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Climate Science History - interactive style

Posted on 4 November 2013 by Paul D

After a lot of work and effort by a number of Skeptical Science contributors, we are proud to announce a new 'multimedia' interactive application that allows you to explore the history of climate science in a different way.

Building on John Mason's excellent History of Climate Science article, the new Interactive Timeline presents the information in bite size chunks as events on a sideways scrolling timeline. If you see something that interests you, a more detailed description is just a click away.

I hope that this way of presenting the information will broaden the audience and it should complement John's article which took a different approach.

In the process of assembling the content we have added events and scientists that were not mentioned in John's article, we also added some events that are of interest from a wider perspective.

The idea behind the project is to show just how long scientists have been studying the climate and related fields of science. By scrolling through the timeline you can get a good overview of the subject and you only have to dip into the detail if you feel like it.

A couple of Skeptical Science contributors have been involved with the project. John Garrett produced all the illustrations, Bärbel Winkler helped with getting the texts up to scratch, John Mason provided some of the initial texts and inspiratrion, John Cook helped getting clearance for a few of the photos and I did the programming and most of the text editing (I became the default text editor and author).

You can try the timeline below or it is also available on the dedicated resources page.

Instructions

Move Timeline - simply move the mouse cursor, or if you have a touch screen your finger, over the grey timeline bar at the bottom of the app. Moving the cursor to the right will take you up the through the years, moving to the left side will take you down through the years.

View Event Details - simply click on an event or touch it once, to open a pop up window displaying the details of the year, event and people. Some popups have illustrations or photographs as well as text.

Embedding - If you would like the application to appear on your blog web page or your web site, copy and paste the following html into the page. Note it is advisable that the height and width are not altered:

<iframe style="overflow: hidden; border: none; padding: 0;" src="http://www.skepticalscience.com/cshistory_embedded.php" width="555" height="710"></iframe>

 

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Comments

Comments 1 to 22:

  1. Great resource. SkS again providing new great tools for scientific litteracy. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Lovely!

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  3. Note: you might find the timeline doesn't move left or right if your browser has its zoom feature set greater or lesser than the normal default setting. In Firefox you can use the zoom reset option, but you might also have to restart the browser.

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  4. Very cool!  But where is Arrhenius?

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  5. Oh never mind there he is - thought he was early 19th century for some reason.  

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  6. jdixon1980

    Sounds like the timeline is doing what it was designed to do!

    I think people often get centuries wrong because the 1800s are the 19th century and the 1900s are the 20th and so on. It took me a long time to get my head around that.

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  7. Dare we open history's scariest can of worms: human evolution, purposeful fire, real horsepower, big industry and big population layed out for endless discussion by liberal and libertarian alike? Could be fun if well managed. Go for it Paul and then write a book..

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  8. nrgmahtahs,

    I would suggest that a better basis for the discussion, and a book, would be a presentation of all the unsustainable aspects of "industrialization and mass consumption".

    The last 6 decades or so of human history (the life's work of many), will be seen as a damaging moment in the history of humanity, a moment of stupendously damaging unsustainable excess by the most fortunate, and those desperately trying to be more like those most fortunate.

    Hopefully, common sense, civility and decency will prevail. And sites like this are very helpful. They provide ways to help people better understand what is going on regarding one of the many important issues highlighting the unsustainbilty of the current global economy.

    We are (need to be) on the brink of a "new age of enlightenment". The current popular attitudes and pursuits of pleasure and profit are not leading to a sustainable better future for all life on this one planet we have the potential to enjoy for a few billion years. A robust diversity of life, with all humans living sustainably as part of it, is the only sustainable future on this planet, and the only economy that can sustainably grow.

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  9. Very well done.  Thanks for all the hard work.

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  10. @ One Planet Only Forever.  

    Right on; Agreed. The last 6 decades have seen the increasingly "effective" development of "anti-life" mechanisms, but the "seeds" were (IMHO)  planted during the Renaissance, when the scientific deductive reasoning "skillset" was added to the "tools" of human development, along with an attitude towards "nature" that it was separate, and needed to have it's secrets ripped out by whatever means necessary.

     

    I think this latter pont was explicitly state by Thomas Bacon in some diatribe or another. 

    Speculatively, in regard to your expression of the need for a "new age of enlightenment", I agree as well.   There is at least a distant cause for hope that this may occur, since it rquires a "step back" into seeing the Creation as Holy (caps provided for clarity), combined with an appreciation that "this is all we got", and (most significantly)  We are Part of It.  Which your user name infers. 

     

    The fact that there are "early adopters" beginniing to express the same thing, constitutes a means for hope.

     

    Regards..

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  11. Tnx for this excellent "table - toy" - I got some of the presented issues by the excellent book of Archer/Pierrehumbert "The Warming Papers" ...

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  12. Great stuff, I managed it to put this into my homepage http://www.ibk-consult.de/knowhow and it works just beautifully !!

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  13. sorry it should be: the "Astronomy" section under "knowhow" ...

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  14. What about the Vostok Core which shows warming and cooling over many years? 

    And the fact that it is predicted there will be another Ice Age?

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  15. For 12,000 years the earth has been warming, but another Ice Age is apparently coming. 

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  16. Over the last 1 million years, there was been 10 Ice Ages - one every 100,000 years.

     

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  17. Lei - Please see The upcoming ice age has been postponed indefinitely. It looks like the next glacial cycle (at the very least) will be skipped due to our emissions. 

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  18. Lei,

    It is good that you have come here to try to learn more.  In the 1970's there was extensive scientific discussion of the ice core data showing Ice ages every 100,000 years.  The consensus (reached over 30 years ago) is that AGW has delayed the upcoming ice age at least 100,000 years and perhaps for much longer.  The natural peak of the current interglacial was about 5,000 years ago.  It then cooled until about 1900.  For the past 100 years it has been warming faster than any other known period in the paleogeological record (see Mann's hocky stick for details of current warming).  This warming is completely caused by humans and is the topic we discuss here on Skeptical Science.  It is now warmer than at any time previously in the current interglacial.

    If you have question about the problems likely to be caused by this un-natural warming, find a thread here and let her rip!  You are welcome to ask how CO2 pollution has stopped ice ages if you wish.

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  19. The iceage cycle is the defining characteristic of the Pleistocene. However, we have put CO2 at levels not seen since the pliocene when we didnt have ice ages, and yet the same orbital drivers would have been present then.

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  20. Oh, and lets have some perspective on the relative drivers. The milankovitch forcing that drives ice age is due to change in forcing that is about -0.25W/m2 per hundred years at 65N. Globally, its maybe a tenth of that. By comparison, anthropogenic GHG is about 2.29W/m2 (from the latest AR5) over last 150 years on a GLOBAL scale. Given that 0.25 on one point of the planet is very much smaller than 2.29 averaged over entire globe, I think we stop worrying about ice ages.

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  21. Hi Lei@14.

    The timeline covers over 200 years of history and the Vostok Core was extracted in the 1990s. As you can see in the project, space is constrained and when designing anything like this, information has to be edited in order to fit in with a design.

    I have had many discussions with Skeptical Science contributers about what should and shouldn't be included, the reality is we all had different projects in our heads and this one is I guess the result of me leading it! If someone else had led it, the result would have been different.

    I take your point though. We have the Argo project in the timeline which is a project that provides data, so why not mention Vostok?

    It's probably one for the to do list!

    I'll point out that the project data is not 'static'. The data can be added to and in theory that is my intention. For example we did consider including the IPCC AR5 report, but I thought that because it is a 'history' project, AR5 isn't really history yet. It's to soon to include it and it can be added later

    The software is designed to automatically configure itself to new data, so that in the future it can be extended to as many years as is needed.

     

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  22. kampmannpein@11

    Interesting web site. Nice to see you embeded it successfully.

     

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