4 out of 5 dentists agree

Remember the ad about the “4 out of 5 dentists” who recommended a certain gum? Well, 29 out of 30 climate scientists (97%) accept “anthropogenic climate change” (ACC) as a fact. The more research they did, the more papers they published, the more expertise they had — the more likely they were to believe in ACC.

From Anderegg, W. R. L., et al. Expert Credibility in Climate Change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (online before print, June 21, 2010):

Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.


New dioxane book has a nice surprise

Got a copy of Environmental Investigation and Remediation: 1,4-Dioxane and Other Solvent Stabilizers for the library, autographed by the author, Tom Mohr. I was thrilled to see that I was mentioned in the acknowledgments for helping Tom with his initial white paper.

Dioxane is an insidious chemical. Just two of its nasty characteristics: it often makes a longer plume in groundwater than the solvent with which it’s associated, and it has a boiling point of 101C, which makes it difficult to remove from water. It’s also a probable carcinogen and widespread. The EPA may regulate it soon, which would make this book very timely.

(More about the book)

They must have gotten the biologists, too

Most climatologists and most of the peer-reviewed literature on the subject support the view that climate change is happening and it’s largely caused by human activities. Many climate change denialists, when faced with this information, will say they’re all part of a worldwide conspiracy.

If so, recent research by life scientists suggests they, too, will have to be added to the conspiracy theory.

Lizards Feel the Heat from Climate Change. Seems the cold-blooded reptiles are hiding out from the heat and then starving.

Some people will tell you that even if climate change is happening, the warmer air and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide will be good for plants. Agricultural yields will increase, and everyone will eat better.

Not so much.

Plant study dims silver lining to global warming. The increased CO2 inhibits their ability to assimilate nitrogen.

Climate Change Adaptation in New York City

A special issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences is devoted to Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response. It includes many articles on the subject, all of them open access.

From the Executive Summary:

Climate change has the potential to impact everyday life in New York City. Environmental conditions as we experience them today will shift, exposing the city and its residents to new hazards and heightened risks. We will be challenged by increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more intense and frequent extreme events. Historical climate precedents are no longer valid for long-term environmental planning.

Mitigation actions are undertaken to address the long-term risks of climate change through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while adaptation is needed to respond to the short-term risks that are unavoidable as well as to long-term risks. While mitigation actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help to decrease the magnitude and impact of future changes, they will not prevent climate change from occurring altogether. Given the impacts of climate change, its high costs, and the requirements of effective long-term planning, investments are needed to begin the climate change adaptation process. Both public and private sectors should be making investments today, even in times of economic downturn, in order to minimize climate risks that are only projected to grow in the future.

Taking climate change adaptation action now will limit damages and costs through the coming decades and, in many cases, can provide near-term benefits including operational cost savings and job creation.

More on the National Academy of Sciences

I wrote recently about the three new reports on climate change from the National Academy of Sciences.

For those who insist that these are government reports written by scientists who say that climate change is real and mostly caused by humans because they are paid to say that, comes this from the announcement on GlobalChange.gov:

The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council are independent, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under an 1863 congressional charter. Committee and panel members, who serve pro bono, are chosen by for each study based on their expertise and experience and must satisfy the Research Council’s conflict-of-interest standards. The resulting consensus reports undergo external peer review before completion. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org/studycommitteprocess.pdf.

Emphasis added.

Response from UC President Mark Yudof

I (and many others) received the following e-mail:

Thank you for your e-mail expressing your concern about the future of the University of California’s Water Resources Center archives. As I hope you will understand, because of the volume of messages I have received on this topic, I am sending the same response to all.

The academic home for the Archives, the ANR Water Resources Center, closed December 31, 2009, and ANR is seeking a new, appropriate home for the Water Archive resources. The intrinsic research and societal value of the Archives is not in dispute. How to best manage the Archive resources into the future, where to house the Archive resources, and how to ensure that the resources are available to future researchers, students, and policymakers are being discussed.

The UC Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, and Merced campuses were asked to submit proposals for assuming full responsibility for the Archive library resources. Specifically, each proposal must address the unit’s long-term commitment to maintain and improve the collection, the unit’s plan for housing the collection, and the unit’s plan for accessibility of archive materials. In addition, each unit was asked to address issues of funding, staffing, the Advisory Board, and administrative details of transference of the collection. UC Merced immediately declined because of budget shortfall issues.

The proposals from the other three campuses will be reviewed by a small panel chaired by Associate Vice President Barbara Allen-Diaz and that includes Vice Provost Daniel Greenstein (formerly of the California Digital Library); Chair of the University of California Committee on Libraries and Scholarly Activities (UCOLASC) Richard Schneider; Executive Director Mary Croughan (former Academic Senate Chair); and current Water Archives Advisory Board Chair Tim Ramirez. This group will make a recommendation to Vice President Dan Dooley, who will make the final decision on the future home for the Archives.

The goal is to make this invaluable resource available to researchers, students, and staff throughout the state. The best proposal that ensures this goal is met will be selected, and the Archive resources will continue to be available to researchers and the people of California far into the future.

With best wishes, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Mark G. Yudof

Update: This post still gets some views. Please view my latest post on the subject of the Water Resources Center Archives and other posts tagged wrca.