The recent Scientific American survey on climatology issues has been widely criticised, and the powers that be at the magazine must be regretting ever launching it now that the results are out. As Climate Change Dispatch reports, 81% think that the IPCC is corrupt and 65% think we should take no action over climate change.
I am told that there have been sightings of waxwings in the village this week.
Waxwings are what is known as an irruptive species, which is to say that they appear in the UK when food is in short supply in their normal, more northern feeding grounds. Their arrival is therefore traditionally taken as evidence of an impending cold winter.
(Weather, not climate, of course.)
The normal pattern of waxwing irruptions is for sightings to extend gradually southwards across the UK, but this year seems to be rather different, with the birds arriving all at once.
This graph (source) tells the story. The red line is this year, with the peak both earlier and higher.
Better lay some firewood in.
I've just picked up this excerpt from Sir John Beddington's evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. This formed part of the panel's inquiry into the Goverment Office for Science's work in 2009. The session came just after the Russell/UEA hearings. It looks as though Graham Stringer still had UEA on his mind.
Q26 Graham Stringer: What do you think the implications for the Freedom of Information Act are from the reviews into the University of East Anglia affair? Apart freedom of information, are there any other things that you would like to say about that?
Matt Ridley is taking aim at the ocean acidification scare again.
Before I started looking into this, I assumed the evidence for damage from ocean acidification must be strong because that is what the media kept saying. I am amazed by what I have found. Make no mistake: there are lots of threats to the ecosystems of the ocean, from over-fishing to nutrient run-off, but acidification is way down the list. The attention is deflecting funds and action from greater threats. It is time scientists had the courage to admit this.
John Graham-Cumming has picked up on an article in the magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery, which looks at the question of scientists releasing their code (or not). JG-C makes some interesting comparisons between the reasons for withholding code given by the Real Climate guys and the reasons identified by the ACM.
There is an excellent profile of Judith Curry in the Georgia Tech alumni magazine.
“Scientists involved in the public debate mainly were trying to protect the UN treaty and were worried my post was going to make things worse. But that’s about policy and not about science. If that’s what was making these people tick, they’re part of the problem. That’s how we got in this trouble in the first place.”
Nature's new journal Nature Climate Change edges its way closer to launch. There is a puff piece from the editor, Olive Heffernan here.
The journal's policy on data and code is worth a comment:
By ensuring that our authors make their data available to readers on request, the editorial team at Nature Climate Change will commit itself wholeheartedly to promoting transparency in climate research.
I would have thought a wholehearted commitment might involve the authors of papers submitting data and code to the journal at the same time as they submit the manuscript. A commitment merely to ask authors after the event was, of course, behind most of the scandals over climate science data in the last ten years.
Will Nature Climate Change demand that code be available as well as data? Will they withdraw papers if authors refuse to release data and code? I can't say I'm confident.
Margot O'Neill, a journalist for Australia's ABC, looks back over the history of the reporting of climate science and wonders where it all went wrong.
Previously, media coverage of sceptics had focused almost exclusively on whether or not they believe in anthropogenic climate change, but that is likely to change, the journalists say, because there are many different kinds of sceptics and a range of other debates. Some say they wished they had engaged credible sceptics earlier.
H/T Jiminy in the comments.
Many will readers will know that there was a discussion last night between Judith Curry, Andy Revkin, Pielke Jnr and a Elizabeth McNie, a professor of political science and earth and atmospheric sciences.
Boilerplate.com, which looks like it's a newspaper blog, carries a brief report on the proceedings. It sounds as though much good sense was talked. Curry has already posted her speech, but there was also Revkin saying this:
Science is all about what is and the what ifs ... not telling you what to do.
Bob Ward calls for transparency in an opinion piece in Weather magazine (not online):
Climate researchers will have to be open to scrutiny by both their allies and their critics. The guiding principle for future communications by climate researchers should be to serve the public interest, to provide citizens and their representatives with the information they need and an understanding of the options available so that they can make informed choices and decisions.
Unfortunately he doesn't tell us whether climate PR people are also going to turn over a new leaf too.
Here are a few choice moments from the Lords debate. Some of them are rather startling. Please note that these are taken from the uncorrected transcript.
Lord Grantchester (Lab) has come up with some jaw-dropping figures on the threat of sea-level rise:
Eighty per cent of the best grade 1 agricultural land lies at or below current sea levels.
It's a long time since I watched proceedings in the House of Lords and having sat through ten minutes of the third Baron Grantchester (Lab) I remembered why I had found better things to do for the last few years. That said, while there was a lot about Tuesday's debate about climate change and energy policy to get depressed about, there were also some points of interest.
The debate was entitled "That this House takes note of the future of energy policy in the light of the climate change challenge." (Hansard here - note that there are two separate pages of text to access).