The Whale Pump

It's this kind of shit that makes oceanography so hard... whale shit, literally. A new study suggests (and does not prove) [LINK][PLoS], that whale poop might pump nitrogen up to the surface in some areas of the oceans, acting as a boost to biological productivity (and consequently fish population). If this "whale pump" were eventually shown to be important in the global nitrogen cycle, how would climate models cope with that information? Who's going to code the whale_poop.F90 module? Geez.


Coffee forests threatened by climate change impacts

This is serious. At least superficially similar to the pine beetles infecting forests in the Rockies, there's a pest called the coffee berry borer beetle that is infecting coffee plants around the world [LINK]. As the climate is changing, these beetles have started to become common pests in regions where they have historically been virtually unknown, such as Ethiopia. This insect problem just makes the impacts on coffee production worse, as there are already some issues with temperature sensitivity in growing coffee. Frankly, this story completely freaks me out, as I rely on coffee for survival.


Blame Cheney

Well, at least a recent NYTimes editorial does: LINK, worth a read. It says that Cheney-style denialism of anthropogenic climate change is being adopted by the current crop of GOP candidates. I'm not sure that I agree, but it depends on how one breaks down the denier strategies. From my current understanding of the candidates though, it seems like the so-called tea party candidates generally have a more naive/paranoid take on climate change than the "merchants of doubt" or "wedge strategy" that I'd ascribe to the Cheney folks. This goes for other issues as well, with these tea-party types really falling into the same category as the insane Alex Jones and similar paranoid conspiracists.


fancy words

Okay, no peeking, is this a real or fake title for a paper (answer below):

Enhanced ocean temperature forecast skills through 3-D super-ensemble multi-model fusion

Yep, totally real, I just saw it in my GRL RSS feed. Here's the rest:

F. Lenartz, B. Mourre, A. Barth, J.-M. Beckers, L. Vandenbulcke and M. Rixen

An innovative multi-model fusion technique is proposed to improve short-term ocean temperature forecasts: the three-dimensional super-ensemble. In this method, a Kalman Filter is used to adjust three-dimensional model weights over a past learning period, allowing to give more importance to recent observations, and take into account spatially varying model skills. The predictive performance is evaluated against SST analyses, CTD casts and gliders tracks collected during the Ligurian Sea Cal/Val 2008 experiment. Statistical results not only show a very significant bias reduction of this multi-model forecast in comparison with the individual models, their ensemble mean and a single-weight-per-model version of the super-ensemble, but also the improvement of other pattern-related skills. In a 48-h forecast experiment, and with respect to the ensemble mean, surface and subsurface root-mean-square differences with observations are reduced by 57% and 35% respectively, making this new technique a suitable non-intrusive post-processing method for multi-model operational forecasting systems.


Republicans, 2010 edition

Wow... another article/study that I missed somehow:

Republican hopefuls deny global warming

This is from the Guardian, reporting results from a Center for American Progress report. The punch line is that of the 48 Republican candidates for Senate, 47 of them deny climate change and/or oppose action on global warming. I don't even have any commentary on this, it simply speaks for itself.


Mann's op-ed in WaPo

Somehow I missed Michael Mann's op-ed in the Washington Post last Friday [LINK]. It's short and to the point. He's worried about the upcoming elections, specifically about the possibility of the Republicans taking control of key congressional committees. Those committees could be headed by people who continue to cast doubt on the science behind climate change, and some have stated a desire to launch further investigations into climate science and climate scientists. Such investigations would further damage the public perception of climate change and the scientists who study it, and they would also cost the taxpayers many thousands of dollars and detract from meaningful congressional activities. Mann is also saying that climate scientists need to resist these attacks. He doesn't say how, but I think that publishing such an op-ed gives some insight to his personal strategy, and probably what he recommends to a wider group of scientists: engage the public and the press. This seems to me to have greater potential for good than, for example, directly engaging the persistent climate deniers (a la Judith Curry's approach over the past couple of years).


Can someone explain why West Virginia is still a state?

See John Rudolf's NYTimes Blog post for a little additional backstory on this, though it is hardly even necessary.


The Simpson's & Banksy collaborate

In the absence of actual content, I submit entertainment:

Banksy storyboarded the sequence. Via Laughing Squid via Daring Fireball.