The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Climate Change Myths

I'm pleased to inform you that my employer, the Jackson School of of Geosciences at the University of Texas, is producing a series of articles setting the record straight on common climate myths.

These may be useful as supplementary materials for the Skeptical Science site, which as most readers will know, collects a similar set of information. Here we have working climate scientists commenting on their areas of expertise.

The most recent "Myth" is addressed by my boss, Charles S. Jackson:

Myth No. 3: You can’t trust climate models because they do a lousy job representing clouds and aerosols.

Previous submissions include Dr. Rong Fu on Myth 1: What global warming? Earth has actually been cooling since 1998 and Charles Jackson on Myth 2: Increased carbon dioxide (CO2) can’t contribute to global warming: It’s already maxed out as a factor and besides, water vapor is more consequential.

4 comments:

wottsupwiththat.com said...

Another good resource! I'll link to it...

Kooiti MASUDA said...

This kind of activities for public understanding science is definitely needed. I am tempted to urge my institution to start something like that (perhaps somewhat more specific).

The article of "Myth 3" seems unfinished, however.

The phrase "researchers remove greenhouse gases from the climate models" is likely to mean something very different from the actual "natural forcing only" experiment. It should be mentioned that they remove the additional amount of greenhouse gases which were caused by human activity.

Also, panels (a) to (f) of the graph from Santer et al. are not explained, so the patches of various colors do not make sense to most of the readers.

Marc Airhart said...

Kooiti,

We've corrected the text to indicate that it was "man-made greenhouse gases" that were left out of the models for the purposes of that first pair of graphs. We've also added labels to the six-panel graph showing fingerprints of various climate forcings. Thanks for helping us improve that entry.

For reference, the entry is at: http://www.utexas.edu/know/2010/11/10/climate_myth3/

Marc Airhart

Anna Haynes said...

Suggestions -

In light of human-psych experimental results, I'd be more careful about how to introduce the myth; perhaps prepend it as "Myth 3: Some people think ", rather than leaving it as a complete & bold sentence on its own.

And it needs an imprimateur - the cred. of the author, or of someone high powered who reviewed it & attests to it being reality-based.
(as help & reinforcement for those readers who've taken to heart the "scientific creds matter" advice)