Thursday, December 08, 2011

AGU 2011 Days 2 and 3

As we already hinted, Day 2 was a bit of a washout for us. I wonder if the low density of interesting sessions is something to do with the division split with "Global Environmental Change" being perhaps the closest approximation to EGU's "Climate, Past, Present and Future", but the latter includes paleo whereas the AGU has that split into another division. Anyway, the morning jog to the Chestnut bakery was fun. For dinner, we slummed it and just used the hotel cafe aka "Bourbon Steak", where we shared a $28 - 70oz T-bone. Last year I'm sure it was only 69oz, so I suppose that's inflation for you. However, the exchange rate has changed so much that on converting to metric, it was actually rather smaller than last year. Or something like that.

Wednesday had an interesting session in the morning on earth system sensitivity and paleoclimate. Various somewhat incompatible definitions were used which makes direct comparison different. Most people seem to agree that longer-term feedbacks will increase the overall effect when compared to the classical AOGCM-based definition. Some people were looking mostly at data, others at models. One person concluded that the models were all wrong based on a single tropical core that differed substantially from the major MARGO data set - I pointed out in the Qs after that singling out the models for criticism in this situation seemed a little unfair! The session finished off with Jim Hansen who of course got a good reception. I thought his jibe at Andreas Schmittner (about how he had included dust aerosols as a forcing rather than a feedback) was a bit ungallant. The main point there AIUI was that he included the effect at all, when most GCM-based simulations of the LGM did not. Andreas did have the opportunity to defend himself at the end though.

A group of ensembles-and-uncertainty people had a chat over lunch (arranged by Ben), and it was interesting to hear how they were all getting on in a rather more relaxed format than via rapid-fire 12 minute talks. I had to rush off rather for another session where I was first presenter. This is on some still-unfinished (but I'm getting there!) work on last millennium reconstructions. From the audience perspective, jules thought it was more relaxed and better than Monday's effort where I tried to summarise 5 papers in the same time frame. Maybe there is a lesson there... Other talks included Andreas Schmittner presenting his recent paper. He seemed to have taken on board at least some of the criticism that has been put forward and he sounded rather more in tune with Nathan Urban's interview here, than in the press coverage here, for example (especially regarding the "robustness" of the result).

As for dinner, Gary Danko really is worth the hype (and the hoops that have to be jumped though to get a table). Eating good restaurant food here does bring home just how good the seafood that my Dad sometimes searches out is, however.

I think I have forgotten what it feels like to be hungry. Again.


Alastair said...

"One person concluded that the models were all wrong based on a single tropical core that differed substantially from the major MARGO data set"

Can you supply a little more information on who said what?


Cheers, Alastair.

James Annan said...

Sorry for lack of clarity, it was a minor point really. Someone had a core showing 2-3C cooling for the last glacial maximum (at that location in the tropics). He used that to argue that the models didn't cool enough in the tropics, but MARGO only indicates ~1.7C there (and less as a tropical average).

Alastair said...

Thanks James, it was my fault.I was unfamiliar with the MARGO data set.

Cheers, Alastair.