Saturday, July 28, 2012

Studying urban heat island effect on a bike

It is long known that in cities there may be a significant climatic effect due to urbanization - thus in cities we have the interesting and challenging task of determining at least three significant drivers for change, if not more, namely the effect of the local modification of the environment as well as the local manifestation of global change due to greenhouse gases (plus, possibly other global factors). Unfortunately, systematic studies about the determination and separation of these effects - in principle a detection and attribution task - have not been done often. At least, I am not aware of such efforts; indeed even studies only on the size and distribution of the urban heat island effect (UHI) are not done often; in Hamburg, a first study was only published in the last few years - before that one could hear that in a maritime climatic environment as Hamburg, the effect would be negligible. It is not.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tageschau oder Politiken

"Fast die gesamte Oberfläche des grönländischen Eisschilds ist Mitte Juli zumindest angetaut. Das teilte die US-Weltraumagentur NASA mit. Das Ausmaß sei größer als in allen zurückliegenden Jahren, in denen dieser Prozess mit Satelliten beobachtet werde", teilt unter der Überschrift "Grönland taut an".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pragmatism and Cultural Studies

Fundamental ideologies, beliefs, values, artifacts (technology / tool / literature and poems)), values, assumptions are the things that make up culture. (I am sure I have missed a few but you get the idea.). In our cultural analysis of climate change many of these have been catalogued in one way or another, in one region or another, at one time or another, with one group of people or another. We have learned ‘how people feel about nature’ or ‘how people feel about climate change’ and I have also been made aware of some nice poems. Now, knowledge for knowledge’s sake is a nice luxury but climate change is, we are told, about real danger in need of real pragmatic action, although many ideals are often floated.

Let’s assume for this exercise that climate change is indeed one of the greatest and most dangerous issues facing life (in all of its aspects, as we know it) on Earth. Then what is the pragmatic contribution of cultural studies? (I admit there is probably a great deal I do not know about cultural studies and would therefore be grateful for any examples.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

Hartwell Papier auf dem Vormarsch

Nico Stehr, der Soziologe aus Friedrichshafen, plädiert auf spiegel-online für eine "Neue Klimapolitik" und fordert: "Vergesst unsere Umweltsünden!" Routinemäßig werden in vielen Kreisen Klimatagungen der UNO als Flop, das Kyoto-Modell als zum Scheitern verurteilt und die Klimapolitik insgesamt als ein Debakel bezeichnet. So auch nach der jüngsten UN Klimatagung in Berlin. Zeit also, wieder einmal auf das Hartwell-Papier hinzuweisen, das auf der klimazwiebel ja schon oft diskutiert wurde. Nico Stehr ist einer der Autoren dieses Papiers, zu denen so namhafte Leute wie unser geschätzter Reiner Grundmann, Mike Hulme, Dan Sarewitz, Roger Pielke jr. oder Steve Rayner gehören - alles große Namen, die den "anthropogenen Klimawandel" nicht nur als ein rein naturwissenschaftliches Problem betrachten. Bei den Hartwellern steht nicht die CO2 Reduktion im Vordergrund der Forderungen, sondern das eigentlich eher  klimaferne Ziel der "Menschenwürde". Die Entkarbonisierung ist, so Nico Stehr, "nur als ein Nebengewinn zu erreichen (...), der bei der Verfolgung anderer, politisch attraktiver und pragmatischer Ziele abfällt."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sustainable climate science

A discussion about "sustainable climate science" has been published as

von Storch, H., 2012: Sustainable climate science, In: M. Reckermann, K. Brander, B. MacKenzie and A. Omstedt (eds): Climate Impacts on the Baltic Sea: From Science to Policy, 201-209

The full manuscript is available from, the abstract reads:
To do climate science sustainably, a number of constraints in practicing research and communicating science need to be implemented. Among them are the admission of uncertainty and the possibility for future revision, the recognition that scientific knowledge is challenged and influenced by cultural constructions, and the usage of accurate language, which is not conflicting with every-day language. That scientific knowledge does not directly lead to political conclusions must also be recognized. A few elements needed for a successful science-public dialogue are listed and discussed.

post-normal climate science: special issue

We are glad to announce a special issue of  "Nature and Culture" on "post-normal climate science", edited by Werner Krauss, Mike S. Schäfer and Hans von Storch. It is follow-up to our last year's workshop on "post-normal science: the case of climate research", which was discussed for example here and now gets a wonderful update by Jerry Ravetz, who puts the workshop into the context of the history of post-normal science.  During this summer, we will present his and all the other articles here on klimazwiebel for discussion. 

Judith Curry already presented Silke Beck's article from this special issue,  'Between tribalism and trust: The IPCC under the "public microscope",' here on Climate etc. This is an excellent piece of social science, which aims to reconstruct a debate in order to show how it came into being and to make it understandable. This is not about truth or not truth, right or wrong: this is about the social dynamics of a public and highly contested debate.

Read here the abstract (main parts of the text and a link to the manuscript you find on the Judith Curry link)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Psychologische Beratungsstellen?

Ein Leser berichtet:

So gerade gesehen auf der CSC webseite (siehe unten).

Kindern geht es also am besten wenn sie - trotz der objektiven Bedrohung des Klimawandels - entweder in die Wissenschaft(ler) vertrauen, oder auf Gott. Das ist wohl beides gleich hilfreich. Oder aber sie verfallen in eine Verleugnungsstrategie (werden da die zukünftigen Skeptiker heranerzogen??)  Gibt es denn - so frage ich mich - eigentlich schon psychologische Beratungsstellen für durch den Klimawandel traumatisierte Personen (insbesondere Kinder?). Das wird hier leider nicht erwähnt.

"Statistically significant scenarios"

Sometimes, scenarios of possible future climate change are examined if they would represent a "statistically significant" change from present conditions. Usage of this terminology is misleading, and valid only in a very restricted sense - because of the sampling assumptions needed for employing the machinery of statistical hypothesis testing.
This issue is discussed in the paper  "Testing ensembles of climate change scenarios for"statistical significance"by Hans von Storch and Francis W. Zwiers, which has been accepted for publication by "Climatic Change".

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trendy trends

A recurrent issue in statistical climatology is how to deal with long-term trends when one is trying to estimate correlations between two time series. A reader sent us the following question, posed to him by a friend of his, related to our test of the method applied by Mann et al to produce the hockey-stick curve in 1998

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ausweitung der Kampfzone: Die Klimablogosphäre

Die neueste Ausgabe des  "Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen" hat den "Kampf um die Köpfe. Der Meinungskampf um die Klimapolitik" zum Thema. Darin schreiben u.a. Silke Beck über "Kommunikation als Schutzschild. Zur Strategie des Weltklimarats IPCC", Mike S. Schäfer über "Hacktivism" und Roger Pielke jr. über "Experten in Blogs. Positive und negative Aspekte". Die Herausgeber Jochen Roose und Mike S. Schäfer haben mich gebeten, etwas über Klimablogs in Deutschland zu schreiben. In meinem Artikel "Ausweitung der Kampfzone: Die Klimablogosphäre" gebe ich einen Überblick darüber, was wir hier auf der klimazwiebel, aber auch auf dem ETH Klimablog, der KlimaLounge, Primaklima, EIKE, ScienceSkepticalBlog oder NoTricksZone eigentlich so machen.