Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


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.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


How to explain Milankovitch cycles to a hostile Congressman in 30 seconds

Posted on 6 December 2010 by John Cook

Over the last few weeks, I've been publicly put on the spot on two occasions, asked to give very short answers to complex climate questions. On a climate communication panel, Naomi Oreskes asked how I'd answer the CO2 lag question in 30 seconds (and no iPhone app to fall back on). On the Climate Show podcast, Glenn and Gareth asked how I'd answer the global cooling argument in 30 seconds. What's with this 30 second limit?!

Meanwhile, Professor Richard Alley was being grilled by a hostile Republican Congressman who asked him to explain in 15 seconds why climate has changed in the past and how we know humans are causing it now when they didn't back then. I've long been a fan of Richard Alley. Not just because of his rendition of Geoman, possibly the nerdiest song in the history of science. I consider his lecture, The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Climate System, must-watch viewing for anyone interested in climate and wishing to understand past climate change at a much deeper and richer level.

But seeing his answer in a Congressional hearing under those conditions, my admiration went up another notch. In 35 seconds, he manages to explain Milankovitch cycles (aka changes in the Earth's orbit) quicker, funnier and with more clarity than I've heard before. Check out the first 60 seconds then continue on for plenty more Alley goodness...

Another video worth watching features Alley and Ben Santer explaining why we know CO2 is causing global warming. They invoke a subject SkS readers will be well familiar with - the stratosphere is cooling while the troposphere is warming.

So next time I'm in a conversation where someone invokes past climate change, I'll be sure to begin by saying "imagine my bald spot is the North Pole". As my parents informed me last weekend, I'm thinning on top so the metaphor should work well.

H/T to Peter Sinclair from Climate Denial Crock of the Week who posted these videos.

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Prev  1  2  

Comments 51 to 51 out of 51:

  1. Finally, Ben Santer did beat the crap out of Pat Michaels. Very great video :-)
    0 0

Prev  1  2  

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us