Another Sporadic Open Thread

I keep forgetting to put these up.

Possible topics for discussion:

  • La Niña is expected to continue into the winter. This is definitely not what southern U.S. states, such as Texas, want – after a summer of intense drought, the drying effect of La Niña on that area of the world won’t bring any relief.
  • For those of you going to AGU, an itinerary planner is now available to browse the program and save sessions you’re interested in. I am compiling an awesome-looking list of presentations by the likes of James Hansen, Wally Broecker and Gavin Schmidt. Our poster is entitled “The Software Architecture of Global Climate Models”, and is on the Thursday morning.
  • Has anyone read Earth, an Operator’s Manual by Richard Alley? If so, would you recommend it?

Enjoy!

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13 thoughts on “Another Sporadic Open Thread

  1. Haven’t read it, but saw the video. It’s great. Especially meritorious was addressing not only the science, but also mitigation technologies, in an interconnected way. Showing only the science tends to leave people depressed… Alley lifts them up with solutions.

  2. I am halfway through Alley’s “Earth: The Operator’s Manual” and recommend it highly. It is more substantial than other introductory books for lay readers, and provides extensive references to the primary literature, a great resource for more ambitious readers. And Alley has an engaging style.

    I was not particularly impressed with the PBS special.

  3. I think that the book by Alley is a good introductory reading to climate change and its mitigation. But the title, inherited from the TV program, does not seem appropriate. If we want to talk about the issue of sustainability of humanity on the earth, we should not just concentrate on the part of climate change. Also the book is not a manual.

    My apologies – this comment got caught in spam. -Kate

  4. A perhaps-pedantic idea – it’d be interesting to get a collection of audio recordings (or pointers thereto) of climate scientists’ “public outreach” soundbites about attribution of climate change to human causes.

    (I just listened to a George Mason University climate scientist whose statement was “climate change is happening, it is very likely to be associated with human activity” but his strong emphasis on the word “likely” really changed the meaning that came across, to my ear, plus “associated” isn’t “caused”.)

  5. My previous posting as a guest failed, so I try from my WordPress account.

    I think that the book by Alley is a good introductory reading to climate change and its mitigation. But the title, inherited from the TV program, does not seem appropriate. If we want to talk about the issue of sustainability of humanity on the earth, we should not just concentrate on the part of climate change. Also the book is not a manual.

    Kooiti Masuda

  6. I just finished the book on my Kindle. I found it a convenient reference in that it summarizes not just the science but also economic arguments (for/against adapting to climate) and a number of alternate energy solutions that can be used to varying degrees of success depending on the country you inhabit.

    It is also possible that this book would provide a bridge to those who resist climate change science due to ideology. Dr. Alley is a registered Republican, has good things to say about the oil industry and points out that much of what we enjoy about modern life is due to the oil industry, and is even a regular church goer. That is, he is not the stereotype scientist liberal that Beck et al like to hold up in order to discredit them with non-scientists non-liberals.

    I doubt Alley’s book will reach the core audience of the Beck’s, but think it would be good for those who are thoughtful on the issue and not yet persuaded.

    Ken

  7. The video is great — the best climate change film for general audiences to date — but the book is even more useful for climate communicators, because it goes into much more detail.

    E.g. Alley recounts the fascinating tale of how the introduction of toilets in 19th C. England exacerbated water contamination, contributing to chronic cholera outbreaks. Even after many tens of thousands, mostly children, died agonizing deaths from cholera, the conservative government refused to invest in a sewer system. Why? It was “too costly.” They only acted after the 1858 “Great Stink” forced the closure of Parliament. Sound familiar?

    Worth owning the book, because you’ll want to borrow stories like this, and much more, for your own presentations!

  8. Why many people are skeptical of computer models.

    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day…

    “…if the model is going to be wrong anyway, why not see if you can get the computer to quickly learn a model from the data, rather than have a human laboriously derive a model from a lot of thought.”

    Peter Norvig

    http://www.norvig.com/fact-check.html

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