ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

AGU Day 4

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On thursday morning I sat into the “communicating climate change” session, which is not directly related with my work, but is timely, and relevant. It turned out that I saw some of the best talks of the conference so far in this session. As before I will post here some of my notes, again no guarantee for completeness.

M. Mann’s talk

  • The scientific basis for climate change has been around for longer than many think, mostly since the early 19th century:
  • Jim Hansen has been one of the first people to try and validate a climate model – and he didn’t do poorly
  • there is a thing called the “Luntz Memo“. It is a memo written by a politician called Luntz who outlines in this memo how to argue against climate change in the public. Similarly, there are other politicians who are against climate change, including Senator James Inhofe and Sara Palin. This is nothing new, but was interesting in this clearness. Palin recently established a thing called “Climate Gate” in which she called for president Obama to boycott Copenhagen. Not to confused with Watergate.

R. Alley’s talk

  • to be a scientist is one of the greatest jobs available: you discover things that nobody knew before, you share, and you help. On the other hand, scientist argue like crazy every time. Which might be necessary to “keep shaking the info until it’s solid”. To non-scientists, this usually looks like scientists do nothing else other than arguing. And that’s not good!
  • The National Research Council was established to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art”. Later came similar institutions for health and engineering. Now, after the initial IPCC report, the US government asked the NRC, if the IPCC predictions might be ok. The NRC responded that yes, the IPCC predictions look good.
  • Then he got into sea-level rise, the main topic of his talk
    • in 2001, sea level rise was predicted, excluding dynamics. In 2007, “scientists went like ‘Oh crap'” — sea-level rose faster than they expected. — “There’s the big gorilla out there that we don’t understand”
    • “it’s not hard to get 1m sea-level rise by 2100”
    • the underlying science: “all piles tend to spread, if you crank up the heat things melt, and if it snows it might accumulate”
    • Sara Das does cool research in Greenland
    • The Larsen B ice-shelf was one flying buttress for the ice of Greenland. Without a flying buttress, some ice might move up to 8x faster than with one. The less flying buttresses there are around Greenland, the “faster the whole thing goes”
    • melting goes up faster than increased snow fall
Ponds on the ice-surface of Greendland. Photo by [Sara Das][17]

Ponds on the ice-surface of Greendland. Photo by Sara Das

Interesting Papers

  • Regional Meteorological–Marine Reanalyses and Climate Change Projections by Weisse et al., 2009 in BAMS
  • Geochemistry and the understanding of ground-water systems by Glynn and Plummer, Hydrogeology Journal 2005
  • What indicators can capture runoff-relevant connectivity properties of the micro-topography at the plot scale? by Antoine et al., 2009 in AWR
  • Zhu and Lin, 2009: preferential flow paths via EM in HESS
  • Hydrodynamic Dispersion by Rose in Soil Science
  • The original Pfannkuch, 1963 paper seems to be in french, not available online, but cited by many
  • Berkovitz and Scher, 1995 in Water Resources Research

Written by Claus

December 18th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

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One Response to 'AGU Day 4'

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  1. Claus, don’t get eaten by the climate change debate. It’s like pandora’s box. Have you ever had a look into any of the blogs (either “pro” or “contra” climate change)? BTW as far as I know “climategate” describes first and formost the scandal around the hacked and published emails from CRU.


    18 Dec 09 at 11:40 pm

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