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Recent Articles

The two-degree delusion?

Ted Nordhaus, of Breakthrough Institute fame, has a recent article in Foreign Affairs called [t]he two-degree delusion. Basically, it argues that we cannot possibly achieve this target without harming the poor, and that continuing to try and do so also…
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Political Scientists

Gavin Schmidt had a bit of a rant on Twitter about some political scientists find[ing] ways to blame climate scientists for the lack of progress in CO2 emission reductions. We should dedicate February as #findaclimatescapegoat month as yet again some…
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A challenge for my readers

John Cook and colleagues have new paper out about [d]econstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors. The basic idea is to inoculat[e] against misinformation by explaining the fallacious reasoning within misleading denialist claims. and to [o]ffer a strategy based on…
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Overhype much?

There has been quite a lot of news coverage suggesting that astronomer have, for the first time, discovered planets in another galaxy. It’s from a paper by Xinyu Dai and Eduardo Guerras called Probing Planets in Extragalactic Galaxies Using Quasar…
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ECS from a modified energy balance approach

Andrew Dessler’s paper (technically Dessler and Forster), which he mentioned in this comment, has now appeared as a pre-print. Essentially, they use an energy balance approach to estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), but – as I mentioned in this post…
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SciComm for the IPCC

There is a newly released Communications Handbook for IPCC scientists. It’s already been covered in a Guardian article and in a Realclimate post. There are six basic principles Be a confident communicator Talk about the real world, not abstract ideas…
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Confounding ECS estimates

Kate Marvel and colleagues have just published an interesting paper on how [i]nternal variability and disequilibrium confound estimates of climate sensitivity from observations. Essentially they compare three different ways of estimating Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS): atmosphere-only simulations with observed sea…
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Polar Bears – a rebuttal

I wrote a post a little while ago about Harvey et als paper on [i]nternet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy. Their basic conclusion was that if you divide blogs into those that accept anthropogenic global warming (AGW)…
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Narrowing the climate sensitivity range?

There have been a couple of recent papers presenting analyses that claim to have narrowed the likely range for equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). One is Dessler et al. (currently a discussion paper under review) which suggests that the 500hPa tropical…
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A little bit of sociology of science?

I recently published a paper on turbulence in discs around young stars. The basic conclusion was that turbulence tends to inhibit, rather than promote, a potential planet formation process. However, rather than talk about the paper itself, I thought I…
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Can Contrarians Lose?

No. Thesis – Contrarians always win Proof. Let the following assumptions hold: (1) science is a corrective process; (2) scientific beliefs are revisable; (3) contrarians could (and probably will, one day, with AI) claim everything science doesn’t claim. Ergo, Betteridge’s…
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Reproducibility?

I came across an interesting paper about the replication crisis that I thought I would briefly discuss (H/T Neuroskeptic). The paper in question is Reproducibility research: a minority opinion. It’s not open access, but I have found what I think…
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Being wicked

There’s been an interesting discussion on Twitter about how to frame anthropogenically-driven climate change. In particular, should it be framed as a wicked problem? A number of people involved in the discussion had a problem with this framing. One very…
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2017: A year in review

I’ve now been writing this blog for almost 5 years and I still don’t quite know what I’m trying to achieve, if anything. Hopefully a blog that presents a reasonable representation of our current understanding of climate science, while also…
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Political activism

There’s been a rather lengthy Twitter exchange involving Judith Curry, mostly focusing on whether or not Judith is a political activist. Judith appears to be suggesting that what she does is not political activism, or any form of political advocacy,…
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Merry Christmas, etc

Since it’s now the afternoon of Christmas Eve here, it would seem time to quickly wish everyone a Merry Christmas, or whatever season’s greeting is most suitable. I certainly plan to have a few days relaxing with the family, so…
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Galactic cosmic rays

There’s a recent Nature Communications paper by Svensmark et al. called [i]ncreased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei. The basic idea is that cosmic rays (energetic particles typically accelerated by shock waves) can influence the growth of…
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Arguing about the greenhouse effect – again

There’s been a rather lengthy Twitter thread about the greenhouse effect. In particular, focusing on claims that there is no such thing. Of course, engaging in such discussions so as to actually change anyone’s minds is pointless. However, I think…
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Greater future global warming?

Before I go out I wanted to briefly mention a recent paper by Patrick Brown and Ken Caldeira called [g]reater future global warming inferred from Earth’s recent energy budget. Patrick Brown already has a nice blog post about this with…
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Polar Bears and Arctic sea ice

Jeff Harvey, who is an occasional commenter here, is lead author of a recent paper on [i]nternet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy. The paper itself is open access, and if you would like to read some posts…
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Science communication – again

There are a number of possible things to write about, but I thought I might have a brief rant about a topic I find of interest. A tweet by David Roberts (who I mostly like) caused a bit of a…
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Going Nuclear

An epic tweetspat with pseudo-modern engineers made me think of the following confutation of the Breakthrough playbook: First, nuclear energy needs to compete with fossil fuels, not renewables like wind or solar. This point rests on the basic observation that …
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Combining different ECS estimates

I wanted to briefly highlight a new paper by Nic Lewis and Peter Grünwald called [o]bjectively combining AR5 instrumental period and paleoclimate climate sensitivity evidence. You may want, however, to be cautious of the term objective. As the title indicates,…
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Carbon budget constraints

I’d been meaning to highlight a statement from Kevin Anderson for quite some time. A brief lull in postings gives me a chance to do so. It relates to the Paris goal of keeping global warming below 2oC. I haven’t…
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Climate communicators in Edinburgh

It was a bit of a weekend of climate communication in Edinburgh. Yesterday morning I went along to Dynamic Earth, where the Natural Environment Research Council was hosting an event called UnEarthed. Ed Hawkins was there with a display about…
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Mertonian norms

There are a set of norms of science, first presented by Robert K Merton and known as the Mertonian norms. I found what seems to be a good description of them here. There are four Mertonian norms, called universalism, communalism,…
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