July 14, 2014

6:13 PM | Jason Box interviewed by Mill Maher
Glaciologist Jason Box was recently a guest on Bill Maher’s show. Worth watching.
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 […]
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 […]
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


July 12, 2014

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


July 11, 2014

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 →
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

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 […]
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 […]
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

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 […]
6:21 AM | Barriers to adaptation: Really?
What does adaptation to climate change entail, and what stands in the way of successful adaptation? Wageningen University researcher Robbert Biesbroek describes recent research on barriers to adaptation, which he conducted in collaboration with IIASA. Continue reading →
12:00 AM | Looking up to find what’s beneath our feet
By Eleanor Everyone loves a good asteroid impact… although preferably not on the Earth today anywhere near human civilisation. You’ve heard it all before – big explosion (Figure 1), shock waves, nuclear winter, mass extinctions, dying dinosaurs. Death and destruction, … Continue reading →

July 08, 2014

1:12 PM | Getting a Comment published in Nature
After our recent Brief Communication Arising (BCA) was published in Nature on Mora et al., several people have asked about the process involved in getting such a comment published. Nature apparently only publish a small fraction of BCAs received and … Continue reading →
12:16 PM | Little Whyte Bull
Late last week, New Zealand’s far right ACT party was pleased to let the media know that its leader, Jamie Whyte, had won the “prestigious Institute of Economic Affairs’ Seldon1 Award” — an award given to IEA fellows by the IEA for work published by the IEA. Whyte is an IEA fellow, which may (or […]
5:06 AM | New Jersey science education standards may be blocked by climate contrarians
In the face of America’s slumping education performance in Science (currently ranked 23rd in the world), US educators have been trying to adopt new science education standards. But the state-by-state adoption of the science standards has been slow, held up by anti-science sentiments in state legislatures that do not agree with teaching evolution or climate change. In Wyoming the climate contrarians succeeded in blocking the teaching of accepted science. Now New Jersey is the latest […]
3:44 AM | Skinner for Congress (MI-11)
Running for Congress — for the right reason At last. There’s a candidate for congress from Michigan’s 11th district who is seeking office on a platform to do something about climate change We talk about solutions. We complain about the … Continue reading →
1:25 AM | Understanding adjustments to temperature data
by Zeke HausfatherThere has been much discussion of temperature adjustment of late in both climate blogs and in the media, but not much background on what specific adjustments are being made, why they are being made, and what effects they have. Adjustments have a big effect on temperature trends in the U.S., and a modest effect on global land trends. The large contribution of adjustments to century-scale U.S. temperature trends lends itself to an unfortunate narrative that “government […]

July 07, 2014

6:31 PM | What causes an ice age? The many scales of climate change, part 2: Orbital cycles
This is the second of a multi-part series on climate change at different timescales. The first part dealt with drivers on tectonic scales — millions of years. This part deals with the primary drivers of climate change from hundreds of thousands to thousands of years. Future posts will include millennial […]
3:08 AM | Fracklahoma
A new study led by a researcher at Cornell University confirms what we’ve known for some time now: that the massive wastewater injection associated with “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) has greatly increased earthquake activity. In this case, the area of study … Continue reading →

July 06, 2014

5:03 PM | Emperors in danger: penguin populations predicted to decline due to climate change and sea ice loss
If pop culture is any indication, we hold a special place in our heart for penguins compared to the many other denizens of the animal kingdom. Maybe it is something about the close-knit familial communities that have been portrayed in documentaries … Continue reading →

Jenouvrier, S., Holland, M., Stroeve, J., Serreze, M., Barbraud, C., Weimerskirch, H. & Caswell, H. (2014). Projected continent-wide declines of the emperor penguin under climate change, Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2280

2:58 PM | Tofu and Solar Cells: An unlikely pairing
A great story at another blog, Lunatic Laboratories, about using magnesium chloride (the stuff found in tofu and bath salts!) to coat solar cells for a much reduced cost!  Check it out: Tofu and Solar Cells: An unlikely pairing.
2:05 PM | Release of the International Surface Temperature Initiative’s (ISTI’s) Global Land Surface Databank, an expanded set of fundamental surface temperature records
Guest post by Jared Rennie, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina on behalf of the databank working group of the International Surface Temperature Initiative In the 21st Century, when multi-billion dollar decisions are being made to mitigate and adapt to climate change, society rightly expects openness and transparency in climate science to enable […]
10:49 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #27
SkS Highlights Mercury Rising: 2014 Sees Warmest May Ever Recorded Following on From 2nd Warmest April by Rob Painting attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Drawing the second highest number of comments was Today’s Solar Power ‘Revolution’: Powerful Insights from Energy Experts, re-posted from Yale Climate Connections by greenman3610.   El Niño Watch Great Barrier Reef's coral faces ravaging by […]

July 05, 2014

2:39 PM | Solutions
The purpose of this post is to stimulate more discussion about this post, and other aspects of a successful solution. I’ll contribute a few comments of my own, but I don’t have real expertise in this issue. It’s true that … Continue reading →
11:12 AM | Who can afford to hold back rising seas?
Though using dikes to protect the world from rising sea levels will generally make economic sense, explains Jochen Hinkel from the Global Climate Forum, poor countries may not have the resources to do so.

Hinkel, J., Lincke, D., Vafeidis, A., Perrette, M., Nicholls, R., Tol, R., Marzeion, B., Fettweis, X., Ionescu, C. & Levermann, A. & (2014). Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (9) 3292-3297. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222469111


July 04, 2014

7:30 AM | More Mora emergence issues
A previous post discussed the recent Comment on Mora et al., which considered mainly methodological & statistical errors. However, the erroneous assumptions regarding uncertainty in the Mora et al. study have further implications for their results on population and income. … Continue reading →

July 03, 2014

7:30 AM | On Mora et al.’s Reply
Yesterday saw the publication of our Comment on Mora et al., along with Mora et al.’s Reply and an associated ‘News & Views’ piece. Although the Editors deserve credit for commissioning a News & Views piece on this exchange – … Continue reading →
5:43 AM | What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate?
“Don’t shoot the messenger,” so the saying goes. But what if that message warns we might want to rethink that whole fossil fuel burning thing pretty quick because it could seriously alter civilization and the natural world for centuries to come, and not in a good way? Time to get the bullets out and start firing, obviously. Climate scientists have been trying to dodge, catch or deflect those bullets for decades. They are now all too used to being shot at, kicked and maligned […]
12:54 AM | The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From The Future
Science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, co-authors of the acclaimed Merchants of Doubt, have joined forces again to produce a striking short fictional work The Collapse Of Western Civilization: A view From The Future. It purports to be an essay written by a Chinese historian three hundred years after the collapse of western civilisation […]
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