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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #45, 2019

Posted on 12 November 2019 by Doug Bostrom

A telegenic thumb on the scales of perception

Kristin Timm reports on presentation habits of television weather forecasters,  in AMS journal Weather, Climate and Society. "Conformal comportment" might be the label on the bucket of behaviors described in Timm's paper, but styles change with time— hopefully. Abstract:

The journalistic norm of balance bas been described as the practice of giving equal weight to different sides of a story; false balance is balanced reporting when the weight of evidence strongly favors one side over others—for example, the reality of human-caused climate change. False balance is problematic because it skews public perception of expert agreement. Through formative interviews and a survey of American weathercasters about climate change reporting, we found that objectivity and balance—topics that have frequently been studied with environmental journalists—are also relevant to understanding climate change reporting among weathercasters. Questions about the practice of and reasons for presenting an opposing viewpoint when reporting on climate change were included in a 2017 census survey of weathercasters working in the United States (N=480; response rate=22%). When reporting on climate change, 35% of weathercasters present an opposing viewpoint ‘always’ or ‘most of the time.’ Their rationale for reporting opposing viewpoints included the journalistic norms of objectivity and balanced reporting (53%), their perceived uncertainty of climate science (21%), to acknowledge differences of opinion (17%), to maintain credibility (14%), and to strengthen the story (7%). These findings show that climate change reporting from weathercasters sometimes includes opposing viewpoints, and possibly a false balance, but further research is necessary. Moreover, prior research has shown that the climate reporting practices among weathercasters are evolving rapidly and so the problem of false balance reporting may already be self-correcting.

Results may vary

With last week's news that the US is withdrawing from The Paris Agreement, the article by Jenouvrier et al The Paris Agreement objectives will likely halt future declines of emperor penguins is as poignant as it is unfortunate in its publication timing. The removal of the largest economy in the world from the input assumptions of the work will surely upend the results. Given that the US has replaced defined objectives with vague assertions of unquantified ambition to be better, we can translate the US decision as a tacit retreat in the direction of "business as usual."  Th situation described in the abstract as it stood prior to the USA's breaking of faith naturally leads to implications:

Here we project the dynamics of all known emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) colonies under new climate change scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement objectives using a climate?dependent?metapopulation model. Our model includes various dispersal behaviors so that penguins could modulate climate effects through movement and habitat selection. Under business?as?usual greenhouse gas emissions, we show that 80% of the colonies are projected to be quasiextinct by 2100, thus the total abundance of emperor penguins is projected to decline by at least 81% relative to its initial size, regardless of dispersal abilities. In contrast, if the Paris Agreement objectives are met, viable emperor penguin refuges will exist in Antarctica, and only 19% and 31% colonies are projected to be quasiextinct by 2100 under the Paris 1.5 and 2 climate scenarios respectively. 

Were it not for the successful results of decades of deceit the article's conclusions might not have been superseded so swiftly and sadly. A better-informed US population might not have tolerated such an abdication of pride by "leadership." 

85 Articles:

Physical science of anthropogenic global warming & effects

An emergent constraint on future Arctic sea-ice albedo feedback

Possible Increased frequency of ENSO-related dry and wet conditions over some major watersheds in a warming climate (open access)

Observation of global warming & global warming effects

Increasing water vapor in the stratosphere and mesosphere after 2002

Assessment of Atmospheric Reanalyses with Independent Observations in the Weddell Sea, the Antarctic

Areal models for spatially coherent trend detection: the case of British peak river flows

Analysis of ocean tide induced magnetic fields derived from oceanic in?situ observations — climate trends and the remarkable sensitivity of shelf regions

Changes of the Arctic marginal ice zone (open access)

Melt at grounding line controls observed and future retreat of Smith, Pope, and Kohler glaciers (open access)

Glacier runoff variations since 1955 in the Maipo River Basin, semiarid Andes of central Chile (open access)

Recent trends in the UTLS temperature and tropical tropopause parameters over tropical South Indian region

Assessing precipitation trends in the Americas with historical data: A review

The east?west division of changing precipitation in Nepal

Modeling global warming & global warming effects

Constraining uncertainties in CMIP5 projections of September Arctic sea ice extent with observations (open access)

Equilibrium- and transient-state dependencies of climate sensitivity: are they important for climate projections? (open access)

Evaluation of methods for selecting climate models to simulate future hydrological change

Inter?model spread in the Northern Hemisphere stratospheric polar vortex response to climate change in the CMIP5 models

Size of the atmospheric blocking events: Scaling law and response to climate change

Reassessing the value of regional climate modelling using palaeoclimate simulations

Larger future intensification of rainfall in the West African Sahel in a convection?permitting model

Contributions of extreme and non?extreme precipitation to California precipitation seasonality changes under warming

Evaluation of Regional Climate Models using Regionally?Optimized GRACE Mascons in the Amery and Getz ice shelves basins, Antarctica

The Role of Circulation and Its Changes in Present and Future Atmospheric Rivers over western North America (open access)

A spurious warming trend in the NMME equatorial Pacific SST hindcasts

The impact of climate change on migration: a synthesis of recent empirical insights

Assessing coincidence probability for extreme precipitation events in the Jinsha River basin

Predicting future climate at high spatial and temporal resolution

Changes in future rainfall extremes over northeast Bangladesh: A Bayesian Model Averaging approach

Projected increase in the spatial extent of contiguous US summer heat waves and associated attributes (open access)

Regional climate model projections underestimate future warming due to missing plant physiological CO 2 response (open access)

A substantial rise in the area and population affected by dryness in South Asia under 1.5 °C, 2.0 °C and 2.5 °C warmer worlds (open access)

A surface modelling approach for attribution and disentanglement of the effects of global warming from urbanization in temperature extremes: application to Lisbon

Humans dealing with our global warming

The prevalence and rationale for presenting an opposing viewpoint in climate change reporting: Findings from a United States national survey of TV weathercasters (open access)

Climate politics, metaphors and the fractal carbon trap

Marginal climate and air quality costs of aviation emissions (open access)

Overlooked ocean strategies to address climate change

Beyond participation: when citizen engagement leads to undesirable outcomes for nature-based solutions and climate change adaptation (open access)

Assessing the macroeconomic impacts of individual behavioral changes on carbon emissions (open access)

A critically modern ecological economics for the Anthropocene

Integrate risk from climate change in China under global warming of 1.5°C and 2.0°C (open access)

Making society climate-resilient: international progress under the Global Framework for Climate Services (open access)

Making climate information services accessible to communities: What can we learn from environmental risk communication research?

Determinants of climate change policy adoption: A meta-analysis

Occurrence of strong and very strong heat stress in Poland and its circulation conditions (open access)

Four scenarios of the energy transition: Drivers, consequences, and implications for geopolitics

“We can’t do it on our own!”—Integrating stakeholder and scientific knowledge of future flood risk to inform climate change adaptation planning in a coastal region

Contribution of rice variety renewal and agronomic innovations to yield improvement and greenhouse gas mitigation in China (open access)

A dynamic climate finance allocation mechanism reflecting the Paris Agreement (open access)

Personal harm and support for climate change mitigation policies: Evidence from 10 U.S. communities impacted by extreme weather

Modeling trade-offs across carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and equity in the distribution of global REDD+ funds (open access)

Climate change extremes and barriers to successful adaptation outcomes: Disentangling a paradox in the semi-arid savanna zone of northern Ghana

Spatial influence evaluation research of economic growth on greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil

The evolution of the energy and carbon intensities of developing countries

Modelling national, provincial and city-level low-carbon energy transformation pathways

The role of services and capital in footprint modelling (open access)

Constructing low-carbon futures? Competing storylines in the Estonian energy sector's translation of EU energy goals

Biology and global warming

An assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on freshwater habitats and biota of Indiana, USA

The impact of climate change on migration: a synthesis of recent empirical insights

Climate change threatens on endangered relict Serbian spruce

Divergent responses of spring phenology to daytime and nighttime warming

Inverse effects of recent warming on trees growing at the low and high altitudes of the Dabie Mountains, subtropical China

Spatial synchrony in the response of a long range migratory species (Salmo salar) to climate change in the North Atlantic Ocean

Simulated climate change decreases nutrient resorption from senescing leaves

Climate?driven shift in coral morphological structure predicts decline of juvenile reef fishes

The Paris Agreement objectives will likely halt future declines of emperor penguins

Combined effects of warming and freshening on the physiological energetics of the edible whelk Trophon geversianus

Inconsistent recognition of uncertainty in studies of climate change impacts on forests (open access)

Decreased snowpack and warmer temperatures reduce the negative effects of interspecific competitors on regenerating conifers

GHG sources and sinks, flux

Global mycorrhizal plant distribution linked to terrestrial carbon stocks (open access)

Intact and managed peatland soils as a source and sink of GHGs from 1850 to 2100

Regulation of carbon dioxide and methane in small agricultural reservoirs: optimizing potential for greenhouse gas uptake (open access)


Author Correction: Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region (open access)

Response of N2O production rate to ocean acidification in the western North Pacific

Acceleration of Ocean Acidification in the Western North Pacific


Please let us know if you're aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we've missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.

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

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

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Hi, I was looking at asking some climate change questions on the web and thought it would be nice if the Skeptical Science website had a section where we could ask questions. Let me know what you think. 


    That's an interesting idea, and timely as we're (slowly) getting underway with an overhaul of the site.  In the meantime, we do closely monitor input from our contact page and highly encourage directing questions there. Questions are a useful type of feedback— we appreciate all  of them and will always try to answer as best we may. . 

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  2. Actually as a regular reader of this website, thats quite a good idea. I doubt the website people would have time to answer many but other readers may. It could be a weekly thing.

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