General Thoughts on AGU

I returned home from the AGU Fall Meeting last night, and after a good night’s sleep I am almost recovered – it’s amazing how tired science can make you!

The whole conference felt sort of surreal. Meeting and conversing with others was definitely the best part. I shook the hand of James Hansen and assured him that he is making a difference. I talked about my research with Gavin Schmidt. I met dozens of people that were previously just names on a screen, from top scientists like Michael Mann and Ben Santer to fellow bloggers like Michael Tobis and John Cook.

I filled most of a journal with notes I took during presentations, and saw literally hundreds of posters. I attended a workshop on climate science communication, run by Susan Joy Hassol and Richard Sommerville, which fundamentally altered my strategies for public outreach. Be sure to check out their new website, and their widely acclaimed Physics Today paper that summarizes most of their work.

Speaking of fabulous communication, take a few minutes to watch this memorial video for Stephen Schneider – it’s by the same folks who turned Bill McKibben’s article into a video:

AGU inspired so many posts that I think I will publish something every day this week. Be sure to check back often!


New Year Gratitude

A very happy 2011 to everyone. I thought I would write a New Year’s post like last year’s.

ClimateSight wouldn’t exist at all without my very best friend and partner, who, after listening for months to my rambles about climate science and policy, set me up with a blog. Since my first post, he has listened to my ideas and provided many of his own, even though he’s not particularly interested in climatology. He is also a source of balance in my life, keeping me sane when news reports and nasty comments start to overwhelm me.

Equally deep gratitude goes to the scientist who first sparked my interest in climate, and who continues to be both a mentor and a friend, as well as a library (I promise I’ll return those books sooner or later). You know who you are!

I have received advice on everything from my comment policy to my course selection from many wise climate bloggers, such as Steve Easterbrook, Michael Tobis, and Tamino, as well as countless others who prefer to read and comment than to write their own blogs – too many to name!

This year, I have become involved in Skeptical Science, a multi-faceted collaboration of scientists and science enthusiasts concerned about the state of climate change communication. It is an honour to be part of the supportive, enthusiastic community of authors, and the articles they write provide hours of fascinating reading and further research.

Last but not least, I must thank the readers and commenters over here. I feel that I get more out of this blog than I put in. My thoughts on a topic don’t end when I hit “publish” – that’s just the beginning, as insights and links to further reading invariably appear in the comments.

I am grateful for more than the people who helped to create this online community, though. I am grateful to live in the age of information when looking up the state of Arctic sea ice takes less than a minute. I am grateful to live in the age of climatology, where the field is expanding throughout virtually every discipline. Finally, strangely enough, I am grateful to live in the age of climate change, to witness this fascinating phenomenon unfold, and (hopefully) to be a part of the generation that stops it in its tracks.