First, Professor Freeman Dyson, Einstein’s successor is interviewed.
This week’s Conversation that Matters features Princeton University’s preeminent physicist Freeman Dyson who says models do a good job of helping us…
Then, Dr Bjorn Lomborg moves to UWA: […]
Dr Lomborg is best known for his books The Skeptical Environmentalist and its follow-up volume Cool it, which were criticised by climate scientists for underplaying the rate of global warming.
More recently, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre he founded has studied international development issues. His trademark approach is to use cost-benefit analyses to tell governments which projects produce the most social value per dollar spent.
His latest work, The Smartest Targets for the World, says, for example, that establishing free trade, ending overfishing or fossil fuel subsidies, or eliminating malaria, tuberculosis or child malnutrition represent “phenomonal” value for money. However, encouraging sustainable tourism or reducing child marriages or drug abuse are relatively wasteful uses of aid funds.
Dr Lomborg said his Perth-based Australia Concensus Centre would allow him to apply his economic modelling “to a rich country for the first time”.
He said that, as with most Western nations, policy discussions in Australia tended to focus on the few years of the election cycle.
“We’re going to look at long-term issues and their consequences: pension reform, infrastructure spending, what we should do with the environment, schooling, immigration and so on. Hopefully, our research will create helpful information for policymarkers.
“But, in the end, economists are not who’ll decide what happens in Australia or the world: we’re just putting the prices of the different options on the menu.”
The university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, said Dr Lomborg’s centre “will become the go-to place for useful economic research to inform the national and international debate”.
Lomborg’s appointment is a welcome surprise.
More CO2 please: Century-Long Trends in Water Use Efficiency of European Forests (6 April 2015)
Over the period 1901 to 2000, forest intrinsic water-use efficiency increased by 28%. The largest increases were observed in the temperate forests of Central Europe, in a region that experienced a decrease in summer soil-water availability. Thank goodness for rising CO2, which is the major driver of this trend!!!…
Then some more interesting comment:
“We” have known for a long time that the change in insolation represented by Milankovic variation is not adequate to bring about the change in temperature documented by the O-isotopes in the Antarctic ice cores.
From the time that the first ice-core data were published (~1980), students of climate change have acknowledged that, despite strong evidence that Milankovic cyclicity controls the timing of the glacial/non-glacial oscillation, the magnitude of temperature change recorded in the ice cores exceeds what could be expected from the Milankovic variations. Thus, positive feed-back processes have been invoked from day one. Those include:
1. albedo feedback: when it gets colder, glaciers advance at high latitudes/altitudes, and more incoming insolation is reflected to space by ice-covered surfaces; when it gets warmer, glaciers shrink, and exposed soil and open water absorb more insolation.
2. When the atmosphere is warmer, it holds more H2O vapor, the most effective greenhouse gas; as temperature falls, the capacity of the atmosphere to hold H2O as vapor declines
3. higher temperatures drive CO2 and other gases out of solution in sea water. When sea-water temperature declines, solubility of CO2 in sea water rises.
4. higher temperatures favor respiration of soil micro-organisms over photosynthetic drawdown of CO2; when temperatures fall, activity of soil micro-organisms is reduced, and photosynthetic drawdown of CO2 gets ahead.
5. higher temperatures thaw permafrost, releasing CH4 to the atmosphere. CH4 is also a greenhouse gas, but it quickly oxidizes to CO2 and H2O. We don’t know the extent to which higher temperatures might release CH4 from methane hydrates on the continental shelves.
There may be other positive feedback processes, not yet identified.
This is not “news”. The feedback processes were described in detail in the 1980s. They have operated in every glacial/non-glacial cycle represented in the Antarctic ice cores.
Prof. Don Easterbrook adds:
Ice cores leave little doubt that climatic warming ALWAYS precedes increases in atm CO2 and studies of shorter term (months/yrs) increases in CO2 following warming confirm the cause and effect of warming —-> increased atm CO2.
It is very clear from ice cores that ice ages are brought to a close abruptly by warming that precedes increased CO2 so CO2 is not involved in the warming. The weakness in this paper is that there is no evidence that CO2 causes more than insignificant warming.
Then, the satellite data is explained by the 2UAH Professors who designed and built them.
Guest Post by Bob Tisdale It’s been 25 years since Spencer and Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsvillle published their 1990 paper Precise Monitoring of Global Temperature Trends from Satellites. The abstract reads (my boldface): Passive microwave radiometry from satellites provides more precise atmospheric temperature information than that obtained from the relatively sparse…