The latest edition of the useful UKCIP Climate Digest is available online here.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, the digest provides a brief summary of a selection of papers published in the previous month on matters relating to climate change. It is useful because it allows us to pick up on papers which might otherwise have dipped under the radar.
Four pieces from this month which haven’t all been heavily covered, but which are interesting:
Came et.al. is a study of the palaeo link between CO2 and temperature. It concludes that in all major historic warming events (it focuses on the Palaeozoic era) there is a linked CO2 increase. Whilst this eliminates the argument that we have historically seen periods of warming without associated CO2 rises, or period of increased CO2 without warming, it makes no comment on whether CO2 is a driver or of or a response to temperature change.
Perkins et.al. is the downscaling exercise for Australia which has received some online coverage regarding the implications of its projections. It’s real value probably lies in a novel approach to downscaling, though, which uses pdfs for each grid square for each time unit, and manages to hit an 80% skill score for some climate models on a forty-year hindcast. This would seem to represent a real development in both the methodology and assessment of regional climate projections.
Oppenheimer et. al. deals with the limits of consensus within the IPCC and the AR4. It points to some inconsistencies of approach regarding confidence and suggests that some of the finalised material, for example the sea level projections, may have been victims of the effort to realise consensus amongst the participating authors. It suggests a more standardised approach to expressing disagreement on areas where there is still a range of speculation within the science, and the possibility that the IPCC might focus in future on ‘scoping’ studies of aspects of climate change in shorter timescales, leaving a full assessment to once every ten years or so.
Finally, Pielke Jr.’s critique of the Stern Review points to two ‘errors’ in the document which result in a misrepresentation of future extreme weather costs. It also suggests that ‘Stern’ should be recognised as an advocacy document and evaluated in this light when used by policy makers.
The Came and the Oppenheimer are both pricewalled, so for non-subscribers to Science or Nature, this allows a review of otherwise inaccessible material – another benefit of the climate digest. The Perkins is available as an abstract from the J. Clim., so the same applies. Several other papers are reviewed which will be of interest to a range of readers.