September 26, 2014

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

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 […]
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

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 […]
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 […]
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 →
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

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

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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 →
1:54 PM | The story of methane in our climate, in five pie charts
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 […]
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 […]
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

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 →
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,” […]
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

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 […]
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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