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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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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #40, 2020

"Regression to the tail"

Distinguished scholar Bent Flyvbjerg offers some sobering words on our experiential boundaries and hence our limitations on statistical thinking. To help address these he introduces a new concept:

"There is nothing as practical as a theory that is correct. Regression to the mean has been proven mathematically for many types of statistics and is highly useful in health, insurance, schools, on factory floors, in casinos, and in risk management, e.g., for flight safety.

But regression to the mean presupposes that a population mean exists. For some random events of great social consequence this is not the case.

Size-distributions of pandemics, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, wars, and terrorist attacks, e.g., have no population mean, or the mean is ill defined due to infinite variance. In other words, mean and/or variance do not exist. Regression to the mean is a meaningless concept for such distributions, whereas what one might call "regression to the tail" is meaningful and consequential."

Professor Flyvbjerg elaborates and elucidates his thinking in this must-read comment to ES&P: The law of regression to the tail: How to survive Covid-19, the climate crisis, and other disasters

New Research tweak on "preprint" articles

In our feeds we occasionally receive pointers to  "preprint" versions of papers. The paper has crossed the second hurdle (after research and writing!) before publication and has been accepted for review by an editor, but has not yet been waved through by peer reviewers for publishing. After a bit of internal discussion our decision is to list these with a tag "(preprint)." The deciding factor here is deference to the policy of a journal to invite members of the public to see such work in progress.

It is inadvisable to construct an elaborate mental model or argument based on the content of papers with preprint status.

101 articles

Physical science of global warming & effects

Factors Regulating the Multidecadal Changes in MJO Amplitude over the Twentieth Century

Observations of global warming & effects

Factors Regulating the Multidecadal Changes in MJO Amplitude over the Twentieth Century

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate & global warming

Modeling, simulation & projection of global warming & global warming effects MSWE

Anthropogenic aerosol forcing of the AMOC and the associated mechanisms in CMIP6 models
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-769 (preprint)

Changes in extreme temperature events over Africa under 1.5oC and 2.0oC global warming scenarios

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Understanding the Distribution of Multimodel Ensembles

Cryosphere & climate change

Paleoclimate

Biology & global warming

Trophic interactions will expand geographically but be less intense as oceans warm

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Evaluating China's fossil-fuel CO2 emissions from a comprehensive dataset of nine inventories

Decomposition of the US CO2 emissions and its mitigation potential: An aggregate and sectoral analysis

CO2 removal & mitigation science & engineering

Geoengineering climate

Black carbon Climate change communications & cognition

Agronomy & climate change

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Low?carbon transition risks for finance
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/wcc.678

Climate change mitigation & adaptation public policy research

Climate change impacts on human culture

Other

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Obtaining articles wihout journal subscriptions

We know it's frustrating that many articles we cite here are not free to read. One-off paid access fees are generally astronomically priced, suitable for such as "On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light but not as a gamble on unknowns. With a median world income of US\$ 9,3733, for most of us US\$ 42 is significant money to wager on an article's relevance and importance.

• Unpaywall offers a browser extension for Chrome that automatically indicates when an article is freely accessible and provides immediate access without further trouble. Unpaywall is also unscammy, works well, is itself offered free to use. The organizers (a legitimate nonprofit) report about a 50% success rate
• The weekly New Research catch is checked against the Unpaywall database with accessible items being flagged. Especially for just-published articles this mechansim may fail. If you're interested in an article title and it is not listed here as "open access," be sure to check the link anyway.
• If you're interested in an article and it is not listed here as "open access," be sure to check the link anyway. Due to time constraints open access articles are identified by us via  imperfect machine analysis. Compared with Unpaywall statistics we successfully  identify roughly 2/3rds of open access articles. There's definitely gold left in the ground.

How is New Research assembled?

Most articles appearing here are found via  RSS feeds from journal publishers, filtered by search terms to produce raw output for assessment of relevance.

Relevant articles are then queried against the Unpaywall database, to identify open access articles and expose useful metadata for articles appearing in the database.

The objective of New Research isn't to cast a tinge on scientific results, to color readers' impressions. Hence candidate articles are assessed via two metrics only:

• Was an article deemed of sufficient merit by a team of journal editors and peer reviewers? The fact of journal RSS output assigns a "yes" to this automatically.
• Is an article relevant to the topic of anthropogenic climate change? Due to filter overlap with other publication topics of inquiry about 1/4 of RSS output makes the cut.

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Journals covered

A list of journals we cover may be found here. We welcome pointers to omissions, new journals etc.

Previous edition

The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here.

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1. Some interesting research: "Why telling people how to save the planet may backfire".

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2. Thanks Nigel. Very interesting, particularly as it agrees with my intuitions. :-)

Climate communications for a popular audience are substantially worthless because they mostly reach only people who don't need persuading.

Meanwhile our preferred lexicon and methods are littered with landmines, starting with loud and frequently irrelevant semaphoring of political alignment and continuing with hopeless moon shot attempts at complete value reeducation.

There's a whole other language left largely fallow. Stable energy supply. Jobs that last forever, multigenerational livelihoods. Cars that are more fun to drive and with engines that never become an oily mess. All true, and all appealing to folks who don't share our concerns.

Some people don't care about polar bears. We'll likely never be able to make them care. On a 100 million year time scale, why should they? Bears come and bears go. The vast majority of us don't even think 50 or 100 years ahead.

But they do care about things that overlap with our own parochial concerns.  And there are enough of 'em to really gum up the works of modernization, as we've seen.

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