Archive for 2009
- two sides of a coin — climate change argumentation: skeptics vs. scientific consensus: http://twiturl.de/gudet #
- Looks like the RIMAX reports are printed: http://twiturl.de/kegac #
- some statistics on airborne terror: http://twiturl.de/galuh #
- competition: environmental photographer of the year (2010): http://www.ciwem.org/arts/photographer/ #
- RT @cbdawson great video of a drop of water up close: http://bit.ly/64nq9V #
- Didi Hegen to be inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame (together with Krutov): http://twiturl.de/gabah #
- statistical analysis where to aim at dart: http://twiturl.de/penub #
- Why do geologists love beer: http://twiturl.de/bogir #
- M. Mann responds to hackers of emails of climate scientists: http://twiturl.de/topik #
- RT @theAGU: #AGU09 Nice blog by Who hung the moon? on geoblog lunch http://bit.ly/8YEnyO @brianshiro @seismogenic @geosociety @aboutgeology #
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
- 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
- John Stewart on science funding: episode dec 14, 6:45-7:40 (the rest is good too) (via R. Gleick's talk at #AGU09): http://twiturl.de/kabip #
- NYTimes: Tap water is legal but may be unhealthy: http://twiturl.de/colil #
- TED: What modern water engineers can learn from ancient infrastructure: http://twiturl.de/togoc #
- My poster is today pm! H43F-1093: #geostatistics #hydrogeology #dispersion! Looking forward to meet you all! #
- What's a good place to watch the #sharks game tonight downtown #SF, ideally close to Moscone? #
There are so many things going on over here, it’s hard to keep up. Additionally, the first time in my life, my body has issues adjusting to a new time zone. I don’t understand…
This lecture, presented by John Schaake, was one of the better lectures I’ve attended in a while. He was humorous, had great examples illustrating the points he made, and was well organized. John Schaake was employed by the Hydrologic Department of NOAA. It’s hard to summarize his talk, but here are a few points:
- understanding of basic math and how to apply it was the key thing he learned in his education
- he emphasized that you have to use both for understanding of natural phenomena: statistics and physics
- he mentioned a typical problem of downscaling a couple of times: he said you could use a big IPCC cell for precipitation from Ethiopia, downscale, and it’d work in California. It’d work, despite the fact that most of the precipitation in Ethiopia occurs in summer, and most precipitation occurs in California in winter.
- if you have to or want to make adjustments to non-linear errors, it’s hard to say how to do this (I would probably have to draw a little sketch here, but that’ll have to wait)
- John Schaake is instrumental in the HEPEX initiative
- He said something about community based planning, I wrote down CHPS, and all google finds seems to be related to “community based health planning”. I’m not sure where this is going
- He used an empirical copula, and I knew what he was talking about.
- I learned what a “Continuous Rank Probability Score” (CRPSS) is;
- it’s always good to be reminded of the total probability law
- he asked this interesting question: “Can we produce ensemble analyses that represent spatial and temporal scale-dependent analysis uncertainty?”
- he thinks that several of the best imperfect models may be better than any one
- this might be an interesting document to read: the strategic science plan of NOAA’s hydrologic department
Talk by Yoram Rubin
Yoram Rubin gave an excellent overview of the development of stochastic hydrogeology. He divided this development into four phases:
- Field scale experiments and related analysis (Borden, Cape Cod, MADE); The learning-effect was that solute transport is controlled by spatial variability (of K);
- Establishment of a physical basis for geostatistics with major contributions from Fogg, Ritz, Weissman;
- Adoption of probabilistic concepts by “bottom line” oriented organizations;
- New methods of data acquisition, which he refers to as “Hydrogeophysics”, which is also the title of one of his books;
things I picked up
- I haven’t heard of the Anscombe’s quartet before, but sure I will use it at least for teaching purposes!
- somebody said a macroscope is a tool to see the infinitely complex;
- the CUAHSI site looks interesting;
papers maybe worth to read
The new director of the USGS, Marcia McNutt, presented the “Frontiers of Geophysics lecture” last night at the AGU fall meeting. She tried to give an overview of “what’s cool” within the USGS, leaving out all modelling efforts and Landsat.
Despite not being a remote sensing expert, I knew about “Landsat”, but I wasn’t aware that the USGS is involved in it in a big way. Being somewhat active on the modelling side, I was a little bit disappointed at first, but some of the “cool things” she presented, were actually cool. Also for modellers. Here is the list of “cool things” she talked about — without claiming being complete, these are my notes:
- Lidar: there are quite a few interesting research projects going on with Lidar, the difference being a different wavelength the Lidar is tuned to. I found an application for mapping ground surface below dense vegetation quite interesting.
- earthquake warning systems: there is an attempt to put an automatic warning system for California in place, which means for example that gas mains could be shut off automatically, assuming a warning time of a couple of minutes
- airborne geophysics of volcanoes
- unmanned aircraft: for desserts, below clouds
- research related to “atmospheric rivers”. This concept was new to me, but the atmosphere doesn’t seem to be as homogeneous as we’ve thought in the past – d’oh!
- “prospecting remotely”; the USGS completed an airborne hyperspectral survey of the surface of the entire country of Afghanistan in order to assess the situation of minerals in Afghanistan. According to McNutt, “Afghanistan is rich [in minerals] beyond your wildest dreams”. These resources could be used to help the country financially. It would be interesting to see the results.
- a US-wide map of methylmercury concentration
- Biochar for better soil and for carbon sequestration
- a plasma based mass-spectrometer;
- “creating moon dirt at 37,000°F” using a plasma-torch;
- arsenic in the evolution of earth and extraterrestrial ecosystems;
- gas hydrates discovered in the US gulf of Mexico;
- gas hydrates & climate change;