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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #3

Posted on 23 January 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights 

John Mason's Arctic methane outgassing on the E Siberian Shelf part 2 - an interview with Dr Natalia Shakhova provides the insights of one of the world's leading experts on what's happening. Dana's A Comprehensive Review of the Causes of Global Warming is another SkS original article to be reposted on many climate science friendly websites. In How do Climate Models Work?, Kate nicely explains the basic workings of climate models in a manner that can be understood by the average person as well as by climate science geeks.

Toon of the Week

Toon of the Week 2012-3

H/T to Joe Romm's Climate Progress website.

Issue of the Week

In the About section of the SkS website, John Cook has stated:

“The goal of Skeptical Science is to explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming. When you peruse the many arguments of global warming skeptics, a pattern emerges. Skeptic arguments tend to focus on narrow pieces of the puzzle while neglecting the broader picture. …This website presents the broader picture by explaining the peer reviewed scientific literature.”

From your perspective, how well does SkS communicate what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming? Does one have to be a climate science wonk in order to comprehend the majority of articles posted on SkS? Does the three-tiered rebuttal system serve a useful purpose? How could SkS better communicate information to the average person who has only a rudimentary understanding of climate science?

The Week in Review

A complete listing of the articles posted on SkS during the past week.

  • 2011 Hottest La Niña Year on Record, 11th-Hottest Overall by Dana
  • How do Climate Models Work? by Kate
  • A Comprehensive Review of the Causes of Global Warming by Dana
  • Arctic methane outgassing on the E Siberian Shelf part 2 - an interview with Dr Natalia Shakhova by John Mason
  • Lessons from the Whitehouse-Annan Wager by Dana
  • New research from last week 2/2012 by Ari Jokimäki
  • Patrick Michaels: Serial Deleter of Inconvenient Data by Dana 
  • National (US) Strategy Proposed to Respond to Climate Change’s Impacts on Fish, Wildlife, Plants by John Hartz
  • Coming Soon

    A list of articles that are in the SkS pipeline. Most of these articles, but not necessarily all, will be posted during the week.

    • Patrick Michaels Continues to Distort Hansen 1988, Part 1 (Dana)
    • New research from last week 3/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
    • Patrick Michaels Continues to Distort Hansen 1988, Part 2 (Dana)
    • The Year After McLean - A Review of 2011 Global Temperatures (Dana)
    • Greenhouse Effect Basics: Warm Earth, Cold Atmosphere (Tom Curtis)
    • Glaciers have retreated worldwide (Mark R)
    • RW Wood and the Greenhouse Effect (Eli Rabbett)

    SkS in the News

    Patrick Michaels: Serial Deleter of Inconvenient Data was re-posted and linked on a number of sites - Climate Progress, Climate Crocks, PlanetSave, Deltoid, Rabbett Run, The Climax, and the Energy Education Foundation, among others.

    John Mason's Arctic methane outgassing on the E Siberian Shelf was re-posted on Climate Progress.

    A Comprehensive Review of the Causes of Global Warming was re-posted on Climate Progress, TreeHugger, and PlanetSave.

    SkS Spotlights

    The Global Carbon Project was formed to assist the international science community to establish a common, mutually agreed knowledge base supporting policy debate and action to slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    The growing realization that anthropogenic climate change is a reality has focused the attention of the scientific community, policymakers and the general public on the rising concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and on the carbon cycle in general. Initial attempts, through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, are underway to slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These societal actions require a scientific understanding of the carbon cycle, and are placing increasing demands on the international science community to establish a common, mutually agreed knowledge base to support policy debate and action.

    The Global Carbon Project is responding to this challenge through a shared partnership between the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and Diversitas. This partnership constitutes the Earth Systems Science Partnership (ESSP).

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    Comments

    Comments 1 to 4:

    1. From your perspective, how well does SkS communicate what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming? /Does one have to be a climate science wonk in order to comprehend the majority of articles posted on SkS?

      Very well/No

      Does the three-tiered rebuttal system serve a useful purpose?

      Hmm. I like it in that usually all I need is the basic and the intermediate usually meets my wonkish needs. I have occasionally used the advanced when someone pulls the science card on me. But at that moment I am probably in trouble when they respond "yeah, but". This is probably my limitation, and not the format.

      How could SkS better communicate information to the average person who has only a rudimentary understanding of climate science?

      I think the recent focus on the multiple lines of evidence is very helpful. A few more powerful analogies between things we don't know everything about and climate change (which we also don't know everything about) - ie against the myth that we don't know everything so we can't do anything.

      It seems the basis for much of the resistance amongst skeptics is the idea that we will "trash the economy over poorly understood, convenient lies from the left". So an expansion of the "It is (much) cheaper to avoid this problem than to somehow solve it after the fact" line of articles is probably a very useful avenue to pursue. I look forward to the results from BC and California, but surely there are things to say before we get all the data from that.

      Also, the term mitigation is always one that I think could be used before or AFTER an event, so not using that term might make the material more approachable (and it might be my mental block on the word mitigation).
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    2. From your perspective, how well does SkS communicate what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming?
      SkS is my major resource for AGW info. The recent addition of the weekly summary of papers gives me the impression that I am getting access to a broad cross-section of the available literature, so from my perspective you are doing an excellent job.
      Does one have to be a climate science wonk in order to comprehend the majority of articles posted on SkS?
      Majority? No. Some are beyond my non-scientific education at times, but the comments generally clarify points that have gone over my head.
      Does the three-tiered rebuttal system serve a useful purpose?
      Definitely valuable to me. In fact, reading them in order from simplest to most technical often helps me to understand the technical ones better.
      How could SkS better communicate information to the average person who has only a rudimentary understanding of climate science?
      I came here as a person in that category and have found almost everything accessible and comprehensible, but that may partly be due to my being interested enough in the topic to google for further explanations of things I don't understand first time. Often, I find the original papers under discussion a bit incomprehensible, for example because I lack the math to follow the equations, but the SkS articles themselves are generally lucid and paced at my speed (unlike one of your commenters to a thread late last year, who linked to his own blog and I challenge anyone to figure out what he is saying: perhaps I lack the comprehension skills needed [grin]).
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    3. "Does one have to be a climate science wonk in order to comprehend the majority of articles posted on SkS?"

      No. If you're a non-science person, SkS is probably the best way to become such a 'wonk'.

      And the 3 tier system is fantastic.
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    4. I am new to the site and this is my first post. My question is this: Is it possible to include a feature that allows me to see when new comments have been added to each post since I last viewed it? For example, it could read "55 comments, 4 new." I like to read all the comments, and it is difficult to know when new comments have been added since I last viewed the post. Just wondering if this is an option. Thanks for the consideration and for making this site what it is.
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      Moderator Response: Part of what you're asking for is accessible by clicking the Comments link in the blue horizontal bar at the top of the page.

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