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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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BaerbelW

Bärbel Winkler lives and works in Germany. She has always had a lot of interest in environmental issues and has been active as a volunteer at the local zoo and a conservation group for many years. Over time and while learning more and more about it, Bärbel became increasingly aware and concerned about climate change and what it will mean for generations to come. As a means to turn her concerns regarding climate change into something productive, Bärbel joined the Skeptical Science team in 2010 and started translating selected content into German. Since 2013 she has been coordinating the translation efforts for all languages and also contributes a blog-post every once in a while

Follow Bärbel on Twitter: @BaerbelW

Publications

Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., Carlton, J. S., Lewandowsky, S., Skuce, A. G., Green, S. A., ... & Nuccitelli, D. (2016). Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 048002.

Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., Way, R., Jacobs, P., & Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 024024+

Jacobs, P. H., Jokimäki, A., Rice, K., Green, S. A., & Winkler, B. (2016). Polluted Discourse: Communication and Myths in a Climate of Denial. In Communicating Climate-Change and Natural Hazard Risk and Cultivating Resilience (pp. 37-54). Springer International Publishing. Link to abstract

 

Recent blog posts


Getting involved with Climate Science via crowdfunding and crowdsourcing

Posted on 7 December 2016 by BaerbelW &

At a guess, many of you reading this post are already making good personal choices to help mitigate climate change. Some of you would perhaps like to do more. So, here are some suggestions where you can get actively involved either via crowdfunding, where you make a monetary donation or via crowdsourcing, where you donate your or your computer's time to sift through different sets of data.

This post is divided into three sections:

Ongoing crowdfunding - sites and groups listed here are continously looking for donations

Shortterm crowdfunding - these are projects with a target amount and a set deadline

Crowdsourcing - projects looking for your (or your computer's) time


Ongoing crowdfunding

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF)

Logo-CSLDF The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was established to make sure that legal actions are not viewed as an attack against one scientist or institution, but as attacks against the scientific endeavor as a whole. As well. the CSLDF protects individual scientists facing unfair legal attacks by organized groups. Given the current climate - pun most definitely intended - in the U.S. the CSLDF's work is unfortunately becoming ever more important. Link to donation page

Dark Snow Project

Jason Box's and Peter Sinclair's The Dark Snow Project gathers ‘hard numbers’ from the Arctic to quantify the distant snow/ice melting impact of industrial and wildfire black carbon soot; mineral dust; and microbes, each melt factor having some human driven enhancement. Link to donation page LogoDarkSnow

The Australian Climate Council

LogoClimateCouncil After thousands of Australians chipped in to Australia's biggest crowd-funding campaign, the abolished Climate Commission has relaunched as the new, independent Climate Council. We exist to provide independent, authoritative climate change information to the Australian public. Why? Because our response to climate change should be based on the best science available. Link to donation page

Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE)

Your donation to Citizens’ Climate Education will train ordinary citizens to promote fair, effective, and non-partisan climate change solutions. Citizens’ Climate Education’s volunteers understand that we owe it to tomorrow’s generations to face our climate challenges today. These informed, respectful citizens work to build a clean and prosperous future, leading elected officials towards solutions that reduce carbon pollution, create jobs, and strengthen the American economy. Link to donation page Logo-CCE

Real Skeptic Blog

Logo-RS The goal of Real Skeptic is to look at claims about science and investigate what the scientific literature has to say about it. Since the official start of Real Sceptic a wide array of articles about skepticism were written for this website. There’s a heavy emphasis on the accuracy of the articles published and the usage of high quality sources. Link to Patreon page

Inside Climate News

InsideClimate News is an essential, global voice that exposes the truth about the climate crisis. We connect the dots to those responsible, so that you can hold them accountable. As we enter our 10th year, we’re launching The InsideClimate Circle to ensure that our award-winning nonprofit news organization remains fiercely independent and courageously persistent. Link to membership page ICN-Log

 


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Dear Mr President-elect: a message from across the Pond

Posted on 29 November 2016 by John Mason & BaerbelW

Dear Mr President-elect,

On 6 Nov 2012, at 11:15 am, you tweeted:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

We'd like to take you on a quick tour back through the ages, because the early understanding of Earth's climate - and the role that carbon has to play in it - came from the West, not the East. Let's run through it quickly.

In 1800, British astronomer William Herschel first measured the heat that occurs in the warm – now known as infra-red (IR) – part of the spectrum. In 1824, French engineer Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier calculated that Earth should be colder than it is, at its orbital distance from the Sun. Today, it is common knowledge that outgoing IR radiation is emitted by the Earth's surface in response to heating by the Sun. But Fourier was the first to figure out that the IR was being slowed down during its journey back out to space. The air, he said, must act as a form of insulating blanket, keeping the planet warm. Smart guy.

This was just two years before Samuel Morey patented the first internal combustion engine.

In 1861, Anglo-Irish physicist John Tyndall observed that some atmospheric gases were transparent to IR radiation. But he found that others, like water vapor and carbon dioxide, were powerful IR absorbers. He was the first to propose that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could influence the Earth's climate. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius took it further. He made the first detailed calculations to see what a doubling of carbon dioxide levels might do to temperatures. His answer was a 5-6°C increase in the average global temperature. His ‘hot-house theory’ was set out for the first time in 1908 in his popular book ‘Worlds in the Making’.

In 1909, American astronomer Andrew Douglass developed the techniques of studying tree-rings and was the first to find the connection between tree ring widths and climate. In 1931, American physicist E.O Hulburt ran calculations to determine the effect of doubling carbon dioxide with the added burden of water vapor. His figure? 4°C of warming. In 1938, English engineer Guy Callendar discovered evidence of a warming temperature trend in the early twentieth century. He also found that CO2 levels were increasing and he warned that over the coming centuries there could be a climate shift to a permanently warmer state.

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Join the self-paced version of Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial!

Posted on 20 October 2016 by BaerbelW &

The next run of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, started on Oct. 18 and will be open until March 7, 2017 as a self-paced course. This means that there are no deadlines apart from the final day of the MOOC and that you can work through all of the material as your time allows. If you participated in one of the earlier iterations but missed some deadlines, this is the opportunity to see it through.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland, that takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation.

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Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

Posted on 3 May 2016 by BaerbelW & jg

Chances are high that you will have come across somebody somewhere on the internet who still doesn't accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. That somebody may well have used a veritable firehose of falsehoods - usually referred to as a gish-gallop - where a big list of myths is fired off in quick succession. Creating such a gish-gallop is quick & easy and the urge to try and debunk all the misinformation it contains is often quite strong, but it's also a very time-consuming task to undertake. One time-saving option to tackle it, is to just concentrate on the most egregious instances of misinformation as examples of how the writer tries to mislead his readers and to ignore the rest. But, this has the disadvantage that others might accuse you of cherry-picking what you chose to debunk.

So, what other options do you have to fairly quickly dispense with such a firehose of falsehoods?

Option #1 - The Fact-Myth-Fallacy overview

Our MOOC Denial101x debunked around 50 of the most often heard myths related to climate science using the recipe to start out with the fact, followed by a short mention of the myth (with a warning!) and finishing off with explaining the fallacy employed. A condensed version of these debunkings is available as a four-page-PDF which you can download from here:

Fact-Myth-FallacyThe fallacies are based on the five techniques used by science deniers to distort facts: fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking evidence, and conspiracy theories. The acronym FLICC is an easy way to remember these techniques.

FLICC: Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, Conspiracy theories. John Cook

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The Uncertainty Handbook: Download and Translations

Posted on 23 February 2016 by BaerbelW &

UHB-EN-ThumbHave you ever struggled with the communication of climate change uncertainties? Are you frustrated by climate sceptics using uncertainty - inherent in any area of complex science - as a justification for delaying policy responses? Then the new ‘Uncertainty Handbook’ - a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Climate Outreach (former COIN) - is for you.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on communicating uncertainty into a few pages of practical, easy-to-apply techniques, providing scientists, policymakers and campaigners with the tools they need to communicate more effectively around climate change. Download the report here, and check out our 12 principles for more effectively communicating climate change uncertainty here.

tuh_button

The Authors:

The Uncertainty Handbook was authored by Dr. Adam Corner (Climate Outreach), Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol), Dr Mary Phillips (University of Bristol) and Olga Roberts (Climate Outreach). All are experts in their fields and have expertise relating to the role of uncertainty in climate change or how best to communicate it.

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7 comments


2015 in Review: another productive year for the Skeptical Science team

Posted on 29 December 2015 by BaerbelW &

2015 has been yet another very productive year for the all volunteer Skeptical Science team. From publishing scientific papers to co-producing a MOOC we were kept rather busy throughout the year. This post is a wrap-up of what all we’ve been up to and includes these sections:

Scholarly Publications and books

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences

Social Media


Scholarly Publications and books

As in previous years, members of the SkS-team contributed to ongoing scientific research and (co)authored several important papers, published books and a book chapter.

Kevin Cowtan published a paper (Cowtan et al. 2015) which showed that global climate models are even more accurate than previously thought. Several members of the SkS-team were among the co-authors: Zeke Hausfather, Peter Jacobs, Martin Stolpe and Robert Way.

diagram

A depiction of how global temperatures calculated from models use air temperatures above the ocean surface (right frame), while observations are based on the water temperature in the top few metres (left frame). Created by Kevin Cowtan.

Dana Nuccitelli and John Cook were co-authors on Benestad et al. (2015) which found common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus.

John Cook published Misinformation and How to Correct It (Cook et al. 2015) a multi-discplinary review of misinformation research. He was asked to anticipate where future research into misinformation might head - which is a tough ask. He approached it creatively by answering the question what he would like to research in the future.

John also is a co-author on Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial (Lewandowsky et al. 2015) which examined the comments on climate science-denying blogs and found strong evidence of widespread conspiratorial thinking. The study looks at the comments made in response to a previous paper linking science denial and conspiracy theories.

In "Misdiagnosis of earth climate sensitivity based on energy balance model results" Mark Richardson - together with  Zeke Hausfather, Dana Nuccitelli, Ken Rice and John P. Abraham  - explained the many shortcomings in Monckton et al. (2015). They found that differences could be explained because Monckton et al. relied a lot on a narrative approach (aka storytelling) while most other studies use physics and real-world measurements where possible.

Dana NDanaClimatologyBookCoveruccitelli wrote and published the book Climatology versus Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics which covers a wide range of climate-related topics, starting with a history of some key discoveries in the field of climate science beginning nearly 200 years ago. Along the way it debunks some common climate myths, progressing forward in time to the 1970s, when scientists’ ability to model the global climate began to advance rapidly. It examines the accuracy of a variety of global warming projections, starting with J.S. Sawyer in 1972, through the recent IPCC reports, as well as some predictions by contrarians like Richard Lindzen.

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Leveraging the Skeptical Science Glossary for references

Posted on 28 October 2015 by BaerbelW &

If you are a long-time reader of Skeptical Science you'll be aware of the glossary functionality which automatically displays definitions of scientific terms when you have the cursor hover above an underlined term. This neat functionality was created and announced by Bob Lacatena and went live in February 2013.

The Skeptical Science team has had on and off discussions about the need for a kind of bibliography for all the scientific papers we regularly reference in our blog posts and rebuttals. During one of these discussions Phil mentioned that it would be nice to have the relevant reference immediately displayed in a pop-up-box. And so, the penny dropped and we realised that we already had this functionality available at Skeptical Science: the glossary!

I went ahead and did a quick test to see if the idea could work out and added an entry for Cook et al. (2013) to the glossary. Once the entry had been added and a page found where the spelling of the "term" - i.e. the reference - fitted the glossary entry, this immediately worked as intended and the citation was displayed in the right-hand margin of the page as soon as the cursor hovered above the reference:

SkS-Glossary-References-01

You should be able to test this yourself with the above reference to our consensus study. Hover the cursor above it and see what happens! If it doesn't work, check your glossary settings via the "Look up a Term" panel shown at the bottom of this page:

lookupaterm

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Skeptical Science reader survey - thanks for your feedback!

Posted on 6 October 2015 by BaerbelW &

Thanks a lot to all of you who participated in our reader survey, providing lots of feedback for us to sift through and mull over! We'll share some snapshots of the results in this post and include some of your written comments, selected from those responses where you've given us your consent to share them.

Some statistics

We received 314 filled out surveys over the course of a week with most of them coming in the first 3 days after we posted the link. About 30 different countries show up in the results, with the US, Australia, the UK and Canada listed the most often which also makes English the most often mentioned first language.

Some results

Blog posts

SurveyResultsBlog

SurveyResultsResearchSelected comments about blog posts:

"It is the first resource I look for comments and discussions about new research."

"i became aware of your site a few years ago, it's a great resource, helped me understand the science."

"it is in the comments where this blog shines. you are doing it right and the community you have nurtured works well and is something i read often"

"The only reason I did not rate blog posts as extremely valuable, is many are available on other blogs I visit regularly. If SKS was my sole source, I would have rated all as extremely valuable. I do have high confidence in what I read at SKS."

"It's tough not to give you folks top marks - Your articles are straight forward and gear towards the intelligent layperson. The links you offer to back up everything described is most excellent. Keep up the good work."

"I find the site very rewarding. Climate change has been a long time interest and to find the wide ranging content is engaging my interest in an ongoing way."

Rebuttals

SurveyResultsRebuttalsSelected comments about rebuttals:

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Skeptical Science reader survey - your chance to give us your feedback!

Posted on 15 September 2015 by BaerbelW &

Update: Our survey was closed on Sept. 22 - thanks to all of you who participated!

Since its inception in 2007 Skeptical Science has changed quite a lot and many resources have been added over the years. Our "Welcome to Skeptical Science" post gives a rough overview of which resources have been made available by John Cook and the dedicated team of volunteers from across the globe.

Many of the resources and features have been added because we hoped that they would be useful for you - our readers - and many of the comments you share - or the emails you write - are an indication that this is in fact the case. But, we'd like to dig deeper and get a better handle on which features are the most valuable for you or where we can improve Skeptical Science's content. This is why we put together the Skeptical Science Reader Survey (as of Sept. 22 the survey has been closed):

SkS Reader Survey

The survey shouldn't take longer than 5 to 10 minutes to complete. You'll find questions about which sections of Skeptical Science you regularly visit and how valuable you find them.

Blog post gradingMost questions ask for feedback via a scale from 0 to 5 like the ones for blog posts shown on the left.

But, we also included free text questions where you can provide additional feedback about the resources or Skeptical Science in general.

So, thanks for taking our survey and helping us to make Skeptical Science better!

Here is the link to the survey: Skeptical Science Reader Survey

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Denial101x MOOC - Full list of videos and references at your fingertips

Posted on 3 September 2015 by LarryM & BaerbelW

The "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is now available as a self-paced course that anyone can take at any time.  The course was produced by the all-volunteer Skeptical Science team and the University of Queensland, and hosted on the edX-platform.  The lectures and expert interviews provide a unique resource for countering climate myths, learning effective myth-debunking techniques, and learning the basics of climate science in easily digestible bites.  These resources are now available in an organized and easily searched format.  Use them often!

MOOC videos.  The collection of Denial101x videos listed below is organized by week and by topic.  There are 81 lectures on focused topics, each about 5-7 minutes in length, plus 40 full interviews with experts in climate science and climate communication.  The video playlist is also available on the Denial101x YouTube channel.

MOOC references.  Each Denial101x lecture is supported by peer-reviewed research.  A comprehensive list of references is available, with links to the corresponding papers.

MOOC-related blog posts:

Other SkS resources:


Index of videos by week

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