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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #5

Posted on 6 February 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights 

Kevin Trenberth's guest post, Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate is the response from a number of prominent climate scientsts to  a letter signed by 16 scientists and engineers that was  recently published in the Wall Street Journal. The "Gang of 16's" letter was also squarely addressed by Dana in The Latest Denialist Plea for Climate Change Inaction

Still Going Down the Up Escalator by Dana also garnered a lot of attention by commentors and other websites. MarkR's Measurements show Earth heating up, think tanks & newspapers disagree addressed denialist propaganda recently published in certain UK news outlets. The creative graphics embedded in the article also received attention by other websites.

Toon of the Week

2012 Toon of the Week #5

H/T to Joe Romm's Climate Progress.

Issue of the Week

During the past 12 months approximately how many times have you used the icon buttons (Christy Crocks, etc. which are posted on the top of the left-hand column of this web page) to access one or more articles in a particular series? Do you believe these buttons serve a useful purpose? Would you like to see SkS add more topical buttons? If so, what buttons would you recommend be added?

The Week in Review

A complete listing of the articles posted on SkS during the past week.

  • Major Study of Ocean Acidification Helps Scientists Evaluate Effects of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Marine Life by John Hartz
  • NASA scientists expect more rapid global warming in the very near future (part 2) by Rob Painting
  • Cool climate papers 2011 by Ari Jokimäki
  • Still Going Down the Up Escalator by Dana
  • Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate by Kevin Trenberth
  • Measurements show Earth heating up, think tanks & newspapers disagree by MarkR
  • Climate change policy: Oil's tipping point has passed by John Hartz
  • New research from last week 4/2012 by Ari Jokimäki
  • The Latest Denialist Plea for Climate Change Inaction by Dana
  • 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.

    • Global Sea Level Rise: Pothole To Speed Bump? (Rob Painting)
    • New research from last week 5/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
    • Volcanic Influence on the Little Ice Age (Dana)
    • Michaels Misrepresents Nordhaus and Scientific Evidence in General (Alex C)
    • Climate and Pollen (Robert Way)
    • The Year After McLean - A Review of 2011 Global Temperatures (Dana)
    • Monckton Misrepresents - The Neverending Story (Dana, Alex C, & Tom Curtis)
    • The Independence of Global Warming on Residence Time of CO2 (Dikran Marsupial)

    SkS in the News

    Carbon Brief re-posted MarkR's witty graphics from Measurements show Earth heating up, think tanks & newspapers disagree. 

    CSIRO Report Cover SkS Spotlights

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. To access the CSIRO homepage, click here

    In June, 2011, CSIRO published, Climate Change: Science and Solutions for Australia. This book provided the latest scientific knowledge on a series of climate change topics relevant to Australia and the world. It drew on peer-reviewed literature contributed to by thousands of researchers. To access this free eBook, click here



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    Comments 1 to 10:

    1. I like the idea of the series, about a particular person, with a common graphic. I tend to read the articles as they come out and I have yet to use the button to access the series. In fact, I tend to (visually) ignore that whole area of the page. If I am typical, maybe the thermometer should get a promotion (great visual, and I have used the "View all arguments" link.
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    2. Have downloaded and, so far, half read the CSIRO Climate Change: Science and Solutions for Australia booklet. Very useful and easily digested, well formatted resource.
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    3. Personally I'd prefer if there were a single page listing all the "skeptic" scientists and linking to a page for each one, in the same style as the "Climate myths from politicians" page. Doing it like that keeps it dry and avoids accusations of unprofessional attacks from SKS. I would also really like the short links to be available from the "Link to this page" selection of links e.g. to be included in the "Link to this page" selection for The reason being that when answering misinformation on comment pages (e.g. the BBC) space is often a premium so the short links are really useful, but finding the appropriate link for an argument page is currently awkward.
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    4. A link to a list of skeptical peer reviewed papers that have been found wrong or not up to scratch would be great. Have them in alphabetical order from the title of the paper (to make them easy to find). With a brief description of why they are not accepted. Then when you click on the paper there can be more detailed reasons with links to where on Skeptical Science the papers have been debunked. Even have them categorised, for example, sensitivity and proxy records. Deniers just keep on repeating the same papers and to be able to link them to a detailed rebuttal of the work would save a lot of time.
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    5. I second Sapient Fridge's ideas in his/her first paragraph.
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    6. With respect to the cartoon, yes, it is funny, but it's rather extreme to consider the middle position to be unacceptable, no questions asked. Consensus comes from a position somewhere in the middle. The IPCC didn't pick climate sensitivity to be 10. It took something of an average (which necessarily would fall in that "abyss" section). We don't pick a most extreme value as the representative of a group. People know this lesson, that the middle ground is likely where it is most likely to be correct or to lead to some sort of peace among the feuding parties. If the message intended by the cartoon is a different one (eg, about professionals in near consensus vs the full population), then that point should be a little clearer. Plus, the cartoon makes it look as if picking an extreme side is healthier than trying out the middle. How is someone supposed to move from say the right side to the left side in a responsible fashion? Should we blindly accept what "central power" dictates? You know that view doesn't fly at the polls.. and for good reason (and popular polls do count in a "democracy"). If I value democracy, I find it valuable to be convinced personally (convinced to some extent), and this means I need a path if I currently happen to be on what might be the wrong side. Suggesting an extreme position might be the right one looks (eg) elitist from the outside since that is a position saying that you aren't fallible. People who take extreme positions have a history of not being able to argue on merits (eg, because they don't really understand or have a dishonest agenda).. that's what extremism suggests to many people in the middle (falling into the abyss) who you probably want over on your side.
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    7. Jose... I think you're overanalyzing. I believe the intent of the cartoon is to say that by ignoring the science and trying to find the middle ground between these "two sides" politically is a perilous thing. This is not a matter of do we fund more highways or more transmission lines. We can vote on what we believe the right path is. We have a serious problem when one side of a debate is saying we should vote against science (i.e, "knowledge"). Science is telling us we have a serious problem. Let's vote on how we address that problem rather than trying to vote on whether or not to believe the science.
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    8. Jose_X: The character falling into the abyss is Uncle Sam. Toles is critiquing the "middle of the road" position taken by the American people and its government.
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    9. Jose_X: Where is the "middle ground" between "flat earth" and "round earth"? Which is closer to an oblate spheroid (the best model)?
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    10. Jose@6 The middle of the cartoon is not half way between the expected climate change, the abyss is denying the science, there is no middle, rather you accept the science or you dont. United States is taking the roll of not listening to the science, you are suggesting that the United States are going to be accepting the science half way, this is not the case. Even if they did the bare minimum of what the IPCC suggest would be good enough.
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