Coby Beck

Former musician, turned tree planter, turned software engineer. Same old story... I have been blogging about climate change since 2006 at A Few Things Ill Considered.

October at APOD

A month’s worth of beautiful and/or fascinating astronomy photos from NASA

For your Sunday time-wasting pleasure, last month's selections from Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Possible futures and uncovered pasts

Sobering lessons from 250 million years ago

One of the very few reasonable points made by climate skeptics is that it's hard to have a great deal of confidence in computer-model predictions of a system as complex and varied as the global climate system. It is comprised of several subsystems -- the ocean, the atmosphere, the cryosphere, and the biosphere -- each extremely complex in its own right. There is some reassurance to be had in hindcasts and other modeling successes, not the least being the triumph of model predictions over the contradictory satellite records. But there are really so many unknowns, both the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns, that it is reasonable to cast a suspicious eye on a forecast of global mean temperature in the year 2100. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a climate scientist who would not admit it. But the obfuscators and denialists fail to realize something critical: in decision-making, especially when potential futures are extremely bad, uncertainty is not your friend.

‘What about mid-century cooling?’–No one said CO2 is the only climate influence

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: There was global cooling in the '40s, '50s, and '60s, even while human greenhouse-gas emissions were rising. Clearly, temperature is not being driven by CO2.