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Video on Climate Change Lines of Evidence by the National Academy of Science

Posted on 26 January 2013 by John Cook

The U.S. National Academy of Science have produced a series of videos providing a basic overview of climate science - the series is called Climate Change: Lines of Evidence. The 7 chapters covered are:

Chapter 1: What is Climate?

Chapter 2: Is Earth Warming?

Chapter 3: Greenhouse Gases

Chapter 4: Increased Emissions

Chapter 5: How Much Warming?

Chapter 6: Solar Influence

Chapter 7: Natural Cycles

You can also watch the entire series in a single YouTube video.

The information is also available in booklet form which can be ordered from the National Academies Press in sets, at just $1 per set (which IMHO is a steal) plus shipping and handling. There are two options: (1) a set of 2 booklets + 1 DVD  and (2) a set of 3 booklets

The booklet summarizes the current state of knowledge about climate change, explains some impacts expected in this century and beyond and examines how science can help inform choices about managing and reducing climate risks. The booklet has lots of great figures, freely available for redistribution.

The video series was recently featured on Real Climate and there was a quite vigorous discussion where RC readers accused the videos of not having enough passion. This is the NAS perspective on what their videos are meant to achieve:

Keep in mind that the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council are not in the business of advocacy but rather providing objective scientific information. Thus, the narration is intentionally evenly toned.

The videos provide an overview of how we know what we know based on the lines of evidence that were covered in Advancing the Science of Climate Change (NRC 2011), which is part of the America’s Climate Choices series of reports. It was cut into chapters so the public and educators can learn about some of the major lines of evidence that show climate change is human caused.

We hope that people can use this objective information to advance their own understanding. An accompanying booklet has additional text and figures for those who are looking for a bit more in-depth information.

This movie is only a summary of 'some' of the basics of climate science pertaining to how we know what we know. Climate science is complex and there are many more lines of evidence not included in this video. We hope that these videos will be useful in helping more people understand Climate Change and its Lines of Evidence.

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Comments 1 to 6:

  1. I find the video (I did not check the booklet) quite informative and useful as an entry level teaching tool. The only inaccurate (to my liking) detail is: - the suggestion that the current total energy imbalance due to all forcings is 1.6Wm-2. That's is incorrect, because the temps has risen by .6C, therefore increasing the heat loss due to IR by ~1Wm-2 since preindustrial, therefore the current imbalance is 0.6Wm-2 and that (rather than 1.6Wm-2) is the equivalent of 2HBsec-1 they are talking about thereafter.
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  2. In addition to the video series mentioned above, it may be interesting for those who like videos (I really hate! internet videos) that the "German Advisory Council on Global Change" (WBGU) has published another video series recently. It's a kind of "Video Seminar" that adds to a report named "World in Transition – A Social contract for Sustainability" and covers a broad range of topics. For further information you may have a look at: E-Seminar "Transformation" [WBGU, english]
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  3. Pretty nice video with well-produced graphics. I did notice, however, at about 11.5 minutes in, there was a small discussion about atmospheric methane that includes the assertion that its concentration has "leveled-off." The chart shown terminates at 2006. It should be noted that since 2006, atmospheric methane concentrations have increased steadily. More data here:
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  4. The video is excellent. These are exactly what is needed to help educate the ignorant. I think non-emotional professionally done videos like this have more potential to turn a contrarian-bias mind. 2/3 of these people are nearly a lost hope anyway, and a passionate, overbearing or spiteful message will only further entrench them. For the other 1/3 (who still have a thread of true skepticism), they will only be receptive to these sorts of very educational and fair-balanced, non-polarizing messages. This is the way to go! Unfortunately, there are too FEW of these available. Why is that? In my opinion, the climate change collegiate are, sadly, a dis-organized crew (understandably because their agenda isn't based on contrived cooked information). But, a little more organization would still help a lot. That's what makes this SkS site so good (a clear organized light in the abundant sea of conflicting messages). One obvious omission is a conservative (low-end) projection to 2100 based on BAU, or better yet, a moderate reduction in GH emissions (starting in say 2025). Even a conservative projection like this would be a big eye-opener for many. ... I will be sharing the youtube site. ... Thanks for sharing here!
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  5. The radiative forcing is indeed greater than the observed temperature rise. This doesn't necessarily mean that the radiative forcing is in error. It could easily be that Giai's feed back mechanisms are "fighting" against the radiative forcing. The possibility is that this is a 'light switch' phenomenon and that when forced far enough, we will see a step change to a warmer world in keeping with the level of radiative forcing. An ice free Arctic ocean in, say, July might be when we will see such a lurch upward.
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  6. These videos are very good for genuine skeptics who are prepared to be open minded - and I'd include thousands of people who have been fed misinformation in that description. It is very U.S. centred - but that is probably a good thing. I'd like to see something similar come from the Royal Society.
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