Archive for March, 2012

Book review: Teaching What You Don’t Know by Therese Huston

March 27, 2012

Click to find it on Amazon

Short version

Brilliant, even if you know what you’re talking about. Loads of ideas for making university teaching and learning far more enjoyable for everyone.

Long version

So, the first module that I’ve had to coordinate on my own turned out to be something that only overlaps slightly with my research area – I got the Sustainable Development module. In this respect, the title of TWYDK jumped out at me as a potentially useful resource. UPDATE (28/03/2012): when I first posted this I didn’t mention that the book is based on American universities – I am assuming that analysis and ideas equally applicable elsewhere.

I suppose I could’ve just shown the brilliant xkcd comic on this topic (see below) and called it a day but I’m not sure that the students would have appreciated that.

Joking aside, the prevalence of academics teaching at university level on subjects that they have little or no expertise is something that Huston discusses at length from the perspective of the teacher and the student. The argument that I most associated with was that for “survey courses” or “cutting edge courses” (which I hope my SD module was) the experts are many different people for different topics and these topics develop very fast. In that respect, having a module led by someone with only limited experience in the area is not much of a problem.


I decided quite early on to go down the Problem Based Learning route for my module as I’d helped teach on a module at the University of Manchester that used the PBL model and I’d seen many of the students really engage with it. Huston also recommends this as a useful method of delivery for “content novices” as the key is defining interesting and relevant questions rather than compiling hours of lecture material.

As I’m now approaching the end of my module for the first year I’ve run it, I’m glad I did it this way and definitely feel that TWYDK gave me a bit more confidence to try something beyond a standard “Module = 12 x lectures + 1 coursework + 1 exam” model. I think that most of the students have taken to it as well and I’ve jotted down more ideas from TWYDK to improve the module again next year.

More than just TWYDK

Whilst going through the book, however, I started to pick up ideas for other lectures I give on topics that I do know well. In some cases these were very simple ideas but maybe being a “content expert” means that you ignore the little tricks to try to get the students to actually “learn” in favour of just delivering all your hard-earned wisdom.

I suspect that I engaged with this book because it tackled a specific problem but, in the process of reading it, made me think about more general teaching points. This is probably where TWYDK is such a success where more textbook-like higher education manuals barely get opened (you know, like that one with the blue stripe across the middle of the cover and pristine spine 😉 that you see in most lecturers’ offices, mine included).

Things I wasn’t so keen on…

Well, most of the book is based on a series of interviews with university teachers, I think Huston says that it’s around 20 interviews, I could be wrong. Whilst this set off my anecdote vs. data alarm bells I suppose a good teaching idea is still a good teaching idea so I’m willing to let it go! And other parts of the book are based on more robust stats so that made me happy.

My only other point of concern is that the book just kind of ends. In the introduction Huston suggests dipping in and out of chapters as you need to know stuff but I found that it flowed quite well and read it cover-to-cover. The only disappointment with this is that there isn’t a chapter bringing it all together. (In fact, the final chapter is advice for administrators, which I still read and found useful as it gave me a different perspective on my contribution to the department teaching load.) Still, who am I to talk? I couldn’t be bothered to think up a decent end to this blog post.


Pages: 330
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN-10: 0674035801

Papers based on CMIP5 data

March 14, 2012

I happened to ask over on Ed Hawkin’s blog whether he knew of any list of publications based on CMIP5 data (i.e. the suite of climate projections being produced for the IPCC AR5). He pointed me to the PCMDI page, which at the time was blank. So, here is my list of papers based on CMIP5 that I’ll try and keep up to date:

UPDATE: There are now papers being added to the official PCMDI list. It seems as though anyone can add papers to that list so there are lots of “Submitted” papers. The list below is of papers that have been published.

Individual papers

Ahlström et al (2012) “Robustness and uncertainty in terrestrial ecosystem carbon response to CMIP5 climate change projections” Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 044008.

Andrews et al. (2012) “Forcing, Feedbacks and Climate Sensitivity in CMIP5 Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Climate Models” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL051607

Arora et al. (2011) “Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases” Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L05805.

Biasutti (2013) “Forced Sahel rainfall trends in the CMIP5 archive” J. Geophys. Res., DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50206, in press.

Bellouin et al. (2011) “Aerosol forcing in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) simulations by HadGEM2-ES and the role of ammonium nitrate” J. Geophys. Res., 116, D20206.

Branstator and Teng (2012) “Potential Impact of Initialization on Decadal Predictions as Assessed for CMIP5” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL051974, in press.

Cai et al. (2012) “More extreme swings of the South Pacific convergence zone due to greenhouse warming” Nature, 488, 365–369.

Chang et al (2012) “CMIP5 multi-model ensemble projection of storm track change under global warming” J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD018578, in press.

Christensen and Boberg (2012) “Temperature dependent climate projection deficiencies in CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, doi:10.1029/2012GL053650, in press.

Dai et al. (2012) “Increasing drought under global warming in observations and models” Nature Clim. Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate1633.

Dobrynin et al. (2012) “Evolution of the global wind wave climate in CMIP5 experiments” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052843, in press.

Driscoll et al. (2012) “Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) simulations of climate following volcanic eruptions”  J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD017607, in press.

Dunn-Sigouin and Son (2013) “Northern Hemisphere blocking frequency and duration in the CMIP5 models” J. Geophys. Res., DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50143, in press.

Gillett and Fyfe (2013) “Annular mode changes in the CMIP5 simulations” Geophys. Res. Lett., DOI: 10.1002/grl.50249, in press.

Good et al. (2011) “A step-response simple climate model to reconstruct and interpret AOGCM projections” Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L01703.

Guilyardi et al. (2012) “A first look at ENSO in CMIP5” CLIVAR Exchanges, 17, 29-32.

Haywood et al. (2011) “The roles of aerosol, water vapor and cloud in future global dimming/brightening” J. Geophys. Res., 116, D20203.

Heuzé et al. (2013) “Southern Ocean bottom water characteristics in CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., DOI: 10.1002/grl.50287.

Jiang et al. (2012) “Evaluation of Cloud and Water Vapor Simulations in CMIP5 Climate Models Using NASA “A-Train” Satellite Observations” J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JD017237. GFDL summary.

Jones et al. (2011) “The HadGEM2-ES implementation of CMIP5 centennial simulations” Geosci. Model Dev., 4, 543–570.

Kamae and Watanabe (2012) “On the robustness of tropospheric adjustment in CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL054275, in press.

Kawase et al. (2011) “Future changes in tropospheric ozone under Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)” Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L05801.

Kelley et al. (2012) “Mediterranean precipitation climatology, seasonal cycle, and trend as simulated by CMIP5” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053416, in press.

Kim and Yu (2012) “The Two Types of ENSO in CMIP5 Models” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052006. [paper pdf here]

Kim et al. (2012) “Evaluation of short-term climate change prediction in multi-model CMIP5 decadal hindcasts” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL051644.

Knutti and Sedlácek (2012) “Robustness and uncertainties in the new CMIP5 climate model projections” Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate1716, in press.

Knutti et al. (2013) “Climate model genealogy: Generation CMIP5 and how we got there” Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50256.

Kug et al. (2012) “Improved simulation of two types of El Niño in CMIP5 models” Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 034002, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/034002.

Lau et al. (2013) “A canonical response of precipitation characteristics to Global Warming from CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., DOI: 10.1002/grl.50420

Liu et al. (2012) “Co-variation of temperature and precipitation in CMIP5 models and satellite observations” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052093, in press.

Massonnet et al. (2012) “Constraining projections of summer Arctic sea ice” The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 2931-2959.

Meijers et al. (2012) “Representation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the CMIP5 climate models and future changes under warming scenarios” J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JC008412, in press.

Mizuta (2012) “Intensification of extratropical cyclones associated with the polar jet change in the CMIP5 global warming projections” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053032, in press.

Monerie et al. (2012) “Expected future changes in the African monsoon between 2030 and 2070 using some CMIP3 and CMIP5 models under a medium-low RCP scenario” J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD017510, in press.

Nam et al. (2012) “The ‘too few, too bright’ tropical low-cloud problem in CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053421, in press.

Oleson (2012) “Contrasts between Urban and Rural Climate in CCSM4 CMIP5 Climate Change Scenarios” J. Climate, 25, 1390–1412.

Osprey et al. (2013) “Stratospheric Variability in Twentieth-Century CMIP5 Simulations of the Met Office Climate Model: High Top versus Low Top” J. Climate, 26, 1595–1606.

Reichler et al. (2012) “A stratospheric connection to Atlantic climate variability” Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo1586.

Rotstayn et al. (2012) “Aerosol- and greenhouse gas-induced changes in summer rainfall and circulation in the Australasian region: a study using single-forcing climate simulations” Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6377-6404.

Sabeerali et al. (2013) “Simulation of boreal summer intraseasonal oscillations in the latest CMIP5 coupled GCMs” J. Geophys. Res., doi: : 10.1002/jgrd.50403, in press.

Sarojini et al. (2012) “Fingerprints of changes in annual and seasonal precipitation from CMIP5 models over land and ocean” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053373, in press.

Seager et al. (2012) “Projections of declining surface-water availability for the southwestern United States” Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate1787

Seth et al. (2013) “CMIP5 Projected Changes in the Annual Cycle of Precipitation in Monsoon Regions”  Journal of Climate 2013, doi:

Sillmann et al. (2013) “Climate extremes indices in the CMIP5 multi-model ensemble. Part 1: Model evaluation in the present climate” J. Geophys. Res., doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50203, in press.

Stevenson et al. (2012) “Will There Be a Significant Change to El Niño in the Twenty-First Century?” J. Climate, 25, 2129–2145.

Stroeve et al. (2012) “Trends in Arctic sea ice extent from CMIP5, CMIP3 and observations” Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16502, doi:10.1029/2012GL052676.

Su et al. (2012) “Diagnosis of regime-dependent cloud simulation errors in CMIP5 models using “A-Train” satellite observations and reanalysis data” J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD018575, in press.

Taylor et al. (2011) “An Overview of CMIP5 and the Experiment Design” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc.

Tian et al. (2013) “Evaluating CMIP5 Models using AIRS Tropospheric Air Temperature and Specific Humidity Climatology” J. Geophys. Res., 118, in press.

Todd-Brown et al. (2012) “Causes of variation in soil carbon predictions from CMIP5 Earth system models and comparison with observations, Biogeosciences Discuss., 9, 14437-14473.

Turner et al. (2013) “An Initial Assessment of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent in the CMIP5 Models” J. Climate, 26, 1473–1484.

Villarini and Vecchi (2012) “Twenty-first-century projections of North Atlantic tropical storms from CMIP5 models” Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate1530.

Villarini and Vecchi (2013) “Projected Increases in North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Intensity from CMIP5 Models” J. Climate, 26, 3231–3240.

Wang  and Overland (2012) “A sea ice free summer Arctic within 30 years-an update from CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052868, in press.

Watanabe et al. (2011) “MIROC-ESM 2010: model description and basic results of CMIP5-20c3m experiments” Geosci. Model Dev., 4, 845-872.

Williams et al (2012) “Diagnosing atmosphere–land feedbacks in CMIP5 climate models” Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 044003

Xu and Powell Jr. (2012) “Intercomparison of temperature trends in IPCC CMIP5 simulations with observations, reanalyses and CMIP3 models” Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 5, 3621-3645

Yang and Christensen (2012) “Arctic sea ice reduction and European cold winters in CMIP5 climate change experiments” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053338, in press.

Yeh et al. (2012) “Changes in the Tropical Pacific SST Trend from CMIP3 to CMIP5 and Its Implication of ENSO” J. Climate, 25, 7764–7771.

Yin (2012) “Century to multi-century sea level rise projections from CMIP5 models” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052947, in press.

Ying and Chong-Hai (2012) “Preliminary Assessment of Simulations of Climate Changes over China by CMIP5 Multi-Models” Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters, in press.

Zhang and Jin (2012) “Improvements in the CMIP5 simulations of ENSO-SSTA meridional width” Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053588, in press.

Zunz et al. (2012) “How does internal variability influence the ability of CMIP5 models to reproduce the recent trend in Southern Ocean sea ice extent?” The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 3539-3573.

Special Issues/Collections (some of the above papers may be in these Special Issues)

Climatic Change special issue on the Representative Concentration Pathways

Climate Dynamics IPSL and CNRM CMIP5 Special Issue (mostly submitted papers as of 15/03/2012)

Geoscientific Model Development Special Issue on Community software to support the delivery of CMIP5 (no papers linked to it as of 15/03/2012)

Journal of Climate Special Collection on CCSM4 and CESM1

Journal of Climate Special Collection on C4MIP


Dong et al. (2012) The Atlas of Climate Change — Based on SEAP-CMIP5. Springer. 200pp.