In an interview with Salt Lake City Tribune, Senator Orrin Hatch gives his opinion of climate change [LINK]. The article is fairly timid, but does manage to paint a picture of Orrin Hatch, showing he is firmly in that bizarro neo-Conservative reality where there is little scientific consensus, or at least where that consensus is part of some kind of vast scientific conspiracy. Suddenly I'm reminded that I never got a chance to read Chris Mooney's The Republican War On Science; maybe it is time to pick that up.
Maybe I'm wrong about Hatch though. After all, as the article says, he has read Michael Crichton's State of Fear, and "took note of the scientific citations at the end of the book." No, he couldn't remember any of them, or what they said, but he noted them.... of course, that might just mean that he saw that Crichton "did research," so the novel must be true. Conservatives are getting funnier and funnier.
Oh, just in case anybody has missed the news, climate change, and by that I mean global warming caused by human activity increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere along with all the associated effects, is not in dispute in the scientific community. The temperature trends are quantitatively different from the observed natural variability, and recent years are among the warmest in the past 1000 years.
An article in The Register reports that a study published in Nature decreases the uncertainty in our estimate in climate sensitivity [LINK]. Actually, the study just shows that it is extremely unlikely to get what are already considered implausible temperature changes (without some seriously catastrophic conditions). The work is by Hegerl, Crowley, Hyde, and Frame, who use a simple hemispheric energy balance model and reconstructions of climate for the past 1,000 years or so to examine the statistical relationship between our best guess of past climate and our estimate of climate sensitivity. It is an interesting study, though the limitations of their model may be such that the result is not as relevant for anthropogenic global warming as the authors believe. It is, however, as good an estimate for climate sensitivity as we have right now. The paper is in Nature: Climate sensitivity constrained by temperature reconstructions over the past seven centuries
Gabriele C. Hegerl, Thomas J. Crowley, William T. Hyde and David J. Frame
In a not-quite-related story in Nature, the climateprediction.net project found an error in their aerosol forcing that caused the simulation to crash at 2013 [LINK]. This is for a sub-project focusing on climate change in the UK, and has set the schedule back by a couple months. It isn't all that bad, really, because the error will allow the investigation of the effects of aerosols on global warming.