Archive for December, 2011

Tellus moves to open access

December 30, 2011

A few months ago Monbiot attacked the academic publishing model, which I largely agreed with.

Maybe things are starting to change.

A couple of days ago I got an email from Tellus (a journal focusing on meteorology, climatology, oceanography and atmospheric chemistry) saying that it’s switching from Wiley-Blackwell to an open access publisher (Co-Action Publishing). I’ve published a couple of papers in Tellus before and I’ll certainly consider it for future papers in light of this development.

So, from January 1st you can see Tellus A here and Tellus B here. You can get content alerts here and here.

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Classic clouds #3 – altocumulus lenticularis

December 23, 2011

Well, there’s a bit of a buzz about lenticular clouds at the moment as there were some wonderful photos taken of a lenticular cloud in West Yorkshire yesterday.

Lenticular cloud in West Yorkshire on 22/12/2011. Photo from Paul Hudson's blog.

These crisp and layered lenticular cloud are relatively rare in the UK as they form downwind of mountains or hills.

What happens is that the air flowing over the hill gets “knocked” upwards which results in a type of wave forming. The cloud forms on this wave at a point where the flowing air moves upwards and cools to a point where the water vapour condenses into a cloud. So, although the cloud is stationary, there is a constant flow of air going through it.

Quick sketch of lenticular cloud formation.

Booker on Frozen Planet

December 12, 2011

Christopher Booker seems quite confused regarding his opinion of the final episode of Frozen Planet.

In the Mail on 8th Dec, he starts off full of praise for the series’ “breathtaking footage” and  “perhaps the most riveting sequence of natural history programmes ever produced” but soon decides that:

Sir David used the awesome shots of the frozen polar wastes to hammer home his belief that the world is facing disaster from man-made global warming.

No one can doubt the  passion of his belief. But in putting across his apocalyptic  message so forcefully, too many important questions on this hugely important subject  were last night neither asked nor answered.

Then, in the Telegraph on the 10th Dec:

In fact, Sir David played it rather more cleverly than in previous forays. Accompanied by the usual breathtaking photography, he didn’t make his message too explicit. Instead he just conveyed that the polar ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate, suggesting that this will cause a disastrous rise in sea levels.

The Carbon Brief wonder if he’d even watched the episode before writing the Mail peice.

Well that’s all fun but the Telegraph piece seemed to be more inconsistent than just whether he thought a message was being hammered home or if was all subtle and sneaky.

My point is that he’s happy to accepted that a lot of the warming on the Antarctic Peninsula is caused by changing wind patterns and their effect on ocean circulation. The problem with this argument is that the change in Southern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation has most likely been driven by greenhouse warming or by CFC related ozone depletion (or most likely a bit of both plus some natural variability) but Booker isn’t too keen on admitting that either of these phenomena are real. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

Michael Mann on TEDx – the scientization of politics

December 7, 2011

Michael Mann (of “hockey stick” fame) has just has a TEDx talk published.

It’s bookended by the things you’d expect – a quick run through of climate science and potential solutions – but the bits in the middle are probably the most interesting.

Climate science is often accused of becoming too politicised (usually because of the role of the  IPCC) but Mann’s argument here is that it happened the other way round: that politics became “scientized” in order to cast doubt over the scientific findings that do not align with paticular political views. At one point he refers to Merchants of Doubt, a book which presents evidence from the last 50 years covering a number of scientific topics that have caused problems for certain industries, and Mann’s case seems to add to those stories.