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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 #19

Posted on 14 May 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

The first article out of the chute, Dana's   Lindzen's Clouded Vision, Part 1: Science created the biggest buzz of comments for the week.  MarkR's  Turbines in Texas mix up nighttime heat stirred-up the second highest number of comments. Coming in third was Dana's Tom Harris' Carleton University Climate Misinformation Class. Tom Harris himself actually dropped a couple of comments on the thread.

Toon of the Week


Quote of the Week

"We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising — and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions."

Source: "Game Over for the Climate" Op-ed by James Hansen, New York Times, May 9, 2012

Issue of the Week

Are you reluctant to ask a "dumb question" on a comment thread for fear of being lectured to by one or more of members of the SkS author team?

Words of the Week

Climate: Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system. In various chapters in this report different averaging periods, such as a period of 20 years, are also used. 

Climate system: The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the land surface and the biosphere, and the interactions between them. The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and because of external forcings such as volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land-use change. 

Climate change: Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the Unite Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. See also Climate variability; Detection and Attribution.

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. 

  • CRUTEM4: A detailed look (Kevin C)
  • New research from last week 19/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Climate Change Consequences - Often Unexpected (Dana) 
  • David Evans: All at Sea about Ocean Warming and Sea Level Rise (Rob Painting) 
  • Resolving Confusion about Modeled and Observed Ocean Heat Content (Dana) 
  • Open letter to an anonymous climate scientist (Dumb Scientist) 
  • In Search Of: Himalayan Ice Loss (mspelto, Daniel Bailey) 
  • Latest Southern Ocean research shows continuing deep ocean change (John Hartz) 

SkS in the News

Lessons from Past Predictions: Hansen 1981 was re-posted by Climate Progress.  

Lindzen's Clouded Vision, Part 1: Science and Part 2: Risk was re-posted by Climate Progress and PlanetSave.

SkS Spotlights

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research: Polar and Marine research are central themes of Global system and Environmental Science. The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, the Antarctic and at temperate latitudes. It coordinates Polar research in Germany and provides both the necessary equipment and the essential logistic back up for polar expeditions. Recent additional research themes include North Sea Research, contributions to Marine Biological Monitoring, Marine Pollution Research, Investigation of naturally occuring marine substances and technical marine developments.

The Institute was established as a public foundation in 1980. The Foundation Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research includes the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven the Potsdam Research Unit (1992), the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland and the Wadden Sea Station Sylt. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres; the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) covers 90% of financing, the state of Bremen 8% and the states of Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein provide 1% each. The Foundation employs over 900 staff and has a total budget of 100 million Euro in 2005.


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Comments 1 to 10:

  1. "Are you reluctant to ask a "dumb question" on a comment thread for fear of being lectured to by one or more of members of the SkS author team?" No, but sometimes I don't post on a comment thread when there are too many comments and there's already a conversation going.
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  2. I have been intimidated by the knowledge shown on this site. It was then I realised that I just did not know. On looking at wuwt I found this gem. Heat from the sun cannot get into the ocean due to surface tension! You blokes are doing it all wrong as you should let the scientific illiterati just say nonsense. That way they are all happy calling all outsiders nasty names from an enclave of idiocy! Bert
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  3. About the issue of the week: No, no fear of getting lectured. Mostly I just feel I have nothing to add. Bert from Eltham at 13:47 PM on 14 May, 2012 wuwt has many of those. And they all nod along as long as it sounds vaguely anti-Hansen, anti-Gore, anti-Michael Mann...
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  4. Hi guys, love the site, long time reader first time poster! I don't have enough confidence to ask a question as I feel my knowledge level is not high. Is there a 101 section? Keep up the good work!
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    Moderator Response: Welcome! At the top of the Home page, click the big button "Newcomers Start Here." After you've read that page, click the big button "The Big Picture." Comments must be on the appropriate thread, but if you are uncertain which thread that is, you can either pick the most apparently relevant one from the Arguments list (click the "Arguments" link at the left end of the blue horizontal bar across the top of the page), or use the Search function that is just under that link.
  5. Issue of the Week: I think the authors and the people that comment here are great examples of civility and are excellent teachers. One just has to look at the succinct clarity in the 170 or so articles covering climate science myths to see what a great teaching service is provided. Some might feel intimidated if they see comments from someone that has no interest in learning about the peer review literature, but that isn't Skep Sci's fault. I have seen many examples of Skep Sci trying to put the science in understandable terms when posed a question from a non-expert. As an engineer, I have learned quite a bit, though I only pop in once in a great while to post my thoughts..
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  6. Nope, not intimidated. Pete
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  7. Not intimidated - just a tad our of my depth. I'm aware of how little I know, and don't know that my 2c can actually add anything worthwhile. However, I think I want to start asking people on both sides of this non-debate what their childhoods were like. I think the "religious fervour" aspect has it's roots way back...
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  8. Help - edit - "out" not "our"
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  9. Hate to be a wet rag, but some of our denier friends will spin the cartoon into some kind of death threat. In any case, I don't think calling people stupid is the best way to win them over.
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  10. There is a good series of programmes on BBC R4 Tuesday mornings (over three weeks) covering extinction events. The first one (available on their 'listen again feature') cites global warming as a major player and compares the current meteoric rise in CO2 with the glacial rise during these events. Next week's programme is going to investigate whether we are experiencing another extinction event. It might be an idea to post a link to each of them. As for issue of the week - my answer is 'no', I think this site has a lot to be proud of, especially the courtesy and profesionalism it displays.
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