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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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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #17

Posted on 30 April 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Dana's Global Warming Causing Heat Fatalities garnered a goodly number of heated comments by SkS readers and authors this past week. John Cook's  ABC documentary demonstrates the how and why of climate denial drew the second highest number of comments.  A "must see" video of Naomi Oreskes is embedded in it. Levitus et al. Find Global Warming Continues to Heat the Oceans by Dana rounded out the top three comment generators of the week. 

Toon of the Week


Source: Royalty Free Cartoons

Quote of the week

"We have tended to look at climate change, food security and poverty challenges separately. We know that 60% of our people live in rural areas, we also know that 90% of our rural population depend on agriculture; most important of all, we do know the future climate predictions give a much more uncertain climatic condition for agriculture, with potentially devastating negative consequences.

"We also know that the situation in my country is not peculiar to us; the situation is the same for the whole of SADC and Africa in general. It is for this reason that my government attaches great importance to this initiative we are launching."

Dr John Phiri, Zambia's Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education

Source: "Southern Africa: Region Most Affected By Climate Change", Nambia Economist posted on, Apr 27, 2012

Issue of the Week

Should a prohibition against the "hijacking of a comment thread" be incoporated into the SkS Comments Policy? How would you define "hijacking"? 

Words of the Week

Insolation: The amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth b ylatitude and by season. Usually insolation refers to the radiation arriving at the top of the atmosphere. Sometimes it is specified as referring to the radiation arriving at the Earth’s surface. See also: Total Solar Irradiance

Total solar irradiance (TSI) The amount of solar radiation received outside the Earth’s atmosphere on a surface normal to the incident radiation, and at the Earth’s mean distance from the Sun.

Reliable measurements of solar radiation can only be made from space and the precise record extends back only to 1978. The generally accepted value is 1,368 W m−2 with an accuracy of about 0.2%. Variations of a few tenths of a percent are common, usually associated with the passage of sunspots across the solar disk. The solar cycle variation of TSI is of the order of 0.1% (AMS, 2000). See also Insolation.

Source: Annex I (Glossary) to Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

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.

  • John Nielsen-Gammon Comments on Continued Global Warming (Dana)
  • New research from last week 17/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Two Centuries of Climate Science: part two - Hulbert to Keeling, 1931- 1965 (John Mason)
  • Lessons from Past Predictions: Hansen 1981 (Dana)
  • Why Are We Sure We're Right? #2 (Rob Honeycutt, Dana, AndyS)
  • HadSST3: A detailed look (Kevin C)
  • Open letter to an anonymous climate scientist (Dumb Scientist)
  • In Search Of: Himalayan Ice Loss (mspelto, Daniel Bailey)
  • Two Centuries of Climate Science: part three - Manabe to the present day, 1966-2012 (John Mason

Simple Myth Debunking of the Week

If you think Renewable energy is too expensive, Richard Alley begs to differ.

SKS in the News

John Cook had articles related to the ABC documentary I Can Change Your Mind about Climate published in ABC News and The Conversation.

SkS Spotlights

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was founded in 1992 and currently has a staff of about 300 people. The historic buildings of the institute and its high-performance computer are located on Potsdam’s Telegraphenberg campus. The institute is a member of the Leibniz Associationand receives core funding of about 10 million euros from the German federal government and the Federal State of Brandenburg. A similar amount of additional project funding is raised from external sources in competition with other institutions, a large part coming from grant programmes of the European Union.

At PIK, researchers in the natural and social sciences from all over the world work closely together to study global change and its impacts on ecological, economic and social systems. Researchers examine the earth system's capacity for withstanding human interventions and devise strategies and options for a sustainable development of humankind and nature. Interdisciplinary and solution-oriented approaches are a distinctive characteristic of the institute.

Research at PIK is organized in four Research Domains: Earth System Analysis, Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities, Sustainable Solutions and Transdisciplinary Concepts & Methods.

PIK generates fundamental knowledge for sustainable development primarily through data analysis and computer simulations of the dynamic processes in the earth system, but also of social processes. PIK members publish their research findings in international publications and advise policymakers in Germany and abroad. In addition to the Federal Government of Germany, the European Commission and a number of other governments, international organizations like the World Bank also benefit from the institute´s expertise. Through institutions like the Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), whose German branch was founded with PIK support, the institute is in continuous exchange with the business community.

Understanding climate change and its impacts is a huge task that no institution or country can tackle alone. PIK is part of a global network of scientific and academic institutions working on questions of global environmental change. PIK plays an active role in activities such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also known as the world´s climate council, whose working group on the mitigation of climate change is coordinated by PIK researchers. PIK initiated and has co-hosted the biennial Nobel Laureate Symposium on questions of global sustainability since 2007.


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Comments 1 to 12:

  1. The slightly OT news: Dr Michael Mann just received the coveted Oeschger medal award as reported in realclimate. Most of SkS "long-timers" probably visit realclimate, however newbies might not so I stuck this news here rather than in somewhat more relevant thread about Mike's book. If you think you can contribute to the well deserved congrat thread you are encouraged to do so. As the scientist who withstood the worst personal intimidation in recent history, Mike deserves every bit of recognition for his work and his stance.
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  2. Regarding thread bombing, it might just be a judgement call moderators make, that could be done privately with the poster concerned. I tend to comment a lot in some circumstances but would definitely prefer a private message from the moderators, then a public hanging.
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  3. If one considers a thread hijack to be an attempt to pull a thread off-topic, the Comments Policy already cover this and usually more subtle attempts to do so are noted by commenters. If one is instead thinking of spamming a thread with a large mass of comments (or a few extremely long comments), it would depend on why this is done. I assume this is what Michael Whittemore considers to be 'thread bombing' (correct me if I am incorrect, Michael). But it would depend on whether a poster was thread bombing as an initial act or if the poster was responding to a pile-on in the comments.
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  4. Hot sure where else to put this but it is so crazy that it has to be posted. Other readers of Climatecrocks will prob already have seen this. "Scientific, political, and public support for the theory of man-made global warming is collapsing. Most scientists and 60 percent of the general public (in the U.S.) do not believe man-made global warming is a problem. (Keep reading for proof of these statements.) The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen." We are through the looking glass...
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  5. IMHO they have just scored an own goal. It is so obviously mere rhetoric that anyone with more than half a brain will see it immediately for what it is an will feel vaguely insulted that the HI should think something so lacking in subtlety would fool anybody. Of course it could be ironic humour, but somehow I doubt it.
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  6. Oh, am I going to have fun with this one across the internets.
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  7. Sadly there are people who believe this stuff. I have argued with them in the past. Through most of it I thought I had chosen the wrong door in the Argument Clinic.
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  8. pbjamm - I would agree; it's the Argument Clinic. This is one of the purest examples of the Argument by Association fallacy I have ever seen. Heartland is shooting itself in the foot with this - I cannot imagine what they thought this would accomplish. I guess this just demonstrates that the 'skeptic' side, the ones arguing that there is no problem, have no factually based arguments left...
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  9. Here is the list of speakers: I don't think any comment can be made that would do more damage to the credibility of the Conference than that list does.
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  10. Dikran@5: It may be that, to *us*, but to many who are 'on-the-fence' about the so-called "controversy" (and, in my position as an earth scientist, I see it {snip}, even from colleagues) it may {snip} slow down) efforts to make this critical science issue as effective as they must be, if we're to get any real handle on slowing down the depradation of our planet. I've been to this horse race before, in the automotive industry, and shibbolths and outright lies persist. They *especially* perdsist if not foguth, hard and forcefully, with facts, data, and clear rationale. As scienctists and activists, we have but a few tools at our disposal, and one is {snip}, when they make foolish moves, like HI has done, and undoubtedly will continue to do. As a practicing scientist (trained classicallly, raised in the classical 'rational and dispassionate' scientific bent) to be confrontational towards efforts like HI, Koch Industries, you name it, is a bit crosswise to that training. However, when battling fire...sometimes, as Wag Dodge found out in Montana, in 1949, you *must* use fire to fight it. It can be done non-ad hominem style, but {snip} be done with the full force of factual analysis. So, like BoulderBob in another thread, I'm {snip}
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    Moderator Response: TC: All caps snipped, for compliance with the comments policy. Given the extent of all caps in this post, it would have been much easier to just delete the post. Please read and comply with the comments policy in future posts to avoid that possibility. Thank you.
  11. I'm surprised Monckton didn't make the list of speakers. As for the billboards, the empty, flawed logic behind them is easily exposed and disposed of with the following argument: Heartland Billboard Argument P - The Unabomber (and other undesireable characters) claimed it is important to combat climate change C - Therefore, people who claim it is important to combat climate change are like the Unabomber Analagous Argument P - Hitler owned and loved dogs C - Therefore, people who own and love dogs are like Hitler I'd say the billboard campaign makes it very obvious that the Heartland Institute is indeed engaged in scientific denialism rather than any honest skepticism. If they had a strong case to make using scientific evidence, they'd never have had to resort to such a foolish endeavour to begin with.
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  12. Yah, it's important to remember that Heartland knows quite well that the logic is flawed. They're not actually stupid. They know that even though most people will reject the logic, they'll also carry forward the unconscious association. And now, of course, the internet is blasting that association all over the place, inadvertently serving to further Heartland's interests. Heartland should be characterized as anti-democratic because their stated goal is to increase doubt. The hoaxers will undoubtedly agree that the logic is spot on but that Heartland shouldn't have exposed themselves to the liberal media (this is the WUWT response).
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