Posts

July 22, 2014

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11:21 AM | Our variable star (part 2): Explaining the variations
(co-authored by Maria Dasi-Espuig - profile) We know from direct observations that the Sun varies. We’ve been monitoring the energy received from the Sun at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere, known as the solar ‘irradiance’, for more than three decades. But, this is not enough time to understand the Sun’s contribution to climate change. Human-induced changes […]
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5:36 AM | Seal of approval - How marine mammals provide important climate data
Understanding what is happening in the oceans is crucial since 90% of global warming is going there and attempts to measure temperatures at various depths go back to the 1960s. But, what does this Weddell seal have to do with this and what is it wearing on its head? Weddell Seal West Antarctic Peninsula (photo: Dan Costa - NMFS 87-1851-03) To answer these questions we have to backtrack a bit and look at the recent history of data collection used to find out what is happening in the […]
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1:31 AM | Barry Brill and Anonymous: U R A Fraud
People send me things. Brightening my email inbox last week was a pithy little email, headed U r a fraud. It didn’t have much to say. Here it is, in its entirety, exactly as it appeared: Please take down your posts about barry brill or Anonymous may have to Make some “unauthorized” changes to your […]

July 21, 2014

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5:34 AM | Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles
Predicting global surface temperature changes in the short-term is a challenge for climate models. Temperature changes over periods of a decade or two can be dominated by influences from ocean cycles like El Niño and La Niña. During El Niño phases, the oceans absorb less heat, leaving more to warm the atmosphere, and the opposite is true during a La Niña. We can't yet predict ahead of time how these cycles will change. The good news is that it doesn't matter from a […]

July 20, 2014

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11:53 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #29
SkS Highlights Dana's Rupert Murdoch doesn't understand climate change basics, and that's a problem understandably generated the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves? by John Abraham attracted the second highest number of comments. Both articles are very topical and informative.   El Niño Watch A Super-Strong El Niño Is Now Off the Table. Here’s What That […]

July 19, 2014

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11:10 AM | CO2 emissions drive heatwaves on despite warming ‘hiatus’
Direct effects from greenhouse gases are playing a significant role in making hot Northern Hemisphere summers more common even as average temperature increases slow down, find Youichi Kamae from the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan and his colleagues.

Kamae, Y., Shiogama, H., Watanabe, M. & Kimoto, M. (2014). Attributing the increase in Northern Hemisphere hot summers since the late 20th century, Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061062

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7:54 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #29
America's oil consumption is rising, not falling, outpacing China's Biodiversity hotspots get hotter (and that’s not good) Carbon price repeal a victory for fossil fuels, ideologues and climate science denial Climate scientists see 'very rapid declines' in annual NOAA report Eight ways climate change is making the world more dangerous Environmentalists denounce repeal of Australia’s carbon tax Germany sets example, pledges $1 billion to U.N. climate fund NY Times’ climate […]

July 18, 2014

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11:29 PM | Global Warming, Climate Change
It seems to me that Roger Pielke Jr. is now persona non grata at Nate Silver’s 538 blog. Silver, whose statistics-based predictions of the last presidential election were stunningly accurate, hoped to capitalize on his celebrity by starting a blog … Continue reading →
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8:42 AM | Podcasting together
There’s a whole wave of new and exciting ways to communicate our science. There are blogs, video abstracts, animations, podcasts and a whole lot more. With all these options, we might get overwhelmed. We might get so overwhelmed that we just leave all these things up to the experts. What we might not realize is […]
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8:34 AM | Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet
This article is a reprint of a news release posted by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on July 17, 2014. Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed; Southern Hemisphere warmth and Super Typhoon Haiyan among year’s most notable events In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed […]

July 17, 2014

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5:30 AM | Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?
As I sit here in a northern part of the United States (Minnesota), a rare summer arctic blast barrels down from Canada on what otherwise is one of the warmest days of the year. Global warming? I could use some global warming today, people are saying. Not only is this a teachable moment, but it coincides with a major new study on climate connections. First, let’s see the current jet stream. It is wildly undulating, first swinging up into northern Canada before curving back and plunging […]
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1:07 AM | Labour’s dodgy drilling policy avoids climate reality
In his interview on TV3’s The Nation last weekend David Shearer declared a Labour Party policy on oil and gas drilling which, like the Government’s, fails to confront the reality of climate change. Drilling will continue. The approval processes will be improved, the regulations will be tight, the money gained will be used well, but […]
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12:57 AM | Linear is Beautiful: a simple relationship provides guidance for optimal battery design
It isn’t often that simple relationships are found for complex problems in physics, but scientists pay attention when they are discovered.  This is especially true in the field of materials design, in which researchers try to create materials with specific … Continue reading →

Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Yakobson, B. & Wood, B. (2014). Assessing Carbon-Based Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Universal Description of Charge-Transfer Binding, Physical Review Letters, 113 (2) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.028304

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July 16, 2014

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2:54 PM | Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes
This article is a reprint of a press release posted by the World Meterological Organization on July 11, 2014. Better disaster data enables better decisions Weather, climate and water-related disasters are on the rise worldwide, causing loss of life and setting back economic and social development by years, if not decades. From 1970 to 2012, 8 835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US$ 2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme […]
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10:13 AM | Urban Metabolism
7.2 billion people live on this planet. All these people need to eat. Eating has its consequences, namely excrement in the form of feces and urine. The problem is, that people leave their excrement behind as waste products. This amounts to about 6 million kg of feces and 14 billion liters of urine each day! […]
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12:22 AM | TDB Today: The weather’s getting worse, and we did it
At The Daily Blog today I take a look at the latest report from the World Meteorological Organisation — The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes 1970-2012 (pdf) — which demonstrates that major climate and weather disasters have increased fivefold since the 1970s. The implications are clear enough: damage […]
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12:00 AM | Betting on climate change will not get you money
By Tanja Over the course of the past few weeks I have been reading quite a lot about climate all over the news. El Nino and La Nina events have been mentioned on a few occasions. I was always fascinated … Continue reading →

July 15, 2014

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4:12 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #28
SkS Highlights Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, a reprint of a UN press release, generated the most commets of the articles posted on SkS during the past week - illustrating once again that SkS readers and team members have deep and abiding perspectives about what should be done in order to prevent dangerous climate change The interim report supports the UN Climate Summit scheduled for Sep 23, 2014. The full DDPP report […]

July 14, 2014

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10:17 PM | Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent
Science journalist Gabrielle Walker’s book Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent (Bloomsbury, 2012) tells an absorbing story of the wide variety of scientific work undertaken in Antarctica and the support services that maintain it. It also attempts to capture the human fascination of the continent, not least for the author herself in her […]
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6:13 PM | Jason Box interviewed by Mill Maher
Glaciologist Jason Box was recently a guest on Bill Maher’s show. Worth watching.
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11:46 AM | Clouds, aerosol particles, and Research Flight 10 over the southeast Pacific
The familiar click of the alarm, whistling, ukulele, violin, … “Oh well in five years’ time we could be walking around the zoo…” With the lyrics from Noah and The Whale’s “5 Years Time” the alarm I’d set six hours ago sounds off, and I wake up in an unfamiliar hotel in Arica, Chile. It’s […]
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5:40 AM | Rupert Murdoch doesn't understand climate change basics, and that's a problem
Rupert Murdoch has a vast media empire. In the UK, his News Corp assets include The Times and The Sun. In the USA, he has Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal. In Australia, he's got The Australian and a multitude of local newspapers. Many of Murdoch's news outlets are also among the worst when it comes to getting climate science wrong and disseminating climate myths and misinformation. Inaccurate media coverage is in turn the primary reason why the public is so misinformed […]
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12:51 AM | Photosynthesis in action: new technique resolves atomic changes in undamaged photosystems
All life on Earth begins and ends with photosynthesis, the super-efficient method adopted by plants to convert light energy into its more useful sugar form, with oxygen as the serendipitous byproduct (for us, anyway).  But for so ubiquitous a phenomenon, we … Continue reading →

Kupitz, C., Basu, S., Grotjohann, I., Fromme, R., Zatsepin, N., Rendek, K., Hunter, M., Shoeman, R., White, T., Wang, D. & James, D. (2014). Serial time-resolved crystallography of photosystem II using a femtosecond X-ray laser, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13453

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July 12, 2014

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10:50 AM | Could climate’s crop impact catch us with our plants down?
Global warming has sharply increased the odds of serious problems because of declining harvests, find David Lobell from and Claudia Tebaldi from NCAR, and though that situation remains fairly unlikely, they advise countries to prepare for it.

Lobell, D. & Tebaldi, C. (2014). Getting caught with our plants down: the risks of a global crop yield slowdown from climate trends in the next two decades, Environmental Research Letters, 9 (7) 74003. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/7/074003

Mora, C., Frazier, A., Longman, R., Dacks, R., Walton, M., Tong, E., Sanchez, J., Kaiser, L., Stender, Y., Anderson, J. & Ambrosino, C. (2013). The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability, Nature, 502 (7470) 183-187. DOI: 10.1038/nature12540

Hawkins, E., Anderson, B., Diffenbaugh, N., Mahlstein, I., Betts, R., Hegerl, G., Joshi, M., Knutti, R., McNeall, D., Solomon, S. & Sutton, R. (2014). Uncertainties in the timing of unprecedented climates, Nature, 511 (7507) DOI: 10.1038/nature13523

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July 11, 2014

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9:04 PM | Time and Tide
A new paper (Foster and Brown 2014, Time and Tide: Analysis of Sea Level Time Series, Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2224-3) looks at how some authors have analyzed sea level data, and how they’ve gone wrong. There has been a spate of … Continue reading →
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8:46 AM | Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
This article is a reprint of a press release posted by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network on July 8, 2014. STUDY CHARTS PATH TO LOW CARBON IN MAJOR EMITTING COUNTRIES First Global Cooperative Effort Aims to Support UN Climate Talks A report for the United Nations released today shows how the major emitting countries can cut their carbon emissions by mid-century in order to prevent dangerous climate change. The report, produced cooperatively by leading research institutes […]

July 10, 2014

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1:06 PM | The power of pie-charts to communicate consensus
Yale University and George Mason University are conducting some of the pioneering research into the efficacy of consensus messaging. Their latest study in Climatic Change tested the effect of three different ways to communicate the scientific consensus: a simple text message, a pie-chart and metaphors (e.g., likening the 97% consensus on climate change to a 97% consensus among doctors). They found that the most effective messages in increasing awareness of consensus were the simple text […]
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8:49 AM | Rossby waves and surface weather extremes
A new study by Screen and Simmonds demonstrates the statistical connection between high-amplitude planetary waves in the atmosphere and extreme weather events on the ground. Guest post by Dim Coumou There has been an ongoing debate, both in and outside the scientific community, whether rapid climate change in the Arctic might affect circulation patterns in […]
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2:43 AM | Arctic ground squirrel chronobiology; Wake up, guys, my biological clock says it’s…spring?
Biology major Brady Salli spends seven days a week in the vivarium making sure UAA’s arctic ground squirrels are fed, watered and, for those that are hibernating, tucked snugly into clean cotton batting. The kicker? He has to maintain a random schedule so the animals don’t “cheat” off of him. Professor Loren Buck, Department of Biological Sciences, is Brady’s mentor and boss. He is leading a team of researchers in a four-year National Science Foundation (NSF) […]

July 09, 2014

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6:00 PM | Generation Zero issues Big Ask to leaders
This guest post is by Paul Young of Generation Zero. Last Thursday Generation Zero released our new report, The Big Ask. This was the follow-up to our earlier report A Challenge to Our Leaders, released in May. While we’re calling it the Big Ask, it shouldn’t actually be a big deal. All we’re really asking for […]
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