Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Science Gets Less Settled

As previously discussed, a key element of the global warming hypothesis is "climate sensitivity," the warming "that can eventually be expected to follow a doubling in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide." The last IPCC report (AR4) gave a range of estimates that included a "fat tail"--"the possibility that very large climate sensitivities are a realistic possibility."

Not so fast. According to a new paper in Science (PDF here), the reality may not be so dire:
Specifically, if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are to double from pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm to 560 ppm, the researchers say Earth’s average temperature is likely to rise from 1.7 to 2.6 Celsius degrees, a decrease from the previous, accepted range of 2 to 4.5 degrees.

source: Schmittner et al at 14

Oregon State's Andreas Schmittner, the paper's lead author, says
Many previous climate sensitivity studies have looked at the past only from 1850 through today, and not fully integrated paleoclimate date, especially on a global scale. When you reconstruct sea and land surface temperatures from the peak of the last Ice Age 21,000 years ago -- which is referred to as the Last Glacial Maximum -- and compare it with climate model simulations of that period, you get a much different picture.

If these paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, the results imply less probability of extreme climatic change than previously thought.
No wonder Canada and Europe are cooling on global warming.

(via Watts Up With That?)


KitWistar said...

Carl: a good posting for today's climate. No need for me to guess, its a bad day.

Your last post: the good stuff is just as much a part of it.
Hogwood---oh my, yes! I hear each pizzicato and instantly draw in my mind's eye the hand holding the bow and arching over the bridge to pluck the strings. Harnoncourt, re-mastered Fischer-Dieskau (that voice makes me cry), Neville Marriner & StM in the F.
Sometimes the good stuff overloads too, like too much chocolate. Wow, this discussion has come out of your awful ear-nausea----silver lining or something.

Carl said...

Kit: Today is even worse.

But Hogwood still is great. I think they individually miked each stand in the string section -- so there's a mike per every two strings. Not as big a fan of Harnoncourt, but have some Schubert lieder by Fischer-Dieskau.

First time I went to London, nearly 40 years ago, I tracked down the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square)--and was crushed to discover that Neville Marriner wasn't there.

KitWistar said...

No question, Hogwood is always great! I'm not a huge fan of lieder... but F-D singing Haydn's Creation is unreal. And as per the season:
Teldec Harnoncourt Weinachts-Oratorium Wienersangerknaben is to my thinking the very best version. Been re-released by Arkiv.

Aww, how sweet-sad, your story of the Church of St Martins!

re: higher ed.
As I try to wrap my head around this subject, I happened across two mind numbing pieces of data from
Mark Tucker's blog via "Education Week"
Two areas in which the US excels:
1. spends more per student than any nation save Luxembourg
2. The US is lone among industrial nations in seeing the proportion of young people with post secondary school degrees actually declining.
( However, #2 twists back to my thought that a lot fewer US students should be in college in the first instance but the current system provides no really acceptable alternatives.)
So now my questions are:
Which ARE top performing nations in education? Is this assessment based on test scores or on how the students /young people go on to contribute to and flourish in their societies? For my money, the latter matters more, but somewhat harder to measure accurately.

Speaking of tests, though, when is yours? Can't come soon enough, I'm sure. keep us posted.

I've begun to be intrigued by this senses thing, now that I realise I'm not alone & others, like you, have similar issues...
you mentioned having acute hearing, what about taste & smell?

Carl said...


My Haydn Creation is Pinnock/English Concert (I forget the soloists), which I hate. Maybe I'll get a remastered F-D instead. My Christmas Oratorio is John Eliot Gardner (with Anne Sofie von Otter), which is only ok.

You can imagine how silly I felt after some St. Martin-in-the-Fields docent explained that the Church and the Academy were unrelated. I was about 14 years old at the time.

On education, U.S. spending is out of whack, but I'm not sure the Schleicher/Paine paper (page 6) is right about Luxembourg. As far as I know, the US spends more per capita on education than any OECD country (page 206) but a disproportionate share of that is spent for college (page 209). (BTW, the District of Columbia is about the worst offender on primary/secondary education spending.) The high cost of college is the "higher education bubble" caused by student loan-generated inflation and bureaucratic waste.

I'm not a huge fan of the Lessons from PISA report, but will have to amplify when I have more time (and feel better).

Btw, don't think I have other than normal taste or smell. But acute hearing seems to be correlated with migraines and vertigo.