by Judith Curry
Here are a few things that caught my eye this past week.
Steve Jobs. Among the many tributes to the late GREAT Steve Jobs, I spotted this article: Where would the US be if Steve Jobs had applied his talents to energy and climate change? Well worth a read.
Pentland at Forbes. William Pentland has another provocative post at Forbes: The Post Normal Seduction of Climate Science. The article is actually about the special issue in Climatic Change on uncertainty guidance for the IPCC. My paper “Reasoning about Climate Uncertainty” gets a plug.
Planet 3.0. Michael Tobis et al. have a new blog called Planet 3.0. The new blog and its rather unusual format are discussed at Collide-a-Scape. They are trying something different that is potentially interesting. So far I like it, and have added it to my blogroll. Check out this article on global food security.
Donna LaFramboise’s new book. Donna has a new book out on the IPCC [link]. The book is titled “The delinquent teenager that was mistaken for the world’s top climate expert: IPCC expose.” Richard Tol says: “…shines a hard light on the rotten heart of the IPCC.” Ross McKitrick says: “…you need to read this book. Its implications are far-reaching and the need to begin acting on them is urgent.” I’ll be ordering my kindle version today.
Mike Mann’s forthcoming book. Bishop Hill reports that Mike Mann has a forthcoming book entitled “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Line.” This should be fun. An excerpt from the blurb: The Hockey Stick became a central icon in the “climate wars,” and well-funded science deniers immediately attacked the chart and the scientists responsible for it. Yet the controversy has had little to do with the depicted temperature rise and much more with the perceived threat the graph posed to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect our environment and planet.
Goldacre on science. Another gem from Bishop Hill this week is this TED lecture by Ben Goldacre on exposing bad pharma science. It is very good.
Columbus blamed for the Little Ice Age. Mike Smith sent me this article, which has been picked up by numerous skeptics blogs. “The European conquest of the Americas decimated the people living there, leaving large areas of cleared land untended. Trees that filled in this area pulled tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, diminishing the heat trapping capacity of the atmosphere and cooling climate.” Well, its nice to see people acknowledge that land use change can influence climate. However, the magnitude of the change is way overestimated; seems difficult for many to appreciate that climate can change owing to causes that have little to nothing to do with humans.
A classic case of an overconfident deterministic forecast. The University of Maryland went on full emergency alert, expecting a tornado strike within 13 minutes based upon an Accuweather forecast [link]. The National Weather Service had posted a tornado watch (not warning). Accuweather is an example of 20th century meteorological forecasts; fortunately some 21st century weather risk forecast and management companies are spinning up (more on that in a future post).
Bacteria making group decisions about the Earth’s climate. I spotted this interesting news release, an excerpt: In the ocean, bacteria coalesce on tiny particles of carbon-rich detritus sinking through the depths. WHOI marine biogeochemists found that these bacteria send out chemical signals to discern if other bacteria are in the neighborhood. If enough of their cohorts are nearby, then bacteria en masse commence secreting enzymes that break up the carbon-containing molecules within the particles into more digestible bits. It has been suggested that coordinated expression of enzymes is very advantageous for bacteria on sinking particles, and Hmelo and her colleagues have uncovered the first proof of this in the ocean.
Dust and clouds. My colleagues at Georgia Tech, Irina Sokolik and Thanos Nenes, have a new paper out that is getting some publicity. The paper addresses the role of insoluble dust in nucleating cloud drops. Yet another source of uncertainty to add to the list associated with aerosol indirect radiative forcing.