Friday, February 05, 2010


Via: Hot Topic

UAH Also: Warmest January Ever

The Univ of Alabama at Huntsville satellite data also says that last month was the warmest January in their records: +0.724°C above their baseline.

According to their temperature set, that's the 3rd warmest month in their records (which go back to Dec 1978).

Image via Roy Spencer, UAH.

RSS: Warmest January Ever

Remember all those big headlines about how cold is was in January? Turns out that was mostly in the U.S.
Globally, last month was the warmest January ever as measured by RSS's satellite, and and the 4th warmest month in their records -- the warmest since May 1998.

Their number for the temperature anomaly (as measured by their satellite), was +0.640°C.

RSS is probably the least controversial of the four temperature data series, and the measurement is purely by satellite, so it will be interesting to see how this result is denied, dismissed, or ignored (beyond the involvement of an El Nino -- in fact, a good question is: why are recent El Ninos so large?).

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The IPCC's Glacier Error

Look, mistakes happen.

They don't undo science that is 150+ years old.

Mistakes happen in science, just like any human endeavor. Remember the years-long debate, in the early 2000s, over the satellite measurements of John Christy and Roy Spencer? This was a fine fight over the details, though it mostly took place before the era of blogs. Eventually Christy & Spencer found an error in their calculations, they corrected it, they admitted that their satellite was showing warming at about the expected scale, and everyone moved on.

It was too their credit that they admitted their error. It hardly made them devils. It didn't prove that all skeptics came from the dark pits of hell.

And it's no different now. Mistakes happen. It'd be nice if they didn't, but they do. Everywhere.

Still, things could definitely have been handled differently. Phil Jones should not have denied those FOIA requests, and he's paying the price for that. Pachuari should not have ignored glacier data, though I'm not sure he did. Someone in his position, two months before the Copenhagen conference -- I'm sure he was utterly inundated with requests and information. He is human. Things slip. The human capacity is finite.

But carbon dioxide is still a strong greenhouse gas. Even small amounts of it warm the earth. This science is over 150 yrs old, and can easily be shown by anyone with a gas chamber and a light source.

Basic physics shows that a small amount of CO2, ~280 ppm, warms our atmosphere by 7-9 °C. So why shouldn't another 35% lead to even more warming?

Let's not get lost in all details (like they want you to). Just because some scientist in Korea cheated on is stem cell data does't falsify the Krebs cycle. And that's where we're at.

Lost, The Final Season -- No Way

Last night I watched the preview of Lost's last season, which is supposed to catch you up on everything.

I'd watched most of Lost Seasons 1 and 2, but had little motivation to keep up with it after that. It is very sloppy, poorly written fiction and/or science fiction. I don't care at all about any of the characters, and the whole premise is hackneyed -- are we on the 3rd or 4th plane crash now, and what year is it anyway, and didn't the island disappear, and everything seems to go in a big cycle, finishing nowhere. Whatever happened to that sequence of numbers, anyway?

The absolute best moment was when Locke was digging at the underground chamber, down in the dirt, roots and everything, pounding and pounding on the lid -- and suddenly a light from below came on. Chills up your spine.

Since then it has all been downhill. Fast.

Like I said, I don't care about even one of the characters, even one of the sexy girls (and aren't they all?). I have no idea where anyone else is in time or space. I have no impression that the writers do either.

Is anyone still watching this bloated carcass? If so, why?

France vs America

Letter to the Editor, NY Times, on the French ban on burqas:
Do not blame the French. If a vote were held in the United States to bar women from wearing the burqa and the niqab in public, or to bar minarets, like the recent one in Switzerland, what do you think the results would be?

Anthony Sweeney, Darien, Conn., Jan. 27, 2010

Feynman on Magnets

Unfortunately, I never got to see Richard Feynman lecture in person.... But every physics student reads his 3-volume Lectures in Physics (or should), especially in those couple of months before your qualifying exam, where you're terrified that you really don't know anything after all and you're about to be sent home. Here' s a flavor of what Feynman was about, explaining what a magnet does: