Earth’s energy imbalance

Surface temperature rise is often thought of as synonymous with climate change. However a recently published paper in Nature Climate Change argues that Earth’s energy imbalance (EEI) is what ultimately sets the pace of climate change and that substantive progress can be made by monitoring this key climate variable.

Guest post by Matt Palmer and Doug McNeall (UK Met Office) Continue reading Earth’s energy imbalance

How to quantify changes in climate extremes without inducing artefacts?

Much evidence has accumulated that temperature extremes and variability are changing. Accurately diagnosing such changes is of vital societal interest, not least because human induced climate change is often expected to materialise primarily through changes in the extreme tails.

Quantifying these features of climate time series statistically in climate models and observations is not straightforward. To a large extent, that is because extreme events are rare by definition, a fact that seems hardly surprising. This fact implies, however, that conventional methods quickly break down when it comes to the tails. This blog post serves s a cautionary note, in which we discuss how apparently very simple methods can result in severely biased estimates, and how this can be avoided1,2.

Guest post by Sebastian Sippel, MPIB, based on Sippel et al. (2015) Continue reading How to quantify changes in climate extremes without inducing artefacts?

Reflections from Paris COP – day 1

Today, the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) began in Paris. The aim of the conference is to finalise an international 195-nation agreement to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide, and to address issues such as deforestation & climate finance. I am attending for three days as part of the University of Reading ‘observer’ delegation. Continue reading Reflections from Paris COP – day 1

Website gremlins

As you may have noticed, there have been some recent problems with the Climate Lab Book blog. These have now largely been resolved. The site is hosted on one of our University servers which suffered a disk failure. Also, some of the backup systems had not been working properly. The site has now been restored to a backup from 11th November. Comments since that time have been lost – many apologies. I will happily reinstate any that are reposted.

Information Tribunal decides on the IPCC Zero-Order Drafts

On 1 May 2015, the UK’s First-Tier Tribunal unanimously dismissed David Holland’s appeal for copies of the Zero-Order Draft (ZOD) of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) made under Freedom of Information legislation. Their decision is available here. They considered Holland’s appeal to be “entirely without merit”.

Guest post by Tim Osborn, University of East Anglia (UEA)
Note that this post is slightly outside the usual topics discussed on this blog, but it is relevant to the climate science community. The Comments will be moderated. – Ed

Continue reading Information Tribunal decides on the IPCC Zero-Order Drafts

What have global temperatures ever done for us?

Much attention is rightly given to changes in global mean surface temperature – it is the key metric for assessing how our climate is changing and evaluating mitigation strategies. However, no-one directly experiences changes in global mean temperature – it is only through local variations that changes in climate are felt.

So, what have global temperatures ever done for us? Continue reading What have global temperatures ever done for us?

Was there ever a ‘pause’?

The importance of the ‘pause’ in global temperatures has never been about whether some particular trend is just below or just above zero, or about whether a specific period shows a statistically significant trend (whatever that actually means), or even about whether the trend has changed. The ‘pause’ has always been about understanding whether Earth’s climate is evolving in line with our expectations. Continue reading Was there ever a ‘pause’?