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Posts

April 23, 2014

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8:33 AM | From nuclear reactors to energy models
By Alan McDonald, IIASA Alumnus (1979-82 and 1997-2000) and member of the IIASA Alumni Advisory Board I stumbled on IIASA in 1975. I was 24 and working for General Electric’s Fast Breeder Reactor Department. I was supposed to figure out how safe General Electric should make its new breeder reactor, a type of nuclear reactor … Continue reading →
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3:28 AM | What I learned this Earth Day, 2014
Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – In the summer I drive to my favorite of many nearby glacial lakes, a deep down-turned gumdrop of cool water ringed in lillypads. I catch painted box turtles. After a frenetic chase and what feels like too long without air I surface gasping, and marveling at each turtle’s personality. They might battle hissing and clawing at air, or hide a bit before emerging to inspect me… or their own reflections in my goggles. Some... Read more
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1:16 AM | Removal of crop residue for biofuels increases CO2 emissions
Back in 2007, Congress passed the US Energy Independence and Security Act, which was intended to be a mechanism towards removing our country’s dependence on petroleum and promote renewable energies.  The Senate opposed the original bill’s attempt to cut oil … Continue reading →

Liska, A., Yang, H., Milner, M., Goddard, S., Blanco-Canqui, H., Pelton, M., Fang, X., Zhu, H. & Suyker, A. (2014). Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions, Nature Climate Change, DOI:

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12:00 AM | The Moon’s New Clothes Mantle
By Thomas The 12 people who walked on the Moon are the only humans who ever set foot on another world1. Though this world is on average more than 380.000 km away from ours, the rocks brought back by the … Continue reading →

April 22, 2014

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11:15 PM | Climate Change National Forum introduces the nonsense amplifier
The Climate Change National Forum now has a section called The Fact Checker. In it they will post the nonsense of pseudo-skeptics and they promise that the CCNF scientists will respond to it. I am glad not to be a CCNF scientist, having to jump up, drop everything I am working on, get myself into the topic and quickly write a response. Until that time, the nonsense is spread undisputed. And that happens every time the CCNF journalist think some pseudo-skeptical article is interesting. Poor […]
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2:03 PM | Ice Sheet Microbes and Melt: Dark Snow 2014
Here’s an article I recently wrote with professor Jason Box of Dark Snow – keep checking here for updates on our field plans for Greenland 2014! Ice Sheet Microbes and Melt Greenland […]

April 21, 2014

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11:22 PM | The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change
The combination of a recently acquired desktop video magnifier and a kindle has for the time being restored some ease to my reading. Hence this review. I was drawn by the title The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change: Values, Poverty and Policy, since I can’t see the resistance to energy reform mounted by powerful […]

April 20, 2014

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11:20 PM | Long weekend viewing: Years Of Living Dangerously
This is the trailer for Years Of Living Dangerously, a nine part documentary about the impacts of climate change by James Cameron and a bunch of Hollywood filmmakers, working with some of the USA’s top TV journalists and a team of top climate scientists. There are some big names involved: Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Jessica […]
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6:38 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #16
SkS Highlights Peter Hatfield's video, The consequences of climate change (in our lifetimes), introduced by Rob Honeycutt, drew the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Dana's Climate contrarian backlash - a difficult lesson for scientific journals to learn attracted the second highest number of comments. Toon of the Week   h/t to I Heart Climate Scientists Quote of the Week "So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the […]

April 19, 2014

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6:01 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #16
6 things you need to know about reducing emissions Climate change and desertification a threat to social stability Climate concerns in a time of growing ‘climate fatigue’? Costs of climate change may prove high for future Drunken trees: dramatic signs of climate change Entire marine food chain at risk from rising CO2 levels in water EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites Pope Francis urged to back fossil fuel divestment campaign Salvation gets […]
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9:34 AM | Dump fossil fuels for the health of our hearts
Cleaning up air pollution will provide immediate health gains as well as longer-term climate benefits, highlights New York University's George Thurston

Pope, C. (2003). Cardiovascular Mortality and Long-Term Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution: Epidemiological Evidence of General Pathophysiological Pathways of Disease, Circulation, 109 (1) 71-77. DOI:

Smith, K., Jerrett, M., Anderson, H., Burnett, R., Stone, V., Derwent, R., Atkinson, R., Cohen, A., Shonkoff, S., Krewski, D. & Pope, C. (2009). Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: health implications of short-lived greenhouse pollutants, The Lancet, 374 (9707) 2091-2103. DOI:

Horton, D., Harshvardhan, . & Diffenbaugh, N. (2012). Response of air stagnation frequency to anthropogenically enhanced radiative forcing, Environmental Research Letters, 7 (4) 44034. DOI:

Kelly, J., Makar, P. & Plummer, D. (2012). Projections of mid-century summer air-quality for North America: effects of changes in climate and precursor emissions, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 12 (2) 3875-3940. DOI:

Thurston, G. (2013). Mitigation policy: Health co-benefits, Nature Climate Change, 3 (10) 863-864. DOI:

Rice, M., Thurston, G., Balmes, J. & Pinkerton, K. (2014). Climate Change. A Global Threat to Cardiopulmonary Health, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 189 (5) 512-519. DOI:

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April 18, 2014

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4:30 PM | Non-Linear Trends
Any given time series, say July average temperature in the Moscow region since 1881, might exhibit both short-term (more brief) and long-term (more lasting) patterns of change. The longer-term is certainly something worth knowing about. It might be increasing, or … Continue reading →
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8:58 AM | Global warming can't be blamed on CFCs – another one bites the dust
A paper published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B by the University of Waterloo's Qing-Bin Lu last year claimed that solar activity and human chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions, not carbon emissions, could explain the observed global warming over the past century.  The journal has now published a rebuttal of that paper by Skeptical Science team members Dana Nuccitelli, Kevin Cowtan, Peter Jacobs, Mark Richardson, Robert Way, Anne-Marie Blackburn, Martin Stolpe, and […]

April 17, 2014

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9:31 AM | Mitigating climate change – The IPCC WGIII report
What is the IPCC WG III? On 14th April 2014 the IPCC Working Group III (WG III) published their latest report (link) on climate change mitigation. This is the third of three reports from the IPCC, and follows on from their previous publications: WG I ‘The Physical Science Basis’, published in September 2013; and WG II ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’, published in March 2014.  Their latest report draws together over four years of work by over 230 scientists, […]
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8:56 AM | Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report
      Guest post by Brigitte Knopf             Global emissions continue to rise further and this is in the first place due to economic growth and to a lesser extent to population growth. To achieve climate protection, fossil power generation without CCS has to be phased out almost entirely […]
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7:48 AM | Citibanker: the age of renewables is here
Kathryn Ryan’s interview earlier this week with Michael Eckhart, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability at the giant investment bank Citigroup was arresting. He was in New Zealand as a keynote speaker at the Wind Energy Conference and Ryan asked him about a recent report from Citi, Energy Darwinism: The Evolution […]

April 16, 2014

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2:18 PM | Heartland logic: More people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann, therefore global warming is false.
This is a guest post from Narahani.   Or is happening and is good for you, or has stopped happening, or is caused by CO2 but only a little, or is about to reverse due to lots of yet-to-be-discovered negative feedbacks, and clouds. And anyhow, peas and water lilies love CO2 so ramping it up to 1000 ppm would be fantastic. The logic is dizzying.   And yes, Joe Bast repeated his widely criticized statement equating people who support action to limit climate change with […]
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10:17 AM | Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co
As expected, the New Zealand government’s response to the IPCC’s Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change pays lip service to the science, while maintaining that NZ is doing all that can be expected. Climate change minister Tim Groser’s press release said that the IPCC report’s call for intentional cooperation meant that NZ is […]
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4:51 AM | Predicting the effect of anomalous sea ice loss and increasing sea surface temperatures on global storm systems
Azara Mohammadi – To become a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Soumik Basu moved from his home in Kolkata, India to a region infamous for its “below zero” weather: Interior Alaska. Basu left warm weather and his family (not to mention his mother’s cooking) because “The climate is changing, so I wanted to study how these changes in the climate affect the storm activities over the Northern Hemisphere.” Specifically, Basu came to UAF to […]
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12:00 AM | Deus Dominus Machina
Let’s do something totally unproductive today: Let`s play god. Well, it`s going to be “playing god” if you go with the saying “Evolution is god’s way of issuing upgrades”. For everyone else it’s going to be “Let`s play simple-laws-that-lead-to-complex-life”*. A … Continue reading →

April 15, 2014

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10:21 PM | Hold the drill! Fracking emitting more methane than previously thought
As politically divisive as hydraulic fracturing is, we still need much more data to determine its environmental effects before deciding if it can be major source of energy during our transition away from fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, this lack of data … Continue reading →

Caulton, D., Shepson, P., Santoro, R., Sparks, J., Howarth, R., Ingraffea, A., Cambaliza, M., Sweeney, C., Karion, A., Davis, K. & Stirm, B. (2014). Toward a better understanding and quantification of methane emissions from shale gas development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI:

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8:38 PM | 2014 SkS News Bulletin #3: IPCC Report (WG III)
Averting catastrophe is eminently affordable Climate experts sound the alarm Climate protection a 'task that can be solved' Climate report finds UN emissions target not out of reach IPCC report summary censored by governments around the world 'Modest hope' to slow warming, but no 'free lunch,' U.N. warns Nations’ handling of new IPCC report presages divisions in treaty effort Reactions to the final installment of the IPCC analysis The top 10 ways to avert a climate catastrophe UN […]
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4:46 PM | When will we reach 2°C?
A change in global surface temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial climate is often used as a threshold for ‘dangerous climate change’. Although impacts will tend to get worse as temperatures increase, there is no clear evidence yet of such a … Continue reading →
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7:07 AM | Would addressing climate change improve energy security?
By Jessica Jewell, Research Scholar, IIASA Energy Program How would action to mitigate climate change affect energy security for countries around the world? In two recent studies that I worked on with colleagues in IIASA’s Energy Program and three other European research centers, we explored this question under a range of different policy scenarios. We found … Continue reading →

April 14, 2014

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6:01 AM | Climate contrarian backlash - a difficult lesson for scientific journals to learn
Scientific journals have had a bumpy road trying to learn how to deal with climate contrarians. Poor decisions by journal staff in dealing with contrarians have often led to editors resigning and a damaged reputation in the academic community. The latest such example is the journal Frontiers and its response to bullying by contrarians over a paper by Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues. The paper analyzed the conspiratorial psychology of contrarian comments made on public blogs. As I previously […]

April 13, 2014

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11:01 AM | IPCC WG3: it does not cost the world to save the planet
The IPCC has just released the summary for policymakers of the Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change. It makes clear that the world has to act quickly to restrict carbon emissions to have a reasonable chance of restricting warming to 2ºC by the end of the century, but establishes that the costs of […]
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6:29 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #15
SkS Highlights Roz Pidcock's  IPCC says adapt and mitigate to tackle climate risks garnered the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Attracting the second highest number of comments was IPCC issue official rebuttal to more David Rose/Daily Mail nonsense by John Mason. Toon of the Week   Quote of the Week "This week in Berlin, scientists and public representatives have been weighing up radical options for curbing emissions contained in the third report of […]

April 12, 2014

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5:30 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #15B
Asgard’s fire Can celebrities and prime time TV make Americans care Car, truck and airplane pollution set to drive climate change Climate targets: Australia can't be caught napping El Niño could grow into a monster, new data show Greenhouse gas emissions nearly doubled in first decade of 21st century How taking the 'perma' out of permafrost could accelerate warming IPCC explores the ethics and economics of fighting climate change IPCC: world must urgently switch to clean […]
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2:24 PM | Planning for the next Sandy: no relative suffering would be socialist
The river Waal at Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The original river is to the right. The island has been created to give the river more space and reduce flooding.The New York Times Magazine has a beautiful article on a Dutch water manager, Henk Ovink. He enrolled with Shaun Donovan, the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, serving in the cabinet of President Barack Obama to make the USA fit for the next Sandy. The Dutch approach to water management is very different and looks […]
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9:59 AM | Detailed regional data reduce warming-drought link doubts
In Portugal and Spain climate change has already driven over 2°C of warming in summer, and new findings from Sergio Vicente-Serrano from the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology are dispelling uncertainties that the temperatures are making drought more severe and widespread.

Vicente-Serrano, S., Lopez-Moreno, J., Beguería, S., Lorenzo-Lacruz, J., Sanchez-Lorenzo, A., García-Ruiz, J., Azorin-Molina, C., Morán-Tejeda, E., Revuelto, J., Trigo, R. & Coelho, F. (2014). Evidence of increasing drought severity caused by temperature rise in southern Europe, Environmental Research Letters, 9 (4) 44001. DOI:

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