Tolkien grave

Taking a walk from a course at lunchtime I come across Wolvercote cemetary and little signs pointing to “J R R Tolkien, author”. So I follow them. And there he is, along with Edith aka Luthien (checking up on wiki I find that “Tolkien’s first civilian job after World War I was at the Oxford English Dictionary, where he worked mainly on the history and etymology of words of Germanic origin beginning with the letter W” – isn’t that cute. Just think what might have happened had he started on F, instead).

On the grave is a thick red book, which proves on inspection to be a copy of LORT in, probably, norwegian, though I couldn’t say for sure.

The uncertainty of uncertainty

There is a paper by Roe and Baker out in Nature Science arguing that Both models and observations yield broad probability distributions for long-term increases in global mean temperature expected from the doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, with small but finite probabilities of very large increases. We show that the shape of these probability distributions is an inevitable and general consequence of the nature of the climate system. Predictably enough it will get misinterpreted, and indeed Nature itself leads the field in doing so. See-also Grauniad.

For a general take, you’ll want to read RealClimate (of course) before reading my quibbles. Hopefully JA will weigh in on this too. Because I am very dubious of it. [Update: he has]

Ah, but before I should go further, let me point out that this isn’t my thing. I’m guessing, and may be wrong and/or confused.
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Airbourne fraction

AF (ie, Airbo(u)rne Fraction, ie the proportion of emitted CO2 that stays in the atmos, the rest being sunk in land or ocean) is in the news; I wrote up part of it recently (and detected some nonsense about it a year ago). There is a PNAS paper, Canadell et al; Eli has already done it.

When talking about the N Atlantic results, I was unwise enough to say “But airbourne fraction is still about 55%, so this can’t be happening globally.” This was in the context of the North Atlantic halving its uptake, which I instinctively thought couldn’t happen globally or it would be obvious in the CO2 data. But thinking about it more…
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Sane response to press release

Shock horror! Worlds press responds sensibly to a press release. Well it was one of ours, and the response seems to be to ignore it, which is fair enough. But a touch surprising, since its yet another iceberg breaking off Antarctica (this one half the size of London, the latest unit of measurement). Read all about it. Probably the problem is the third para: “This calving event is part of a natural cyclic process. A 34-year long study of the glacier has shown that a large iceberg breaks off roughly every 5-10 years. The last was in 2001.”

Meanwhile, over on the Dark Side

A brief break from bashing my own side, to point up the stupidies of the Evil Ones, to prove that I haven’t Gone Over myself. Its not terribly entertaining, as we replace issues of judgement and representation with lying, but needs to be done on occaision.

So, from my own comments (heavens! is there no censorship in this world?) we have: Steven Milloy at Fox News points out that if you take GORE’s movie, and remove the 9 proved false statements, and also correct Gore’s false statement that 2005 was the hottest year on record (1934 was)…. Well, no. 1934 wasn’t, as a fairly cursory look at the t rec will confirm. But in fact Milloy isn’t quite guilty of this – he is only guilty of writing the grossly misleading “Gore also says in the film that 2005 is the hottest year on record. But NASA data actually show that 1934 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. — 2005 is not even in the top 10.” and leaving his accolytes to their inevitable misreading. And of course, as everyone by now has said ad nauseam, the judge didn’t find 9 things proved false.
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Thaas outrageous, big Mammy

An old line from Steve Bell, BM of course being Margaret Thatcher (as I recall, this was in the context of “batting for Britain” and Mark Thatcher). Ahem. Anyway. Thatcher, of course, as the destroyer of our coal industry in favour of the dash-for-gas, is responsible for any faint hopes that the UK has of meeting its Kyoto targets, so is an appropriate patron for this post.

What brings this on is “Climate change and trace gases” (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2007) 365, 1925-1954 doi:10.1098/rsta.2007.2052 Published online 18 May 2007) where Hansen goes wild with whipsaws and other related stuff (“Positive feedbacks predominate. This allows the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states…” and so on; see-also JEB, though he hadn’t read it then).
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Pix wanted

Sciblogs has channels (e.g env, which is where I live, except for posts like this, which go onto chatter) and they are looking for new pix to adorn the banners, which will rotate on a weekly basis. The instructions are: “It’s not too hard: the image needs to be at least 465 pixels wide. Readers should send their photos to They should send only photos that they have the rights to (eg, photos they have taken themselves), and they should include a line of text to the effect that we have permission to use their photo on ScienceBlogs. They should also add how they’d like to be credited, and whether they would like a link to appear along with the credit. (If there are identifiable people in the photo, we will need to have their permission to post the photo.) People can also send us links to Flickr pages, or tag a photo on Flickr with “Sb-homepage,” and we will find it. They should make sure that the photos are licensed under Creative Commons with an “attribution only” or a “share alike” license.”

There you go.