Friday, April 30, 2010

Ian McEwan's novel: Solar

Ian McEwan seems to be in the anglosaxon world a well-received author of fiction - and his newest novel is "Solar". I came across this novel because I was invited by nature (!) to review it - it deals with climate change. Certainly a uncommon request, but a welcome one for me. If you want to read my assessment, access the 29 April issue of nature

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Side Glance: The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson, Tate Modern 2004

 In 2004, Eliasson installed the Weather Project at Tate Modern in London. At the far end of the hall is a giant semi-circular form made up of hundreds of mono-frequency lamps. The arc repeated in the mirror overhead produces a sphere of dazzling radiance linking the real space with the reflection.
"Eliasson views the weather – wind, rain, sun – as one of the few fundamental encounters with nature that can still be experienced in the city. He is also interested in how the weather shapes a city and, in turn, how the city itself becomes a filter through which to experience the weather. ‘Every city mediates its own weather’, Eliasson has said.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

People's World Conference on Climate Change

 The climate change debate has many layers. Here on klimazwiebel we tend to discuss climate in scientific terms and a technology based free market spirit (or something like that -:)).  Copenhagen was an attempt to solve the climate problem in 'our' terms, and it failed.  But of course, there are other perspectives and approaches. One is the 'People's World Conference on Climate Change' in Bolivia, which is understood explicitly as an alternative to Copenhagen. This summit gathers grassroots movements and NGOs from many places all over the world,  and it represents the overall idea that especially indigenous (or ethnic) groups have a privileged access to the planet we inhabit. And there is, I guess, a direct connection to subcultures in the West; critic of capitalism and Mother Earth folklore are wide spread elements of Western youth cultures. Thus, this conference deserves our attention; isn't it as multi-layered, contradictory, ridiculous and serious as the one in Copenhagen? Especially the alternative media report from this event.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The value of long-term predictions

'In 1893 the World Columbian Exposition was held to celebrate the technological prowess of the time. (...). George Westinghouse, founder of Westinghouse and inventor of the modern compressed air train brake, wrote that trains were unlikely ever to go faster than 30 miles per hour. He saw this as no problem, however, because there was no need to go faster'.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random Thoughts about Volcano Eruptions and the European Airspace

Mojib Latif says that the volcano eruptions will have no consequences for the climate. But he adds that their effects show how vulnerable we have become in respect to  'completely natural phenomena'. A British economist who is stuck in Tokyo told the New York Times that “We don’t understand how interconnected we are until you can’t do it anymore.” I do agree with both statements and want to extend the meaning of interconnectedness; we are not only interconnected in terms of economy etc, but we are also interconnected with the workings of nature inside the earth  and its effects on the upper atmosphere.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The two limits debates: ‘‘Limits to Growth’’ and climate change

I have an article in press which I co-authored with Josh Eastin and Aseem Prakash. It will soon appear in Futures and you can read it here.

Can't you see the acceleration ?

The current rate of global sea-level rise is 2-3 mm/year. To hit 1 m of sea-level rise in 2100 this rate should  have to accelerate at least to 10 mm/year or faster at some point in th 21st century. While we await this to happen we may have a look at the un-smoothed monthly global sea-level data from satellite measurements. But before watching the data plot, think for a few seconds what you are expecting to see..

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sea-level rise

After the hockey-stick battle it seems that the issue of sea-level rise has all the odds to become the next matter for a constructive and polite debate. Nature Reports has two commentaries on projections for future sea-level rise, describing how different authors ( Rahmstorf on one side and Lowe and Gregory on the either side)  cook their rice with different recipes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rob Maris: Climatic/Politic Survey Analysis

Analysis by Rob Maris

From march 23rd until april 1st, a survey has been run where focus was on getting an idea of correlationship between climatic viewpoint and political viewpoint of Klimazwiebel readers.

There is no no-risk. A view from biology.

Here is another insight into the workings of science. Biologists play an important role in climate science, of course. They closely observe changes in the flora or in migration patterns of animals, and they document how non-human beings are responsive to changes in climate. Their perception of climate change is maybe a different one from those of mathematicians or physicists; it is not only a curve on a screen. This is true for example for Dr. Parmesan, a renowned biologist and lead author of the IPCC: "I've already watched populations go extinct. A lot of people haven't seen much change within their systems. To them it's a thing that's far away, maybe 100 years from now, but I can see that it's not 100 years from now. It's right now." Read her story here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guest contribution. Isaac Schumann on Eastbrook

Guest contribution by Isaac Schumann.

In his blog entry Steve Eastbrook does a very good job at explaining the public's misunderstandings of the scientific process and of peer review in general. It is an unusually honest description of the way many scientists feel and, I think, would be good for non-scientists to read. However, I would see this as a counter argument to Werner's Easterposting; that dialogue with the public is a two way street, both sides should learn something about the other. Professor Eastbrook calls this “naive” and “irresponsible”, science will always be incomprehensible to the layman. He concludes that the media, politicians and business leaders must be more "responsible" when communicating science to the public.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chill out

It's Easter time, and it's time to chill out. This is what the communication researcher Matthew C. Nisbet also recommends in his article 'Chill out. Climate scientists are getting a little too angry for their own good'.  He argues that continuing the 'war' against skeptics leads into 'a dangerous trap, fueling further political disagreement while risking public trust in science'.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Auf Deutsch: Politik und Wissenschaft

Anbei eine Einführung für einen Vortrag von mir - über kritische Kommentare dazu würde ich mich freuen -- Hans von Storch

New article in Spiegel

A lengthy article in DER SPIEGEL discusses the present situation - in German and in English.