need to do so, they are doing quite well burning tires, a few layers of rubber at a time, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in a NASCAR race even as we chat….

  11. Happy Birthday!

    I’m a Chinese graduate student. I heard about this blog about two months ago. It’s my habit to check the updates of the blog. Really fascinating!
    BTW, JC is a brilliant host as well as a scientist.

  12. Judith,

    Thank you! I really enjoy your effort, humility and opportunity to think about a number of ideas, Congradulations, I appreciate the significant sacrifice (something this well done/speaks for itself) and the opportunity to benefit from a gifted educator.

    Smile, you deserve it,
    Garry Dauron

  13. Happy Birthday, Climate Etc! And to you, Saint Judith, it is a fine and a good thing that you have done and are doing. Many happy returns.

  14. Political Junkie

    Thanks for providing entertaining reading for this frequent lurker!

    Please keep it going!

  15. Happy birthday.

  16. I have just received notice of some dramatic news: all of that heat from global warming that Trenberth has been looking for has been found hiding deep down a Kansas rabbit hole…

  17. As if on cue, somebody called Steve Bloom is saying at Connolley’s blog that people quite laugh at Judith behind her back at conferences, because of this blog of course. The year hasn’t finished yet.

    • Fear of women masks far more than intellectual cowardice.

    • That is entertaining. My prestigious invites are way up this past year, I am giving the keynote lecture at a forthcoming conference, and a named lecture at a top ranked university (more on these when the time comes). And those are just the ones that I have accepted (most invites to speak are turned down, or I would never be able to keep up with things).

      The point is that there are many scientists out there in the “mainstream” that want to figure out how to torque our community to get back on track and focus on doing good science and challenging the “consensus” assumptions. They are seeing some rays of hope at Climate Etc.

    • Your reading comprehension needs some work

      http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/09/holy_editor_resignation_batman.php#comment-5033457

      “Judy seems interested in staying just this side of the line where people at conferences start laughing and pointing at her when her back is turned.”

  18. …somebody called Steve Bloom is saying at Connolley’s blog that people quite laugh at Judith behind her back…

    Then Judith is doing even better than I thought.
    Happy Birthday, miss Judith.

    • Steve Bloom is not a nice person, at least online. Happy birthday, Dr. Curry. I remember my one-year anniversary in climate blogging. I felt overwhelmed. Take a day off–or two.

  19. A little icing for the birthday cake.

    Your S&B post made the WordPress What’s Hot list.

    Anthony has the details here.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/03/spencer-and-braswell-story-goes-viral/#more-46599

    • well that is interesting, looks like WUWT, Climate Etc. and Pielke Sr are all in the top 10 on this. I don’t follow the wordpress what’s hot list, but this may be the first time that Climate Etc. has been on the list.

      I checked my hits for the S&B thread, I don’t think it will make Climate Etc’s top ten hits for the year. I suspect traffic blog traffic is low over the holiday (U.S.) weekend

  20. I’m always interested to have links to new papers that broaden my understanding of climate science. Thanks.

  21. Thank you so very much Dr. Curry for the extraordinary efforts you’ve put into this blog. And since you mentioned it, I wonder whatever happened to ianash–in an odd sort of way, I miss my ol’ buddy.

  22. Congratulations and thanks!

    Max

  23. Congratulations Dr Curry on the first anniversary of your blog. The sheer number of comments (in excess of 100k in less than 12 months) is impressive.

    The diversity and level of tolerance of the people who contribute to this blog are also worthy of mention. It is obvious that many of these contributors are passionate in their convictions and are prepared to spend a lot of time formulating their views and in responding to that of others.

    Many of the threads have been termed “scientific” and that off-topic contributions were discouraged but rarely moderated.

    Hence we have a situation where excesses of passion have often highjacked a technical thread to the extent that readers with a more open mind on the issue under discussion could well feel marginalised.

    In the interests of the silent majority who read this blog to further understand the current state of climate science and to decide for themselves if political action on short term climate trends is justified, it is opportune to consider if Dr Curry should recruit a few non-aligned denizens to assist her in providing a more consistent level of moderation.

  24. And happy birthday from me as well even if I am not 100% sure if this is or is not a long running social-experimental episode of “Judith among the savages”. 8-))

    The “savages” being the skeptics, of course.

  25. As one of the lurkers Happy Birthday Judith and thanks.
    You mention text books – have you any idea how much standard text books COST!!!! The web and blog posts have just got to be the best value ever.

  26. Dr Curry,

    Thank you for providing a site where views can be shared and debated with reasonable balance and respect. I sincerely hope your blog endures.

    Regards,

    AB

  27. Michael Larkin

    Happy anniversary, Judith. I’m glad you seem to be enjoying your blog, and learning things from it. At times, you can say things that get up my nose, but what the heck, you’re still the most civilised and tolerant climate blogger and I too have learnt a few things here.

    My only suggestion is to get rid of the nesting of comments. It makes it very difficult to return to the blog and see what has been posted since last time, and, I believe. encourages long and acrimonious exchanges between people with few manners and even less self-awareness. Why not experiment with it for a while and see what the response to that is?

    • Many comments refer to a comment. Without nesting, how could you easily go see what was being referred to?
      You could use the Find Feature of a browser to search for the Dates since last time you visited. Sometimes I search for specific names of people whose comments I value. One of my most used searches is for curryja

      Does anyone have a suggestion on how to find the latest nested comment?

  28. Happy Birthday!

    I visit every day. And I think I’m even becoming more tolerant of opposing views as a result. :) I think your description of the place as being a “salon” was helpful in understanding what you are trying to do here.

  29. Congratulations, and many thanks, Dr. Curry.

    I feel that Climate Etc. is an honest place to have a fair argument over the science, policy, etc. issues surrounding climate change.

    Indeed! And is not the only one … but almost. And I am not meaning most others are dishonest, although some are. Is the feeling any of the contending “parties” can feel comfortable enough to participate and to elaborate. I guess you are trying to get something “academic” out of it, something formal, but my bet is there are too many “non teachable” aspects. Anyway, as an example, it’s priceless.

    Thanks again.

  30. Judith

    well done on surviving and thriving a whole year. still one of my favourite places to while away an hour or two even tho I don’t feel the need to post much as others seem to be able to say it so much better than me

    keep up the good work and whatever happens do not lose your sense of the absurd – which seems to be the base rock of climate science

    kind regards

    Gary

  31. Congratulations, happy anniversary and many thanks for the hours you have dedicated to making us all feel welcome at your salon – by providing such diverse and thought provoking topics for discussion. I have learned much from you – and from many of the denizens here.

    I would heartily second Michael Larkin’s suggestion re the threading/nesting (for the same reasons!) – or perhaps as a compromise, you might consider reducing the depth to 2 :-)

  32. Congratulations, I hope you will keep this going as it is informative, thought provoking and adds enormously to general understanding of the climate and the politics surrounding it.

  33. Dr. Curry, congratulations and thanks for creating and sustaining this forum.

  34. Thank you Dr. Curry for a wonderful blog. One thing I have not seen mentioned in the comments so far, is how you have attracted major players to comment. When a specific paper is discussed, we regularly see comments from the authors themselves. This sort of thing happens very rarely on other blogs. Here it is the norm. Congratulations.

  35. Can’t people just quote briefly what they’re responding to?

  36. Dr. Curry, Congratulations for creating Climate Etc. and thank you for your time and effort.

  37. Dr. Curry,

    I don’t know where you find the time or the patience but my fervent hope is that you benefit as much as the Denizens do.

    Brava !!!

  38. Professor Curry,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your efforts to return integrity to science.

    I have learned a great deal more than I expected since I started research on the origin of the solar system as an angry, arrogant atheist in 1960. At that time, science appeared far superior to religions in seeking answers to basic questions about the origin and purpose of life.

    Today organized science seems far more corrupt, more entangled with politics, than organized religions.

    It is time to write the conclusion to my career, and regretfully it cannot be written without including politics and other historical, periphial events.

    It has been an interesting journey, Professor Curry, and I am grateful that Climate Etc helped bring the significance of periphial events into focus.

    Again, congratulations for Climate Etc!

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K..Manuel

  39. Well done Dr Curry.

  40. Judy:
    Many thanks for all the time and effort that it takes to maintain an interesting and inviting blog. Your example of openness and evenhandedness has even got some to be a little more temperate and gracious.

  41. Well done Judith, and thanks for the effort you’ve been putting into creating and maintaining Climate Etc.

    You have thoroughly earned the impromptu ‘New Climate Blogger of the Year award’. :)

    Now that you’ve ‘been there, done that, and won the T. Shirt’ I hope you’ll continue to go from strength to strength with the blog in the years ahead.

    Here’s hoping that you’ll be able to entice more climate science pro’s to offer articles. After all, Wolfgang Wagner has now elevated blog articles and comments to equal status with peer reviewed work! ;)

    • I think I see a “Wolfgang Wagner Award” in the works. I am not quite sure about the criteria for awarding it. It would have something to do with an editor, or someone in a similar position of power, who sort of totally freaks about what is being said on blogs and blows himself up.

      Creating such an award to be bestowed by Climate Etc and doing so on its first anniversary seems fitting. As time for the award approaches, Dr. Curry could do a post accepting nominations. Of course, each nomination would require a convincing story in support. Just a thought. Maybe others can do something with it.

  42. Congratulations on a lively and balanced blog!

  43. Congratulations on a job well done and thank you for this wholistic approach to learning. What I have taken away, at least for the physics and math portion, is: to whom do I listen? Whom do I trust? I do not necessarily look for who is “right” all the time, just who can reason and present a counter argument. I detest textbooks as I find “slants” that have legitimate arguments against, not presented. I came to the blogosphere and encountered Bart V. and his intransigence with VS re: handling time series, and RealClimate’s “unknowledgeable” response to VS’s calculations. Radiative transfer physics was a fog for me and it has been some time and effort for me to read Climate Etc., WUWT, Steve McIntyre, and Roy Spencer to first get the vocabulary then the concepts down. I thank you very much for this “graduate level course” where I learn much from the “student” discussions as well as the “prof” and guest posts. I feel that blogosphere learning fits my comfort level. Again, Thank you and Congratulations.

  44. Alexander Harvey

    If people don’t like the deep nesting or find themselves trapped posting in a long thin stream at the nesting limit they can break out and link it back in.

    Alex

  45. I am happy to be able to give Dr. Curry credit where it is due. Well done on your year anniversary of running a very interesting and well moderated (mostly hands off) blog, Dr Curry.

    Andrew

  46. Judy – Congratulations on a successful first year – an outcome that has probably pleased some and disappointed others.

    I share your regret at your not being able to entice more climate scientists to guest post here, but I can understand their reluctance to expose themselves to some of the acrimony that contentious topics often generate on the Web. One possibility is to find one colleague who will guest post after a promise from you to moderate the comments very rigorously, deleting any that are off-topic or targeted at the person rather than the scientific issue.

    If you can demonstrate one successful example, other scientists may be encouraged to follow. That would certainly include friendly colleagues,but
    a gracious note from you to some who are angry at you for whatever reason might also reap dividends and elevate the status of this blog even further.

    • I suppose if one wants to save the world they have to suffer a bit of inconvenience. I can picture the soldiers storming Omaha Beach turning to run because the German soldiers were typing bad things at them. The shelling and machine gun fire was bad enough but there is a limit to what one is willing to do to save their grandchildren! There is no excuse why they aren’t here in an open forum making their case.

  47. You are the Johnny Carson of climate talk show hosts.

    Thank you.

  48. “Thank you Dr. Curry for a wonderful blog. One thing I have not seen mentioned in the comments so far, is how you have attracted major players to comment. When a specific paper is discussed, we regularly see comments from the authors themselves. This sort of thing happens very rarely on other blogs. Here it is the norm. Congratulations.”

    Which of course says quite a bit. I predict Climate Etc. will continue to grow in popularity and stature in the coming year. I still get frustrated at Dr. C’s unwillingness to take a harder line at times, but I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of her careful and dispassionate approach. That it’s the only site I can recommend to my liberal friends and have any hopes that they’ll actually read it, speaks directly to that.

  49. Happy birthday Judith :-)

    Climate Etc strikes an excellent balance and avoids the pseudoscience of both alarmist/warmer and denialist/skeptic blogs.

  50. Congratulations Judith, fancy forgetting your own birthday! You’ll be saying next that that you forgot to send us our very large cheques for contributing guest articles :)

    tonyb

  51. Let me wish Climate Etc a Happy Birthday as well! It is hard to believe it has been an entire year since it was started. The blog has certainly done extremely well.

    I came across an interesting explanation for “Earth’s thermostat” recently. I am going to quote a few select paragraphs. You may want to do a post on these ideas someday.

    “…plate tectonics help drive the Earth’s carbon dioxide – rock cycle. This is critical in regulating the environment through the balancing of greenhouse gases and keeping the temperature of the planet at a livable level.”

    “You see, greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, absorb infrared energy and help warm the planet. So they’re absolutely crucial. The problem is that their concentration in the atmosphere needs to be regulated as the sun slowly brightens. Otherwise, the Earth would not be able to stabilize its surface temperature, which would be disastrous.”

    “Plate tectonics cycles fragments of the Earth’s crust – including limestone, which is made of calcium, carbon dioxide, and oxygen atoms – down into the mantle. There, the planet’s internal heat releases the carbon dioxide, which is then continually vented to the atmosphere through volcanoes. It’s quite an elaborate process, but the end result is a kind of thermostat that keeps the greenhouse gases in balance and our surface temperature under control.”

    “What’s driving plate tectonics is the internal heat generated by radioactive isotopes – Potassium-40, Uranium-235, Uranium-238, Thorium-232. These elements deep inside the Earth were originally produced in supernovae, and their production in the galaxy is declining with time because the supernovae rate is declining with time. That will limit the production of Earth-like planets in the future, because they won’t generate as much internal heat as the Earth does.”

    “This radioactive decay also helps drive the convection of the liquid iron surrounding the Earth’s core, which results in an amazing phenomenon: the creation of a dynamo that actually generates the planet’s magnetic field. The magnetic field is crucial to life on Earth, because it shields us from low-energy cosmic rays. If we didn’t have a magnetic shield, there would be more dangerous radiation reaching the atmosphere. Also, solar wind particles would directly interact with the upper atmosphere, stripping it away, especially the molecules of hydrogen and oxygen from water. That would be bad news because water would be lost more quickly.”

    “Well, there’s another natural thermostat, called the Earth’s albedo. Albedo refers to the proportion of sunlight a planet reflects. The Earth has an especially rich variety of albedo sources – oceans, polar ice caps, continental interiors, including deserts – which is good for regulating the climate. Whatever light isn’t reflected by Earth is absorbed, which means the surface gets heated.”

    “This is self-regulated through one of the Earth’s natural feedback mechanisms. To give you an example, some marine algae produce dimethyl sulfide. This helps to build cloud condensation nuclei, or CCN, which are small particles in the atmosphere around which water can condense to form cloud droplets.”

    “If the ocean gets too warm, then this algae reproduce more quickly and release more dimethyl sulfide, which leads to greater concentration of CCN and a higher albedo for the marine stratus clouds. Higher cloud albedo, in turn, cools the oceans below, which then reduce the rate at which the algae reproduce. So this provides a natural thermostat.”

    What do you think, Dr. Curry? I have seen discussion of dimethyl sulfide as a thermostat before, but had not seen any mention of plate tectonics in this role. Is this something you would like to do a post on someday? I would like to know what support or contrary evidence exists for these ideas.

    • Seems a bit off-topic but the rock weathering thermostat sounds like Richard Alley’s explanation of the paleo cycle with a time scale of hundreds of millions of years. Maybe that would be useful to understand as background but doesn’t have much relevance to century scales.

  52. Congratulations on 1 year of blogging
    As someone that remembers you engaging at Realclimate and some very interesting comments at Collide a Scape, starting this blog partly gave me the thought of why not do my own…

    You are of course always welcome to do a guest post at my blog ;) !
    Just joking!! as you get more comment in one article than my blog ever (except for my WUWT contributions) I have suggested to a UK climate scientist or 2 that you are open guest posts,as they might have a different perspective than USA ones (especially politically)

    I wonder what excitement the next year will bring,as just as things seem t get dull… something always seem to happen

  53. Happy birthday to Climate Etc, one of the best blog on man made global warming.

    It is one of the best blogs because there is little censorship.

    RealClimate, Openmind & deltoid should learn from ClimateEtc and stop their censorship of posts.

    Science is the antithesis of censorship.

  54. People seem most interested in any controversy surrounding high-profile personalities, discussion threads on timely and high profile topics, and essays that are critical of the IPCC. The basic physics of the greenhouse effect also has an enduring appeal as a discussion topic, which is the topic that has generated by far the most comments of any category.

    I wonder is it human nature, to cling to talk of gossip, scandal and controversy, and shun subjects of personal responsibility, personal action and learning new areas with uncertain implications?

    That http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/31/water-too-little-too-much-part-ii/ has a mere 14 comments, when it is so richly deserving subject matter is appalling.

    What does this say of the Denizens?

  55. I wonder is it human nature, to cling to talk of gossip, scandal and controversy, and shun subjects of personal responsibility, personal action and learning new areas with uncertain implications?

    Was that a serious question – or something like a half-sibling of a Persian Flaw – a rhetorical question?

    Seems that the answer to your question if rather self-evident. Take a look at the number of comments on Wagner’s resignation. It’s a SCANDAL!!!!!

  56. John Carpenter

    Thank you Judy for hosting this forum. I have learned much by reading and engaging with the folks here. My understanding of climate issues have evolved for the better thanks to your help. Looking forward to another year. Congratulations to a successful first year.

  57. Congratulations Judith!

  58. Judith,

    I’ve been here from the beginning, but the sheer scale of the operation defeats me. I have other things to do, and I can’t keep up with very thread. But you keep it up — it’s fabulous!

    Congratulations on lasting one year!

    Don

  59. Dr Curry
    The time that you must be committing to keeping Climate Etc going is mind-boggling, on top of which (like many of us here) you have a demanding real job. I am glad to hear that you feel that you have been getting some return on the effort.
    An unusual feature is the range of people of substance who congregate here: a few climate scientists (who are very informative when they join in), but also engineers, software experts, mathematicians, economists, and lots more people with relevant knowledge and skills. In addition, there are the impressively well-read amateurs. I think it is this mix of contributors that has helped to keep the signal-to-noise ratio of your blog so high, despite your light-handed moderation.
    Oh, and it has also sent me off to read several new things that I would not otherwise have come across, and shifted some of my opinions as I have come to understand various issues better; which is not something that RC ever succeeded in doing. So thank you from an occasional lurker (and even more occasional contributor).

  60. Tomas Milanovic

    Happy birthday Judith.

    Having been here on and off since Day 1, I have indeed seen a decrease of the technical posts.
    I enjoyed discussions around Makarieva, Tsonis and even Claes in his own way was entretaining.
    Often the spontaneous growth inside the threads allowed to explore some of the little tread ways of research that are definitely interesting.
    One of the threads on this blog (the ominous radiative transfer) triggered a development of a 2D model that I did with a few friends in our free time targetting the question of dynamical solutions of a GHGless atmosphere and especially of the atmospheric circulation.
    If we finish it one day (treating even “only” 2D Navier Stokes appeared to exceed a mere “free time work”), I’ll send it to you as there are some interesting things.

    Themes that I would like to see treated here one day are :
    – ergodicity (are there invariant PDF for time and/or space averaged quantities ?)
    – the question of time scales. The often used paradigm is that below some time scale T we have randomness (things “average out”) and above T we have determinismus and predictability. How to prove the existence of T and what is its value? Needless to add that such a T doesn’t exist in spatio-temporally chaotic systems.
    – EOFs and their useful(less)ness. I am very critical about the use of EOFs which are often applied carelessly (e.g garbage in , garbage out). As in the very few cases where the spatial variability is considered, it mostly happens via EOFlike methods, it is certainly an important issue.
    – GCMs dynamical cores. How well do they solve the dynamics (notably the convergence question) and what are the paths of progress. How far can one trust their results?

    I am well aware that these themes are linked because they all look at the questions of predictability. And I am also aware that it is not because I am interested by it that you have to. But as I was asked my opinion, here it is.

    The biggest criticism I have is the discussion nesting. Unfortunately I have no miraculous solution. But clearly once a thread goes beyond 100 posts, only dedicated followers can read/understand. Casual observers who for example were not here at the beginning of the thread are hopelessly lost.
    This limits participation only to those who are in the thread every day and several times a day.

    • I am also interested in how non linear non ergodic systems could possibly yield predictable outcomes. Even local short term forecasting of weather is simply based on weather station reports of conditions in areas adjourning the subject area and extrapolated over a few days at most.

      I am an economist and I know that any modelling of economic cycles have similar issues in long term prediction of turning points and future sustained periods of growth and decline in activity. Previous data sets have no predictive value whatever in non ergodic systems.

      Both systems have too many potential factors influencing them and each of these factors generally seem not capable of testing and verification using scientific method in a lab situation. What is observed in both systems however, are strong negative feedbacks that brings about their long term stability.

      The recent CERN cosmic ray simulations were interesting but any conclusions to be drawn are necessarily quite limited in scope. The negative feedback effects of clouds certainly keeps temperature fluctuations within a narrow band, that to my mind is a factor upon which most forms of biological life heavily depends.

      • Tomas and Peter

        Well said.

        Perhaps there’s something in the structure of WordPress that contributes to the discussion nesting problem.

        Some blogs seem to have less of this problem where indexed by more vectors; for example, the ability to follow all of a person’s posts, or of a category, or a longer index of recent posts by chronology.. and of course, architecture that doesn’t groan under the burden of anything over a couple hundred posts per thread.

        Still, whatever Climate Etc. has, it’s compelling.

    • Hi Tomas, excellent suggestions. Re time scale issue, I have a draft post that should be ready by this weekend. Note, technical threads take more of my time than the others. Guest posts on technical topics would be much appreciated (hint hint :)

  61. Congratulations Judith, this is one of my top three must-read-every-day blogs (the others being BH and CA) .
    So I second Tallbloke’s award nomination.
    I’m glad to hear you are enjoying doing it.
    It’s your blog to run your way.

  62. Sincere congratulations, and thank you for all the homework you have put in for us. Thirty six unfinished projects works out to one every ten days, and the ones you finished must number more than that. Reminds me of writing lesson plans for my classes before I retired. There is no doubt that you are educating us and I hope that some of our contributions will have a reciprocal effect on you. Enjoy the year ahead. Arno

  63. Dr. Curry, I for one, appreciate the way you have run your Ideagoras. Openness is essential for an agoras to thrive & you have done an outstanding job of providing one, for all of the various participants that comment here. All the best, Tom

  64. Great job here. I really enjoyed what you had to say.
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