Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Consumer Science

We live in an age of consumerism. A basic idea is to sell goods, goods and more goods. Could it be that some aspects of science have bought into this? Science is though, somewhat of a strange market model. As far I can ascertain, it is the only entity that produces goods (journal articles) to either give away or even pay to give away (publishing costs). And it is not often, to my knowledge, that a presentation by a scientists receives the same fee as say a presentation by Bill Clinton or Al Gore. So could it be, admittedly tied up with recent rage to ‘communicate’ science, that scientists have devised (likely unknowingly) a new currency on which to judge success in a world gone mad with consumerism? Has climate modelling transmogrified from a science to a technology, shifting the tendency even more towards consumerism?

Gwyn Prins on Newsnight

Newsnight covered climate policy again, this time interviewing (among others) Mike Hulme and Gwyn Prins, authors of the Hartwell Paper. You can watch it here, starts 16 minutes into it.
There is also an appearance of Sir Daivd King, former chief scientific advisor to the UK government. It may be significant that he has come round to the idea that aggressive CO2 reductions is the wrong approach.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wiedemann im ZDF: Trittbrettfahrer, Klimakosten

Schon am 30. Mai 2010 hatte Michael Wiedemann beim ZDF (Umwelt) wieder mit einer Sendung zum Klimathema zugeschlagen. Ausgangspunkt ist ein Gutachten beim Bundesfinanzministerium. Ich finde, die Sendung lohnt sich anzugucken.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Guest comment: Knutti Reto on an opening comment in an article ...

A reader quoted the two following two sentences from our recent review article about climate sensitivity:”The Earth’s climate is changing rapidly as a result of anthropogenic carbon emissions, and damaging impacts are expected to increase with warming. To prevent these and limit long-term global surface warming to, for example, 2°C, a level of stabilization or of peak atmospheric CO2 concentrations needs to be set.” That statement could be misinterpreted as a political statement of the authors of what has to be done about climate change, or a political statement driving the study.

Monday, June 21, 2010

IPCC - sea level meeting in Kuala Lumpur

Today, the IPCC workshop "Sea Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities" has begun. In Kuala Lumpur. I am reporting here becauses of  a number of interesting details and of interesting invited talks.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Newton and sea level rise

By how much would sea-level rise if the Greenland ice sheet disappears ? Probably quite a lot, but not in Germany, or in North Western Europe for that matter. There, sea level would virtually unaffected. To formulate it a bit provocatively, Greenland is for Western Europeans irrelevant. They should be rather observing Antarctica more closely.

[Update: some other blogs referring to  this post present it as a new study of mine. This study is neither new nor mine. The figure caption in this post refers to some publications. You can also google  authors Milne, Tamiseia, Basset among others. ]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oliver Geden in 2008 über "Klimabewusstes Alltagsverhalten"

Oliver Geden hat schon 2008 die Frage des "klimabewusstes Alltagsverhalten" in einem längeren Aufsatz geschrieben, der das Effizienz-Kriterium aufnimmt. Für die, die nicht gerne lange Texte lesen, gibt es in der Süddeutschen ein Kurzfassung.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reinhard Böhm: Musil's fine summer day in 1913

Guest comment bei Reinhard Böhm

Poor Ulrich – “der Mann ohne Eigenschaften” -, who lived in the post-fin the siècle Vienna, obviously had a slightly shifted perception of what a “fine summer day” had to be. The 1910s saw the coldest summers of the last 200 years. I am sure – born in Vienna myself - the Viennese will have been in their famous mood of lamenting all the time. And in fact they were right: They had experienced a slow but relentless cooling of Augusts for more than 60 years. And they did not know they lived right at a change point: from then on climate warming took the command also in Vienna.

And for the entire summers (the means of June to August) it had been even worse: 1913 saw the second coldest summer, only 0,3°C from the record holder 1813.

What do we learn?
  1. Vienna was a trendsetter in the 19th century – the year without a summer happened three years earlier in our city than in the rest of the world, astonishingly also 2 years before the famous Tambora eruption.
  2. Extraordinary cold summers happen each 100 years – so we expect the next for 2013
  3. “Don’t worry – be happy” and take weather and climate as what it is: an interesting background of our lives but not the dominating one – learn the lesson from the “Mann ohne Eigenschaften”: Right at the climax of terrible summers he was quite happy about a “fine summer day”.
  4. Don’t take too seriously what I was writing – just have fun with it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Public opinion and the crisis of climate science

Only a few weeks ago, we had the 'public trust' debate here on klimazwiebel.Today, spiegel-online posts a remake of the New York Times article by Jon Krosnick from Stanford university from June 8th about a new opinion poll on climate after climategate. According to this survey, 'the public' is far from having lost trust in climate science. Krosnick includes in the presentation of his results a severe critic of the previous surveys (which had stated a dramatic loss of trust in climate science after climategate etc). However, instead of going into the details of this new survey and its results, I want to discuss the role of these surveys for the self-conception of climate science.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Weather, climate, culture

How does climate change change our perception of everyday weather? Yesterday, we enjoyed after a cold and rainy May a really fine (early) summer day in Hamburg. But are there still any innocent 'fine summer days' at all? On June 1st, I read on climateprogress that  May was far too hot elsewhere, and things are not better at home. Joe Romm reminds me that I shouldn't pretend to be innocent anymore. No one should. For example, in the US records are broken permanently: “Climate change is making itself felt in terms of day-to-day weather in the United States,” says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “The ways these records are being broken show how our climate is already shifting.”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oil spill, climate policies, and the role of science

In yesterday's New York Times editorial, we can read that President Obama brought together the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the urgency to pass an energy bill.  There seems to be nothing more obvious than doing so. In the second part of the editorial, more 'traditional' climate arguments for passing the energy bill are mentioned, which are based exclusively on climate science:
'(...) persuading the Senate to act is not only a matter of leadership, but a matter of international obligation. At the Copenhagen climate conference in December, Mr. Obama committed the United States to a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 — the minimum that scientists believe necessary to begin steering the world away from the worst impacts of a warming planet.'
This latter argument sounds pretty esoteric to me, compared to the robustness of the oil argument.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oliver Geden in der ZEIT

Wir hatten hier schon früher über den Artikel Abkehr von 2 Grad Ziel von Oliver Geden gesprochen. Eine Kurzfassung dieser Überlegungen ist jetzt in der ZEIT under dem Titel Die Klimapolitik braucht einen Plan B.
Den Europäern fällt es schwer, ihre hohen Ambitionen an die misslichen Realitäten anzupassen. Beim 2-Grad-Ziel geht es aber nicht anders. erschienen. Meiner Meinung nach ein hevorragendes Beispiel, wie Wissenschaft der Politik (Inhalte wie Prozesse) verschiedene Möglichkeiten für den weiteren Entscheidungsprozeß ausweisen kann.

Nils Roll-Hansen: A lesson from Lysenkoism?

Please do not misunderstand this thread as another attempt to bring in Stalinism. My interest is in the interaction of policy/politics and science in the past - in situations far enough away that they will not arouse passions today (maybe a futile hope). Lysenkoism was one of the worst, if not the worst cases, where this interaction went really bad. Another one was eugenics. How did science come into such bad situations, and how did it escape/recover from it.

Therefore I have asked Nils Roll-Hansen to summarize his knowledge about the Lysenko-case, which is described at length in his book (Roll-Hansen, N., 2005: The Lysenko Effect. The Politics of Science. Amherst, NY: Humanity Book, 335 p) and in a number of articles. He was so kind to fulfill my request ... and the result is here -- Hans von Storch

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Post Script to Uncle Joe and the Watermelons

This posting is not about the content. It is about blogs. The main point being, that regardless of what I said, it no longer matters. The ‘idea’ is ‘out there, to be chopped, diced, and used at whim. And it is ‘out there’ already. (see where to my surprise I have been promoted to ‘an Emeritus professor at Cambridge’. Sorry, wrong Bray. Anyway, you can read the blog if you want.

Guest post by Vicky Slonosky: A few thoughts on the history and philosophy of anthropogenic climate change

One of the research interests of Victoria Slonosky is the analysis of long-term variability from long instrumental records and climate reconstructions. She graduated at McGill University, worked for some time at CRU. She has sent me a very interesting text, which I am glad to post here on her behalf:

This is not a post to discuss the scientific case for or against anthropogenic climate change. The past few months (or years, for some people) have been interesting not so much for any specific revelations, but because they’ve led to a re-examining of many of the arguments. There is so much vigorous debate on almost every aspect of climate change theory that it seems as if every theory, every assumption, has to be considered and tested again from first principles..