by Judith Curry
This was quite an interesting week in terms of new scientific papers, thoughtful articles in in the MSM and magazines, and interesting blog posts. Here is a quick survey of things that I found interesting.
If you can get past the subtitle and the first few introductory paragraphs, this is actually worth reading, it provides an interesting perspective. A few of my favorite quotes from the article:
But none of the exonerations mattered: The scientists had lost control of the narrative.
What’s more, for years, the press had become accustomed to the refrain that the “science is settled” on global warming, and that it was now time to figure out how to deal with it. The “science is settled” mantra downplayed the many uncertainties that remain about the impacts and implications of climate change and the hard-fought battles over every conclusion. So when the debates about data were laid bare, the scandal was much easier to report than the science.
Also, on one of clicks to link to the next page, there is this:
A “blue dress” moment for climate change?
Now that is classic :)
Also from Mother Jones is this essay by Chris Mooney on “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science.” From the conclusion:
Given the power of our prior beliefs to skew how we respond to new information, one thing is becoming clear: If you want someone to accept new evidence, make sure to present it to them in a context that doesn’t trigger a defensive, emotional reaction.
This theory is gaining traction in part because of Kahan’s work at Yale. In one study, he and his colleagues packaged the basic science of climate change into fake newspaper articles bearing two very different headlines–“Scientific Panel Recommends Anti-Pollution Solution to Global Warming” and “Scientific Panel Recommends Nuclear Solution to Global Warming”–and then tested how citizens with different values responded. Sure enough, the latter framing made hierarchical individualists much more open to accepting the fact that humans are causing global warming. Kahan infers that the effect occurred because the science had been written into an alternative narrative that appealed to their pro-industry worldview.
You can follow the logic to its conclusion: Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a détente in what Kahan has called a “culture war of fact.” In other words, paradoxically, you don’t lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values–so as to give the facts a fighting chance.
Tsonis and colleagues have an important new paper entitled “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s Climate Variability” which is discussed at Pielke Sr’s blog, including a guest post by the authors.
Wyatt, Marcia Glaze , Sergey Kravtsov, and Anastasios A. Tsonis, 2011: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability Climate Dynamics: DOI: 10.1007/s00382-011-1071-8.
The abstract reads
Proxy and instrumental records reflect a quasi-cyclic 50-to-80-year climate signal across the Northern Hemisphere, with particular presence in the North Atlantic. Modeling studies rationalize this variability in terms of intrinsic dynamics of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation influencing distribution of sea-surface-temperature anomalies in the Atlantic Ocean; hence the name Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). By analyzing a lagged covariance structure of a network of climate indices, this study details the AMO-signal propagation throughout the Northern Hemisphere via a sequence of atmospheric and lagged oceanic teleconnections, which the authors term the “stadium wave”. Initial changes in the North Atlantic temperature anomaly associated with AMO culminate in an oppositely signed hemispheric signal about 30 years later. Furthermore, shorter-term, interannual-to-interdecadal climate variability alters character according to polarity of the stadium-wave-induced prevailing hemispheric climate regime. Ongoing research suggests mutual interaction between shorter-term variability and the stadium wave, with indication of ensuing modifications of multidecadal variability within the Atlantic sector. Results presented here support the hypothesis that AMO plays a significant role in hemispheric and, by inference, global climate variability, with implications for climate-change attribution and prediction.
I can’t find a copy of the paper online, but I REALLY want to read this one in its entirety.
Richard Alley was featured in the recent PBS documentary “Earth: the Operator’s Manual.” Yale Climate Forum interviews Alley, about his new book with the same title and also his website. Richard is one of the best educator/communicators among the climate scientists IMO, so this is worth a look. Over at collide-a-scape, Kloor has a post on this.
Yale360 has a post entitled “What’s with the weather? Is climate to blame?” It is a cogent summary of this issue as per the “party line” of Trenberth, Hegerl, etc. For the perspective from the disloyal opposition, see my posts on attribution of extreme events part I and II (in case you missed it the first time around).
And finally, fun and games with the peer review process, over at Jason Box’s blog. The paper in questions was published by JGR, entitled “A reconstruction of annual Greenland ice melt extent, 1784-2009″, by Oliver Frauenfeld, Chip Knappenberger, Pat Michaels. The editor on this one was Guosheng Liu, my former postdoc and collaborator; a more honest, fair, and conscientious editor would be hard to find.
Jason Box was a reviewer, and the title of his extremely critical blog post is “Selective science = pseudo-science”. Box’s issue is that the analysis only extended to 2009, which Box thought should be included because 2010 was a really warm year for Greenland. Knappenberger responds that the data for 2010 was unavailable at the time they wrote the paper. So why is Jason Box up in arms over this (besides the fact that 2010 was a warm year)? A quote from the blog post:
Examining the 2nd and 3rd authors’ credentials, a climate change denialist pattern emerges. Oliver W. Frauenfeld, Assistant Professor of Geography at Texas A&M University, has links to the fossil fuel funded George Marshall Institute, according Sourcewatch. Frauenfeld co-authored the book Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming and is on Inhofe’s list of skeptic scientists. Knappenberger is an Administrator of the World Climate Report , a blog published by New Hope Environmental Services, “an advocacy science consulting firm”  run by oil-industry funded global warming skeptic and 3rd co-author of this paper, Patrick J Michaels. Michaels has also been a frequent speaker with leading coal and energy companies as well as coal and other industry lobby groups.
So, some climate change skeptics actually got a fair shake in the review process by an editor (Guosheng Liu), and a “consensus” reviewer is outraged. Box’s comment in reply to Knappenberger: “We shall see how the Frauenfeld, Knappenberger, and Michaels paper is used by other bloggers engaged in climate change denialism.” Pat Michaels is using this over at Cato.