February 26, 2015

7:00 PM | Climate Oscillations and the Global Warming Faux Pause
No, climate change is not experiencing a hiatus. No, there is not currently a “pause” in global warming. Despite widespread such claims in contrarian circles, human-caused warming of the globe proceeds unabated. Indeed, the most recent year (2014) was likely the warmest year on record. It is true that Earth’s surface warmed a bit less […]
7:41 AM | My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships
Or so says Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat in the colonies. In which case, he’s an idiot1. He’s a politicain. He should be used to, he should expect, daily to be talked to, to be lobbied, by people with strong political motivations, some or many of which will be hidden from him. He…

February 25, 2015

11:28 PM | Blink and its gone – spectacular time-lapse of ice retreat at Fox Glacier
This spectacular time-lapse video1 captures the dramatic retreat of the Fox Glacier in Westland over the last year — 300 metres between January 2015 and January this year. As the ice retreats, the hillside becomes unstable and collapses down into the valley. To get a sense of the scale, you can see people watching from […]
8:46 PM | Exit Pachi, pursued by no-one
We interrupt your regular diet of Willie Soon for a brief break (the S+B controversy, 2003 is seeing active work). IPCC agrees on Acting Chair after R.K. Pachauri steps down said the IPCC press on the 25th. That PR is not merely coy but completely silent as to the reasons why he stepped down; coy…
2:33 PM | Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate Kick-Off
This week marks the launch of the new Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate, a cross-disciplinary collaboration between a variety of centers, research groups and individuals from across Columbia University. The Initiative, led by Adam Sobel, kicked off on Monday evening with a World Leaders Forum panel event in Low Library. Panelists discussed a wide range of science and policy topics related to extreme weather, showing the interdisciplinary nature of the new Initiative.

February 24, 2015

9:29 PM | rigorously eschewing the unfortunate ad hominem arguments that too often characterize public “debate” about human-caused climate change
My title comes from a lying “letter of recommendation” for Soon, which says in part: …Willie is scrupulous in attending to the basic scientific veracity of everything that he presents in public about scientific matters. He is careful not only in that regard, but also in the attention he pays to drawing reasonable and balanced…
1:12 PM | The Soon fallacy
As many will have read, there were a number of press reports (NYT, Guardian, InsideClimate) about the non-disclosure of Willie Soon’s corporate funding (from Southern Company (an energy utility), Koch Industries, etc.) when publishing results in journals that require such disclosures. There are certainly some interesting questions to be asked (by the OIG!) about adherence […]
7:33 AM | I’m a terrorist
Or at least, that follows clearly from the latest nonsense from Wattie-land. Greenpeace enlists Justin Gillis &John Schwartz of the NY Times in Journalistic Terrorist Attack on Willie Soon – Miss Target, Hit Smithsonian Instead. If the NYT is “terrorist” then so am I. Of course, the Smithsonian is investigating Soon, so perhaps they’re terrorists…

February 23, 2015

7:24 PM | There is no land on an aqua-planet
Something of a classic, from Richard Telford. He’s discussing Soon’s Heartland presentation. Here’s a screenshot: Soon is trying to point out the importance of the value of the solar insolation, which he believes needs to be heavily fiddled to make the GCMs come out right. To prove this, he’s chosen a paper about an aquaplanet…
7:19 PM | Webcast Tonight: Focus on Extreme Weather
The Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate brings together experts across the university to integrate research into the physical science of these events with research on their impacts on human society and engineering solutions. The initiative kicks off this evening with a panel discussion, “Preparing for Extreme Weather: Global Lessons from Sandy,” from 6-7:30 p.m. Watch the live webcast.

February 22, 2015

8:49 AM | The funding entities, regardless of their affiliation, have no influence on the research
Or so says Christine Pulliam, a spokeswoman for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. And yet we discover that Soon’s research was (partially) funded by Southern Company Services, with whom Soon had and agreement, signed by Smithsonian’s William J. Ford, contract and grant specialist; and Bryan Baldwin, Southern’s manager of environmental assessment.: As further consideration to…

February 21, 2015

9:31 PM | I would never be motivated by money for anything
This astonishing claim is apparently made by Willie Soon, according to the NYT. The claim is implausible, to say the least. As is much of his GW related research. I’m not alone in that opinion, oddly enough. Gavin A. Schmidt, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, a NASA division that studies…

February 19, 2015

10:34 PM | ESA Policy News February 19: President’s FY 2016 budget request, NRC examines geoengineering, ESA scientists talk climate on the Hill
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
3:29 PM | The mystery of the offset chronologies: Tree rings and the volcanic record of the 1st millennium
Guest commentary by Jonny McAneney Volcanism can have an important impact on climate. When a large volcano erupts it can inject vast amounts of dust and sulphur compounds into the stratosphere, where they alter the radiation balance. While the suspended dust can temporarily block sunlight, the dominant effect in volcanic forcing is the sulphur, which […]

February 18, 2015

2:22 PM | Shade the planet? The dangers are in the details
Not all geoengineering scenarios are created equal.

February 17, 2015

9:23 PM | Stories from the history of science: the discovery of the stratosphere
There are many others, of course. RMG has one just now on the Chandler wobble; there’s Alfred Russel Wallace and the flat-earthers and the history of the word Scientist itself. All of these have “mottoes”, if you like; but I distrust them. There’s a sci-fi novel from ages back, the only bit of which I…
6:54 PM | Report Forecasts Worsening Climate Hazards for New York Region
A new report released by the city today gives a worrisome picture of climate-related problems the New York metropolitan region will likely face this century. Temperatures are projected to rise, extreme precipitation and heat waves will be more frequent, and sea level could reach 6 feet under the worst-case scenario. The New York metropolitan region has been preparing to meet these challenges.

February 16, 2015

9:09 PM | Boron isotope evidence for oceanic carbon dioxide leakage during the last deglaciation. And…
Boron isotope evidence for oceanic carbon dioxide leakage during the last deglaciation by M. A. Martínez-Botí, G. Marino, G. L. Foster, P. Ziveri, M. J. Henehan, J. W. B. Rae, P. G. Mortyn & D. Vance. Nature 518, 219–222 (12 February 2015) doi:10.1038/nature14155. As far as I can tell, no-one has covered this yet (well,…

February 14, 2015

10:24 PM | The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, by C. S. Lewis
I don’t have much science to talk about; it looks like I may have finally cured myself of writing about the stupidities of the denialists and arguing with idiots. So, instead: Way back in November last year I went to a talk by Hulme on “In what ways is religious belief relevant for understanding climate…

February 12, 2015

7:59 PM | U.S. Central Plains and Southwest will likely face apocalyptic drought
In the recent film Interstellar, a mysterious phenomenon known as "the blight" is wiping out agriculture around the world until only corn—for some reason—survives. Humanity is on the brink of starvation. While the blight may be science fiction, global warming is not, and a new study finds that future warming could decimate the western U.S. over the next century.

February 11, 2015

7:24 PM | Noise on the Telegraph
I was surprised by the shrill headlines from a British newspaper with the old fashioned name the Telegraph: “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever”. So what is this all about? The story makes serious allegations, however Victor Venema explains why the Telegraph got it wrong in Variable Variability, and makes […]
1:00 AM | How Earth’s orbit shapes climate and the seafloor
A surprising connection between sea level and volcanism at the bottom of the ocean.

February 07, 2015

2:49 PM | Unforced Variations: Feb 2015
This month’s open thread.

February 05, 2015

11:15 PM | Face to face
From a pub conversation with Old Man Roscoe: so often, electronic communication snarls you up. Its so easy for small disagreements to blow up; for genuine disagreements to get entrenched; to lose any fellow-feeling for the people, or fleeting electronic blobs, that you’re “conversing” with. I see this at work, time and again: an email…

February 04, 2015

10:57 PM | Ruderhofspitze
September the 10th. After yesterday (was it really only yesterday? I am slow at writing this down) when I failed and we then went across to the Franz Senn I have another chance at the Ruderhofspitze. My exact route is somewhat unplanned – clearly I’m going upvalley, up the Alpeinerferner and then turning E after…

February 02, 2015

4:27 PM | Climate Change: Heatwaves and Poverty in Pakistan
In the summer of 2010, over 20 million people were affected by the summer floods in Pakistan. Millions lost access to shelter and clean water, and became dependent on aid in the form of food, drinking water, tents, clothes and medical supplies in order to survive this humanitarian disaster. It is estimated that at least $1.5 billion to $2 billion were provided as aid by governments, NGOs, charity organizations and private individuals from all around the world, and helped contain the […]

Mueller V, Gray C & Kosec K (2014). Heat Stress Increases Long-term Human Migration in Rural Pakistan., Nature Climate Change, 4 182-185. PMID:


January 31, 2015

8:48 PM | Entries for the Austrian Alpine Club (UK) photo competition
The Austrian Alpine Club (Sektion Brittania) runs an annual photo competition. I’ve finally got round to entering some of my summer pix; see here. Here’s my favourite that I didn’t enter; this was part of Stubai: Wilder Freiger by the Lubeckerweg.

January 28, 2015

10:21 PM | ESA Policy News January 28: State of the Union, Senate votes on climate science, NMFS releases climate strategy
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]

January 27, 2015

9:49 PM | Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences
James Lawrence Powell is a former geology professor, college president and museum director. He is currently the executive director of the US National Physical Science Consortium. He is also an excellent communicator of science for the general reader. I reviewed two of his climate change-related books back in 2011 here and here. His latest book, Four […]
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