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Archives -- A communicator's toolkit to complement SkS

Posted on 29 June 2011 by Tom Smerling

Communicating about climate to non-scientists is hard.   Most people find the topics complex and unfamiliar.   Often, an apt metaphor or quote can go a long way toward helping your audience focus, grasp the concept, and remember your point.

But coming up with “sticky” messages is itself a challenge.  Where can you turn?   Don McCubbin and I created to meet this need.  We collect the best climate metaphors, quotes, and soundbite, then add graphics and science links.  

Some “bites” -- like the one above -- rely on metaphors to convey key concepts.    Others are just punchy one-liners to lighten things up:

Most come with a funny or eye-catching graphic:



"CO2 can't cause global warming, because in the past CO2 lagged temperature rise." 

This is like saying "Chickens do not lay eggs, because they have been observed to hatch from them."


Each item cites the source and includes a link to the underlying science (often at SkS).

We view as an online climate communicators' "tookit," a companion to SkS.  We foresee many opportunities for synergy.

In addition to the "Bites" collection, we are adding other "Tools" for climate communicators, such as:

  • Humor – graphic and verbal climate humor
  • Tips – best advice for effective climate communication
  • Narratives – alternative ways to tell the climate story
  • Rebuttals – promo for SkS, plus links other rebuttal sites
  • Great Presentations – examples from top climate communicators 
  • Graphics & Slides – links and a downloadable library

We don't reinvent the wheel.    If a tool already exists online, we simply link to it.   If not, we create something.

Our goal is that when a climate communicator sits down to write, they can always find something in CB to suit their audience, their topic and their taste.

During the beta phase, we would like SkSers to be among the first to take a look and let us know what you think.    Is ClimateBites useful to you?    What would make it more useful...or user-friendly?    (For feedback, use the site's "Forum" or "About" tabs.)

We especially invite you to add your own favorite climate “zingers.” 

Tom Smerling


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Comments 1 to 11:

  1. Solid cms choice.
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  2. The content is pretty cool too.
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  3. Humanracesurvival & Kevin C. Thanks! We're new at this so all feedback is helpful.
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  4. Checkout for the best cms templates and if you like to offer your user facebook walls and such. If you need help contact me at
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  5. Kudos to Tom Smerling & Don McCubbin for creating ClimateBites. It is indeed a nice supplement to SkS. Let's grow the synergistic impacts by continuing to coordinate our efforts.
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  6. wow that's great - now I don't have to steal from my old articles -- it's a a whole new playground...yea! (and I will be happy to share some of my educational 'toys')
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    [DB] Added missing equals sign to URL tag.

  7. Very interesting. I'll take a look the next time I'm writting some rebuttal or explanation on my blog.
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  8. It looks great!
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  9. Thanks everybody! As the new kid on the block, we just so grateful for your feedback and suggestions. Please let us know how we can make it more useful to you - we can have fun with this.
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  10. The following is worth bottling... Scientists compare the normal variation in weather with rolls of the dice. Adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere loads the dice, increasing odds of such extreme weather events. It's not just that the weather dice are altered, however. As Steve Sherwood , co-director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia, puts it, "it is more like painting an extra spot on each face of one of the dice, so that it goes from 2 to 7 instead of 1 to 6. This increases the odds of rolling 11 or 12, but also makes it possible to roll 13." Source: Global Warming and the Science of Extreme Weather, Scientific American, June 29, 2011
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  11. Nice catch, Badgersouth. we'll add it as a variation to our current "loaded dice" bite. (BTW you can add your own favorite "bites" directly on the site, with the "add a bite" button in "Bites.")
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