George Monbiot recounts the Climategate affair with wit, verve and gusto; and then proceeds to suggest a sharp technique for making a fightback against public lying in the Media. Useful if you happen to be trapped in a television studio with a billion watts of stage lighting shining menacingly right down on you. It’s time that every Climate Change Scientist had their own personal Public Relations manager; because somehow the academic community have to keep the messaging Media-savvy. Seen enough geeks turn into dorks in the Press. Need to see a change.
Two articles in the first issue of Nature Geoscience in 2010 should help you sit up and take notice that Climate Science has advanced far beyond public acceptance; and that perhaps it is time for the Media to sharpen up their reporting.
The first is one I have already reported on today :-
“Nature Geoscience 3, 60–64 (1 January 2010) : doi:10.1038/ngeo706 : Earth system sensitivity inferred from Pliocene modelling and data : Daniel J. Lunt , Alan M. Haywood , Gavin A. Schmidt , Ulrich Salzmann , Paul J. Valdes & Harry J. Dowsett : Abstract : Quantifying the equilibrium response of global temperatures to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is one of the cornerstones of climate research. Components of the Earth’s climate system that vary over long timescales, such as ice sheets and vegetation, could have an important effect on this temperature sensitivity, but have often been neglected. Here we use a coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model to simulate the climate of the mid-Pliocene warm period (about three million years ago), and analyse the forcings and feedbacks that contributed to the relatively warm temperatures. Furthermore, we compare our simulation with proxy records of mid-Pliocene sea surface temperature. Taking these lines of evidence together, we estimate that the response of the Earth system to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is 30 – 50 % greater than the response based on those fast-adjusting components of the climate system that are used traditionally to estimate climate sensitivity. We conclude that targets for the long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations aimed at preventing a dangerous human interference with the climate system should take into account this higher sensitivity of the Earth system.”
The second is an analysis of how little extra atmospheric Carbon Dioxide we need to make a significant change to the planetary climate :-
“Nature Geoscience 3, 6–7 (1 January 2010) : doi:10.1038/ngeo736 : Palaeoclimate: Global warmth with little extra CO2 : Birgit Schneider & Ralph Schneider : Abstract : In the Early Pliocene, three to five million years ago, global temperatures were about 3 – 4 degrees C warmer than today in the low latitudes, and up to 10 degrees C warmer nearer the poles. Climate simulations and reconstructions of this relatively recent period (geologically speaking) may help constrain realistic magnitudes of future warming.”
We all know by now about the melting ice and the droughts and the changes in rainfall.
But how do all of these things affect plant life ? And how do those changes feed back into further Climate Change ?
Part of the answer has come from Leeds and Bristol Universities in the last month :-
The Pliocene, the era in Earth History formerly known as the Pleiocene, is being treated as a potential “analogue” for our Globally Warmed world.
Several strands of Climate Change Science research have been undertaken in recent months, and they are all coming up with dismal results.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the latest to unleash data on us :-
“Arctic Could Face Warmer and Ice-Free Conditions : There is increased evidence that the Arctic could face seasonally ice-free conditions and much warmer temperatures in the future. Scientists documented evidence that the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas were too warm to support summer sea ice during the mid-Pliocene warm period (3.3 to 3 million years ago). This period is characterized by warm temperatures similar to those projected for the end of this century, and is used as an analog to understand future conditions…“In looking back 3 million years, we see a very different pattern of heat distribution than today with much warmer waters in the high latitudes,” said USGS scientist Marci Robinson. “The lack of summer sea ice during the mid-Pliocene suggests that the record-setting melting of Arctic sea ice over the past few years could be an early warning of more significant changes to come.”…”
Feeling strangely perturbed ? That would be your internal paradigms spinning.
Considering the serious risk that Global Warming poses, I trust that Professor Mark Pagani will forgive my cut and paste from his recent research paper :-
“High Earth-system climate sensitivity determined from Pliocene carbon dioxide concentrations”
Mark Pagani et al. 2009
“Data and modelling for the middle Pliocene (approximately 3 – 3.3 [Million years ago] Myr) indicate that the global mean temperature was 2.4 – 2.9 degrees C warmer than preindustrial conditions, and approximately 4 degrees C warmer during the early Pliocene (approximately 4 – 4.2 Myr). If changes in carbon dioxide and associated feedbacks were the primary agents forcing climate over these timescales, and estimates of global temperatures are correct, then our results imply a very high Earth-system climate sensitivity for the middle (3.3 Myr) to early (4.2 Myr) Pliocene ranging between 7.1 plus or minus 1.0 degrees C and 8.7 plus or minus 1.3 degrees C per CO2 doubling, and 9.6 plus or minus 1.4 degrees C per CO2 doubling, respectively. If only the minimum estimates are considered, Earth-system sensitivity is still substantially higher than the range of probable ‘fast-feedback’ climate sensitivity often discussed, and implies that the impact of global warming acts to promote other feedbacks that substantially magnify warming over longer timescales.”
Yet another vindication for Michael Mann’s work on the legendary “Hockey Stick” comes from an analysis of global warming by decade from the World Meteorological Organisation.
Alongside this, some of the research from sea floor sediment drilling has now been published, and it should make you sit up and pay attention.
Clive James has openly admitted that he knows nothing about Climate Change :-
“In praise of scepticism”, 23 October 2009
and yet he still continues to pass judgement on the way the Science is conducted, and accepts the validity of the arguments of the Climate Change deniers :-
“Climate change – a story too often told the same way”, 11 December 2009
I ask you this : since he knows nothing about Climate Change Science, how can he possibly justify accepting the views of the Climate Change deniers ?
Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at the University of Oxford’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department is confused. “It is odd that we still don’t take climate change seriously”, he writes in The Guardian online, discussing the fact that a good proportion of the British public don’t believe in Global Warming :-
He might need to wake up to the fact that the British Press are being misled, and in turn, misleading the country.
As the last week of Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband naysaying the Climate Change deniers does not seem to have had much impact on turning around the great ship of democratically expressed scepticism on Global Warming, Ed Miliband has turned to Public Relations on telly.
Professor Mike Hulme has been the science chap the BBC nearly always call, of late, when they want to inject an alternate view into a piece on Climate Change.
“Chaotic world of climate truth” Viewpoint by Mike Hulme, 4 November 2006
The author of the book “Why We Disagree About Climate Change” has been bravely trying to reframe Climate Change, not as a problem of science, but a problem of society. To some extent, I regard his work as useful. On the other hand, I find some of his work a mind trap.
I found this vimeo video on a webpage describing a Climate Change sceptic’s attempts to get data from NASA using Freedom of Information requests :-
I must admit : even though I try to read widely, there are some things I miss. I’ve just become aware of a research paper that was published in Geophysical Research Letters in August 2009 :-
Michael Mann’s giant Hockey Stick is backed up by a lot of other reasearch, from proxies to glaciers. Everything appears to be going up :-
I’d like here to introduce you to two Mini Hockey Sticks that correlate strongly with the evidence from Michael Mann.
George Monbiot has called for the head of the Climatic Research Unit on a plate, but I don’t think Phil Jones should jump, myself :-
“Global warming rigged? Here’s the email I’d need to see : The leaked exchanges are disturbing, but it would take a conspiracy of a very different order to justify sceptics’ claims : George Monbiot, guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 November 2009 : It’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them. Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request. Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed…”
Phil Jones shouldn’t be pushed, either, in my view.
Phil Jones should be tasked with clearing up this mess, starting with rooting out and disciplining whoever made these e-mails public.
Stay in post, Phil, and get the job done !
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC : GLOBAL WARMING 101 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJAbATJCugs
Each year the Climate Camp run a wide-ranging agenda of workshops, with subjects from Climate Change Policy to how to build efficient camping “rocket” camping stoves.
Here follows the text and graphics from this year’s “Climate 101” workshop. Do follow up the sources and check when you encounter the myths and ask yourselves why they are still being propagated.