Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Time Out

I'm taking some time off, at least through August.

I'll be back, probably.
Perhaps. Probably.

Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter - AHS Sikorsky Prize Flight

I figure that any video that sends chills up my back (literally) deserves a place on my blog, at the very least.

So watch and see if you agree:


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

"The Way of Science" by Dennis R. Trumble

In the mail: The Way of Science: Finding Truth and Meaning in a Scientific Worldview by Dennis R. Trumble, which looks interesting.

 From the back, which maybe Tom Coburn (R-OK) ought to pay attention to:
Most people appreciate science on an obvious level. Modern medicine, electric lighting, rapid transportation, and long-distance communication are among the many benefits of science that have made life today healthier and more comfortable than people in earlier eras could have imagined.

This book is about a deeper benefit of science, one that, while less obvious, may prove to be far more important in the long run: namely, the ability to look beyond our preconceptions and see the world and ourselves in a truer light. The author makes a compelling case that now more than ever the public at large needs to appreciate the critical-thinking tools that science has to offer and be educated in basic science literacy.

Trumble emphasizes that the methods and facts of science are accessible to everyone, and that, contrary to popular belief, understanding science does not require extraordinary intelligence. He also notes that scientific rationality and critical thinking are not only good for our physical well-being but also are fully in sync with our highest moral codes. He illustrates the many ways in which the scientific worldview offers a profound sense of wonder, connectedness, and optimism about the human condition, an inspiring perspective that satisfies age-old spiritual aspirations. At a time of daunting environmental challenges and rampant misinformation, this provides a welcome corrective and reason to hope for the future.

What climate scientists talk about now -

This is well-worth reading, about the IPCC and its upcoming 5th Assessment Report, from the Financial Times:

What climate scientists talk about now
By Pilita Clark, August 2

For example:
[Thomas] Stocker remains resolutely confident about the robustness of the IPCC’s projections overall. “There is no other science and there’s no other activity of humans that looks into the future that has done so well as the IPCC,” he said. “Ask how well do the GDP projections fare for the next month. Ask how well do the projections of crop yields for the next year. Ask how well projections of DAX [the blue-chip German stock index] and all these other indices fare."
But [Peter] Wadhams is even angrier about another line in that last IPCC report suggesting it could take until the latter part of this century before Arctic summer sea ice disappears almost entirely. The sea ice that covers much of the North Pole always melts a little in summer and then refreezes as winter sets in. Last summer, however, it shrank to its lowest point in more than 30 years, a much more dramatic decline than predicted. Wadhams thinks it more likely that its summer sea ice will vanish as soon as 2015.

“It could even be this year or next year but not later than 2015 there won’t be any ice in the Arctic in the summer,” he said, pulling out a battered laptop to show a diagram explaining his calculations, which he calls “the Arctic death spiral”.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Climate Sensitivity Unlikely To Be < 2 C

Here's a nice video by Andrew Dessler on why equilibrium climate sensitivity is unlikely to be below 2°C:

The J Climate paper he mentions on climate feedbacks is here.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

McIntyre deciding to go out ugly?

Climate change deni.....(ahem) skeptics...are forever insisting they be taken seriously, but just can't help smacking their heads with their own hammers, with farce like this:
Steve McIntyre has some perspective on the "high school" nature of climate science that is worth repeating:
It seems to me that most famous "amateurs" from the past were highly professional in their field. Nor do I find invocation of their stories very relevant since the sociology of the science enterprise has changed so much.

In my opinion, most climate scientists on the Team would have been high school teachers in an earlier generation – if they were lucky. Many/most of them have degrees from minor universities. It's much easier to picture people like Briffa or Jones as high school teachers than as Oxford dons of a generation ago. Or as minor officials in a municipal government.

Allusions to famous past amateurs over-inflates the rather small accomplishments of present critics, including myself. A better perspective is the complete mediocrity of the Team makes their work vulnerable to examination by the merely competent.

- Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit Aug 1, 2013 at 2:44 PM
You don't even have to understand the science to recognize the psychology here -- an admission that, since he hasn't been able to compete at that level, his only option it to insult those who can and are.

It's just a gutterish, classless thing to say. Sad.

Perhaps the PAGES2k results were the last nail, but it seems McIntyre's sees that his time has ended, and he's decided to go out ugly. For shame.

It seems skeptics will never learn that there is one way, and only one way, to prevail on the topic of climate change: produce superior science. Superior ideas have never failed to win the scientific debate, ever, no matter what the area of science. That is one of the great things about science, that separates it from philosophy or religion or literature, and the reason it has so powerfully changed the world in the last 400 years -- after all the debate and experiments and whining and insinuations and petty insults, the ideas that best explain the world prevail, until a scientifically better one comes along.

And no, comparing your scientific opponents to high school teachers is not that better idea.

The UAH Warming

Here's the UAH lower troposphere record (bubble?) I mentioned yesterday:

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Lower Troposphere: Warmest 5 Years in the Record

This is curious (and perhaps meaningless): the UAH measurement of the lower troposphere shows the last 5 years to be the warmest since they started taking data in 1978.

Perhaps it's the start of another step on the escalator. Or just a short-term blip.