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.
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?
2015 has seen some significant climate events, both meteorological and political. Continue reading 2015 in review
What have we learnt at COP21 so far? The 147 world leaders who turned up spoke passionately. The negotiators seem determined to get a strong agreement, already working past midnight each evening. The process of the negotiations seems to be much improved from previous COPs, with small groups doing much of the hard work.
The Paris COP21 continues. The atmosphere today was far more relaxed after the excitement of the speeches from world leaders yesterday. Negotiations have started more seriously with discussions over decarbonisation – perhaps this should be called carbon austerity! Continue reading Reflections from Paris COP – day 2
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
How will global temperatures evolve over the next 20 years? The IPCC AR5 made an assessment that average global temperatures in the 2016-2035 period would likely be 0.3 – 0.7°C above the 1986-2005 average. Some climate scientists disagree with that assessment. Continue reading Near-term global temperature forecasts
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.