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Beyond Global Warming | Princeton University Press
"Syukuro Manabe is perhaps the leading pioneer of modern climate modeling. Beyond Global Warming is his compelling firsthand account of how the scientific community came to understand the human causes of climate change, and how numerical models using the world’s most powerful computers have been instrumental to these vital discoveries.
"Joined by atmospheric scientist Anthony Broccoli, Manabe shows how climate models have been used as virtual laboratories for examining the complex planetary interactions of atmosphere, ocean, and land. Manabe and Broccoli use these studies as the basis for a broader discussion of human-induced global warming—and what the future may hold for a warming planet. They tell the stories of early trailblazers such as Svante Arrhenius, the legendary Swedish scientist who created the first climate model of Earth more than a century ago, and they provide rare insights into Manabe’s own groundbreaking work over the past five decades. Expertly walking readers through key breakthroughs, they explain why increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide has caused temperatures to rise in the troposphere yet fall in the stratosphere, why the warming of the planet’s surface differs by hemisphere, why drought is becoming more frequent in arid regions despite the global increase in precipitation, and much more."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  climatology  history_of_science  popular_science 
17 days ago by cshalizi
After Carbon Democracy | Dissent Magazine
"Capitalism is at the heart of the climate challenge."
No, no, no.
(1) Look at the environmental record of the USSR, or of pre-Deng China. Soviet Earth would be facing ~ as big a climate crisis as Neoliberal Earth (only with Comrade Mann in the roel of Sakharov at best).
(2) Maintaining our _current_ sized economies _without current technologies_ would get us cooked, so it's not _economic growth_ that's the problem.

Purdy knows better.
climate_change  environmentalism  progressive_forces  have_read  honestly_disappointed 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Climate mathematics theory and applications | Climatology and climate change | Cambridge University Press
"This unique text provides a thorough, yet accessible, grounding in the mathematics, statistics, and programming that students need to master for coursework and research in climate science, meteorology, and oceanography. Assuming only high school mathematics, it presents carefully selected concepts and techniques in linear algebra, statistics, computing, calculus and differential equations within the context of real climate science examples. Computational techniques are integrated to demonstrate how to visualize, analyze, and apply climate data, with R code featured in the book and both R and Python code available online. Exercises are provided at the end of each chapter with selected solutions available to students to aid self-study and further solutions provided online for instructors only. Additional online supplements to aid classroom teaching include datasets, images, and animations. Guidance is provided on how the book can support a variety of courses at different levels, making it a highly flexible text for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as researchers and professional climate scientists who need to refresh or modernize their quantitative skills."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  climatology  mathematics 
december 2019 by cshalizi
The Cost of a Carbon-Free Electricity System in the U.S.
"I calculate the cost of replacing all power stations in the U.S. using coal and gas by wind and solar power stations by 2050, leaving electric power generation in the U.S. carbon free. Allowing for the savings in the cost of fossil fuel arising from the replacement of fossil fuel plants this is roughly $55 billion annually. Allowing in addition for the fact that most fossil plants in the U.S. are already old and would have to be replaced before 2050 even if we were not to go fossil free, this annual cost is reduced to $23 billion."

--- Encouraging, if true.
to:NB  economics  climate_change  via:jbdelong 
december 2019 by cshalizi
Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts | The National Academies Press
"Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible increases in strength of the largest hurricanes. Several large cities in the United States have extensive assets at risk to coastal storms, along with countless smaller cities and developed areas. The devastation from Superstorm Sandy has heightened the nation's awareness of these vulnerabilities. What can we do to better prepare for and respond to the increasing risks of loss?
"Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts reviews the coastal risk-reduction strategies and levels of protection that have been used along the United States East and Gulf Coasts to reduce the impacts of coastal flooding associated with storm surges. This report evaluates their effectiveness in terms of economic return, protection of life safety, and minimization of environmental effects. According to this report, the vast majority of the funding for coastal risk-related issues is provided only after a disaster occurs. This report calls for the development of a national vision for coastal risk management that includes a long-term view, regional solutions, and recognition of the full array of economic, social, environmental, and life-safety benefits that come from risk reduction efforts. To support this vision, Reducing Coastal Risk states that a national coastal risk assessment is needed to identify those areas with the greatest risks that are high priorities for risk reduction efforts. The report discusses the implications of expanding the extent and levels of coastal storm surge protection in terms of operation and maintenance costs and the availability of resources.
"Reducing Coastal Risk recommends that benefit-cost analysis, constrained by acceptable risk criteria and other important environmental and social factors, be used as a framework for evaluating national investments in coastal risk reduction. The recommendations of this report will assist engineers, planners and policy makers at national, regional, state, and local levels to move from a nation that is primarily reactive to coastal disasters to one that invests wisely in coastal risk reduction and builds resilience among coastal communities."
to:NB  books:noted  downloaded  climate_change  disasters  re:coastal_risks  have_read 
october 2019 by cshalizi
[1910.11987] Evidence for higher Earth-system sensitivity from long-term carbon-cycle observations
"Projections of future temperature are critical for developing sound strategies to address climate risks, but depend on deeply uncertain Earth system properties, including the Earth-system sensitivity (ESS). The ESS is the long-term (e.g., millennial-scale and longer) global warming resulting from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, relative to pre-industrial conditions. Long-term carbon cycle models provide a common approach to estimate ESS, but previous efforts either lack a formal data assimilation framework, or focus on paleo periods with the most available data. Here, we improve on ESS estimates by using a Bayesian approach to fuse deep-time paleoclimate data with a long-term carbon cycle model. Our updated ESS estimate of 5.1 ∘C (3.8-6.6 ∘C; 5-95% range) shows a higher and narrower range than previous assessments, implying increased long-term future temperatures and risks. Our sensitivity analysis reveals that chemical and plant-assisted weathering parameters interact strongly with ESS in affecting the simulated atmospheric CO2. Research into improving the understanding about these weathering processes hence provides potentially powerful avenues for further constraining this fundamental and policy-relevant Earth-system property."
to:NB  climate_change  climatology 
october 2019 by cshalizi
[1910.11492] Causal inference for climate change events from satellite image time series using computer vision and deep learning
"We propose a method for causal inference using satellite image time series, in order to determine the treatment effects of interventions which impact climate change, such as deforestation. Simply put, the aim is to quantify the 'before versus after' effect of climate related human driven interventions, such as urbanization; as well as natural disasters, such as hurricanes and forest fires. As a concrete example, we focus on quantifying forest tree cover change/ deforestation due to human led causes. The proposed method involves the following steps. First, we uae computer vision and machine learning/deep learning techniques to detect and quantify forest tree coverage levels over time, at every time epoch. We then look at this time series to identify changepoints. Next, we estimate the expected (forest tree cover) values using a Bayesian structural causal model and projecting/forecasting the counterfactual. This is compared to the values actually observed post intervention, and the difference in the two values gives us the effect of the intervention (as compared to the non intervention scenario, i.e. what would have possibly happened without the intervention). As a specific use case, we analyze deforestation levels before and after the hyperinflation event (intervention) in Brazil (which ended in 1993-94), for the Amazon rainforest region, around Rondonia, Brazil. For this deforestation use case, using our causal inference framework can help causally attribute change/reduction in forest tree cover and increasing deforestation rates due to human activities at various points in time."
to:NB  causal_inference  climate_change  statistics  spatio-temporal_statistics  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
october 2019 by cshalizi
[1910.09700] Quantifying the Carbon Emissions of Machine Learning
"From an environmental standpoint, there are a few crucial aspects of training a neural network that have a major impact on the quantity of carbon that it emits. These factors include: the location of the server used for training and the energy grid that it uses, the length of the training procedure, and even the make and model of hardware on which the training takes place. In order to approximate these emissions, we present our Machine Learning Emissions Calculator, a tool for our community to better understand the environmental impact of training ML models. We accompany this tool with an explanation of the factors cited above, as well as concrete actions that individual practitioners and organizations can take to mitigate their carbon emissions."
to:NB  machine_learning  climate_change  to_teach:data-mining 
october 2019 by cshalizi
The Gospel of Climate Skepticism by Robin Globus Veldman - Paperback - University of California Press
"Why are white evangelicals the most skeptical major religious group in America regarding climate change? Previous scholarship has pointed to cognitive factors such as conservative politics, anti-science attitudes, aversion to big government, and theology. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, The Gospel of Climate Skepticism reveals the extent to which climate skepticism and anti-environmentalism have in fact become embedded in the social world of many conservative evangelicals. Rejecting the common assumption that evangelicals’ skepticism is simply a side effect of political or theological conservatism, the book further shows that between 2006 and 2015, leaders and pundits associated with the Christian Right widely promoted skepticism as the biblical position on climate change. The Gospel of Climate Skepticism offers a compelling portrait of how during a critical period of recent history, political and religious interests intersected to prevent evangelicals from offering a unified voice in support of legislative action to address climate change."

--- The phenomenon which may yet doom us all.
to:NB  books:noted  ethnography  vast_right-wing_conspiracy  climate_change  us_politics  us_culture_wars 
october 2019 by cshalizi
The Carbon Majors Database
--- Turning to the appendix with the actual figures. the dominance of state-owned enterprises as sources is striking, but in retrospect perhaps unsurprising.
climate_change  pollution  fossil_fuels 
october 2019 by cshalizi
Destination Anthropocene by Amelia Moore - Paperback - University of California Press
"Destination Anthropocene documents the emergence of new travel imaginaries forged at the intersection of the natural sciences and the tourism industry in a Caribbean archipelago. Known to travelers as a paradise of sun, sand, and sea, The Bahamas is rebranding itself in response to the rising threat of global environmental change, including climate change. In her imaginative new book, Amelia Moore explores an experimental form of tourism developed in the name of sustainability, one that is slowly changing the way both tourists and Bahamians come to know themselves and relate to island worlds. "
to:NB  books:noted  tourism  climate_change  bahamas 
august 2019 by cshalizi
Ethics of the scientist qua policy advisor: inductive risk, uncertainty, and catastrophe in climate economics | SpringerLink
"This paper discusses ethical issues surrounding Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) of the economic effects of climate change, and how climate economists acting as policy advisors ought to represent the uncertain possibility of catastrophe. Some climate economists, especially Martin Weitzman, have argued for a precautionary approach where avoiding catastrophe should structure climate economists’ welfare analysis. This paper details ethical arguments that justify this approach, showing how Weitzman’s “fat tail” probabilities of climate catastrophe pose ethical problems for widely used IAMs. The main claim is that economists who ignore or downplay catastrophic risks in their representations of uncertainty likely fall afoul of ethical constraints on scientists acting as policy advisors. Such scientists have duties to honestly articulate uncertainties and manage (some) inductive risks, or the risks of being wrong in different ways."
to:NB  ethics  climate_change  philosophy_of_science 
august 2019 by cshalizi
[1906.05433] Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning
"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and we, as machine learning experts, may wonder how we can help. Here we describe how machine learning can be a powerful tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping society adapt to a changing climate. From smart grids to disaster management, we identify high impact problems where existing gaps can be filled by machine learning, in collaboration with other fields. Our recommendations encompass exciting research questions as well as promising business opportunities. We call on the machine learning community to join the global effort against climate change."

--- My gut reaction is that this is well-intentioned but point-missing, but note the final tags.
to:NB  climate_change  machine_learning  to_read  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
june 2019 by cshalizi
The Engineering of Climate Engineering | Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems
"While reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions remains the most essential element of any strategy to manage climate change risk, it is also in principle possible to directly cool the climate by reflecting some sunlight back to space. Such climate engineering approaches include adding aerosols to the stratosphere and marine cloud brightening. Assessing whether these ideas could reduce risk requires a broad, multidisciplinary research effort spanning climate science, social sciences, and governance. However, if such strategies were ever used, the effort would also constitute one of the most critical engineering design and control challenges ever considered: making real-time decisions for a highly uncertain and nonlinear dynamic system with many input variables, many measurements, and a vast number of internal degrees of freedom, the dynamics of which span a wide range of timescales. Here, we review the engineering design aspects of climate engineering, discussing both progress to date and remaining challenges that will need to be addressed."
to:NB  climate_change  environmental_management  control_theory_and_control_engineering  well_when_you_put_it_that_way_how_could_it_possibly_go_epically_tragically_wrong 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Mapping Sea-Level Change in Time, Space, and Probability | Annual Review of Environment and Resources
"Future sea-level rise generates hazards for coastal populations, economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems around the world. The projection of future sea-level rise relies on an accurate understanding of the mechanisms driving its complex spatio-temporal evolution, which must be founded on an understanding of its history. We review the current methodologies and data sources used to reconstruct the history of sea-level change over geological (Pliocene, Last Interglacial, and Holocene) and instrumental (tide-gauge and satellite alimetry) eras, and the tools used to project the future spatial and temporal evolution of sea level. We summarize the understanding of the future evolution of sea level over the near (through 2050), medium (2100), and long (post-2100) terms. Using case studies from Singapore and New Jersey, we illustrate the ways in which current methodologies and data sources can constrain future projections, and how accurate projections can motivate the development of new sea-level research questions across relevant timescales."

(Last tag unusually tentative)
to:NB  climate_change  prediction  oceanography  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Climate Change and Conflict | Annual Review of Political Science
"The link between climate change and conflict has been discussed intensively in academic literature during the past decade. This review aims to provide a clearer picture of what the research community currently has to say with regard to this nexus. It finds that the literature has not detected a robust and general effect linking climate to conflict onset. Substantial agreement exists that climatic changes contribute to conflict under some conditions and through certain pathways. In particular, the literature shows that climatic conditions breed conflict in fertile grounds: in regions dependent on agriculture and in combination and interaction with other socioeconomic and political factors such as a low level of economic development and political marginalization. Future research should continue to investigate how climatic changes interact with and/or are conditioned by socioeconomic, political, and demographic settings to cause conflict and uncover the causal mechanisms that link these two phenomena."
to:NB  climate_change  war 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Climatic Impacts of Wind Power | The Keith Group
"We find that generating today’s US electricity demand (0.5 TWe) with wind power would warm Continental US surface temperatures by 0.24C. Warming arises, in part, from turbines redistributing heat by mixing the boundary layer. Modeled diurnal and seasonal temperature differences are roughly consistent with recent observations of warming at wind farms, reflecting a coherent mechanistic understanding for how wind turbines alter climate. The warming effect is: small compared with projections of 21st century warming, approximately equivalent to the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing global electricity generation, and large compared with the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing US electricity with wind. For the same generation rate, the climatic impacts from solar photovoltaic systems are about ten times smaller than wind systems. Wind’s overall environmental impacts are surely less than fossil energy. Yet, as the energy system is decarbonized, decisions between wind and solar should be informed by estimates of their climate impacts."

--- Via a student's answer to the midterm exam!
to:NB  climate_change 
october 2018 by cshalizi
Cherry blossom phenology and temperature reconstructions at Kyoto | 生態気象学研究グループ
"I have searched and collected the phenological data for full flowering date of cherry tree (Prunus jamasakura) from many diaries and chronicles written by Emperors, aristocrats, goveners and monks at Kyoto in historical time. The dates, on which cherry blossom viewing parties had been held or full flowerings had been observed, were collected from old documents. On this page, you can see the long series of phenological data of full flowering for cherry tree at Kyoto since 9th century. All of full flowering dates are expressed in Gregorian calender. The titles of old documents used as references are also shown."
This data was applied to climatic reconstruction of March mean temperature in Kyoto city. You can see the result of climatic reconstruction in our two papers. Data from the 9th to the 14th centuries was acquired and analyzed by Aono and Saito (2010; International Journal of Biometeorology, 54, 211-219). Phenology for 15th to 21st centuries was acquired and analyzed by Aono and Kazui (2008; International Journal of Climatology, 28, 905-914). If you want to use this phenological data for your research or want to quote this data in your figure, please give me the notice of that and indicate above credit for citation.
data_sets  time_series  climatology  climate_change  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Estimating Spatial Changes Over Time of Arctic Sea Ice using Hidden 2×2 Tables - Zhang - - Journal of Time Series Analysis - Wiley Online Library
"Arctic sea ice extent has been of considerable interest to scientists in recent years, mainly due to its decreasing temporal trend over the past 20 years. In this article, we propose a hierarchical spatio‐temporal generalized linear model for binary Arctic sea‐ice‐extent data, where statistical dependencies in the data are modeled through a latent spatio‐temporal linear mixed effects model. By using a fixed number of spatial basis functions, the resulting model achieves both dimension reduction and non‐stationarity for spatial fields at different time points. An EM algorithm is proposed to estimate model parameters, and an empirical–hierarchical‐modeling approach is applied to obtain the predictive distribution of the latent spatio‐temporal process. We illustrate the accuracy of the parameter estimation through a simulation study. The hierarchical model is applied to spatial Arctic sea‐ice‐extent data in the month of September for 20 years in the recent past, where several posterior summaries are obtained to detect the changes of Arctic sea ice cover. In particular, we consider a time series of latent 2 × 2 tables to infer the spatial changes of Arctic sea ice over time."

--- Probably too advanced for the class...
to:NB  to_read  spatio-temporal_statistics  climate_change  statistics  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Network structure and influence of the climate change counter-movement | Nature Climate Change
"Anthropogenic climate change represents a global threat to human well-being1,2,3 and ecosystem functioning4. Yet despite its importance for science and policy, our understanding of the causes of widespread uncertainty and doubt found among the general public remains limited. The political and social processes driving such doubt and uncertainty are difficult to rigorously analyse, and research has tended to focus on the individual-level, rather than the larger institutions and social networks that produce and disseminate contrarian information. This study presents a new approach by using network science to uncover the institutional and corporate structure of the climate change counter-movement, and machine-learning text analysis to show its influence in the news media and bureaucratic politics. The data include a new social network of all known organizations and individuals promoting contrarian viewpoints, as well as the entirety of all written and verbal texts about climate change from 1993–2013 from every organization, three major news outlets, all US presidents, and every occurrence on the floor of the US Congress. Using network and computational text analysis, I find that the organizational power within the contrarian network, and the magnitude of semantic similarity, are both predicted by ties to elite corporate benefactors."
to:NB  to_read  vast_right-wing_conspiracy  deceiving_us_has_become_an_industrial_process  network_data_analysis  text_mining  climate_change  via:? 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? - The Atlantic
"It’s not often that you write a paper proposing a hypothesis that you don’t support. Gavin and I don’t believe the Earth once hosted a 50-million-year-old Paleocene civilization. But by asking if we could “see” truly ancient industrial civilizations, we were forced to ask about the generic kinds of impacts any civilization might have on a planet. That’s exactly what the astrobiological perspective on climate change is all about. Civilization building means harvesting energy from the planet to do work (i.e., the work of civilization building). Once the civilization reaches truly planetary scales, there has to be some feedback on the coupled planetary systems that gave it birth (air, water, rock). This will be particularly true for young civilizations like ours still climbing up the ladder of technological capacity. There is, in other words, no free lunch. While some energy sources will have lower impact—say solar vs. fossil fuels—you can’t power a global civilization without some degree of impact on the planet.
"Once you realize, through climate change, the need to find lower-impact energy sources, the less impact you will leave. So the more sustainable your civilization becomes, the smaller the signal you’ll leave for future generations."

--- Stanislaw Lem, please call your office. Also, I like the immediately-following bit:

"In addition, our work also opened up the speculative possibility that some planets might have fossil-fuel-driven cycles of civilization building and collapse. If a civilization uses fossil fuels, the climate change they trigger can lead to a large decrease in ocean oxygen levels. These low oxygen levels (called ocean anoxia) help trigger the conditions needed for making fossil fuels like oil and coal in the first place. In this way, a civilization and its demise might sow the seed for new civilizations in the future."
paleontology  science_fiction  climate_change  have_read  to:blog 
july 2018 by cshalizi
Valuing Climate Damages: Updating Estimation of the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide | The National Academies Press
"The social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) is an economic metric intended to provide a comprehensive estimate of the net damages - that is, the monetized value of the net impacts, both negative and positive - from the global climate change that results from a small (1-metric ton) increase in carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions. Under Executive Orders regarding regulatory impact analysis and as required by a court ruling, the U.S. government has since 2008 used estimates of the SC-CO2 in federal rulemakings to value the costs and benefits associated with changes in CO2 emissions. In 2010, the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (IWG) developed a methodology for estimating the SC-CO2 across a range of assumptions about future socioeconomic and physical earth systems.
"Valuing Climate Changes examines potential approaches, along with their relative merits and challenges, for a comprehensive update to the current methodology. This publication also recommends near- and longer-term research priorities to ensure that the SC- CO2 estimates reflect the best available science."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  economics  carbon_pricing 
may 2018 by cshalizi
Climatic control of Mississippi River flood hazard amplified by river engineering | Nature
"Over the past century, many of the world’s major rivers have been modified for the purposes of flood mitigation, power generation and commercial navigation1. Engineering modifications to the Mississippi River system have altered the river’s sediment levels and channel morphology2, but the influence of these modifications on flood hazard is debated3,4,5. Detecting and attributing changes in river discharge is challenging because instrumental streamflow records are often too short to evaluate the range of natural hydrological variability before the establishment of flood mitigation infrastructure. Here we show that multi-decadal trends of flood hazard on the lower Mississippi River are strongly modulated by dynamical modes of climate variability, particularly the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, but that the artificial channelization (confinement to a straightened channel) has greatly amplified flood magnitudes over the past century. Our results, based on a multi-proxy reconstruction of flood frequency and magnitude spanning the past 500 years, reveal that the magnitude of the 100-year flood (a flood with a 1 per cent chance of being exceeded in any year) has increased by 20 per cent over those five centuries, with about 75 per cent of this increase attributed to river engineering. We conclude that the interaction of human alterations to the Mississippi River system with dynamical modes of climate variability has elevated the current flood hazard to levels that are unprecedented within the past five centuries."
to:NB  hydrology  time_series  extreme_values  environmental_management  climate_change  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
april 2018 by cshalizi
Philosophy and climate science | Philosophy of science | Cambridge University Press
"There continues to be a vigorous public debate in our society about the status of climate science. Much of the skepticism voiced in this debate suffers from a lack of understanding of how the science works - in particular the complex interdisciplinary scientific modeling activities such as those which are at the heart of climate science. In this book Eric Winsberg shows clearly and accessibly how philosophy of science can contribute to our understanding of climate science, and how it can also shape climate policy debates and provide a starting point for research. Covering a wide range of topics including the nature of scientific data, modeling, and simulation, his book provides a detailed guide for those willing to look beyond ideological proclamations, and enriches our understanding of how climate science relates to important concepts such as chaos, unpredictability, and the extent of what we know."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  philosophy_of_science  quixotic_enterprises 
april 2018 by cshalizi
Can We Price Carbon? | The MIT Press
"Climate change, economists generally agree, is best addressed by putting a price on the carbon content of fossil fuels—by taxing carbon, by cap-and-trade systems, or other methods. But what about the politics of carbon pricing? Do political realities render carbon pricing impracticable? In this book, Barry Rabe offers the first major political science analysis of the feasibility and sustainability of carbon pricing, drawing upon a series of real-world attempts to price carbon over the last two decades in North America, Europe, and Asia.
"Rabe asks whether these policies have proven politically viable and, if adopted, whether they survive political shifts and managerial challenges over time. The entire policy life cycle is examined, from adoption through advanced implementation, on a range of pricing policies including not only carbon taxes and cap-and-trade but also such alternative methods as taxing fossil fuel extraction. These case studies, Rabe argues, show that despite the considerable political difficulties, carbon pricing can be both feasible and durable."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  carbon_pricing  political_economy 
december 2017 by cshalizi
Greater future global warming inferred from Earth’s recent energy budget | Nature
"Climate models provide the principal means of projecting global warming over the remainder of the twenty-first century but modelled estimates of warming vary by a factor of approximately two even under the same radiative forcing scenarios. Across-model relationships between currently observable attributes of the climate system and the simulated magnitude of future warming have the potential to inform projections. Here we show that robust across-model relationships exist between the global spatial patterns of several fundamental attributes of Earth’s top-of-atmosphere energy budget and the magnitude of projected global warming. When we constrain the model projections with observations, we obtain greater means and narrower ranges of future global warming across the major radiative forcing scenarios, in general. In particular, we find that the observationally informed warming projection for the end of the twenty-first century for the steepest radiative forcing scenario is about 15 per cent warmer (+0.5 degrees Celsius) with a reduction of about a third in the two-standard-deviation spread (−1.2 degrees Celsius) relative to the raw model projections reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our results suggest that achieving any given global temperature stabilization target will require steeper greenhouse gas emissions reductions than previously calculated."

--- Shorter: We're fucked.
to:NB  climate_change 
december 2017 by cshalizi
The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism | SpringerLink
"Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human economic activities are causing the global climate to warm and unless GHG emissions are drastically reduced in the near future, the risks from climate change will continue to grow and major adverse consequences will become unavoidable. People who oppose this scientific body of knowledge because the implications of cutting GHG emissions—such as regulation or increased taxation—threaten their worldview or livelihood cannot provide an alternative view that is coherent by the standards of conventional scientific thinking. Instead, we suggest that people who reject the fact that the Earth’s climate is changing due to greenhouse gas emissions (or any other body of well-established scientific knowledge) oppose whatever inconvenient finding they are confronting in piece-meal fashion, rather than systematically, and without considering the implications of this rejection to the rest of the relevant scientific theory and findings. Hence, claims that the globe “is cooling” can coexist with claims that the “observed warming is natural” and that “the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us.” Coherence between these mutually contradictory opinions can only be achieved at a highly abstract level, namely that “something must be wrong” with the scientific evidence in order to justify a political position against climate change mitigation. This high-level coherence accompanied by contradictory subordinate propositions is a known attribute of conspiracist ideation, and conspiracism may be implicated when people reject well-established scientific propositions."
to:NB  philosophy_of_science  conspiracy_theories  climate_change  deceiving_us_has_become_an_industrial_process 
december 2017 by cshalizi
Harper, K.: The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition.
"Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague.
"A poignant reflection on humanity’s intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered and endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit—in ways that are surprising and profound."

--- Suspiciously few reviews noted from classicists.
to:NB  books:noted  ancient_history  roman_empire  plagues_and_peoples  climate_change 
december 2017 by cshalizi
The Zombie Diseases of Climate Change - The Atlantic
I would pay very good money to see what Linda Nagata or Paul McAuley could do with this.
climate_change  plagues_and_peoples  via:?  have_read 
november 2017 by cshalizi
Austral
"The great geoengineering projects have failed.
"The world is still warming, sea levels are still rising, and the Antarctic  Peninsula is home to Earth's newest nation, with life quickened by ecopoets spreading across valleys and fjords exposed by the retreat of the ice.
"Austral Morales Ferrado, a child of the last generation of ecopoets, is a husky: an edited person adapted to the unforgiving climate of the far south, feared and despised by most of its population. She's been a convict, a corrections officer in a labour camp, and consort to a criminal, and now, out of desperation, she has committed the kidnapping of the century. But before she can collect the ransom and make a new life elsewhere, she must find a place of safety amongst the peninsula's forests and icy plateaus, and evade a criminal gang that has its own plans for the teenage girl she's taken hostage.
"Blending the story of Austral's flight with the fractured history of her family and its role in the colonisation of Antarctica, Austral is a vivid portrayal of a treacherous new world created by climate change, and shaped by the betrayals and mistakes of the past."

--- Why is this book, which I want with great intensity, not available in the US?
to:NB  books:noted  books:owned  science_fiction  climate_change  antarctica  mcauley.paul 
november 2017 by cshalizi
Trump, Putin and the Pipelines to Nowhere – Medium
I suspect this attributes much too much foresight to those involved.
climate_change  us_politics 
december 2016 by cshalizi
Energy Humanities
"Energy humanities is a field of scholarship that, like medical and digital humanities before it, aims to overcome traditional boundaries between the disciplines and between academic and applied research. Responding to growing public concern about anthropogenic climate change and the unsustainability of the fuels we use to power our modern society, energy humanists highlight the essential contribution that humanistic insights and methods can make to areas of analysis once thought best left to the natural sciences.
"In this groundbreaking anthology, Imre Szeman and Dominic Boyer have brought together a carefully curated selection of the best and most influential work in energy humanities. In just the past decade, the humanities have witnessed a remarkable efflorescence of research that is beginning to receive recognition by scientists, government officials, and industry. Arguing that today’s energy and environmental dilemmas are fundamentally problems of ethics, habits, imagination, values, institutions, belief, and power—all traditional areas of expertise of the humanities and humanistic social sciences—the essays featured here demonstrate the scale and complexity of the issues the world faces. They also offer compelling possibilities for finding our way beyond our current energy dependencies toward a sustainable future.
"Staying true to the diverse work that makes up this emergent field, selections range from anthropology and geography to philosophy, history, and cultural studies to recent energy-focused interventions in art and literature. Energy Humanities will appeal to scholars and students across the disciplines, especially those concerned with environmental issues and social justice, as well as anyone concerned with our shared planet and the challenges of political, social, and environmental change."
to:NB  books:noted  literary_criticism  cultural_criticism  climate_change  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
december 2016 by cshalizi
A Delayed Review of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein
"The view that capitalism is a style of thinking, progress is a myth, and political contestation is irrelevant to “true” social change belongs not just to this one book but to all the commentators who found nothing to criticize. That’s the real problem."
book_reviews  climate_change  progressive_forces  dorman.peter  have_read  via:? 
august 2016 by cshalizi
Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change | The National Academies Press
"As climate has warmed over recent years, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded across the globe. Climate models simulate such changes in extreme events, and some of the reasons for the changes are well understood. Warming increases the likelihood of extremely hot days and nights, favors increased atmospheric moisture that may result in more frequent heavy rainfall and snowfall, and leads to evaporation that can exacerbate droughts.
"Even with evidence of these broad trends, scientists cautioned in the past that individual weather events couldn’t be attributed to climate change. Now, with advances in understanding the climate science behind extreme events and the science of extreme event attribution, such blanket statements may not be accurate. The relatively young science of extreme event attribution seeks to tease out the influence of human-cause climate change from other factors, such as natural sources of variability like El Niño, as contributors to individual extreme events.
"Event attribution can answer questions about how much climate change influenced the probability or intensity of a specific type of weather event. As event attribution capabilities improve, they could help inform choices about assessing and managing risk, and in guiding climate adaptation strategies. This report examines the current state of science of extreme weather attribution, and identifies ways to move the science forward to improve attribution capabilities."
to:NB  books:noted  climatology  climate_change  probability  causal_inference  statistics  explanation 
march 2016 by cshalizi
Negishi welfare weights in integrated assessment models: the mathematics of global inequality - Springer
"In a global climate policy debate fraught with differing understandings of right and wrong, the importance of making transparent the ethical assumptions used in climate-economics models cannot be overestimated. Negishi weighting is a key ethical assumption in climate-economics models, but it is virtually unknown to most model users. Negishi weights freeze the current distribution of income between world regions; without this constraint, IAMs that maximize global welfare would recommend an equalization of income across regions as part of their policy advice. With Negishi weights in place, these models instead recommend a course of action that would be optimal only in a world in which global income redistribution cannot and will not take place. This article describes the Negishi procedure and its origin in theoretical and applied welfare economics, and discusses the policy implications of the presentation and use of Negishi-weighted model results, as well as some alternatives to Negishi weighting in climate-economics models."

Ungated: http://sei-us.org/Publications_PDF/SEI-Stanton2010_ClimaticChange_Negishi.pdf
to:NB  economics  economic_policy  cost-benefit_analysis  moral_philosophy  inequality  climate_change  have_read  via:jbdelong 
february 2016 by cshalizi
Cahokia’s emergence and decline coincided with shifts of flood frequency on the Mississippi River
"Here we establish the timing of major flood events of the central Mississippi River over the last 1,800 y, using floodwater sediments deposited in two floodplain lakes. Shifts in the frequency of high-magnitude floods are mediated by moisture availability over midcontinental North America and correspond to the emergence and decline of Cahokia—a major late prehistoric settlement in the Mississippi River floodplain. The absence of large floods from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1200 facilitated agricultural intensification, population growth, and settlement expansion across the floodplain that are associated with the emergence of Cahokia as a regional center around A.D. 1050. The return of large floods after A.D. 1200, driven by waning midcontinental aridity, marks the onset of sociopolitical reorganization and depopulation that culminate in the abandonment of Cahokia and the surrounding region by A.D. 1350. Shifts in the frequency and magnitude of flooding may be an underappreciated but critical factor in the formation and dissolution of social complexity in early agricultural societies."
to:NB  archaeology  geology  climate_change  cahokia  mound_builders 
may 2015 by cshalizi
Drought, agricultural adaptation, and sociopolitical collapse in the Maya Lowlands
"Paleoclimate records indicate a series of severe droughts was associated with societal collapse of the Classic Maya during the Terminal Classic period (∼800–950 C.E.). Evidence for drought largely derives from the drier, less populated northern Maya Lowlands but does not explain more pronounced and earlier societal disruption in the relatively humid southern Maya Lowlands. Here we apply hydrogen and carbon isotope compositions of plant wax lipids in two lake sediment cores to assess changes in water availability and land use in both the northern and southern Maya lowlands. We show that relatively more intense drying occurred in the southern lowlands than in the northern lowlands during the Terminal Classic period, consistent with earlier and more persistent societal decline in the south. Our results also indicate a period of substantial drying in the southern Maya Lowlands from ∼200 C.E. to 500 C.E., during the Terminal Preclassic and Early Classic periods. Plant wax carbon isotope records indicate a decline in C4 plants in both lake catchments during the Early Classic period, interpreted to reflect a shift from extensive agriculture to intensive, water-conservative maize cultivation that was motivated by a drying climate. Our results imply that agricultural adaptations developed in response to earlier droughts were initially successful, but failed under the more severe droughts of the Terminal Classic period."
in_NB  maya_civilization  archaeology  climate_change 
may 2015 by cshalizi
Zoology: Here be dragons : Nature : Nature Publishing Group
"Emerging evidence indicates that dragons can no longer be dismissed as creatures of legend and fantasy, and that anthropogenic effects on the world's climate may inadvertently be paving the way for the resurgence of these beasts."

--- Figure 2 is a thing of beauty.
to:NB  have_read  dragons  ecology  climate_change  may.robert_m.  funny:geeky  to:blog 
april 2015 by cshalizi
Rapid climate change did not cause population collapse at the end of the European Bronze Age
"The impact of rapid climate change on contemporary human populations is of global concern. To contextualize our understanding of human responses to rapid climate change it is necessary to examine the archeological record during past climate transitions. One episode of abrupt climate change has been correlated with societal collapse at the end of the northwestern European Bronze Age. We apply new methods to interrogate archeological and paleoclimate data for this transition in Ireland at a higher level of precision than has previously been possible. We analyze archeological 14C dates to demonstrate dramatic population collapse and present high-precision proxy climate data, analyzed through Bayesian methods, to provide evidence for a rapid climatic transition at ca. 750 calibrated years B.C. Our results demonstrate that this climatic downturn did not initiate population collapse and highlight the nondeterministic nature of human responses to past climate change."
to:NB  archaeology  ancient_history  climate_change  statistics  to_read 
december 2014 by cshalizi
Climate Science Communication and the Measurement Problem by Dan M. Kahan :: SSRN
"This paper examines the science-of-science-communication measurement problem. In its simplest form, the problem reflects the use of externally invalid measures of the dynamics that generate cultural conflict over risk and other policy-relevant facts. But at a more fundamental level, the science-of-science-communication measurement problem inheres in the phenomena being measured themselves. The “beliefs” individuals form about a societal risk such as climate change are not of a piece; rather they reflect the distinct clusters of inferences that individuals draw as they engage information for two distinct ends: to gain access to the collective knowledge furnished by science, and to enjoy the sense of identity enabled by membership in a community defined by particular cultural commitments. The paper shows how appropriately designed “science comprehension” tests — one general, and one specific to climate change — can be used to measure individuals’ reasoning proficiency as collective-knowledge acquirers independently of their reasoning proficiency as cultural-identity protectors. Doing so reveals that there is in fact little disagreement among culturally diverse citizens on what science knows about climate change. The source of the climate-change controversy and like disputes is the contamination of education and politics with forms of cultural status competition that make it impossible for diverse citizens to express their reason as both collective-knowledge acquirers and cultural-identity protectors at the same time."
to:NB  climate_change  us_politics  psychology  social_measurement  ideology 
september 2014 by cshalizi
Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air | Nation & World | The Seattle Times
"Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays -- "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair."
solar_power  environmental_management  climate_change  to:blog  we_are_as_gods_and_we_might_as_well_get_good_at_it 
august 2014 by cshalizi
Pluvials, droughts, the Mongol Empire, and modern Mongolia
"Although many studies have associated the demise of complex societies with deteriorating climate, few have investigated the connection between an ameliorating environment, surplus resources, energy, and the rise of empires. The 13th-century Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in world history. Although drought has been proposed as one factor that spurred these conquests, no high-resolution moisture data are available during the rapid development of the Mongol Empire. Here we present a 1,112-y tree-ring reconstruction of warm-season water balance derived from Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica) trees in central Mongolia. Our reconstruction accounts for 56% of the variability in the regional water balance and is significantly correlated with steppe productivity across central Mongolia. In combination with a gridded temperature reconstruction, our results indicate that the regional climate during the conquests of Chinggis Khan’s (Genghis Khan’s) 13th-century Mongol Empire was warm and persistently wet. This period, characterized by 15 consecutive years of above-average moisture in central Mongolia and coinciding with the rise of Chinggis Khan, is unprecedented over the last 1,112 y. We propose that these climate conditions promoted high grassland productivity and favored the formation of Mongol political and military power. Tree-ring and meteorological data also suggest that the early 21st-century drought in central Mongolia was the hottest drought in the last 1,112 y, consistent with projections of warming over Inner Asia. Future warming may overwhelm increases in precipitation leading to similar heat droughts, with potentially severe consequences for modern Mongolia."

--- Paging John Emerson, http://haquelebac.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/5321/
to:NB  central_asia  mongol_empire  climate_change  medieval_eurasian_history 
april 2014 by cshalizi
Reconciling disagreement over climate–conflict results in Africa
"A recent study by Burke et al. [Burke M, Miguel E, Satyanath S, Dykema J, Lobell D (2009) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(49):20670–20674] reports statistical evidence that the likelihood of civil wars in African countries was elevated in hotter years. A following study by Buhaug [Buhaug H (2010) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(38):16477–16482] reports that a reexamination of the evidence overturns Burke et al.’s findings when alternative statistical models and alternative measures of conflict are used. We show that the conclusion by Buhaug is based on absent or incorrect statistical tests, both in model selection and in the comparison of results with Burke et al. When we implement the correct tests, we find there is no evidence presented in Buhaug that rejects the original results of Burke et al."
to:NB  to_read  track_down_references  climate_change  war  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
march 2014 by cshalizi
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
"Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth's atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world's nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and patterns of rainfall will change. But the future is also partly uncertain -- there is considerable uncertainty about how we will arrive at that different climate. Will the changes be gradual, allowing natural systems and societal infrastructure to adjust in a timely fashion? Or will some of the changes be more abrupt, crossing some threshold or "tipping point" to change so fast that the time between when a problem is recognized and when action is required shrinks to the point where orderly adaptation is not possible?
"Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change is an updated look at the issue of abrupt climate change and its potential impacts. This study differs from previous treatments of abrupt changes by focusing on abrupt climate changes and also abrupt climate impacts that have the potential to severely affect the physical climate system, natural systems, or human systems, often affecting multiple interconnected areas of concern. The primary timescale of concern is years to decades. A key characteristic of these changes is that they can come faster than expected, planned, or budgeted for, forcing more reactive, rather than proactive, modes of behavior.
"Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change summarizes the state of our knowledge about potential abrupt changes and abrupt climate impacts and categorizes changes that are already occurring, have a high probability of occurrence, or are unlikely to occur. Because of the substantial risks to society and nature posed by abrupt changes, this report recommends the development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System that would allow for the prediction and possible mitigation of such changes before their societal impacts are severe. Identifying key vulnerabilities can help guide efforts to increase resiliency and avoid large damages from abrupt change in the climate system, or in abrupt impacts of gradual changes in the climate system, and facilitate more informed decisions on the proper balance between mitigation and adaptation. Although there is still much to learn about abrupt climate change and abrupt climate impacts, to willfully ignore the threat of abrupt change could lead to more costs, loss of life, suffering, and environmental degradation. Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change makes the case that the time is here to be serious about the threat of tipping points so as to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  public_policy  disasters 
march 2014 by cshalizi
Statistics and Climate - Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application, 1(1):87
"For a statistician, climate is the distribution of weather and other variables that are part of the climate system. This distribution changes over time. This review considers some aspects of climate data, climate model assessment, and uncertainty estimation pertinent to climate issues, focusing mainly on temperatures. Some interesting methodological needs that arise from these issues are also considered."
in_NB  climatology  climate_change  statistics  guttorp.peter  to_read 
january 2014 by cshalizi
Arming Mother Nature - Hardcover - Jacob Darwin Hamblin - Oxford University Press
"When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political left, of vegans dressed in organic-hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, writes Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement--and its dire predictions--owe more to the Pentagon than the counterculture.
"In Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning for World War III essentially created "catastrophic environmentalism": the idea that human activity might cause global natural disasters. This awareness, Hamblin shows, emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds into environmental science after World War II, searching for ways to harness natural processes--to kill millions of people. Proposals included the use of nuclear weapons to create artificial tsunamis or melt the ice caps to drown coastal cities; setting fire to vast expanses of vegetation; and changing local climates. Oxford botanists advised British generals on how to destroy enemy crops during the war in Malaya; American scientists attempted to alter the weather in Vietnam. This work raised questions that went beyond the goal of weaponizing nature. By the 1980s, the C.I.A. was studying the likely effects of global warming on Soviet harvests. "Perhaps one of the surprises of this book is not how little was known about environmental change, but rather how much," Hamblin writes. Driven initially by strategic imperatives, Cold War scientists learned to think globally and to grasp humanity's power to alter the environment. "We know how we can modify the ionosphere," nuclear physicist Edward Teller proudly stated. "We have already done it."
"Teller never repented. But many of the same individuals and institutions that helped the Pentagon later warned of global warming and other potential disasters. Brilliantly argued and deeply researched, Arming Mother Nature changes our understanding of the history of the Cold War and the birth of modern environmental science."
to:NB  books:noted  environmentalism  cold_war  climate_change  history_of_ideas  history_of_science  we_are_as_gods_and_we_might_as_well_get_good_at_it 
july 2013 by cshalizi
Global Crisis - Parker, Geoffrey - Yale University Press
"Revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, regicides – the calamities of the mid-seventeenth century were not only unprecedented, they were agonisingly widespread.  A global crisis extended from England to Japan, and from the Russian Empire to sub-Saharan Africa. North and South America, too, suffered turbulence. The distinguished historian Geoffrey Parker examines first-hand accounts of men and women throughout the world describing what they saw and suffered during a sequence of political, economic and social crises that stretched from 1618 to the 1680s. Parker also deploys scientific evidence concerning climate conditions of the period, and his use of ‘natural’ as well as ‘human’ archives transforms our understanding of the World Crisis. Changes in the prevailing weather patterns during the 1640s and 1650s – longer and harsher winters, and cooler and wetter summers – disrupted growing seasons, causing dearth, malnutrition, and disease, along with more deaths and fewer births. Some contemporaries estimated that one-third of the world died, and much of the surviving historical evidence supports their pessimism.
Parker’s demonstration of the link between climate change and worldwide catastrophe 350 years ago stands as an extraordinary historical achievement."
in_NB  books:noted  early_modern_european_history  early_modern_world_history  climate_change 
july 2013 by cshalizi
Classic Period collapse of the Central Maya Lowlands: Insights about human–environment relationships for sustainability
"The ninth century collapse and abandonment of the Central Maya Lowlands in the Yucatán peninsular region were the result of complex human–environment interactions. Large-scale Maya landscape alterations and demands placed on resources and ecosystem services generated high-stress environmental conditions that were amplified by increasing climatic aridity. Coincident with this stress, the flow of commerce shifted from land transit across the peninsula to sea-borne transit around it. These changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions generated increasing societal conflicts, diminished control by the Maya elite, and led to decisions to move elsewhere in the peninsular region rather than incur the high costs of maintaining the human–environment systems in place. After abandonment, the environment of the Central Maya Lowlands largely recovered, although altered from its state before Maya occupation; the population never recovered. This history and the spatial and temporal variability in the pattern of collapse and abandonment throughout the Maya lowlands support the case for different conditions, opportunities, and constraints in the prevailing human–environment systems and the decisions to confront them. The Maya case lends insights for the use of paleo- and historical analogs to inform contemporary global environmental change and sustainability."
in_NB  have_read  maya_civilization  archaeology  complexity  sabloff.jeremy  ecology  environmental_management  climate_change 
december 2012 by cshalizi
Why We Can't Solve Big Problems | MIT Technology Review
Well-said. I would emphasize that Apollo comes at the end of ~400 years of nation-states learning how to combine military bureaucracy and industrial production to achieve very specific strategic goals, generally of the form "put X many men in position Y with materiel Z" (see McNeill's _The Pursuit of Power_). To the extent that sort of undertaking is a social _as well as_ an engineering problem, we've got the needed social technologies pretty thoroughly developed. Open-ended things like dealing with climate change, really not so much.
engineering  technological_change  institutions  apollo_project  visions_of_american_decline  our_decrepit_institutions  climate_change  via:? 
december 2012 by cshalizi
TRACKING CLIMATE MODELS
"Climate models are complex mathematical models designed by meteorologists, geophysicists, and climate scientists, and run as computer simulations, to predict climate. There is currently high variance among the predictions of 20 global climate models, from various laboratories around the world, that inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Given temperature predictions from 20 IPCC global climate models, and over 100 years of historical temperature data, we track the changing sequence of which model predicts best at any given time. We use an algorithm due to Monteleoni and Jaakkola that models the sequence of observations using a hierarchical learner, based on a set of generalized Hidden Markov Models, where the identity of the current best climate model is the hidden variable. The transition probabilities between climate models are learned online, simultaneous to tracking the temperature predictions.
"On historical global mean temperature data, our online learning algorithm’s average prediction loss nearly matches that of the best performing climate model in hindsight. Moreover its performance surpasses that of the average model prediction, which is the default practice in climate science, the median prediction, and least squares linear regression. We also experimented on climate model predictions through the year 2098. Simulating labels with the predictions of any one climate model, we found significantly improved performance using our online learning algorithm with respect to the other climate models, and techniques. To complement our global results, we also ran experiments on IPCC global climate model temperature predictions for the specific geographic regions of Africa, Europe, and North America. On historical data, at both annual and monthly time-scales, and in future simulations, our algorithm typically outperformed both the best climate model per region, and linear regression. Notably, our algorithm consistently outperformed the average prediction over models, the current benchmark."

--- Appears to supersede the MS. of the same title at http://www1.ccls.columbia.edu/~cmontel/mss10.pdf

--- Re teaching in "Data over Space and Time", I'm mostly thinking of the data sets.
to_read  re:growing_ensemble_project  non-stationarity  time_series  climate_change  statistics  individual_sequence_prediction  monteleoni.claire  in_NB 
november 2012 by cshalizi
Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
"Sources added that by early Wednesday morning, it abruptly occurred to millions more citizens that the news stories they’ve been seeing that feature displaced families, photos of debris, shut-down businesses, and government relief efforts have already started to feel “extremely familiar,” because these are things that happen now.
" “I was just watching a CNN news story about how much damage Sandy has caused in comparison to Katrina, Ike, or last year’s storm that ravaged the Northeast, and it dawned on me: ‘Ah, okay, being a human being on Planet Earth, pretty much no matter where you are, now involves the threat of one day having your home, city, or country decimated in a matter of hours by a severe weather event,’” Detroit resident Stacy Hillman said. “Looking at images of cities—actual American fucking cities—flooded with water is no longer an incredibly weird, unprecedented thing to see. It has happened before, it happened this week, and it will continue to happen again and again in the future, and to an even greater extent.” "
funny:laughing_instead_of_screaming  onion.the  climate_change  disasters  via:making_light 
november 2012 by cshalizi
Late Pleistocene climate change and the global expansion of anatomically modern humans
"The extent to which past climate change has dictated the pattern and timing of the out-of-Africa expansion by anatomically modern humans is currently unclear [Stewart JR, Stringer CB (2012) Science 335:1317–1321]. In particular, the incompleteness of the fossil record makes it difficult to quantify the effect of climate. Here, we take a different approach to this problem; rather than relying on the appearance of fossils or archaeological evidence to determine arrival times in different parts of the world, we use patterns of genetic variation in modern human populations to determine the plausibility of past demographic parameters. We develop a spatially explicit model of the expansion of anatomically modern humans and use climate reconstructions over the past 120 ky based on the Hadley Centre global climate model HadCM3 to quantify the possible effects of climate on human demography. The combinations of demographic parameters compatible with the current genetic makeup of worldwide populations indicate a clear effect of climate on past population densities. Our estimates of this effect, based on population genetics, capture the observed relationship between current climate and population density in modern hunter–gatherers worldwide, providing supporting evidence for the realism of our approach. Furthermore, although we did not use any archaeological and anthropological data to inform the model, the arrival times in different continents predicted by our model are also broadly consistent with the fossil and archaeological records. Our framework provides the most accurate spatiotemporal reconstruction of human demographic history available at present and will allow for a greater integration of genetic and archaeological evidence."
in_NB  human_evolution  historical_genetics  climate_change 
october 2012 by cshalizi
Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land (Macsci) by James Mcclintock - Powell's Books
"Hidden between the ice and snow of Antarctica is a world unlike any other. Bitter cold, scarce resources, and six months a year without sunlight make this frozen landscape virtually uninhabitable for humans. Yet these harsh conditions have created a unique and fascinating world of unusual plants and curious animals, mostly amphibians. A keen observer will find forests filled with 50-foot algae, sea spiders, coral, multicolored sea stars, and giant predatory worms, providing nourishment for fearless predators, from leopard seals to giant squid. Now, as temperatures rise, hardy species from warmer climates are making Antarctica their home and destroying this fragile terrain. In a closely observed account, leading marine ecologist James McClintock gives us an unprecedented look at the ravages of the polar environment. From the demise of ice-dependent species to ocean acidification, this is a highly original and distinctive look at a world that we're losing."
books:noted  antarctica  popular_science  natural_history  biology  climate_change 
september 2012 by cshalizi
Thoughts on Roger Pielke Jr. | Stand-Up Economist
Is it possible to call someone an incompetent hack any more politely and subtly than this?
climate_change  economics  evisceration  environmental_management  pielke.roger  running_dogs_of_reaction 
july 2010 by cshalizi
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