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Analysis and Comment (15)

Engineer on the prowl between the big black boxes. Engineer on the prowl between the big black boxes. University of Edinburgh

So supercomputers are mega-powerful, but what can they actually do?

A new supercomputer, called ARCHER, has recently been launched. ARCHER is a Cray XC30, funded by EPSRC and NERC. It is more than three times more powerful than its predecessor, HECToR, and is hosted by…
Is this a sunset, or sunrise, for fracking? Is this a sunset, or sunrise, for fracking? danielfoster437

Shale gas: make polluters pay for the social cost of fracking

While the prime minister has shown unequivocal support for exploiting Britain’s shale gas reserves, stating the country should “go all out for shale gas”, more cautious voices point to possible effects…
Cracks appearing in the permafrost signal that a thaw is coming. Cracks appearing in the permafrost signal that a thaw is coming. Brocken Inaglory/Wikipedia

Melting Arctic’s methane timebomb could cost trillions

Arctic sea ice is retreating, with projections suggesting that the summer months will be substantially ice-free within the next few years. Nations are waking up to the possibilities for shipping and resource…
Improvements in newer climate models have resulted in larger uncertainties in future climate projections. Are climate models flawed and getting worse? Improvements in newer climate models have resulted in larger uncertainties in future climate projections. Are climate models flawed and getting worse? NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

There are no time-travelling climatologists: why we use climate models

The first climate models were built on fundamental laws of physics and chemistry and designed to study the climate system. Now, the use of climate models is heated ground in the public discussion of our…
The Blue Marble: who’s pulling the strings here? The Blue Marble: who’s pulling the strings here? NASA

Even if Earth changes, life will continue with or without us

It seems somewhat eccentric if not a little absurd to suggest that a planet is a living thing. Earth has life on it, but it’s not a biological organism. Any theory or argument which concludes that the…
We need to models to understand complex systems: intuition won’t get us there. We need to models to understand complex systems: intuition won’t get us there. Kevin H./Flickr

Common sense won’t help you understand climate

Most of us understand the world by using common sense and intuition. To a large extent, this means assuming that most things behave in a roughly linear way: small changes in inputs lead to small changes…
Australia’s future depends on decisions we make today - what’s coming towards us? Australia’s future depends on decisions we make today - what’s coming towards us? Johnny Ross

Where is Australia headed? Some future projections

Australians want a future of sustainable self-sufficiency and a healthy environment supporting a robust democracy – free of poverty and inequity. That was one of our projections, as part of the Australia…
We have to get used to the idea that climate change doesn’t happen in a smooth line. We have to get used to the idea that climate change doesn’t happen in a smooth line. thinboyfatter/flickr

Time to stop hiding behind warming trends

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, has reportedly acknowledged to Graham Lloyd of The Australian, that there is a “17-year pause in global temperature rises”, a fact that apparently has been suppressed…
After defeat in the 2012 election, it is back to the drawing board for the Republican Party. But will they address the true concerns of the electorate? After defeat in the 2012 election, it is back to the drawing board for the Republican Party. But will they address the true concerns of the electorate? EPA/STEPHAN SAVOIA/POOL

Republicans trust voter modelling - why not climate modelling?

Tuesday, November 6 was a game changer. The Republican Party in the United States has come to understand that the political environment has been altered. White males can no longer dictate the results of…
Whither the weather: the Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamic climate modelling is not the only forecasting method. Whither the weather: the Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamic climate modelling is not the only forecasting method. AAP/Paul Miller

Predicting El Nino: a tale of two authorities

Over the last two summers, Eastern Australia has experienced two of the hardest hitting La Niña events since 1974. Widespread floods resulted across great swaths of the country. As expected, the La Niña…
Studies of prehistoric climate change in Victoria’s western lakes imply that future changes might not be smooth. Studies of prehistoric climate change in Victoria’s western lakes imply that future changes might not be smooth. Dacre Smith's painting of Lake Gnotuk, from Views of Victoria in the steps of von Guerard.

Rapid warming in SE Australia challenges plans to adapt gradually

Step changes in warming of a few tenths to 1°C can produce rapid changes in risks such as extreme heat and fire danger. Yet, adaptation-planning that follows the dominant model of smooth climate change…
Eleven FA Cups is good news for the Red Devils, but is it bad news for the climate? Eleven FA Cups is good news for the Red Devils, but is it bad news for the climate? freefoto.com

How David Beckham caused global warming: the Man U climate model

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: With the UN Climate Conference underway in Durban, climate “sceptics” have been particularly active in the media and blogs. Many climate “sceptics” claim that alternate…
Climate models allow us to look at the planet’s future climate. Climate models allow us to look at the planet’s future climate. Truthout.org

Explainer: climate modelling

We know the climate is changing because that’s what climate models tell us. But what exactly is a climate model, and are they cutting-edge science or modelling madness? What is a climate model? Climate…

Research and News (5)

Research Briefs (6)

Oceans can hide global warming for a decade

Computer simulations of global climate have shown that the planet’s oceans can mask the presence of global warming for as…