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Diary date: Exetertwitterers edition

On 8 May, the University of Exeter is holding a Twitter-based Q&A session with some of its climate gurus:

Do you have a burning question about climate science?

We’ll be letting our researchers take over the @UofE_Research Twitter account on Thursday 8 May between 11.30 – 12.30. Professors Neil Adger, Mat Collins, Peter Cox, Richard Betts, and Dr Saffron O'Neill will be on hand to answer your questions on the latest developments in climate science. Each of our participants has contributed to the recently published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.

Details here.

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Reader Comments (33)

I submitted a porcine entry, just in case the Patagonian guy gets some oxygen back to his brains

May 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I most certainly have a burning question as to whether the global ice coverage we are seeing is "consistent" with a warming world?

The Great Lakes have also proven very interesting of late.

Also (a second question...sorry), why has there been so little MSM coverage of changes in Antarctica?

I may have missed it of course, I often do miss stuff.

I'm a busy lad.........

May 6, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

I first read that as "witterers".

So five scienctivists will likely give four different explanations for the pause, at least one of which is unphysical and another contradictory. The 5th will just deny it happened at all and may call us anti-science contrarians for believing our lying eyes.

May 6, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

"Please note that due to time constraints we may not be able to answer all questions".

Thats the get out of jail then.

May 6, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I asked if they would answer questions on paleoclimate, but it seems not.

May 6, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

140 characters per answer should reduce the possible amount of BS.

May 6, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Twitter would seem to be an appropriate media for twits!

May 6, 2014 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

someone with time , could helpfully give some info on the past ´form´of the experts
..e.g. Richard Betts : seems to pop up to defend his boss, yet AWOL usually when difficult questions are being asked.

May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I wonder if this is part of the re-education initiative favoured by the great and the good.

May 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

140 chacters is ideal for their purposes. It allows plenty of room for: @curiousSkeptics -Much is made of the so-called pause in global warming by you skeptics but you are all wrong, wrong, wrong. Now let me explai...

May 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Crawford

What no Loopy Lew?

May 6, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

This is linked to the forthcoming conference on Transformational Climate Science where the world's greatest climate researchers will urgently debate adaptation strategies to cope with the last 18 years of nothing happening.

May 6, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Another question....

Is the global ice coverage we seem to be having "consistent" with a cooling world at all?

May 6, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Is UEx a contender for picking up the torch lit, raised aloft, and dropped in the mire by UEA? If so, and assuming they have not agreed to communicate only by voice, smoke-signals, and tweets, shall we be gifted their emails in due course? I hope not. The Climategate sets provided quite enough awfulness to be getting on with, and I would like to cling as long as possible to the notion that standards have improved in this new field, this mix of geography, sociology, computing, psychology, and a few bits and pieces from elsewhere. One day, perhaps, we shall see entire departments of Agitation Studies, of which climate-related stuff will be but one component. Departments? Maybe entire universities. Oh brave new world to have such prospects in it!

May 6, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

There are a lot of cynical comments on this thread. Sceptics have repeatedly complained about attempts to close down debate. When an invitation to question researchers is offered it would be only sensible to take it (politely) at face value. If it turns out that all hard questions are screened out and that only patsy ones are allowed, then you can make your cynical comments afterwards.

I don't twitter but if I did I would ask what were the natural factors that caused the Medieval Warm Period and the earlier warm periods in Roman and in Minoan times, and whether any of those factors have been operative since the Little Ice Age started to draw to a close.

May 6, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy


A fair point, but would you expect sceptics not to be cynical? I will happily tweet your question, at least as far as 140 characters allow!

May 6, 2014 at 5:21 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Roy, you make a good point. I felt so cynical when I read the post that I was genuinely surprised and even shocked by my reaction. I just couldn't stomach hearing more defence of climate models. With any other branch of science, I would be interested, grateful and maybe even enthusiastic.

I truly regret the effect that climate science has on me. It makes me ashamed to be a scientist.

May 6, 2014 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Anyone reading this anywhere near NYC?
See below, and note deadline. Excellent opportunity for someone on our side?

SUBJECT: Energy and Green Tech
Summary: Climate Warning

Name: Roselle Chen Reuters Television - New York Bureau
Category: Energy and Green Tech


Media Outlet: Reuters Television - New York Bureau

Deadline: 3:00 PM EST - 6 May


Climate expert who can speak on the White House's dire warning
on climate change, calling for action.


Climate expert or professor in the NYC area.

Back to Top Back to Category Index

May 6, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMadrigaul

"There are a lot of cynical comments on this thread".

Cynical, where?

I'm so glad we had so many investigations that failed to investigate all this BS we have to pay for.

May 6, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

May 6, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Roy, your exceptionally verbose ;-) question is more than double the 140 character limit isn't it. I've never seen the point of twitter, especially to try and have a discussion on.

May 6, 2014 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Perhaps they can answer in 140 characters or less, just what events would in their opinions disprove "climate change" driven by humans. It seems that there isn't anything that can happen to the climate that's not our fault. So that's not a scientific theory. Its rather more like a primitive supersitious religion.
Perhaps they'll comment.
I'm scheduling a root canal that day which will be more pleasant than listening in.

May 6, 2014 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

May 6, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Jonathan Jones

I asked if they would answer questions on paleoclimate, but it seems not.

Hi Jonathan, I don't think that was quite the question or response. You actually asked:

does your expert group's repertoire include paleoclimate reconstructions?

and I responded:

I've not published on that, nor @NeilAdger, @mat_collins, @SaffronJONeill or Peter Cox AFAIK - we'd prob cite IPCC AR5

to which you replied:

very wise!

See here for the conversation.

So you didn't actually ask whether we'd answer palaeo questions, and you weren't told that we wouldn't! :-)

We look forward to the questions! NB I won't be there myself until after 12:00 as I have a meeting first. But I'm sure my colleagues will enjoy hearing from the Bishop Hill gang….. :-)

See you Thursday….

May 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

' I would ask what were the natural factors that
caused the Medieval Warm Period and the earlier warm periods in Roman and
in Minoan times, and whether any of those factors have been operative since
the Little Ice Age started to draw to a close.'

Roy as you are not on twitter it looks like you should be able to get an answer to your excellent question right now.

May 6, 2014 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Betts was just a failed UKMO experiment in attempted communication with astute sceptics. Once they realised that he'd have to answer difficult questions, he was pulled from detente.

May 6, 2014 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred


No, I just don't see so much to comment on these days. A lot of Andrew's posts are about policy stuff like fracking and windfarms, which I'm not particularly interested in. I like it when Nic Lewis shows up - even though I often disagree with his conclusions, I respect his approach of analysing things in depth for himself and publishing them.

Roy, as I said to Jonathan, palaeo is not really my area, but my understanding is that the MWP (or Medieval Climate Anomaly as the palaeo guys now tend to call it) is thought to have been caused by a combination of influences from the sun and internal variability. More info is in the AR5 palaeo chapter here, see page 414-415.

May 6, 2014 at 11:46 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

bit O/T but @ Richard.Betts

just started reading "A ROUGH RIDE TO THE FUTURE" by James Lovelock

noticed your name (I assume) in the Acknowledgements.
just wondered what you think of the guy & his new book/thoughts ?

ps. like others I think "Twitter-based Q&A session" will be limiting, but this is similar to/part of the "Climate Outreach" push.

May 7, 2014 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

I don't twitter either but if I did, my question would be:

"What meaning has global average temperature?"

May 7, 2014 at 12:42 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

So, Richard, is it acceptable in multi-proxy climate reconstructions to "calibrate" a lake sediment series using a period known to be completely contaminated?

A yes or no would be helpful.

May 7, 2014 at 7:55 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

@ Richard Betts

Thanks for your response to my question about the Medieval Warm Period or Medieval Climate Anomaly as your colleagues want to call it. Given a choice I think I would rather live through a warm period than a climate anomaly!

May 7, 2014 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I note that there is an evening conference on May 15th

I have booked a space. Anyone else from the Exeter area likely to be going?


May 7, 2014 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

So I have now asked my question (slightly shortened to fit) on twitter. I will await the answer with interest!

May 8, 2014 at 12:23 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

So, as predicted, and despite Richard's rather desperate attempt at distraction above, they refused point blank to answer a simple question.

Profoundly depressing stuff this climate communication lark.

May 8, 2014 at 2:32 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

The views at Exeter Uni about climate are of interest, but if I were a tweeter, my questions would be directed at their efforts to protect academic integrity from the hazards of being in a politicised area. The promotion of allegiance to the IPCC SPM view of the world, for example, would be a disgraceful thing for any academic to do. Do they recognise that that would be inappropriate? Do they take any deliberate actions to avoid it?

May 8, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

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