2011-06-02 19:09:12Climate Science reading club: monthly classics
Ari Jokimäki

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192.100.112.202

An idea came to me. For some time now, I have been thinking that I should start making posts on classic climate science papers in my blog. Now it occurred to me that I could make it so that I would just offer a link to the paper and invite people to read and discuss it. Then I though that my blog only has bunch of readers and very few commenters, so it might work better in Skeptical Science.

It could work like this: we propose and select classic climate science papers every month here in this forum. In the post of the paper we give just the link to the paper and invite people to read and discuss it (no summaries or anything else that would steer people's thoughts on the paper). As a result people learn about the basics of the science.

As an example of such classic, here's Schneider (1972) (click PDF link for full text).

Edited to add:

List of suggested papers:

- Meteorology (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E) [full text link]

- On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground (Arrhenius, 1896) [full text link]

- The larger opportunities for research on the relations of solar and terrestrial radiation (Abbot, 1920) [full text link]

- The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Temperature (Callendar, 1938) [full text link]

- The carbon dioxide theory of climate change (Plass, 1956) [full text link]

- Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 during the Past Decades (Revelle & Suess, 1957) [full text link]

- The concentration and isotopic abundances of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Keeling, 1960) [full text link]

- Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow (Lorenz, 1963) [full text link]

- Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity (Manabe & Wetherald, 1967) [full text link]

- Cloudiness as a Global Climatic Feedback Mechanism: The Effects on the Radiation Balance and Surface Temperature of Variations in Cloudiness (Schneider, 1972) [full text link]

- Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature (Hansen & Lebedeff, 1987) [full text link]

- Global Climate Changes as Forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies Three-Dimensional Model (Hansen et al. 1988) [full text link]

 

2011-06-02 19:41:07Big fan of this idea
John Cook

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Love the idea of examining old papers. I personally prefer the idea of having a summary, unpacking the results of the paper in plain English so we're making over review accessible to the public. But that's a bit of work and different to what you have in mind so either option is fine (your version is a lot less maintenance, a big selling point). If no summary, maybe just post the abstract and we'd need a logo of some sort to cue that it's a reading club post. If there's enthusiasm about this idea, I'll design up a logo.

Ari, I'd suggest you, as the peer-review-whisperer, should do the first post introducing the series.

2011-06-02 19:42:25Another reason to like this idea
John Cook

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I don't want SkS to be all rebuttal, all Monckton myths and Lindzen Illusions. Those series are important but there needs to be positive messages and educational material as well as debunking.
2011-06-02 19:49:52
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.202

Ok, I can make an introductory post including the first classic, if we decide to go ahead with this. I'm ok with a summary on the paper too. It's no big deal to me.

Suggestions on classics are welcome.

2011-06-02 20:04:46
nealjking

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Manabe & Weatherall

2011-06-02 20:25:29
Rob Painting
Rob
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Cool idea Ari. My nomination: Deterministic Non-periodic Flow - Ed Lorenz 1963 

2011-06-02 20:57:36
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
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Maybe with slightly more specific reference, Neal? :)

Edited to add: Looking at paper Rob suggested, and remembering that I already thought on the Schneider paper that it might be rather technical at some places, I think it might be good to select kind of papers that are at least somewhat accessible to general public. This might rule out some really important papers, but I don't think we get lot of people to read several pages of equations - and even less to discuss on them. Perhaps we could try some more technical papers every now and then, but I think generally we should focus on the easier ones.

2011-06-02 21:08:20
nealjking

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Manabe & Wetherald, 1967: Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity.

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 24 (3), 241-259.

www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/sm6701.pdf

2011-06-02 22:17:39
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
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Why not start from the begining?

As you know I'm working on a book on the history of climate science and maybe I'm a bit biased. I see this series as highlighting the historic framework leading to a paper and then a short description of what the paper says and its conclusions. We also have a good guide.

2011-06-02 22:30:37History book
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
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Riccardo, just curious, is the book you're working on different in approach to Spencer Weart's Discovery of Global Warming?
2011-06-02 23:04:34
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
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Yes, though not much. I start before Fourier and frame the narrative in the context of the development of physics and meteorology. A slightly broader view and, in some sense, a more traditional approach.

2011-06-03 02:01:07
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
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64.129.227.4

Yeah I like this idea, particularly if we summarize the paper in the post.

A bit more recent - maybe we can do it later in the series, but I nominate Hansen '88.

2011-06-03 14:17:38
Glenn Tamblyn

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I am actually working on a post at the moment - bit back burner at present - called The 1950's, The Birth of Modern Climate Science'. Looking at Gilbert Plass, Roger Revelle & Hans Suess. The theme is that it was the 1950's when the key work refuting the ideas of  Saturation and 'Oceans would absorb most CO2 anyway' first appeareed. It was this that lead to the realisation that AGW was possible and thus research into it started to grow.. This could lead into another post by someone else on Manabe & Wetherald for example.

 I agree John that SkS can't be just rebuttal. The more traffic we are getting, the more we need resources that are educative. Hence my occassional focus on articles as Primers. And you can often rebut skeptic claims without even mentioning them by giving accurate resources and context.

 

2011-06-03 14:41:19
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
91.154.98.84

There was an older idea I had relating to this. At one point I thought it might be cool to do news articles on these old classic papers as if they would have been just published (but of course with some indication that they really have been published long ago) with screaming headlines and all that.

2011-06-05 15:49:53
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
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I added a list of suggested papers to the opening post. I also added a few obvious and couple of perhaps not so obvious papers.

2011-06-06 08:11:19
Glenn Tamblyn

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Ari

 

I would also add Revelle & Suess 1957 - the seminal paper paper on CO2 absorption by the oceans, and also, perhaps unnoticed at the time, ocean acidification.

2011-06-06 08:19:36
nealjking

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Are all these papers freely available? Or should we go for the paper collection Riccardo mentioned above?

2011-06-06 14:56:39
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
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I added Revelle & Suess. Neal, check out the opening post. It has a list of suggested papers with full text links (free, too).

2011-06-07 08:54:47
logicman

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Great idea!  My suggestion:

Callendar, G.S., 1938. The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Temperature. Quarterly Journal Royal Meteorological Society vol. 64, pgs. 223–240.

http://www.rmets.org/pdf/qjcallender38.pdf

As I commented in another thread, this paper stands at the point where focus was shifting away from merely explaining ice ages to explaining recent global warming as being due to our profligate fossil fuel consumption.

The paper covers many of the points which today keep being recirculated in the deniersphere with the false claim that climate scientists have failed to consider these points.

Long before anyone ever heard of Anthony Watts, Callender explained in this paper how temperature readings might be affected by the effect now known as UHI, how the error might grow with population growth and urbanisation, and how to deal with those sources of error.

2011-06-07 19:13:23
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.211

Callender added. Thanks for the link. It's nice to see that the full texts of these classics become available.

2011-10-23 02:45:52
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
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Couple of days ago I went through Arrhenius (1896) and started writing just a little bit of the first post of this series. I decided to start with Arrhenius as it is perhaps the most classic paper of science relating to AGW. In the future I would also like to include some more unknown papers and scientists.

2011-10-23 08:59:41
Riccardo

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The E. O. Hulburt I quoted in the post on the first global warming skeptic. As far as I know, he's the first to add convection, point out that the GHE is governed by the upper troposphere and that Angstrom was wrong. For some reason he's hardly quoted.

2011-10-23 09:32:01
nealjking

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In all fairness, we should include Hulburt as well, then.

An important lesson that can be drawn from this scientific history (or from any scientific history, really) is how much back & forth has gone on to coalesce around a scientific finding. As I've suggested before, a good output of this study series could be a set of individual histories for each climate myth: when it started, what disproved it, and how it was dragged up again by WUWT or whoever.

2011-10-23 17:17:24
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
91.154.110.228

Problem with Hulburt is that there doesn't seem to be full text freely available online - at least I didn't find one. I wonder, how old papers and from which journals we can download and put available online ourselves legally?

2011-10-23 18:54:58
Brian Purdue

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Yes, I agree the summary is essential so it's digestible for the broader non-scientific general public.

Look forward to reading them.

2011-10-23 20:24:55
nealjking

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Ari:

- are we talking about running this on the open SkS site, or in the Forum?

- if on the Forum, I would think that our concern would be somewhat less than for the typical recent research article that is pay-walled.

2011-10-24 06:05:07
Riccardo

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Ari

IIRC in the USA it is 70 years from the death of the author.

2011-10-24 06:14:09
nealjking

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Isn't the copyright the property of the journal's publisher?