Posts

September 30, 2014

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6:25 AM | How did the UK grid respond to losing a few nuclear reactors?
This is a re-post from PassiiviIdentiteetti, written by Jani-Petri Martikainen. Answer: mainly by increasing the use of coal in power production. In the second week of August power company EDF decided to shutdown their reactors in Heysham and Hartlepool. This was a precautionary measure after finding a defect in the boiler of Heysham unit 1. In total 4 reactors that can produce up to 2.6 GigaWatts (GW) of electricity were turned off. On the week they were turned off, the UK used an […]
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12:52 AM | There’s nothing quite like renewables: Modeling indicates natural gas production will not reduce future greenhouse gas emissions as hoped
Appropriate and useful climate policy-making requires accurate and reliable data about the future.  Nowhere is this more important than when setting carbon emission standards and projecting percentages of each energy source to match energy needs (coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewables, etc.). … Continue reading →

Steven J Davis and Robert H Socolow (2014). Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions, Environmental Research Letters, 9 (084018)

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September 29, 2014

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11:00 PM | When is the real ‘end’ of a PhD?
Recently a number of the original OnCirculation contributors have reached the ‘end’ of their PhDs including Evan, Kelly, Nick and myself; however this has led to the question, ‘When is the true end of the PhD?’ or in popular terms … Continue reading →
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11:30 AM | Multiple Working Hypotheses
In exploring Arctic ice minima I was not so much trying to reach conclusions as to find hypotheses for further testing and exploration.  Let's pick up the hypotheses side now, as I think it gets much too little attention in science education and science student practice.  In saying that, I'm projecting my bias, of course.Part of that bias comes from having read and agreed with T. C. Chamberlin's Method of Multiple Hypotheses (1890).  Or at least liked my take on it.  It also […]
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6:40 AM | Carbon News 29/9/14: Key challenged over climate impacts on Pacific islands
Memo John Key: look Pacific Island leaders in the eye The Government is being challenged to invite the leaders of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati to come and tell Parliament what they think of New Zealand’s climate change policies. Support to help Small Island Developing States move to renewable energy is one of five […]

September 28, 2014

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8:30 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #39
SkS Highlights Dana's The Wall Street Journal downplays global warming risks once again received the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Attracting the second highest number of comments was the repost of Roz Piscock's Carbon Brief article, Your questions on climate sensitivity answered.  Toon of the Week   h/t to I Heart Climate Scientists Quote of the Week "Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event […]

September 27, 2014

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11:25 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #39B
5 big announcements for cities at Climate Week ALEC tries to prove it’s not lying about climate change, fails miserably Can humanity rise to the climate challenge? China, U.S. make treaty pledges during Climate Summit Climate Summit: Much talk, a bit of walk Crazy weather traced to Arctic's impact on jet stream Do Americans appreciate climate change risks? Lyme disease surges into Canada Obama mandates climate resilience in all U.S. development projects Study lowers range for future […]

September 26, 2014

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8:10 PM | Free climate science / modeling class beginning Sept. 29
Global Warming: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change is a free online adaptation of a college-level class for non-science majors at the University of Chicago (textbook, video lectures). The class includes 33 short exercises for playing with on-line models, 5 “number-cruncher” problems where you create simple models from scratch in a spreadsheet or programming […]
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6:09 PM | How to catch an Arctic ground squirrel – for science!
At Atigun River, north of the Arctic Circle, the sandy soil is run through with an interlaced network of burrows. The Arctic ground squirrels which call those burrows home have encountered something mundane to you or me, but no-doubt wondrous to them: big tasty taproots, stunningly orange. Carrots! Trapping squirrels The carrots are bait, placed carefully in wire cage traps by scientists working to learn more about the very unusual Arctic ground squirrel. Cory Williams, postdoctoral fellow at […]
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6:44 AM | Your questions on climate sensitivity answered
This is a re-post from Roz Pidcock at Carbon Brief How sensitive is the earth to carbon dioxide? It's a question that's at the heart of climate science. It's also complicated, and scientists have been grappling with pinning down the exact number for a while now. But while the exact value of climate sensitivity presents a fascinating and important scientific question, it has little relevance for climate policy while greenhouse emissions stay as high as they are. Nevertheless, each time a new […]

September 25, 2014

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12:18 PM | Where do we go but nowhere?
New Zealand’s general election is over. The National Party has won itself another three years in government. With a probable overall majority and the support of three fringe MPs, prime minister John Key and his cabinet will be able to do more or less what they like. Given the government’s performance on climate matters over […]
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5:29 AM | Citizen scientists classify storms for the Cyclone Center
Taking measurements of the Earth’s weather and climatic state is challenging in many ways. One challenge is that we just don’t have sensors everywhere all the time. Sometimes we can use automated sensors (like Argo ocean floats or satellite imagery). But other times, scientists have to put their boots on, fire up a vehicle, and get out in the world. One great example is with hurricanes/cyclones. The best measurements of cyclone strength come from flights of airplanes through the […]

September 24, 2014

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10:16 PM | 97 Hours of Consensus reaches millions
On 9/7, Skeptical Science launched 97 Hours of Consensus. Every hour for 97 consecutive hours, we published a quote from a climate scientist, as well as a hand-drawn caricature of the scientist. We had a simple goal: communicate in a playful fashion the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming. Now that the dust has settled, we've had a chance to analyse how the campaign went. The result exceeded our expectations. Millions of people were exposed to the 97 quotes […]
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1:51 PM | EUMETSAT Conference 2014: Socioeconomic benefits of meteorological satellites
Globally, governments spend about $10 billion on meteorological satellites every year. That’s a lot of money. How do we know it’s worth it? Yesterday night the EUMETSAT conference branched off to the WMO for a side-event asking that very question. I … Continue reading →
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1:43 PM | In brief: the UN Climate Summit
This week, delegates from the UN met in New York to discuss global climate change and to develop strategies for tackling these issues.  What are the outcomes of their discussions? And what does this mean going forwards? #climate2014   The meeting in New York was the largest climate meeting since Copenhagen 2009, and 120 world leaders took part in discussions. As well as discussing issues surrounding climate change, the summit aimed to encourage member states of the UN to sign the […]

September 23, 2014

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10:40 PM | A shale’s life: first life cycle assessment of shale gas used for electricity in Great Britain
An interesting article came out a few days ago in Applied Energy that is of particular importance because its directly relevant to current politics in Great Britain.  With an estimated 38 trillion cubic meters of shale gas estimated to be lurking underneath … Continue reading →

Stamford, L. & Azapagic, A. (2014). Life cycle environmental impacts of UK shale gas, Applied Energy, 134 506-518. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.08.063

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10:13 PM | TDB Today: Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
Take the time to listen to Emma Thompson’s stirring address to the climate marchers in London last weekend, and then head on over to The Daily Blog where in my post this week I examine the likely consequences of the re-election of a National-led government, and ruminate on the need to get ideology and politics […]
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10:04 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #39A
Climate change as a catalyst of conflict Climate primer: Explaining the global carbon budget and why it matters Climate realities Dozens arrested as police face off with Flood Wall Street protesters On a warmer planet, which cities will be safest? Push for new pact on climate change is plagued by old divide of wealth Q. and A.: Glen Peters on China and climate change Scientists report global rise in greenhouse gas emissions Scientists: Why clinging to a two degree limit may harm meaningful […]
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9:40 PM | When words fail: women, science, and women-in-science
I don’t want to write about women in science today. I want to write about glaciers, or passenger pigeons, or the way the tilt of the earth is making the squirrels outside my window stash acorns, or about how sharks have been on this planet longer than trees, or why sometimes, the public doesn’t trust […]
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8:48 PM | EUMETSAT Conference 2014: Challenges and advances in satellite measurement
Atmospheric measurement is an extraordinarily difficult problem. It’s a fluid capable of remarkable feats of contortion, and it contains a number of important constituents, including one – water – which flits easily between solid, liquid and gaseous forms. Satellite instruments offer … Continue reading →
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1:54 PM | The story of methane in our climate, in five pie charts
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9:14 AM | Swapping Space and Time
A transect is a straight path between two points along which a number of sampling sites are established. The same procedures are generally carried out at each sampling point so […]
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7:18 AM | Is the public debate on climate change turning a corner?
When I started this blog in late 2009, things were not good with climate change in the media: the UEA/climategate emails had just been leaked and COP15 in Copenhagen didn’t go so well. A couple of years before that, though, I felt that there was quite a lot of optimism. IPCC AR4 and the Stern […]
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6:51 AM | 9 billion or 11 billion? The research behind new population projections
IIASA demographers explain why they project the world population to peak this century and UN demographers believe stabilization is unlikely Continue reading →

September 22, 2014

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10:30 PM | The how to, and how not to, guide to interviewing for the Australian Public Service (3)
By Kelly Welcome to Part 3 of my recent foray into the public service recruitment process. I’ve discussed the selection criteria and the written assessments, so today we finish the tour with the panel interviews. I interviewed for all three departments that I applied … Continue reading →
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5:23 AM | The Wall Street Journal downplays global warming risks once again
As has become the norm for media outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch, just before a half million people participated in the People’s Climate March around the world, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece downplaying the risks and threats posed by human-caused global warming. The editorial was written by Steven Koonin, a respected computational physicist who claims to have engaged in “Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists,” […]
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4:39 AM | Carbon News headlines 22/9/14: If the PM doesn’t worry about climate change, why should we?
Welcome to a new regular feature on Hot Topic: the week’s Carbon News headlines, brought to you every Monday. Carbon News is an NZ-published web newsletter covering climate and carbon news from around the world, published and edited by experienced journalist Adelia Hallett. The full articles are behind the Carbon News paywall, but there’s a […]

September 21, 2014

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11:44 PM | Upcoming MOOC makes sense of climate science denial
In collaboration with The University of Queensland, Skeptical Science is developing a MOOC, or Massive Online Open Course, that makes sense of climate science denial. The Denial101x MOOC will launch in March 2015 on the EdX platform. Registration has just opened so you can now register for free. Here is a description of the MOOC:   Denial101x: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science […]
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11:16 PM | Things you can do about global warming now we have a new do-nothing government (same as the old one)
Australia’s brilliant First Dog On The Moon on climate action (courtesy of The Tree), deemed by me to be relevant in the aftermath of an election that has delivered New Zealand another three years of National-led government, and therefore little prospect of serious action on climate matters. I’ll have a slightly less amusing reaction to […]
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7:21 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #38
"Today, we march... In Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm, Paris, Madrid, Porto, Geneva, Ljubliana, Budapest and so many other places." - 350.0rg SkS Highlights As to be expected, Dana's The 97% v the 3% – just how much global warming are humans causing? garnered the most comments of the articles posted on Skeptical Science during the past week. Deciding who should pay to publish peer-reviewed scientific research by John Abraham attracted the second […]
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