Tuesday, January 05, 2010

AGU Elections: Candidates for 2010–2012

Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about the candidates? I'm tempted to abstain on the basis that I know nothing about most of them (and very little about any). But if there is some reason to prefer someone over another, I'm all ears. In my (still very limited, but not so limited as with the AGU) experience of EGU officers they are mostly as mad as a box of frogs, in the nicest possible way. There does seem to be a tendency for some geologists, and solar/upper-atmosphere people, to lean towards the denialist angle on climate change. However I wouldn't want to prejudge anyone unfairly merely due to their field.

8 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

MT was urging everyone to vote for the bylaw changes, so presumably he knows something about the candidates or would know someone who does.

And now for something completely different, a science question:

As I hadn't been feeling depressed enough lately about the state of the climate, I spent some time comparing the recent PRISM paper by Marci Robinson with the Tripati et al paper of a couple of months ago. Cutting to the chase, it looks as if Tripati's mid-Pliocene CO2 level of about 350 ppm (and a relatively brief spike at that) was all that was needed to achieve the climate state described by Robinson. Among other unpleastries, a high sensitivity would seem to be implied. Other than the possibility that replication of one or the other will show something different, is there
any ray of hope here?

James Annan said...

Well I didn't vote for the bylaw change as I was suspicious of the lack of explanation as to just why these urgent changes were needed and who was going to benefit...

Anyway, I saw that the Pliocene was getting a lot of attention (eg). It seems to be pinned on "other" feedbacks from veg and ice sheets, which may not be so relevant in the 100y time scale. I also have to wonder a bit about the precision of the proxy data back then - it is one thing to claim (as I have done) that the paleo data weakly support what we already believe based on modern data, quite another to overturn the current consensus based on a few dodgy cores :-)

Steve Bloom said...

Yeah, I've been waiting for free copies of Lunt et al and Pagani et al to appear. I assume the former was based at least in part on the same data Robinson used since both are PRISM papers.

I'll be curious to see if they show the same narrow mid-Pliocene CO2 spike Tripati did, as that's what really struck me. Maybe they don't, since Tripati says her boron method gives more precise results than prior ones. But anyway, while I expect it's not narrow enough to have direct implications for sensitivity at 100 years, the spike may mean we need to be very worried the climate state we're committing to beyond 100 years (as the Lunt et al abstract says). Then we get to find out if humans are capable of caring about such a thing, which will be interesting to see.

Tripati promises finer-grained results soon, so perhaps we'll have a little better guidance on the implications of the spike. Plus if I understand correctly the modelers have some major work to do trying to replicate the heat tranport shown by Robinson. As for precision of methods, Tripati claims an excellent fit to the ice core record, but I suppose we'll still want to see other teams apply the method to different cores.

As a California resident, I was also struck by the other major feature of Robinson's SST reconstruction. It looks toasty in these parts.

Chuck said...

Was the warm Pliocene pre-Panama? And does it matter?

James Annan said...

Well according to some at least, the Panama closure was the end of the pliocene, whicih suggests it would have been at least partially open for the warm mid-pliocene period. However Lunt et al that I linked to above seem to have used a closed Panama. I would have though this could be a significant issue, but I'm not an expert and I'm sure the people doing the work are well aware of it.

James Annan said...

Quite by chance, I just saw this (wrt changing seaways in the pliocene, for those without access). It seems like the authors didn't find much effect on global mean temperatures, but it did have regional impact.

Steve Bloom said...

From what I can gather the PRISM folks think the only important difference is the growth of the Greenland-Scotland ridge since that affects North Atlantic Deep Water formation, but that it's not enough to change the basic picture.

Steve Bloom said...

From what I can gather the PRISM folks think the only important difference is the growth of the Greenland-Scotland ridge since that affects North Atlantic Deep Water formation, but that it's not enough to change the basic picture.