2015 SkS Weekly Digest #6

SkS Highlights

Meeting two degree target means 80 per cent of world's coal is unburnable, study says, a guest post by Roz Pidcock of the Carbon Brief attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Given the complexity and high-impact nature of the issues surrounding climate change and energy use, we'll be seeing a lot more articles of this nature in the future. 

The "D" Word 

If you are a veteran of the blog wars about manmade climate change, you are keenly aware that use of the word "denier" is a major hot-button issue that blossoms on a fairly regular basis. If you are interested in finding out the latest in this never-ending discussion, you will want to check out two recent posts on the website, And Then There's Physics

  1. Hostilities posted Feb 2, 2015
  2. Guest post : Label the behaviour, not the person posted Feb 7, 2105

Toon of the Week

 2015 Toon 6

Hat tip to I Heart Climate Scientists. 

El Niño Watch

When it comes to El Nino, 2014-15 may be the years that launched a thousand academic papers.

Since last March, forecasters have said an El Nino was on the way. The only trouble is, it hasn’t arrived. Call it the period of the phantom El Nino, a shimmering siren of weather patterns yet to come that has been seen fluttering in the sparkling waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

While every El Nino sparks research, this one — or the lack thereof — is certain to prompt even more. Part of the reason is that while some global weather patterns reacted as though an El Nino was taking place, the main characteristics of the phenomenon never materialized. If there’s anything scientists hate, it’s not understanding why something happened.

“One thing that stands out on this ENSO is how wrong the models were in predicting a major event in 2014,’’ said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

El Nino Forecasts Flop as Puzzled Scientists Search for Answers by Brian K. Sullivan, Bloomberg/Insurance Journal,Feb 6, 2015

Quote of the Week

Professor Will Steffen said the record temperatures of 2013 were caused by man-made emissions.

"What were the odds of that happening without the human carbon pollution, and what were the odds with human carbon pollution? The answer is quite striking," he said.

"The answer is that year, 2013, being the hottest year in Australia ever, was virtually impossible without human emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"That's conclusive evidence in my view that human driven emission of greenhouse gases were the primary cause of 2013 being the hottest year on record.

"In other words, it wouldn't have happened without them."

The report also looked at heatwaves in Australia and found they were becoming longer, hotter, and occurring more frequently.

Professor Steffen said it highlighted the importance of taking action to reduce emissions.

"If we don't get on top of this, what you consider an extreme heat event now would be a normal summer by the middle of the century," he said.

2013 record heatwave 'virtually impossible' without climate change, Climate Council of Australia report says by Stephanie Anderson, ABC, Feb 7, 2015  

SkS in the News

Ken Mori concludes his Letter-to-the-Editor with the following:

Should your readers wish to have more information on this topic and to come to their own conclusions regarding John Trainor’s letter, your readers can google, “climate change myth vs science, www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php” and “who are the climate change deniers."

A Response by Ken Mori, The Morning Star, Feb 1, 2015 

SkS Spotlights

"If we want our children to have a healthy future, we need climate solutions now."

Climate Parents was launched to give voice to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else concerned about the climate our children are inheriting. We want to bring together parents from every walk of life to take action. Whether you’re a long time advocate on climate change or just beginning to understand its implications for our kids, Climate Parents is for you. Below is more information — please reach out and say hello! Every parent we hear from is one more source of inspiration for our work. 

Coming Soon on SkS

Poster of the Week

2015 Poster 6

Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City understands climate science. Hat tip to I Heart Climate Scientists. 

SkS Week in Review

97 Hours of Consensus: Wenju Cai

97 Hours: Wenju Cai

Wenju Cai's bio page

Media Matters Posts about Environment & Science

Posted by John Hartz on Sunday, 8 February, 2015

Creative Commons License The Skeptical Science website by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.