18 June 2012

Quick Notes

 Sea Ice:
  • Alastair, in case I didn't confirm it earlier, you're on for the 50 quatloos for September NSIDC sea ice extent over/under 4.15 million km^2.  I'll stand with that even with the recent drop in ice extent.
  • All are welcome to enter in the poll at the bottom.  I see few are taking the higher side of estimates.  I hope that's not because you're intimidated by my guesses!  When I'm confident about what I'm doing, I'll call them predictions.
  • The June Arctic Sea Ice Outlook is out (more in a post to come).  The guesses I'm involved with are 4.4, 4.8, 4.9, with the 4.8 likely to come down when we make a run with more recent initial conditions.  (Again, this first one was from December)
  • GCOM-W1 did indeed enter orbit safely and instruments are powering up and being checked out.  The bad news is that AMSR2 is looking at 12-18 months from launch before its data distribution (to me at work) becomes operational.
  •  The recent rapid drop-off (and then plateauing) is more or less to be expected.  I think.  If I'm wrong, Alastair stands to win his 50 quatloos. 

  • My meeting went well.  My thanks to the JMA and JAXA (Japanese Meteorological Agency and Japanese Space Agency). And especially Misako Kachi who took lead in coordinating it.
  • Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kamakura, and Mt. Fuji all are excellent places to visit as a tourist.  Selected photos to come.
  • Someone with approximately zero Japanese language skill, but ok English, can indeed tourist around Japan ok.  (Exhibits 1 and 2 being my wife and me.)
  • If you're not Japanese, be sure to stay at a Ryokan if you have a chance.  We stayed at Fujitomori.
  • 13 time zones followed by several 12 hour working days are difficult.
 continued ...
  • Thank you is indeed the most important word/phrase in any language.  I can't converse in any language but English, but I get extremely far with 'excuse me' and 'thank you', which I know in quite a few.  That, plus the kindness of strangers.  (Literary reference, iirc,: Podkayne of Mars, by Robert A. Heinlein.)
  • Paper is still the heaviest substance in existence.
  • You can't legislate nature.  (Post to come, North Carolina and Virginia being prompters.)
  • While letting my mind wander (it does eventually come back from its wandering), I realized that with something like 350 blog posts, averaging something like 1000 words each, I've written the equivalent of something like 4 books here.  Gives pause for thought about things to do.
  • Excellent sound bite by William Connelly:What is it about GW that brings out such levels of stupidity in so many people?  Global warming is what it is, and trying to understand climate is difficult.  But so many of the claims are so false, so badly argued, etc., that I have to wonder what it is that causes such bad arguments.
  • Doing science is natural, in one sense, and highly unnatural in another.  (post to come)  The problem, of course, is the latter, and confusion with the former.
  •  While I've been off doing other things, a huge number of good posts have been made on assorted blogs, excellent articles written in newspapers/magazines/jounals/... and elsewhere.  While my ego is traumatized that all of you are not lost and bored without my posts, it's reassuring, and surprising (coming from a background of reading science fiction), just how many people there are out there writing and saying good things.  My list of links at the side is only a starting point.  To judge by comments, many of you know that already.

NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS) budget issues and possible furloughs: (again: I don't speak for my employer, whoever that may be)
  • I confess that I do know Jack Hayes, the now-retired head of the National Weather Service personally and professionally.  How this came about is something of a story, which I won't be telling.  Suffice it to say that I do know him, and think well of him from my modest first-hand experience.
  • The recent news about improper redirection of funding within the NWS is interesting.  
    • The impropriety is not one of personal gain.  Whoever did so does not seem to have profited by the redirection.
    • The direction of impropriety was to spend more for getting weather forecasts and weather warning delivered to the US public than Congress authorized.
    • Carrying out Congress's direction would have meant either all weather forecast offices issuing fewer forecasts/providing less guidance for protection of life and property, or closing some forecast offices outright.
    • Since it's Congress's job to make that decision, it should be followed.  If citizens object, they have a ballot box.
  • The total National Weather Service budget for 2012 is less than 1 Big Mac per person, per year.

Even farther afield:
  • I was in transit on Memorial Day.  Again, my thanks to the people serving the country and who gave their lives for it. On the flight home, I was next two two West Point cadets.  My son was in the Navy, so some interservice rivalry might have been mentioned.  A high school classmate of mine went to West Point.  He's probably not still 18, though I remember him so.  (I'm only 25, so how I got to have a soon-to-be 30 year old son is a mystery.)
  • Most of the most profound thoughts and examinations of the nature of our understanding of the universe, what is good, what is true, what should be emulated, what should be avoided, ... are available online from google books, Amazon, iTunes, and others.  A tremendous amount has already been pondered.  Since I'm not universally brilliant, thoughtful, and speedy in my thinking, I try to take advantage of those thoughts from (other) bright people. Aristotle, Confucius (Kung Fu Tzu), Lao Tzu, the Buddha, Christ, and so forth down to more recent people like Kant, Hume, et al.,.  And I live in a time when I get to see what they wrote, for free.  Yay!
  • The Olympics are approaching, and I confess that I'm terribly uninformed about who's doing what.  I hope that my one-time train seat-mate is at this year's Olympics.  While he was among the best (top 8 at least) in the world at his event in 2008, his country didn't send him to the Athens Olympics -- his country is poor, and wasn't confident he'd medal.  He was a nice guy to chat with, however, and I hope he has the chance to compete in London this year.

Even with the above, I'm only caught up to my own notes of maybe May 19th (2012 -- at least it's the current year!)  And I have other notes to share dating back to somewhere in late 2008.  It can be tough not being the only person in the world with interesting things to say :-)  (There's a post in this, too.)


dbostrom said...

Useful JAXA website for GCOM-1 aka Shinzuku.

Nice to see another post here!

Robert Grumbine said...

Thanks. Good as it was to travel and meet with other people in my tiny corner of the scientific world, it is good to be back.

Good link on GCOM-W1.

Alastair said...

Hi Bob,

The sea ice is still not at a minimum for this time of year, so bearing that in mind what odds are you willing to give me that the minimum will be below 3.9 M sq km?

Also you, and others posting here, might be interested in this, a prize for a successful prediction of predictions regarding an ice free Arctic.

Cheers, Alastair.

Robert Grumbine said...

Even with the currently blistering heat here, and the rapid decline earlier this month, I'll go with my original estimate. So 50Q even money for over/under 4.15 million km^2. For under 3.9 ... well, for you, that's even odds, given your estimate. For me, given the 4.4 statistical one, and my uncertainty level in it (1 standard deviation = 0.5 million km^2).

So, you figure 1 in 2 chance of below 3.9, I figure 1 in 6. How about my 50Q that it will be above 3.9 million km^2 to your 17Q? (in other words, 3:1 odds)

Alastair said...

Just a quick note to confirm I accept those odds :-)