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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 27 declined, 33 accepted (60 total, 55.00% accepted)

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Submission + - another shocking Daily Mail "sciencetech" story (dailymail.co.uk)

Layzej writes: As long as you're considering publishing that other "shocking" Daily Mail story, you may also want this "sciencetech" scoop as well! The article breathlessly concludes "The shocking thing about this was that it's me being abducted by a grey alien and the satellite image clearly shows me trying to fight off the grey alien by punching it in the face," he said

Submission + - US Government Employees Banned from Sharing Publicly Funded Science (popsci.com) 1

Layzej writes: Popular Science reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now barred from communicating with the public and The US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees from sharing the results of its taxpayer-funded research with the broader public.
The memo outlining these new rules has not been made public, but the ban reportedly includes everything from summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets. Scientists are still able to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, but they are unable to talk about that research without prior consent from their agency.
This is not the first time that public science has been hamstrung by a gag order. To this day, the quantity of oil spewed into the ocean during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill remains something of a mystery. Many of the scientists who worked on the spill were hired by BP and barred from speaking on it. But gag orders—while always troublesome—have usually been limited to one specific issue. Right now, the EPA and USDA have been forbidden to speak about all of their scientific research. It means that many of the kinds of stories we now cover will never see the light of day.

Submission + - New analysis shows Lamar Smith's accusations on climate data are wrong (arstechnica.com)

Layzej writes: In 2015 NOAA released version 4 of their marine temperature dataset called ERSST. The new dataset accounted for a known cooling bias introduced when ocean temperature measurements transitioned from being taken in ship engine intake valves to buoy-based measurements. The warming of the last couple decades increased ever so slightly in NOAA's new analysis. This was a red flag for US House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), who rejects the conclusions of climate science—like the fact that the Earth’s climate is warming. Suddenly he wanted to see the researchers’ e-mails and echoed the accusations of contrarian blogs about scientists’ supposedly nefarious adjustments to sea surface temperature measurements.

Rather than invoking scientific conspiracies, issues like this should be settled by analyzing the data. A new study, led by University of California Berkeley’s Zeke Hausfather, does just that—and Rep. Smith won’t like these results, either. To test the NOAA dataset, Zeke's team created instrumentally homogeneous temperature records from sensors available only over the last couple decades.. As it happens, the Argo float data, the buoy data, and the satellite data each hew closer to the updated dataset that NOAA used. The older version (3b) gives a global average that is too cool in recent years, growing to an offset of about 0.06 degrees Celsius. The researchers repeat this same analysis for two more major sea surface datasets that are used by the UK Met Office and the Japanese Meteorological Agency for their global temperature records. Both of those datasets also drift cooler than the comparison data, but less so than NOAA’s old dataset.

Submission + - Scott Adams and "The Non-Expert Problem" (blogspot.ca) 18

Layzej writes: It is easy for a non-expert to be swayed by a credible sounding narrative that claims to overthrow a scientific consensus. For a scientist it is generally clear which arguments are valid, but the general public can’t independently evaluate scientific evidence. Scientist Victor Venema provides answers to a number of concerns about climate science raised by cartoonist Scott Adams. His answers are accessible and illuminating, and hopefully helpful to the non-expert who would like to understand the truth behind certain contrarian talking points.

Submission + - An interview with a proprietor of fake news (npr.org)

Layzej writes: An interview with Jestin Coler, CEO of a company called Disinfomedia, exposes the genesis of a fake news company. NPR reports: During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. "It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they're about to get served," Coler says.

At any given time, Coler says, he has between 20 and 25 writers. And it was one of them who wrote the story in the Denver Guardian that an FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails was killed. Coler says that over 10 days the site got 1.6 million views.

"The people wanted to hear this," he says. "So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then ... our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire."

And as the stories spread, Coler makes money from the ads on his websites. He wouldn't give exact figures, but he says stories about other fake-news proprietors making between $10,000 and $30,000 a month apply to him.

Submission + - mechanics of the rejection of science (theguardian.com) 2

Layzej writes: Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence. Those who reject climate science often rely on several mutually contradictory ideas. Hence, claims that the globe “is cooling” can coexist with claims that the “observed warming is natural” and that “the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us.” A recent study examines this behavior at the aggregate level, but gives many examples where contradictory ideas are held by the same individual, and sometimes are presented within a single publication.

The common denominator among contrarian positions is the conviction that climate change either does not exist or is not human caused, and that either way it does not present a risk (or if it does, then adaptation will deal with the problem). In a nutshell, the opposition to GHG emission cuts is the unifying and coherent position underlying all manifestations of climate science denial. Climate science denial is therefore perhaps best understood as a rational activity that replaces a coherent body of science with an incoherent and conspiracist body of pseudo-science for political reasons and with considerable political coherence and effectiveness.

Submission + - Climate change contrarians lose big betting against global warming (theguardian.com)

Layzej writes: Two members of the Global Warming Policy Foundation academic advisory board have each lost £1,000 betting that 2015 would not be warmer than 2008. The Guardian reports "Between 2008 and 2015 there would be more than 0.1C of human-caused global warming, so for 2015 to be cooler would have required a huge La Niña event, or big volcanic eruption, or perhaps the contrarians were banking on human-caused global warming being wrong. Whatever their reasoning, it was a foolish bet to make. 2015 was a record-breaking hot year, about 0.32C hotter than 2008. It wasn’t even close."

The winner of the bet, economist Chris Hope, also discussed the possibility of implementing climate betting markets, and noted: "they could offer a financial incentive for people who disagree about the likelihood of climate change to carefully assess the risks, instead of just shouting their disagreement across the void. If we do nothing, all the signs are that dangerous climate change is one of the safest bets around."

Submission + - Earth on track for hottest year afer14th straight month of record heat

Submission + - Pre-industrial skies may have been cloudier than we thought (home.cern)

Layzej writes: Our planet’s pre-industrial climate may have been cloudier than presently thought, shows CERN’s CLOUD experiment in two papers published today in Nature.
CLOUD shows that organic vapours emitted by trees produce lots of aerosol particles in the atmosphere when there’s no sulphuric acid – a main product of burning fossil fuels.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers that the increase in aerosols and clouds since pre-industrial times represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate change. The CLOUD experiment is designed to better understand such processes.
CLOUD has also found that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of pure biogenic particles – by a factor 10-100 compared with particles without ions. This suggests that cosmic rays may have played a more important role in aerosol and cloud formation in pre-industrial times than in today’s polluted atmosphere.

Submission + - April 2016 Continues Streak of Record Warm Months (washingtonpost.com)

Layzej writes: Keeping a year-long string of record-warm months going, April 2016 was by far the planet's warmest April since record keeping began in 1880. According to NASA, The average temperature of the planet was 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.11 degrees Celsius) above the long-term average in April, shattering the old record from 2010 by 0.4 degrees (0.24 degrees Celsius). Arctic sea ice has responded by dwindling to its lowest extent on record for this time of year, for 48 straight days. In April’s second week, the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced its first major melting event, about a month ahead of the previous earliest dates on record. 2016’s average global temperature is so far out in front of any preceding year that climate scientists say there’s basically no way it won’t become the warmest ever recorded.

Submission + - Warmest March in Global Recordkeeping (wunderground.com)

Layzej writes: March 2016 was by far the planet's warmest March since record keeping began in 1880. In the NOAA database, March 2016 came in a full 1.22C (2.20F) warmer than the 20th-century average for March, as well as 0.32C (0.58F) above the previous record for March, set in 2010. This is a huge margin for breaking a monthly global temperature record, as they are typically broken by just a few hundredths of a degree. Global satellite-measured temperatures also found this March to be the warmest — the sixth consecutive monthly record in the UAH satellite data set. Gavin Schmidt, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has estimated that 2016 already has over a 99% chance of being the hottest year on record, based on the first three months alone.

Submission + - The Arctic sets yet another record low maximum extent (nsidc.org)

Layzej writes: Arctic sea ice was at a record low maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. This year’s maximum extent is 1.12 million square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers. Ice extent increases through autumn and winter, and the maximum typically occurs in mid March. Sea ice then retreats through spring and summer and shrinks to its smallest or minimum extent typically by mid September.

Ice melt in the region is reducing the transport of warm southern waters brought north by the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). “Some studies suggest that decreased heat flux of warm Atlantic waters could lead to a recovery of all Arctic sea ice in the near future,” said NSIDC senior research scientist Julienne Stroeve. “I think it will have more of a winter impact and could lead to a temporary recovery of winter ice extent in the Barents and Kara seas.”

Submission + - Fastest Sea Rise in at Least 2800 Years (www.cbc.ca)

Layzej writes: A new study finds that sea levels on Earth are rising several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years and are accelerating. Co-author Stefan Rahmstorf explains that the fact that the rise in the 20th century is so large is a logical physical consequence of man-made global warming. This is melting continental ice and thus adds extra water to the oceans. In addition, as the sea water warms up it expands. The data from the past can also be used for future projections, using a so-called semi-empirical model calibrated with the historically observed relationship between temperature and sea level. With the new data, this results in a projected increase in the 21st century of 24-131 cm, depending on our emissions and thus on the extent of global warming.

Submission + - Mainstream scientists cashing in on climate wagers (reuters.com)

Layzej writes: Climate contrarians have long predicted imminent global cooling, A few have been willing to place wagers that mainstream scientists have been quick to accept. Often acceptance of the bet is followed by immediate retraction, as was the case when "Bastardi's Wager" was accepted by Joseph Romm or when Maurice Newman's $10,000 bet was accepted by physicist Brian Schmidt. In some cases bets have been formalized and the terms of many of those wagers are coming to a close. It may not be surprising to learn that those who put their money on the side of mainstream science are the ones who are cashing in.

Reuters reports that British climate expert Chris Hope just won a 2,000 pound sterling ($2,830) wager made five years ago against two members of the Global Warming Policy Foundation who had bet Hope that the Earth would be cooling by now. They also highlight a $10,000 bet made in 2005 between British climate modeller James Annan and two Russian solar physicists. The solar physicists had counted on waning solar output to halt warming. Annan will win if average global temperatures from 2013-17 are warmer than 2003-07. "Things are looking good for my bet," Annan said.

Keith Pickering reports on a series of three bets between Brian Schmidt and climate contrarian David Evans who also believed that diminishing solar output would dominate the temperatures of the last decade and beyond. The wagers pay out in 2019, 2024, and 2029. Pickering concludes "What Evans apparently doesn't realize is that because of the thermal inertia of the oceans, within narrow bounds we can already predict what global temperatures will be in 2019, 2024, and 2029. And David Evans is going to lose his shirt."

Submission + - Ocean absorption of man-made heat accelerates at colossal rate (www.cbc.ca)

Layzej writes: A colossal amount of man-made heat has been sucked up by the world's oceans in the past 18 years, and the rate at which that happens has been accelerating. The world's oceans absorbed approximately 150 zettajoules of energy in the 132 years between 1865 and 1997, and then another 150 in the next 18 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The magnitude of the ocean heat uptake is quite large and is now equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second. But the study's authors and outside experts say it's not the raw numbers that bother them. It's how fast those numbers are increasing.

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