A Science-Organized Community: Organizing U.S. Climate Modeling (3)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 9:18 PM GMT on June 21, 2011

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A Science-Organized Community: Organizing U.S. Climate Modeling (3)

In the previous entry I set out the need of a scientific organization; that is, an organization that is designed and run to honor the tenets of the scientific method. This stands in contrast to, say, a laboratory or a center that is populated by scientists carrying out a multitude of projects, each following the scientific method. One motivation for the scientific organization is the steady stream of reports from the past two decades calling for better integration of U.S. climate activities to provide predictions to meet societal needs. At the foundation of my argument is that the way we teach, fund and reward scientific investigation has been, traditionally, fragmenting. Without addressing this underlying fragmentation, there are high barriers to achieving the needed integration. (see, Something New in the Past Decade?, The Scientific Organization, High-end Climate Science).

What does it take for an organization to adhere to the scientific method? Ultimately, I will arrive at the conclusion that it takes a diligence of management and governance, but for this entry I will continue to focus on the elements of the scientific method, and specifically the development of strategies to evaluate and validate collected, rather than individual, results.

In May I attended a seminar by David Stainforth. Stainforth is one of the principles in the community project climateprediction.net. From their website, “Climateprediction.net is a distributed computing project to produce predictions of the Earth's climate up to 2100 and to test the accuracy of climate models.” In this project people download a climate model and run the model on their personal computers, then the results are communicated back to data center where they are analyzed in concert with results from many other people.

This is one example of community science or citizen science. Other citizen science programs are Project Budburst and the Globe Program. There are a number of reasons for projects like this. One of the reasons is to extend the reach of observations. In Project Budburst people across the U.S. observe the onset of spring as indicated by different plants – when do leaves and blossoms emerge? A scientific motivation for doing this is to increase the number observations to try to assure that the Earth's variability is adequately observed – to develop statistical significance. In these citizen science programs people are taught how to observe - a protocol is developed.

Education – that is another goal of these citizen science activities, education about the scientific method. In order to follow the scientific process, we need to know the characteristics of the observations. If, as in Project Budburst, we are looking for the onset of leafing, then we need to make sure that the tree is not sitting next to a warm building or in the building’s atrium. Perhaps, there is a requirement of a measurement, for example, that the buds on a particular type of tree have expanded to a certain size or burst in some discernible way. Quantitative measurement and adherence of practices of measurement are at the foundation of developing a controlled experiment. A controlled experiment is one where we try to investigate only one thing at a time; this is a difficult task in climate science. If we are not careful about our observations and the design of our experiments, then it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to evaluate our hypotheses and arrive at conclusions. And the ability to test hypotheses is fundamental to the scientific method. Design, observations, hypothesis, evaluation, validation – in a scientific organization these things need to be done by the organization, not each individual.

Let’s return to climateprediction.net. A major goal is to obtain a lot of simulations from climate models to examine the range of variability that we might expect in 2100. The strategy is to place relatively simple models in the hands of a whole lot of people. With this strategy it is possible to do many more experiments than say one scientist or even a small team of scientists can do. Many 100,000s of simulations have been completed.

One of the many challenges faced in the model-based experiments is how to manage the model simulations to provide controlled experiments. If you think about a climate model as a whole, then there are a number of things that can be changed. We can change something “inside” of the model, for example, we can change how rough we estimate the Earth’s surface to be – maybe grassland versus forest. We can change something “outside” of the model - the energy balance, perhaps, some estimate of how the Sun varies or how carbon dioxide will change. And, still “outside” the model, we can change the details of what the climate looks like when the model simulation is started – do we start it with January 2003 data or July 2007? When you download a model from climateprediction.net, it has a unique set of these parameters. If you do a second experiment, this will also have a unique set of parameters. Managing these model configurations and documenting this information allows, well, 100000s of simulations to be run, with a systematic exploration of model variability. Experiment strategy is explained here.

What impressed me about climateprediction.net is the ability to design and execute a volunteer organization that allows rigorous investigation with of a group of thousands of people on thousands of different computers distributed all over the globe. Protocols have been set up to verify that the results are what they should be; there is confidence in the accuracy of the information collected. Here is an example where scientists are able to define an organization where the scientific method permeates the organization. Is this proof that a formalized scientific organization is possible? What are the attributes that contribute to the success of a project like climateprediction.net? Are they relevant to a U.S. climate laboratory?

Bringing this back to the scale of U.S. climate activities – in 2008 there was a Policy Forum in Science Magazine by Mark Schaefer, Jim Baker and a distinguished number of co-authors. All of these co-authors had worked at high levels in the government, and they all struggled with the desire and need to integrate U.S. climate activities. Based on their experience they posed an Earth System Science Agency made from a combined USGS and NOAA. In their article they pointed out: “The synergies among our research and monitoring programs, both space- and ground-based, are not being exploited effectively because they are not planned and implemented in an integrated fashion. Our problems include inadequate organizational structure, ineffective interagency collaboration, declines in funding, and blurred authority for program planning and implementation.” Planning and implementation in an integrated fashion, I will add – consistent with the scientific method – that is what is needed for a successful scientific investigation by an individual; it is needed to make climateprediction.net substantive; it is needed for any climate organization that is expected, as a whole, to provide integrated climate information.

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Figure 1: Location of participants in climateprediction.net. From the BBC, a sponsor of the experiment.


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Quoting RustyShackleford:
So .039% is making us get warmer and warmer and worse storms.

And worse winters

Actually let me make a list so I know I don't forget anything McBill (not your real name) and Nea can add to the list and CB if yall feel like it...

Warmer summers
Colder Winters
More severe storms
More droughts
More snow
More rain
More fires
More earthquakes
Stronger earthquakes
More tornadoes (Which Sir has proven wrong but Nea to afraid to answer)
Stronger tornadoes
More hail
More floods
More hurricanes
Stronger hurricanes

Have I missed anything????

Yes:
--Coral bleaching.
--Mass animal migrations.
--Melting glaciers.
--Melting icecaps.
--Earlier springs.
--Longer summers.
--Later autumns.
--Shorter winters.
--Ocean acidification.

And so on, and so forth...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting RMuller:
When AGW skeptics make pronouncements, it's all funded by "Big Oil" according to warmists. Nothing could be further from the truth. How many lies will they tell to further their fallacious cause? I can't count the many times I've seen BP promoting "green energy" if there exists such a thing.

Link

It's long been known that Big Energy plays both sides of the board. Their C-suites may be filled by scheming, manipulative types, but they're not stupid; if I owned a mega petroleum company, I might even be tempted to do the same. That is, try to extend the run of fossil fuels as long as possible even while I spent millions seeking a competitive edge for the time when the scientific truth about climate change can no longer be hidden. IOW, funding green energy doesn't mean a corporation or an industry isn't simultaneously deeply involved with the Professional Denial Industry. Your link is a great case in point.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting cat5hurricane:

The theory of Global Warming does not extend to the anthropogenic effects humans are contributing through carbon emission output.

Thousands of scientists may theorize about a warming trend, but the theory does not extend to carbon emission.

Now, yes, there are theories upon the theory of the warming trend. But to insinuate that they (97% of climatologists - whopdedoo) attribute it to man is nonsense.

"Now, yes, there are theories upon the theory of the curvature of the earth. But to insinuate that they (100% of earth scientists - whopdedoo) attribute it to the earth's roundness is nonsense."

Nah, doesn't work that way, either. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting cat5hurricane:

One little problem.

Over the course of history, the Earth has numerous times has seen C02 levels exponentially higher than the present rate.

Furthermore, the rate at which it might be increasing now pales in comparison to numerous other times throughout the course of history.

Do you believe Dinosaurs existed? Do you have any idea what scientifically is involved in a volcanic eruption outside of Pierre Bronson's recollection in Dante's Peak.

Think about that for a minute and let me know what you learned.

Cat, yes, CO2 has been higher. But the rate at which it's now increasing has never before happened without mass die-offs. In fact, every extinction in the planet's history has been a direct result of climate change. Supervolcano eruptions, comet collisions, and the like killed by altering the climate so rapidly that most living organisms couldn't adapt in time. And bad as an all-out global thermonuclear war would be, it's not the explosions or the radiation that would kill most people; it's the resulting "nuclear winter" that would do us in.

Now, if you're comforted by saying, "Well, see, it has been hotter before, and there has been more CO2," knock yourself out. But for me, that ain't nearly enough.

38 trillion liters of CO2 per day are being let loose in the atmosphere. Do you believe it just vanishes without a trace?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting RustyShackleford:


Your showing no proof.

Almost helping the opposite case that you are trying to make.

C'mon all day since this morning I've been asking for some proof yet I've received none.

Yall got one day left minus a couple hours.

We need some proof.

#noproof


Look to NOAA to find your proof.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20468
Quoting RustyShackleford:
2010 One of Two Warmest Years On Record; El Ni�o-Southern Oscillation and Other Climate Patterns Play Major Role

Really CB?

Your going to post this?

Thought it wasn't cyclical it was man's fault??


It is a combination of both. We must eliminate our influence upon it though.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20468
Arctic Melting Will Affect the Migratory Strategies of Seabirds

ScienceDaily (June 30, 2011) — A study of kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) in the arctic region provides the first data on the migratory patterns of this seabird species and analyses its capacity to respond to environmental changes. The kittiwake is one of the most emblematic marine species of the arctic area, and evidence suggests that rising temperatures at the north pole over the coming decades will have a dramatic impact on populations of this bird.
Plants & Animals

Nature
Fish
Mating and Breeding

Earth & Climate

Global Warming
Climate
Geography

Reference

Gull
Bowhead Whale
Ocean current
Arctic fox

To understand the responses of arctic species to climate change, an international team led by Thierry Boulinier (Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, CNRS, France), contributed to by the lecturer Jacob González-Solís, from the UB's Department of Animal Biology and the Institute for Research on Biodiversity (IRBio), has fitted tracking devices to individuals from several kittiwake populations in northern Norway.

The project is funded by the French Polar Institute (IPEV), the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. During the research, the expert Víctor García, from the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, was involved in installing the satellite transmitters for tracking the tagged individuals.

The kittewake, which hibernates along the Cantabrian and Atlantic coasts of Spain, was considered until recently a dispersive species. For the first time, the use of geolocators and satellite transmitters has revealed that these birds have multiple migratory strategies and that ice affects their movements. The results show that after the breeding season, the entire population migrated to the Svalbard archipelago and to the eastern part of the Bering Sea to moult and recover from breeding effort. After two months, the birds took only nine days to migrate to the Labrador Sea, to the east of Greenland. Half of the population spent the winter in this area, but the other half moved towards the north-east Atlantic and even to the Iberian coast, before returning to the breeding grounds in February.

By comparing the data provided by the geolocators and satellite telemetry images of the Arctic ice, the experts found that the population studied migrated away from ice-covered areas. "Kittiwakes gather in areas where there is no ice," explains González-Solís. "If we consider that the volume of ice in the Arctic will decrease drastically over the coming decades, we are likely to see a general movement of hibernation areas northwards."

The satellite transmitters used in the study also provide key information on movements of individuals within populations. "The first results show that after breeding failure, kittiwakes move to breeding sites tens of kilometers away to find better breeding conditions," explains Boulinier. These movements indicate that the birds may respond to environmental changes more quickly than we thought.

The satellite transmitters also reveal the position of key conservation areas, where the kittiwakes congregate in large numbers to recover from breeding effort. This year, the project has been extended with the introduction of geolocators into several breeding colonies, for example in the Svalbard archipelago. It is hoped that over the next few years this new work will reveal the first changes in migration habits, distribution and population dynamics of kittiwakes in response to global warming.

Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20468
Average U.S. Temperature Increases by 0.5 Degrees F

ScienceDaily (June 29, 2011) — According to the 1981-2010 normals to be released by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on July 1, temperatures across the United States were on average, approximately 0.5 degree F warmer than the 1971-2000 time period.Normals serve as a 30 year baseline average of important climate variables that are used to understand average climate conditions at any location and serve as a consistent point of reference. The new normals update the 30-year averages of climatological variables, including average temperature and precipitation for more than 7,500 locations across the United States. This once-a-decade update will replace the current 1971-2000 normals.

In the continental United States, every state's annual maximum and minimum temperature increased on average. "The climate of the 2000s is about 1.5 degree F warmer than the 1970s, so we would expect the updated 30-year normals to be warmer," said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., NCDC director.

Using standards established by the World Meteorological Organization, the 30-year normals are used to compare current climate conditions with recent history. Local weathercasters traditionally use normals for comparisons with the day's weather conditions.

In addition to their application in the weather sector, normals are used extensively by electric and gas companies for short- and long-term energy use projections. NOAA's normals are also used by some states as the standard benchmark by which they determine the statewide rate that utilities are allowed to charge their customers.

The agricultural sector also heavily depends on normals. Farmers rely on normals to help make decisions on both crop selection and planting times. Agribusinesses use normals to monitor "departures from normal conditions" throughout the growing season and to assess past and current crop yields.

NCDC made many improvements and additions to the scientific methodology used to calculate the 1981-2010 normals. They include improved scientific quality control and statistical techniques. Comparisons to previous normals take these new techniques into account. The 1981-2010 normals provide a more comprehensive suite of precipitation and snowfall statistics. In addition, NCDC is providing hourly normals for more than 250 stations at the request of users, such as the energy industry.

Some of the key climate normals include: monthly and daily maximum temperature; monthly and daily minimum temperature; daily and monthly precipitation and snowfall statistics; and daily and monthly heating and cooling degree days. The 1981-2010 climate normals is one of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions. NOAA and its predecessor agencies have been providing updated 30-year normals once every decade since the 1921-1950 normals were released in 1956.

Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20468
I mean, how arrogant are we to assume that we own the planet and have a right to be here..... our time may just be up....

Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
№ 411
Quoting Neapolitan:

Like I said, I'm sure it's all just a coincidence. The record snowstorms, the record droughts, the record heat waves, the record tornadoes, the record hailstorms, the record rainfalls, the record flooding, the record cold snaps, the record coral bleachings, the record fires, the record cyclone activity, the record ocean acidifcation... I'm certain all of it happening, and all at once, is just pure chance; there's zero chance the 80 million tons of CO2 we pump into the environment each day--36.7 trillion liters-- has anything at all to do with the changing climate.


Again, record events aren't proof. The longer the observation period is, the more extreme the records would get, even without an overall increase in the phenomenon measured. If you want to discuss whether some of the events you mentioned can be linked to warming, provide some information that shows that over the long term the particular event you wish to discuss has increased in frequency and such an increase is attributable to warming and cannot be attributed to something else. Simply saying "Look at all the records, certainly it's no coincidence" is not compelling.

I'll even start. I notice that you once again are including "record tornadoes" in your post, implying a link to warming despite the fact that several posters have linked to the long-term record in strong tornadoes that shows no increasing trend. Are you still insisting that "out-of-season" tornadoes are on the increase? Do you think that the frequency of strong tornadoes overall are increasing? Do you have any evidence of such?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
at no time in earth's past has the climate changed so quickly without being accompanied by mass die-offs.

and your point is?

Did you never stop to think that maybe, just maybe, it's a natural pattern? Extinction on a global scale? Let's ask the Mastedons....or the Giant Ground Sloth.... or the Sabered-tooth cat.... no, wait.... they died out.....must have been Fred Flintstone's fault, right?

is extinction on a global scale such a bad thing for the earth? Maybe it's man's time to say, "Buh-bye"!

Bring on the next act....

The Ancient Aliens are coming back!!!!!!!!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
For the millionth time, my brethren: what's most important isn't that the planet is warming, but how quickly it's doing so. According to every available bit of proxy data, at no time in earth's past has the climate changed so quickly without being accompanied by mass die-offs.

Nearly than 38 trillion liters of CO2 are being dumped into the environment each and ever day.

Nearly 440 million liters each second.

Yet some continue to claim that has no effect on the climate whatsoever.

Right...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting PurpleDrank:


just as everything in nature, it rises up and then falls

from star formation, to planetary polar melt and freeze, nothing in the universe is without peaks and troughs, ups and downs, highs and lows, nothing to something and back to nothing again.

by the time man finds the answers, he will have evolved into something that this current climate can't suit.



Dang, maybe I should drink some of that sizurp. That was deep.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ossqss:
Dam cave men driving their SUD's (sport utility donkeys) did this ! :)




Neo must be behind quota and its month end and he has to catch up or get fired. LOL


just as everything in nature, it rises up and then falls

from star formation, to planetary polar melt and freeze, nothing in the universe is without peaks and troughs, ups and downs, highs and lows, nothing to something and back to nothing again.

by the time man finds the answers, he will have evolved into something that this current climate can't suit.
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 730
Quoting Ossqss:
Dam cave men driving their SUD's (sport utility donkeys) did this ! :)




Neo must be behind quota and its month end and he has to catch up or get fired. LOL

So the fact that the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated at the blazing speed of a hundred yards per year is evidence against AGWT?

Okay, then. Got it.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Dam cave men driving their SUD's (sport utility donkeys) did this ! :)




Neo must be behind quota and its month end and he has to catch up or get fired. LOL
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
Quoting Neapolitan:

Only to someone who doesn't understand that climate is about long-term trends. Global warming doesn't mean each passing day will be warmer than the previous one, nor will each passing month or even each passing year. It means over the long run--say, decade by decade--the planet will grow warmer and warmer and warmer. And that is, of course, precisely what's been happening.


its known the earth goes through warming phases and cooling phases

velocity and gravity are to blame, but not man. man is along for the ride--in the long run
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 730
Quoting PurpleDrank:
Quoting Neapolitan:

If it weren't for governments, we'd all be scattered about the landscape constantly battling each other over scraps of food and shelter.

nope. if it werent for capitalism we'd all be scattered about the landscape constantly battling each other over scraps of anything

Pirates are capitalists; so is the guy in the next cave who bashes your head in with a rock while you're sleeping so he can steal your bearskin blankets. Capitalism without proper regulation quickly descends into absolute every-man-for-himself chaos, and that regulation can only come from an entity such as a government.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting RustyShackleford:


Regional...

Next....

Technically if the world is warming wouldn't today be warmer than last year's date?

Only to someone who doesn't understand that climate is about long-term trends. Global warming doesn't mean each passing day will be warmer than the previous one, nor will each passing month or even each passing year. It means over the long run--say, decade by decade--the planet will grow warmer and warmer and warmer. And that is, of course, precisely what's been happening.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
I prefer a spatula...
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting Neapolitan:

If it weren't for governments, we'd all be scattered about the landscape constantly battling each other over scraps of food and shelter.

nope. if it werent for capitalism we'd all be scattered about the landscape constantly battling each other over scraps of anything
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 730
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting Neapolitan:

Of course it's possible. In fact, none of those statistics and records are proof of any kind that the changing climate is due to man's activities. What they are very strong evidence of, however, is that the earth's climate is undergoing some profound and fundamental changes--and science has yet to find anything other than increasing CO2 that can account for that warming.



Ok, thank you.

I wouldn't say science hasn't found anything other than CO2. I would say our scientists haven't found anything but CO2.

And I think that's the problem. Do you get my take?
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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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