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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 #29

Posted on 23 July 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

In An American Heatwave: The United States Glimpses its Hot FutureRob Painting explains why an increase in record-breaking warm extremes is simply a logical consequence of a warming climate, because it raises the odds of weather fluctuations breaking heat records. As one might expect, Rob's very topical article garnered the most comments of those posted during the past week.

Toon of the Week


Quote of the Week

Robert Gifford, a psychologist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia who studies the behavioral barriers to combating climate change, calls these habits of mind "dragons of inaction." We have trouble imagining a future drastically different from the present. We block out complex problems that lack simple solutions. We dislike delayed benefits and so are reluctant to sacrifice today for future gains. And we find it harder to confront problems that creep up on us than emergencies that hit quickly.

Source: We’re All Climate-Change Idiots by Beth Gardiner, New York Times, July 21, 2012 

Issue of the Week

Should SkS broaden its horizon to include analyses of proposed geo-engineering solutions to climate change mitigation?

Scientific Term of the Week

Industrial revolution: A period of rapid industrial growth with far-reaching social and economic consequences, beginning in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century and spreading to Europe and later to other countries including the United States. The invention of the steam engine was an important trigger of this development. The industrial revolution marks the beginning of a strong increase in the use of fossil fuels and emission of, in particular, fossil carbon dioxide. In this report the terms pre-industrial and industrial refer, somewhat arbitrarily, to the periods before and after 1750, respectively.

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. 

  • New research special - satellite measurement papers 2010-2011 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Climate Change Cluedo: Anthropogenic CO2 (Tom Curtis)
  • Mercury - The Hidden Danger of Arctic Warming? (Steve Brown)
  • Nature has invented the ideal method to sequester carbon: coal (Sarah)
  • Tar Sands Oil - An Environmental Disaster (Dana)
  • Skeptic Magazine vs. Heartland and Monckton Cherrypicked Denialism (AlexC and Dana)

SkS in the News

Doug Bostrom's What is the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund? was re-posted by Climate Progress.

Dana's Michaels and Cato Unwittingly Accept the Climate Threat was also re-posted by Climate Progress.

SkS Spotlights

The International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) was conceived under the "U.S.-Japan Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspec­tive" and was established October 1997 in a cooperative agreement among the University of Hawai'i, the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, and the National Space Development Agency of Japan. Located within the UH ManoaSchool of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), the center currently operates under a cooperative agreement between the University of Hawai'i (UH) and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

IPRC's core support comes from the State of Hawai'i through UH and from our principal supporting scientific agencies: JAMSTEC in Japan, and NASA and NOAA in the US. Financial support for our research is also provided by other government agencies in the US and international agencies.

The IPRC welcomes private donations to support its activities.

Details about our research efforts can be found at Research, Scientific Publications, Annual Reports, and in issues of the IPRC Climate, our semiannual Newsletter. From a small beginning, the center now has over 40 Ph.D. research scientists and an annual budget of roughly 7 million dollars.

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Comments 1 to 12:

  1. I'm annoyed by the vulgarity of the crude text-box to enter the comments. It's inconvenient to type those "a" "i" "blockquote" "img" tags, needless to say I never remember the syntax and i.e. often produce bad links. Preview button + hyperlink help is not enough. Is there any WYSIWYG editor that would do it for me? If not possible to link WYSIWYG editor to this Comment box, can anyone recommend a simple & easy external editor for that?
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  2. About geoengineering: I resist to admit the need of that kind of half solution, but yes, SkS should discuss those possibilities as well. It would even help people know their limitations, and it would help putting the low-carbon alternatives in better perspective as well.
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  3. The potential for geo-engineering is likely the next big argument to further delay action in favor of fossil fuel burning. Understanding the hurdles and risks will be important in developing opinion in whether we should delay action because we have a "cure" or if we should take an ounce of prevention. I would like this information explained to see if it would be reasonable to add this as part of the long-term solution.
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  4. Re geoengineering: yes. Once the realities of global warming is obvious, even for those who don't even want to look for it, geoengineering is likely to be the next line of defense. Partly as an argument for continued inaction, like KBow point out, but also partly because there will be a lot of money in this, that that will attract the same companies that makes a lot of money from oil extraction today. Although inaction on GW has made a lot of damage, getting geoenineering wrong might totally overshadow any damage we've seen so far. Besides, in that context they might be as opportunistically optimistic about the climate models as they are critically dismissive of them today. Thus, I think it is very important for this site to counter 'bad geoengineering'.
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  5. By the way, Beth Gardiner's article linked on this post is so good it deserved a post of its own!
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  6. @1: Some browser plugins exist for different browsers to assist input into a html textbox. For an example see Text Formatting Toolbar [] for Firefox (no recommendation intended). There will be a learning curve using such tools. Not all html tags supported by those tools are usable within all textboxes or on SkS. The site owner could integrate a WYSIWIG-Editor into the codebase of this server (CKEditor clones, TinyMCE or the like). This would lead to some additional server load and questionable benefit for most users.
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  7. Not sure where this should go but your Braganza et al 2004 link is dead in replace it with
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  8. Seems as good a place as any to put it, it's a week old so you may have seen it already but Rolling Stone published a pretty big piece on Climate Change.
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  9. A humble request for what I'd find to be a useful page, having spent a lot of time in the skeptosphere. What is the observed contribution of GHGs to warming from the 1850-1890 (which I dub 'then') period till now? The page would need The size of the anomaly due to TSI for then vs now The size of the anomaly due to AOD for then vs now And an explanation of: GHG anomaly = total anomaly - AOD anomaly - TSI anomaly And why we're fairly sure that those 3 factors make up almost all the observable temperature differences. It would really put the low sensitivity claims to the sword. It'd make it pretty hard to argue for an ECS of 1.2C if we had a clear link explaining that we've already experienced around that much warming due to GHGs.
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  10. Tristan @9, GHG are not the anthropogenic forcings. Over time, aerosols have increased albedo, and changed the properties of clouds which have also affected the global energy balance. Likewise, changes in land use (LUC) have changed the surface albedo, also affecting the energy balance. Importantly, these additional effects are cooling effects and combined, are quite large compared to the GHG forcing, currently almost halving the positive forcing from GHG. They following is Figure 1 C from Skeie et al, 2011 - a recent attempt to quantify all anthropogenic forcings: Please note the dashed red line, ie, the net effect of anthropogenic forcings. There are two primary natural forcings, solar and volcanic aerosol emissions. These are shown in the following graph by the IPCC as brown (solar) and dark blue (volcanic): Unfortunately the figure does not carry through to 2010. In the intervening period, however, solar irradiance has declined. I am uncertain about the volcanic aerosol forcing, but it cannot be very large due to the absence of recent large volcanoes near the equator.
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  11. Tom, see: Major influence of tropical volcanic eruptions on the stratospheric aerosol layer during the last decade - Vernier (2011)
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  12. Thank you very much Tom!
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