AMQUA vs AAPG over SoF

The AMQUA (American Quaternary Association, bet you didn’t know that) takes AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) to task for giving Crichton its journalism award for State of Fear, with the laughable assertion that “It is fiction, but it has the absolute ring of truth”. The award says more about what petroleum geologists would like to be true than it does about reality; its nice to see AMQUA standing up against this nonsense.

Nature: Climate change: A cosmic connection

Nature has a review on its front cover (subs req, of course) that pretty well says forget solar forcing for explaining current climate change (“brightening of the Sun is unlikely to have had a significant influence on global warming since the seventeenth century”; not to be outdone, Science refers to a Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. peice saying much the same). But inside we have Climate change: A cosmic connection about CLOUD, which is a CERN expt to try to find the elusive cosmic-ray cloud connection that much of the solar folk hope for by shooting particle beams through controlled air. This idea has been around quite a while – at least since the EGU was last at Nice, and probably before. But it looks like its finally been funded ($11 M for the first phase; not obviously a useful use of money).
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Warning: bigger carbon cut needed to avoid disaster

Says the Guardian. The full report is here (by the Tyndall follk) but the summary (by FOE/Coop) is here. There is a clear void between the scale of the problem and the actual policy mechanisms proposed well I can agree with that, but from there on…
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Reading the entrails of chickens

Or, Reading the entrails of chickens: molecular timescales of evolution and the illusion of precision. Pointed out to me by a palaentologist friend. There’s a pdf here. Nothing at all to do with climate, but an interesting tale nonetheless. Or so I assume: it seems sensible, and was recommended by someone sensible, but may have been superceeded since 2004 for all I know. But this is the first time I’ve heard this wonderful story, and as someone who occaisionally reads about molecular clocks in the papers and assumes its all kosher, this article was a surprise.
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CO2 and T over ice age cycles

A reader writes: where is the paleontological data showing the correspondence between CO2 levels and ice age events?. The answer is, all over the place; here is one possible source. The correspondence isvery good.

At this point, the s(k)eptics jump up and down and say, aha, but the T leads the CO2. To which the answer is, so what? The lead is small (on the scale of these things: maybe 800y) and hard to even measure (you certainly can’t see it on the scale of that graph). We *know* it takes feedbacks between T and CO2 to create the ice age cycles, which because of their periodicity are presumed to have orbital forcing as their ultimate pacemaker.

The Economist on climate change

The Economist has a special survey on climate change (you get to read the intro for free. The rest is sub-only :-(). Its headlined “The heat is on” and storylined “Global warming, it now seems, is for real.”.

[Oh wonderful. I read the special supplement on the assumption that it has most of the content, and then I get to the leader column which is far more interesting. I need to add an addendum to this post…]

Their conclusion is:
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Uprising of the poodles?

If you haven’t been following UK politics recently, you can be excused, cos its been dull. The main story has been “when will Blair go” and “will he name a date”. My reading of this has been, why should he, when no-one has the guts to push him out. Yesterdays news was that the Sun (dubious low-iq semi-porn paper with a large readership and hence influential, hence seems to get more that its fair share of leaks) reported that the date would be next may; this was interpreted as being “given the wink” by Blair since he didn’t deny it. So far so dull and much the usual slimy politics.

But today: excitement: the Grauniad (non-dubious high-iq no-porn 😦 paper with smaller and less influential readership :-() reports: Blair faces crisis over resignations… Tony Blair today faced an implosion of his authority after seven government members resigned in protest at his refusal to publicly name a departure date. They are fairly minor people, true. Possibilities: they have summoned up the backbone to do what they think is right despite the consequences (unlikely). Or, they have seen which way the wind is blowing and want to show loyalty to the new regime (more like it).

Or am I too bitter and cynical in my old age?