31 August 2010

Sea ice on the blogs

Always a bit of a question whether I should comment elsewhere, or save my writing for here.  I've usually resolved that question in favor of making comments even though that does crimp my writing time for here.  Most recently, or at least most recently at length, I was visiting the Stoat's burrow.  The topic at hand is the Antarctic sea ice that I was writing about back in March WUWT trumpets result supporting climate modeling.

William has a follow up post today.  I'll probably be commenting there, or maybe taking up a point here soon.

No comment there from me, but also a recent post/show about Arctic sea ice cover Arctic Sea Ice is Just Fine.  Of course it isn't, and the author makes a nice presentation illustrating that it isn't.

30 August 2010

Blogroll news

The updated blogroll has been in action since Satruday, but here's the note describing the newcomers.  In some cases, I've been reading the blog itself for some time.  D'Oh!

Newcomers to the blogroll:

Main focus on climate science, or some part thereof:
The Science of Doom
Neven's Arctic Sea Ice Blog
Climate Change: The Next Generation
  Climate change: The Next Generation is a different sort of blog.  Most content is pointers to the scientific literature or to science press write ups of the scientific literature.  I think this is a good way for people, particularly those who don't have major research libraries handy, to get pointers to interesting parts of the literature.

Main focus on temperature reconstruction and analysis
Moyhu (Nick Stokes)
The Whiteboard (Ron Broberg) [Updated to include]
Clear Climate Code
  (This is aimed at being more general than just temperature reconstruction and analysis, eventually, but at the moment still seems to be mostly this.)

Main focus on the computer science of climate science
Serendipity (Steve Easterbrook)

Sui Generis
  The author, at least when she started, was a high school student taking an interest in learning about climate science.  If I remember correctly, she's starting university about now.  Articles tend to be about her wrestling to understand the science, and her wading through the nonscience to get there.

Suggestion that I'll invite further comment regarding:
The Green Grok
  This one didn't strike me as 'of course it should be here'.  It looks good, but the goals don't seem to align as well with mine.  I invite the comment (see also my response below to Carrot eater's previous comment) so you all can let me know why you do or don't think it would be a good addition here.  That's a different issue than whether it's a good blog.

Some comments to the previous note :

Carrot: If I ask an opinion question, then your opinion, and everyone else's, certainly does count.  It's also helpful to me to know why folks agree or disagree -- with me, or with each other.  I agree with you that irregular is fine for my blogroll, for the same reason you give.  Of course the final opinion that counts for making blunders in blog management here is mine.  Still, sometimes y'all can steer me away from some of the worst blunders.

S2: I've sent Fergus some email over the past year and heard nothing back.  Don't know if he's just left the blogosphere or what.  I do know that the author of evenmoregrumbinescience is ok, just doing other things.

M: There turn out to be multiple whiteboard blogs, and I'm not sure which one you mean.

25 August 2010

Were the 70s cold?

I was surprised to see that the 1970s weren't particularly cold.  My surprise is partly because where I lived (Chicago area) we were busy setting all-time records for cold, and that was true for much of the US and across to the UK. 

The other part of the surprise is that it's common to hear people (see them write) something on the lines of "Of course we're seeing a warming since the 70s; it was cold in the 70s!"  Surely someone along the way did their homework and checked out what the global temperatures were?

Fortunately, if we're looking at science, we don't have to assume that other people did their work, or did it correctly.  The alternate word for it is, skepticism.  Real skeptics don't make those assumptions, they do the work themselves.  The fact that it's work also explains why there are a lot of fake skeptics -- it's much easier to pick the answer you like and reject everything else.

So let's apply some real skepticism and ask what was really going on with temperatures in the 1970s.

24 August 2010

Teacher preparing for new year

My wish for us this year: let's take care of each other so that we can take care of our students. I picture our jobs as a great big, wonderful tree house full of knowledge. Our students have to leave their life's baggage on the ground and as they climb up they realize the sky isn't all that far off. May we all remember the simple joy that comes from a fresh box of crayons and a friend to sit with at lunch. BAM!
Liz Martinet, teacher

20 August 2010

Bad Astronomy: The Wonders of the Universe

Somewhat in the vein of asking about links that you-all think might be good to add to the blogroll (I'll get there, honest!), I'll mention a blog that I read and isn't on the blogroll.
One such is Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy. Not that he needs the advertising, but I do read and enjoy his blog for reasons relevant to my own aims here. Namely, he regularly has articles (I'll list a few below; apparently 'dozen' should follow the 'few') that illustrate my own feeling -- that the universe is a wonderful and interesting place, and doing science is a way to embrace that wonder.

12 August 2010

Open Lab 2010 nominations

I have the logo on the right for nominating blog articles to the best of collection -- the Open Laboratory 2010. I'll suggest that you look back at the articles that you think are particularly good, here and elsewhere, and follow that link from the decorative logo, or this link to make your nominations. I was reminded of this because Bora Zivkovic, who does the 'Blog Around the Clock' (a title he perhaps is living out), is also the lead on that activity.

Note that, because of Bora's publication schedule, articles are eligible from December 2009 through November 2010.

11 August 2010

New locations for two from blogroll

Two blogs from the blogroll have moved -- A Blog Around the Clock and All My Faults are Stress-Related.

Are there other updates?  Blogs I should be adding to the roll?  Note that 'should' requires that the blog be substantially about science -- learning and doing it -- rather than ... well, quite a few other things that are otherwise.  I grant more leeway for blogs that link over here, figuring that reciprocity is good citizenship.

09 August 2010

Designing good experiments

This is another time I don't really have great answers, but a question over at the question place has me thinking about it.  Namely, what makes for a good experiment?  As far as the science goes, I'm comfortable about knowing the answer.  Or at least knowing enough of an answer. 

But for the purposes of you readers -- what makes for a good experiment that you could do yourself?  How big or small could it be?  How long should it take to run?  How much expense is ok?  Is following a circuit diagram to assemble test equipment something you're comfortable with?  Carpentry?   And so on. 

For the original question -- a tabletop demonstration of the greenhouse effect -- I might actually have an answer of sorts.  I went running shortly after first reading the question.  That's often a good time for ideas to come to me, and a few did.  But at the moment, they'd take a pretty big table (like, say, 10 feet), you'd have to get hold of a dry ice supply (for the CO2), and you'd have to assemble a fairly simple circuit.  A several Watt laser would also be a plus, but I'm going to try to make sure that the experiment will work without it.

Question place

Time to hang out the shingle for questions.  As always, response time will be variable, including that I may not be able to answer.  If so, maybe a reader can.  And maybe we can have some discussion about the question and how we might go about finding the answer.

05 August 2010

Climate -- cycles 1

One of the things we expect about the weather is that it will change.  Following the dictum, as I do, that climate is what you expect and weather is what you get, change is part of climate.  But what changes do we expect?  One sort of change we -- those of us living in middle or high latitudes (above, say, 30 N, or 30 S) -- expect is that winter will be colder than summer.  Namely, we expect an annual cycle to temperature.

As part of a different project, I've computed the size of the annual cycle in the 2 meter air temperature.  (When meteorologists talk about 'surface air temperature', it really means the air 2 meters above the ground). The scale is degrees Celsius for the amplitude -- the difference between the average temperature and the warmest, or between average and coldest. If you want the range between the warmest part of the annual cycle and coldest, double this number. If you want the amplitude in Fahrenheit, double it (well, multiply by 1.8).

This is a beautiful scientific picture. Why, may not be immediately obvious, and there is more to the story than the annual cycle.