Last Update: 2/14/24
Essays consist of material I am contributing which provides some background to how scientists carry out their research, but does not deal with the scientific content itself. Questions about any of this material can be sent to Ray.Climate (@ sign) charter.net and they will be responded to in the Q&A page of this website.
Documents are provided as Adobe PDF files. The free Adobe Reader software can be downloaded HERE. After opening a PDF file, click your web browser's Refresh or Reload button to ensure you are seeing the latest update of the document.
Essay #36 This essay, entitled "Is the rapid rise of global temperature now occurring "unprecedented?" It was prompted by a reader asking the same question. The essay discusses the evidence about this and concludes that indeed it is unprecedented, at least over about the last 25,000 years. But it is emphasized that this is not the question we should be focused on. Rather we should be asking what the cause of the present rate of warming is and its consequences are. An essay to follow explores this question and includes a powerful piece of evidence not frequently seen in popular discussions. To read essay #36 click on unprecented_rise.pdf
Essay #35 This essay, entitled "Energy Budgets, Peak Global Temperatures, and Their Implications" discusses the concept of an Energy Budget, the total future amount of carbon dioxide we are limited to if we are not to exceed specified peak global temperatures and experience the serious adverse consequences such temperatures will bring. At the same time it is ill-advised to say that if such a budget is not met then we are "doomed" as such a statement breeds hopelessness and despair. Every pound of emission we can avoid lessens the damage we experience.
To read it, click on Energy_budgets.pdf
Essay #34 This essay, "Lithium-ion batteries: Can we meet the demand sustainably?" discusses whether there is enough lithium and cobalt--two critical materials in lithium-ion batteries--to meet the expected surge in worldwide demand as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines. It is also discusses the societal and environmental impact of extracting these two minerals. To read it, click on li_ion_batteries_sustainability.pdf
Essay #33 This essay, "Waste heat," is intended to illustrate how simple physical ideas and arithmetic can discriminate between factors which are important and those which are not. It also is intended to show how "big numbers" are not obstacles to carrying out simple arithmetic. The application is to the warm water ("waste heat") deposited into the cooler ocean by power plants. It also estimates the amount of 'avoided' carbon dioxide emissions from nuclear power plants.
To read it, click on waste_heat.pdf
Essay #32 This essay, "Solar energy and the duck curve: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must mean...what?", examines the limitations which are imposed on adding increasing amounts of wind, and especially solar, energy.
To read it, click on duckcurve_essay.pdf
Essay #31 This essay, "Justified Anger at Climate Change Inaction: A Movie, an Editorial and three Books", recommends a Movie, an excellent Editorial, and three books, expressing in various degrees the anger and frustration at the failure of our leaders to adequately deal with the ongoing climate crisis. While humor and satire are effective in mobilizing public support for action, research shows that public anger is also. I conclude with some comments, suggestions, and one hopeful note.
To read it, click on movie_3books_ex_ed.pdf
Essay #30 This essay," Desert Tortoises, Birds, Nuclear Waste and Climate Change: Difficult Tradeoffs"
addresses the tension between the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and some legitimate environmental issues involved. Because of the length of this essay I have provided a table of contents so readers can scroll to items of interest. To read it click on desert_tortoises_birds_and_nuclear_waste.pdf
Essay #29 This essay, "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: 'But What About China?'", addresses a frequent comment concerning what U.S. policy should be, in view of the fact that China is currently by far the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
Essay #28 This essay, A "Grand Solar Minimum" would not cause a new "Little Ice Age" discusses the suggestion that a prolonged period of cooling could be caused by prolonged solar dimming associated with a long period without sunspots.
Essay #27 This essay, 'Tribalism, Nuclear Energy, Climate Change, and all that' discusses habits of thinking among liberals as well as conservatives which inhibit important dialogue among these two 'tribes.' An invitation is issued aimed at initiating such dialogue.
Essay #26 This essay, 'Storing Electricity: Technology', ' is part 2 of the series "Storing Electricity" and is a survey of the more important technologies for storing electricity.
Essay #25 This essay 'Agriculture and the Green New Deal' concerns a very promising method for sequestering carbon by proper agricultural and soil management techniques. There are also numerous other advantages to practicing what is called "BEAM": biologically enhanced agricultural management.
Essay #24 This is the first in a series on ‘Storing electricity’. This first part describes the importance of being able to store electricity to avoid the ‘overgeneration’ of solar energy and minimizing the need for expensive gas-fired generators that sit idle much of the time. It illustrates these concepts using what has come to be known as the ‘duck curve’.
Essay #23. This is the 2nd part of a post about Oceanographer Josh Willis, describing how he uses humor to teach about climate science. "Oceans Melting Greenland Part 2"
Essay #22. The amount of sea level rise to be expected over the coming decades is still quite uncertain. Reducing this uncertainty requires better understanding of what controls how fast the huge Greenland ice sheet is dumping ice into the ocean. In this essay, the fascinating “Oceans Melting Greenland” (OMG) project, led by oceanographer Josh Willis, is described.
In a subsequent post, Josh’s unique approach to communicating climate science will be described.
Essay #21. An essay describing the Attacks on climate scientists, including the deeply personal story by climate scientist Dr. Benjamin Santer.
Essay #20. A guest essay by Mr. George Williams: Two Sources of Critical Energy & Climate Information.
Essay #19. This essay, Why do climate deniers deny? is an extended version of my commentary that is scheduled to appear in the February 22nd version of the Atascadero News. It is in response to a February 1st column by a climate denier appearing in the same paper with the title “A pretense to save the planet.” That February 1st column is included as Appendix 1 of this essay.
Essay #18. Dealing with Climate Change: A moral imperative - the powerpoint slide presentation
Dealing with Climate Change: A moral imperative - the PDF document
Both documents are for a presentation on the subject at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Cambria, California .
Clicking on the first blue link will download the powerpoint presentation to your computer.
Clicking on the second blue link will immediately display the accompanying text. The yellow highlights in the text point to the powerpoint slide number.
Essay #17. Weather Safety and Preparedness - With many hazardous weather events increasing as the planet warms, this essay focuses less on climate science itself but more on the steps to take before and during many types of hazardous weather events to insure the safety of yourself and your family and pets.
Essay #16. CITIZENS AND SCIENTISTS MUST STAND UP FOR U.S. SCIENCE - An editorial published in the San Jose Mercury-News of which I was a co-author.
Essay #15. How to Inoculate against "Alternative Facts” With the recent deployment of the rather curious phrase "alternative facts”, it is timely to ask how one should communicate with climate change skeptics who reject some actual facts about climate change.
Essay #14. A new Essay “But aren’t they in it just for the money?” has been posted in response to the myth that the overwhelming consensus among scientists concerning human-driven climate change simply reflects their desire to get rich on grant funds!
Essay #13. The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How is it measured and what does it mean? 12.26.16
Essay #12. Trump: An Open Mind or An Attack on Science? 12.13.16
A commentary on actions taken by President-Elect Trump which are damaging not only to climate research but represent an attempt to intimidate scientific inquiry.
Essay # 11. Statement of Purpose 11.22.16
This guest essay was provided at my request by climate scientist Dr. Benjamin Santer. As explained in his essay, Dr. Santer's expertise is in comparing climate models with observations to improve our understanding of the Earth's climate system, and to identify the fingerprints that human activities are leaving on it. But beyond his expertise, I hope his eloquence and commitment to the welfare of future generations will inspire readers and I encourage them to share this essay with others.
Essay # 10. Climate Change: Kids Get It 11.01.16
A commentary on climate science education for kids prompted by an email sent to me by a retired science teacher teaching an after school science class to middle school kids.
Essay # 9. An Open Letter concerning the Paris Agreement 10.23.16
An Open letter from 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences: Climate Change and the Paris Accord: A brief description of the Open letter, a link to the press release and related links will be found here.
Essay # 8. Why Should California Bother? 10.02.15
A commentary by Dr. Weymann responding to a TV interview of Carly Fiorina who opposes policies in the U.S., and in particular California, aimed at severely cutting emissions and transitioning to a low-emission energy economy. It is an expanded version of a commentary scheduled for the October 9, 2015, edition of Atascadero News.
Essay # 7. Tour of California Independent System Operator 08.23.15
During 2015, Ray Weymann toured the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). This is a summary of Ray's observations.
Essay # 6. Climate Change Revisited 09.17.14
Cal Coast News asked for an opinion from me on "Climate Change Revisited". I am posting that essay here for two reasons: 1) their reformatting of my submission made it difficult to distinguish direct quotes from my comments, the references at the end were not "live" links, and the last five references were omitted; 2) I will respond on this website in a few days to some of the comments following my Cal Coast News post in more detail than is appropriate in the Cal Coast News comments section.
Essay # 5. Living Sustainably 09.10.14
Peter Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics Professor, and Steve Weymann (son of Ray Weymann), offer their views of living sustainably.
Essay # 4. Pow! Oouff! Take That, Straw Man! 09.05.14
Dr. Weymann's response to an opinion article in the August 20, 2014, edition of Atascadero News, critiquing the use of straw man arguments and use of lack of evidence and references in assertions of facts.
Essay # 3. Numbers Count and a Challenge for Teachers 03.07.13
Three examples showing that casual qualitative statements can be erroneous and how quantitative estimates can be obtained. The three examples are:
- Electric cars vs. internal combustion engines
- The contribution that asphalt paving makes to global warming
- The assertion that current sea level rise is just natural
Essay # 2. Communicating Climate Science and Story Telling: Five Examples 12.10.12
Essay # 1. The Peer Review Tradition 04.01.10