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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #21

Posted on 28 May 2012 by dana1981

John Hartz is on vacation this week, so this version of the weekly digest will be slightly abridged.

SkS Highlights

Dana''s Modeled and Observed Ocean Heat Content - Is There a Discrepancy? and Hansen and Sato Estimate Climate Sensitivity from Earth's History garnered the most comments and pageviews this week.  We also saw John Cook interviewed in The Climate Show #27.

Toon of the Week

Source: Stephanie McMillan, whose work you can donate to via this link (look for the Donate button).  Hat tip to Joe Romm at Climate Progress.

Update of the Week

Skeptical Science has updated our Comments Policy.  Please look over the new policy and keep it in mind when writing comments.  Make our hard working moderators' lives a little easier!

Issue of the Week 

How do you feel about the ratio of different types of SkS posts (i.e. myth debunkings, technical posts, discussions of new research, mainstream media and blog rebuttals, etc.)?  Should we do more or less of any of these types of posts?

The Week in Review

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

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. 

  • Bob Carter's Financial Post Gish Gallop of Scientific Denial (Dana)
  • New research from last week 21/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • IEA CO2 Emissions Update 2011 - the Good News and the Bad (Dana and John Cook)
  • In Search Of: Himalayan Ice Loss (mspelto and Daniel Bailey)
  • Ian Plimer Pens Aussie Geologist Gish Gallop #2 of the Week (Dana)
  • HadCRUT4: Analysis and critique (Kevin C)
  • Open letter to an anonymous climate scientist (Dumb Scientist)
  • In Search Of: Himalayan Ice Loss (mspelto, Daniel Bailey)

SkS in the News

Tom Smerling's If you want them to remember, tell a story, re-posted on SkS from ClimateBites, was also re-posted on Climate Progress.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 10:

  1. I'd like to know what changes have been made to the commant policy. To be honest I haven't looked at the policy page before (cause I'm getting away with my comments so far) but just in case I want to know what recent changes made the moderator's life easier.
    The moderation cannot be disputed, so I'm not looking to judge it, just asking what was changed & why.
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  2. I'm loathe to draw attention to this on the more focussed threads, but I thought that there might be a few folk here with a perverse fascination for how Tim Curtin is currently butchering over at Deltoid the fundamental physics of Tyndall and Arrhenius.

    It truly has to be seen to be believed, and even then it's difficult. I keep trying to put fingers to keyboard to address the pseudoscience, but it's as futile an exercise as is harvesting a vineyard one grape at a time.

    Strong, strong, strong keyboard/beverage warning - you'll discover that greenhouse gases aren't, and that nitrogen and oxygen are.
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  3. 1, chriskoz,

    The policy has primarily simply expanded to more explicitly cover some undesirable behaviors that have become tiringly repetitive and yet were not explicit violations before. Other aspects of the policy were merely better qualified.

    Basically, the goal was to allow moderators to think less by making moderation more objective than subjective, by better defining some gray areas.
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  4. Issue of the week

    How about designating a day of the week to particular types of post e.g. Mondays - Myths, Tuesdays - Technicals etc.? If you have nothing in the category for a particular day, take a break. At least it would allow some of the hardworking regulars to catch up with replies to their posts. Sometimes I suspect that you desperately scrape the bottom of the barrel in order to have something to post. You are not a newpaper with a daily print run to maintain.

    I would like to see one day where anything goes (within comments policy, of course), such as if someone has discovered a particular piece of information (obviously that is legitimate and relevant to Climate Change) that they think the community would should consider, then that day's comments column (Sundays?) would be the place for it. For instance, I have recently come across LFTR nuclear reactors (Google 'Thorium'). Because they have so many advantages over uranium reactors they seem like they just might be the way nuclear can be developed as a replacement for coal, which seems to have a lot of pollutants that I did not realise it had) that would be publicly acceptable. Unless we ditch coal, then we can forget limiting warming to 2C.

    I guess this comment is an example of what I think Sundays could be used for.
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  5. After posting the above comment I found that this week's New Scientist has a Thorium article in it. I have yet to read it, but a quick skim leads me to think that it is not LFTR based, which is the design that I find impressive.

    After that, I found on TED an excellent talk by David MacKay: A reality check on renewables. Well worth watching.

    (Hope I have not breached the new comments policy.)

    On the subject of discussion issues, I think this site needs to consider some direction issues. We are at the fag end of the science debate on climate change (with 97% of the world's leading climate scientists in support of the central issue of cause and predicted consequences, how else does one descibe it?) I know that some will never be persuaded, and I guess they comprise the 3%. (By way of example take Lindzen and his recent talk in the British House of Parliament where he repeated long debunked myths. I doubt that he will ever change.)

    So what now? I personally don't trust Greenpeace as far as I can throw them as I think they are as bad as the Heartland Institute, but in the other direction. I am looking for some way that I can get active that is going to do more than just sort out the science. I want something that is going to actually make the world a better place than Monckton, Lawson (both of them), Hitchens, Philips etc. want it to be (and that is only the British buffoons). Perhaps it is not to be found here, but reading between the lines I suspect that many of the regular scientists posting on this site are motivated by what they see as the future for their spouses and children to some extent and a considerable extent in some instances. We don't want to win the scientific debate with a 'told you so', do we? That would mean that in reality we lost.
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  6. Seeing as comments seem to have ceased on this posting, perhaps I can just put forward a suggestion for the steering group managing this site to consider.

    Why not extend the scientific discussion to include the releative pros and cons of remedial actions to combat climate change, such as wind or solar or nuclear or tidal or whatever comes along. That is a vast topic for discussion and would attract a whole new body of scientific opinion. If that area of debate could be as well steered as it currently is on pure climate science, there is no reason why it shouldn't be the 'go to' site for the latest science on such matters as geo-engineering, renewables of all shades, nuclear of all forms, etc. etc. Imagine having a scientific question on, say, solar engergy and knowing the sks would be the first port of call for the answer, if the question has been answered yet, of course, and if not, then what the latest thinking is. Perhaps it might need a whole new site, but I personally would like to see this site take on the challenge as I think it has a highly deserved reputation for excellence and see no reason why that should not be applied more widely.

    Perhaps an exploratory email to those scientists prominent in discussions on the technologies related to tackling climate change to find out how they would feel about supporting the venture, not only by way of contributory articles, but also moderating the comments from Joe Public, such as myself, might help.

    Or, you could slowly include articles on the topic of remedial action and let it build from there. Perhaps inviting Professor David Mackay to contribute, citing his TED talk on renewables as the reason for the invite, might be a starter. Of course, you could run a special week of such articles to sow the seeds of the expansion in subject matter for the site, assuming it interests you, of course.

    You could include advisory issues, such as what difference 'fracking' produced natural gas will make to the problem if developed to the full. This would give the public has a focal point for information before they make political decisions on whether to support it or not.

    Finally, letting it be known that this site is moving on to the next stage of the issue, the implication being that the science is sufficiently well settled for such a move to be logical, would take a lot of wind out of a lot of sails.
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  7. Hi guys, funglestrumpet makes some good points!
    I was reading a link from Andrew Bolts blog a few weeks ago (don't judge me I'm trying to avoid going there) that was to a paper by some Danes about sun spot activety, particularly a negative temperature trend between a solar cycle length and temps in the next cycle. Apparently that may mean a temperature drop coming up soon! The paper is on Science Direct website and attributed to The Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestrial Physics. it has a thank you note at the end to David Archibold which made me check here for debunked myths/ ideas. a Myth Monday debunk perhaps?
    Cheers
    Chook
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  8. North Carolina is apparently channeling the (potentially apocryphal) spirit of Canute (without the subsequent humility).
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  9. Chookmustard @7, Skeptical Science has previously discussed this general theory here, which is where you should respond to this post.

    The new paper differs from previous papers on this topic by:

    1) Only calculating a correlation with NH, and particularly European temperatures; and

    2) Calculating a correlation between temperature and the solar cycle length lagged by one solar cycle.

    The reason for the lag is entirely unexplained in terms of physics and seems like a device to avoid refutation. Likewise the use of NH only temperatures, which is tantamount to an assumption that Northern Hemisphere, but not Southern Hemisphere, temperatures are influenced by the Sun.

    By making these two unphysical assumptions, it seems the authors are indulging in pure curve fitting. We might just as well believe that global temperatures are controlled by 11 year lagged hem length:



    Finally, there is an unaccounted for discrepancy between solar cycle lengths as reported in earlier papers, notably Thejll and Lassen, 1999 (PDF), and that reported in the most recent paper.
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  10. A very on topic to this thread (this weekend) news:
    Half of Germany Was Running on Solar Power.

    It's directed to USA, and I guess it wants to be an "eye-opener" for people in USA with the numbers in the blue bar. Anyone wants to comment about those numbers? Especially what do they count as by solar subsidies & fossil fuel subsidies how do they arrive at the outcome that solar energy would have been cheaper than "grid power*" if subsidies were equal?
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