Jeremy Jacquot's blog

Tue, 2009-03-24 00:29Jeremy Jacquot
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The Tipping Points

As the world dithers, climate scientists are peering into their crystal balls to predict when the next shoe will drop. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of international researchers led by Elmar Kriegler of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research surveyed 43 leading scientists to estimate the likelihood of a tipping point occurring in the near future.

The four tipping points the researchers studied include the restructuring of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (also known as the ocean conveyor belt or thermohaline circulation), the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the increased frequency of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.

Based on the scientists’ feedback, they concluded that there is a one in six chance that at least one tipping point will be triggered under conditions of medium warming (2 – 4ºC) and a more than one in two chance (56%) under conditions of high warming (4 – 8ºC) by 2200.

Wed, 2009-03-18 09:41Jeremy Jacquot
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Michael Steele Helps Make "Sense" of Global Warming

Ever since ascending to the top of the party leadership, it’s been one humiliating misstep after another for beleaguered Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

What started out as a relatively benign, though admittedly idiotic sounding, attempt to remake the party’s image and grow its ranks by “planning an ‘off the hook’ public-relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party’s principles to urban-suburban hip-hop settings” (no, really, he said that) quickly became a very public train wreck following a series of stumbles and misstatements.

His stances on abortion rights and homosexuality have earned him the enmity of the religious, conservative wing of the party while his threats of deploying primary challengers against three popular GOP senators who supported President Obama’s stimulus package have angered the moderates. On one issue, though, Steele stands firmly with the wingnut crowd of his party: global warming.

Sun, 2009-03-08 19:03Jeremy Jacquot
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Earth to Jacoby: I Got Your Global Warming Right Here

Not to let himself be outdone by his skeptic colleague in good standing, George Will, The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby has penned an equally vacuous and misinformed column posing the thought-provoking question: “Where’s global warming?”

It’s hard to know where to start. From the outset, I was tempted to just rehash my previous post about “global cooling” and climate variability or to mine Mitchell’s George Will debunking posts for some good material. (This line, in particular, answers his question rather well: “In other words: if you want to see climate change, look out the window.”) In light of some of his other claims about global temperatures and Arctic sea ice, however, I thought I’d do some of my own snooping.

Thu, 2009-03-05 12:24Jeremy Jacquot
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Hot or Not? Making Sense of Climate Variability

To say that climate know-nothings like to pick and choose when it comes to interpreting the science is something of an understatement.

Prominent” – and I use the term loosely here – deniers like Dennis Avery, S. Fred Singer and Michael Asher have made a cottage industry of playing loose with the numbers and extrapolating short-term trends to make sweeping statements about global warming (see: one unusually cold month means global warming is over).

Which is why I have a feeling this study (sub. required), entitled “Has the climate recently shifted?” (which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters), will catch many a denier’s eye. The main takeaway from this study is that there is a significant degree of variability in our climate system, and that, even though we may be entering a period of warming “stasis,” long-term trends still point to significant warming due to anthropogenic forcing.

Sun, 2009-02-22 22:38Jeremy Jacquot
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Skeptics Need to Chill About Global Cooling

Like a bad horror movie villain, global cooling is the skeptic meme that just won’t die. The latest “respectable” media figure to perpetrate that myth is Newsweek and The Washington Post columnist George F. Will, who wrote a global warming piece last Sunday that was roundly denounced by scientists and bloggers alike for its gross factual errors.

The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has been doing yeoman’s work cataloguing the many obvious inaccuracies over the last few days – you can see the latest tally here, courtesy of Think Progress – even going so far as to offer Will’s editors, who have yet to issue an apology or revise the original column, a perfectly acceptable correction.

Tue, 2009-02-17 09:46Jeremy Jacquot
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The Worse Is Yet to Come

Melting ice caps. Crippling droughts. Acidifying oceans. Even to the untrained eye, the trends are becoming starkly clear: Climate change is upon us, and it’s only getting worse.

That, in essence, was the grim takeaway from a speech given by Christopher Field, the founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University and a co-author of the 2007 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last week.

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