Saturday, May 18, 2013

Climate science choking on the latest serving of Satan Sandwich

In More science and the Satan Sandwich, SciShow on sequestration's effects on science, and Space and astronomy news: Satan Sandwich edition #1, I described the effects of sequestration on science research in general and NASA in particular, as well as efforts to reverse them.  Now, it's time to show how the latest serving of Satan Sandwich is hurting climate research, which might be more of a feature than a bug.

Inside Climate News: Sequester Hits Nation's Climate Change Research Capability
Eight regional centers dedicated to expanding climate research at the local level lose millions in budget cuts.
By Rachel Nuwer, InsideClimate News   
May 1, 2013
When Renee McPherson took on the role of director of research at the South Central Climate Science Center last year, she had no idea that she’d soon be grappling with budget cuts that threatened her ability to support regional climate research or hire new graduate students and faculty—the premise of hosting the center in the first place.

The facility McPherson runs out of the University of Oklahoma is among eight centers created between 2010 and 2012 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The goal was to bring together federal, academic and on-the-ground experts who could pursue climate change research at the local level.

But then came the sequester, the Congressional mandate that slashed federal budgets across the board.
The irony, at least if one assumes that denialists might think this is a good idea, is that the weather itself is convincing people of the severity of the situation.

Postmedia News via Extreme weather is making Americans climate-change believers, study finds
By William Marsden, Postmedia News
May 3, 2013
A year of strange and often devastating weather that included extreme hurricanes, drought and wildfires appears to have increased the number of Americans who want government action on climate change, a new study shows.

Unfortunately, researchers say, this higher level of global-warming awareness is not translating into political action.

“Mother Nature has been pretty busy teaching Americans and Canadians and people from round the world about climate change through extreme weather over the past couple of years,” said Prof. Ed Maibach, one of the authors of the survey. “Since 2011 we see a fairly strong increase in belief that climate change is real and human caused and people are worried about it.”

The survey shows that 58 per cent of Americans believe “global warming is affecting weather in the United States” and 85 per cent of Americans claimed they experienced extreme weather during the last year.
Also, scientific research on climate change is making headlines again.

Reuters: Carbon dioxide level crosses milestone at Hawaii site
By Environment Correspondent Deborah Zabarenko
WASHINGTON | Sat May 11, 2013 5:32am EDT
The amount of climate-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere topped 400 parts per million at a key observing station in Hawaii for the first time since measurement began in 1958, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Friday.

To many scientists, crossing the 400 ppm threshold, which means that there are 400 molecules of carbon dioxide for every million molecules in the air, is a bit like the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising above 15,000 points.

"It's important mainly as a milestone that marks a steady progress of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said James Butler of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.
Being able to figure out what happens when carbon dioxide is at Miocene levels might be a good idea and worthy of funding.

No comments:

Post a Comment