Discover Magazine, June 2009

I just read the most recent (June 2009) issue of Discover magazine, which is not peer-revewied but generally writes about stuff that is. There was a fantastic article you all should read, entitled “The Big Heat”. It was an interview with three publishing climatologists – Robin BellBill Easterling, and Stephen Schneider (please, people, stop it with that seemingly scandolous quote of his) – and one publishing Earth scientist, Ken Caldeira.

The article covered common questions such as “is it natural?”, “what problems will it cause?”, and “what do we do about it?” in a more in-depth, cited fashion than your average middle-school science unit. They talk about things like D-O events, rate of warming, credibility, and risk management. Fascinating stuff. I danced around a little as I read it.

A small excerpt:

“When we entered into the computer all the various things that forced the climate to change, we were able to faithfully reproduce the temperature record of the past 100 years globally. When you take out the component of human-generated carbon dioxide, the models don’t work at all. There are all these people who say, “Well, what about the sun? Why don’t they think about solar variability?” Of course we think about the sun. The models think about all these things, but the models work only if you put all the components in, and one of the big components is us.” – Bill Easterling

I’d expect that Discover would be available at most libraries in North America. Definitely worth a read.


2 thoughts on “Discover Magazine, June 2009

  1. I just watched one of the videos of Peter Sinclair about whether CO2 causes Global Warming or not. (

    Al Gore says yes and various climatologists say no in that video.

    Then just below that video you have a piece on Discover’s article. The excerpt you have talks about how when you take OUT CO2 the models don’t’ work at all. I am confused. DOES C02 contribute or not?



    • The video to which you refer is discussing a documentary, “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, which grossly misrepresented the views of the scientific community. They either took scientists’ statements out of context, made stuff up, or cherry-picked the 3% of scientists who disagree that humans are causing global warming. It is not a source we should be taking seriously – something like Discover holds much more credibility. Watch Peter’s video again in that context and it might make more sense.

      The overwhelming scientific opinion is that CO2 does contribute. Read the posts The Greenhouse Effect, Gambling On a Lie, Scientific Agreement Quantified, and The Credibility Spectrum for more on scientific opinion and which sources are most trustworthy.

      The phrase “human acitivity” mostly means “CO2 from cars and factories” – that might help your understanding too.

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