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Climate Hustle

Test your climate knowledge in free online course

Posted on 23 October 2011 by John Cook

If you're a regular reader at SkS, you probably fancy yourself as relatively well versed in climate issues. Well, here is a chance for you to put your money where your mouth is. The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions at the University of Victoria has released a free, online course Climate Insights 101. This is a fantastic, freely available resource featuring 4 animated lessons, ending with a series of questions to check whether you've been paying attention (or if you're feeling confident, do what I did and jump to the exam questions at the end of each lesson). Here's a trailer illustrating the course, go check it out!

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Comments 1 to 8:

  1. Aced the first quiz and I didn't even view the lesson!

    I did think the questions were fair and didn't try to trip you up, as so many of these online quizzes do. They were well phrased and clear about the information they were looking for.

    But hey, I was watching (American) Football on TV at the same time and I do have priorities (go MSU Bobcats!)
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  2. Overall it’s a nice Climate 101 introduction. Regular SkS readers should easily ace all the end-of-section quizzes. One imbedded question about further sea level rise by 2100 tripped me up. Their right answers seem too low to me, either 30 or 50 cm. Based on my Sks and other readings I predicted much higher - 100 cm. They admit their right answers to this question are somewhat uncertain though.
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  3. SLR is a long term process lasting several centuries up to a millenium until equilibrium is reached with respect to melting of Greenland & Antarctica, as we discussed here. What rise we see now in XXI century may actually be just 30cm, so they may be correct.

    However, from the paleo history (e.g. PETM) we can find out that for a given amount of CO2, equilibrium SLR rise should be higher. We just don't know how much we've committed already and where the tipping point is. Even if wee're past TP, I am still optimistic: 100y is a lot of time and poeple may learn how to "cool-down" the globe before the land ice starts collapsing in XXII century or so.
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  4. On further reflection, I think the question asked was: If the current rate of SLR stays the same, then how much would sea level rise by 2100 [over present]? At the current rate of 3.0 ± 0.4 mm/yr, I suppose the best answer would be 30 cm, of the possible answers offered.

    I’m very doubtful that 30 cm is realistic although it agrees with AR4 projections. The SkS page on this topic shows a range of 75 cm to 180 cm (depending on the scenario) based on findings reported in Vermeer 2009. The A1F scenario that we seem to be tracking looks to be headed for 140 cm by 2100, according to Figure 3, or 120 cm if the A2 scenario is preferred. [A very minor point: these numbers are referenced from 1990 so they should be reduced by 6 or 7 cm to put them into the present context.]

    SkS - How much will sea levels rise in the 21st Century?

    I won’t go into Dr. Hansen’s ten-year doubling time for ice sheet disintegration, somewhat of a thought experiment, but I remind you that he’s often ahead of his peers. He said the following in 2007:

    The nonlinearity of the ice sheet problem makes it impossible to accurately predict the sea level change on a specific date. However, as a physicist, I find it almost inconceivable that BAU climate change would not yield a sea level change of the order of meters on the century timescale.
    Hansen 2007 - Scientific reticence and sea level rise (pdf)
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  5. Thanks for giving us the link to the PICS site. A very nice communication tool! I liked it so much I put up my own article to highlight it at

    Keep up the great work, John (et al.)
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  6. Congratulations to the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and the collaborative universities for putting together this elegant, simple, clear yet thorough guide to AGW.

    Big pat on the back to Skeptical Science too for it's role as evidenced by the number of times articles on the site are used as important references in the resources section.

    It's a great tool to bypass deniers on blogs and just refer people to look to educate themselves if they still have an open mind.

    I especially liked the simple video demonstration in the 1st section showing how CO2 absorbs heat. Absolutely smashes the denialist myth that the greenhouse effect doesn't exist (of course we knew that anyway but what a great way to show it).

    Top marks to all concerned
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  7. Skipped straight to the exams and got one third of one question wrong in the first module by leaving out 'contribution in year to year variability in the climate system' for the question, "Which of the following is associated with the el Nino phenomenon?" As la Nina and el Nino were distinguished from each other in the exam section, I figured el Nino wasn't present every year. Ba-boww.

    But not too shabby for an arts dude who dropped science after 3rd year high school - thanks to realclimate, SkS, Coby, Grumbine, Tamino etc and a whole lot of generous commenters out there.
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  8. Continuing from here.

    lancelot: I put this reply on this thread, as it is educational and fact-based, as opposed to the shrill opinions and nonsense you see on appinsys.

    Scan their 'updates':
    IPCC ... lies, Arctic warming ... not CO2, Climate refugee claims debunked, US has no significant warming; and a host of others. Practically everything on that site is incorrect, biased, prejudicial, etc; it is a veritable encyclopedia of denial. Do you see any references to actual scientific literature or is it mostly just hand-waving?

    To be fair, I have used their climate data visuallizer for quick access to 5x5 lat long grids of temperature trends.
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