Central Coast Climate Science Education

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Last Update: 03.22.14

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Ray's Class Mar 2014:  Dealing with Climate Change
Ray's Class Feb 2013:  Climate Change: Science, Impacts, Challenges & Solutions
Reports, Booklets and Whitepapers
Books
Videos
Resources for Teachers and Students
Expert Summaries
Favorite Sites

This page provides reference information that is very useful to the understanding of climate science.

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Ray's Climate Science Class March 2014
"Dealing with Climate Change"

Class:  Dealing with Climate Change
Host:  Lifelong Learners of the Central Coast
Date:  March 2014
Location:  PG&E Energy Education Center

Introduction to the Lifelong Learners of the Central Coast
Videos of “Dealing with Climate Change”

During March 2014 a series of four weekly class presentations were held at the PG&E Energy Education Center in San Luis Obispo under the auspices of the Life Long Learners of the Central Coast. Videos of these classes are available from YouTube as identified below. These are not professional quality videos but people interested in various aspects of climate change should profit by viewing them. 

Biographical Material about the Presenters
The first three videos are of talks are by Mr. John Lindsey, Dr. Ray Weymann and Dr. Lou Pitelka.  Their videos are identified below.  Videos of the remaining talks will be posted as soon as they are available.  Unfortunately, videos of talks on March 5th by Dave Hafemeister and Dave Camp are not available due to audio problems; perhaps they will consider a re-do but without the audience.

John Lindsey is a media relations associate and marine meteorologist for Pacific Gas and Electric Company at Diablo Canyon Power Plant. He has worked for PG&E for more than 10 years.  He has forecasted weather and oceanographic conditions along the Central Coast of California for over 22 years. His weather forecasts can be heard every morning on KVEC 920 AM radio. He writes a weekly column that appears in Sunday's edition of the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Dr. Ray Weymann -- See the Author page of this website for Dr. Weymann’s background.

Dr. Lou Pitelka is a semi-retired ecologist who has held positions with academia, government, industry, and a non-profit. He became interested in the ecological effects of climate change in the late 1980s and, since then, has been involved in many national and international climate-related research projects, science programs, and assessments, including several of the international Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate assessments. He currently works halftime for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which is a government-supported project to construct a national network of ecological observatories.

YouTube Videos:

1)  Mr. John Lindsey, March 12th (26 minutes)
Current and Projected Impacts of Climate Change on the California Central Coast
The introduction of Mr. Lindsey by Dr. Ray Weymann was made without the lapel mike and so is hard to hear; Mr. Lindsey’s talk begins about 2 minutes into the video.

2)  Dr. Ray Weymann, March 12th (30 minutes)
Review of the Science; Global Signs of a Warming World, and Some Common Misunderstandings

3)  Dr. Lou Pitelka, March 12th (54 minutes)
Effects of Climate Change on US Ecosystems, Especially in California
Dr. Pitelka's talk is broken into two segments and there is a very tiny gap between the two:
Video - Part 1 of 2 (34 minutes)  The first minute of this segment is Dr. Peter Schwartz giving online
   references to his material and the second minute is Dr. Weymann’s introduction of Dr. Pitelka, both
   without the lapel mic.  Dr. Pitelka’s talk, with good audio, begins at about 2 minutes into the video.
Video - Part 2 of 2 (20 minutes)  Continuation of Dr. Pitelka's presenation. 

Videos of the March 19 & 26 talks will be posted as they become available.

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Ray's Climate Science Class February 2013
"Climate Change: Science, Impacts, Challenges & Solutions"

Class:  Climate Change: Science, Impacts, Challenges & Solutions
Host:  Lifelong Learners of the Central Coast
Date:  February 2013
Location:  PG&E Energy Education Center
Slides: February 02  /  February 09  /  February 16  /  February 23

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Reports, Booklets and Whitepapers

Arranged Alphabetically

Climate Change for Policymakers and Business Leaders  
As of January 2013 this paper is unavailable. 
February 2010, PDF file, 11 pages
Co-authored by PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Peter Darbee and Carnegie Institution climate change expert Dr. Christopher Field.  "This paper, the product of a partnership between a science leader and a business leader, provides an interesting illustration of how science and policy interact. Science discovers facts and elucidates trends; it provides a window for understanding what is (e.g., the present climate and how it is changing), as well as a framework for projecting what will be (future climate change and associated risks). The policy decisions made by businesses and governments are based on science, but also on economic and human factors that are beyond the realm of science. This paper represents a merging of policy-relevant scientific information with policy conclusions based on that information and judgments about acceptable risks." 
Also see PG&E's Environmental Commitment web page

Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts and Choices 
2012, National Academy of Sciences, 40 pages
National Research Council booklet presented in three parts that (1) summarizes the current state of knowledge about climate change; (2) explains some impacts expected in this century and beyond; and (3) examines how science can help inform choices about managing and reducing the risks posed by climate change. 
Also see related:
  Climate Change: Lines of Evidence Videos and Figure Gallery
 
and Skeptical Science article

Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia
July 2010, National Research Council
This report was prepared by a group of 15 distinguished Climate Scientists led by Dr. Susan Solomon. Based on the best and most recent scientific research, the report analyzes the impacts upon the Earth and human society for a range of levels at which the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere is stabilized and the associated range of the resultant increase in global temperatures. The entire report may be downloaded free of charge by going to Prepublication PDFs, but the entire document is very long. I suggest you only download the Executive Summary, which gives a clear picture of the conclusions of the full report.

The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science 2009 
November 2009,
PDF file, 64 pages
Prepared by 26 authors. This booklet does exactly what the subtitle suggests. The 2007 IPCC report reviewed the scientific literature on climate change through 2005. Since 2005 there have been significant advances in all aspects of climate science. This report, put together by an international team of 26 of the world's leading climate scientists, updates these scientific advances, accompanied by some beautiful photographs. Readers of either the Mann & Krump book or those reading the lessons in the Tutorials in this website should be able to understand most of this material. 

Our Changing Climate 2012: Vulnerability & Adaptation to the Increasing Risks from Climate Change in California
California Energy Commission, 2012, PDF, 16 pages
Produced by the California Institute of Energy and the Environment based in the University of California, this is summary report on the '2012 Vulnerability and Adaptation Study', California's third major assessment on climate change. The Third Assessment is provided by the California Energy Commission and its Climate Change Center. The complete Third Assessment is actually a series of 37 reports for the energy, water, agriculture, public health, coastal, transportation, and ecological resource sectors. Each sector is represented in this summary, highlighting significant climate impacts as reported in the assessment, along with color graphics making the data even more accessible. The assessment included a regional focus for the San Francisco Bay area, with 9 of the 37 reports dedicated to this region as well.

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism
December 2010, PDF, 16 pages
This 16 page booklet might better be titled "The Scientific Guide to Talking to Global Warming Skeptics". It addresses the most common misconceptions about climate science, with clever and useful illustrations. It is intended especially for high school and college science teachers, but is recommended for everyone.

Understanding and Responding to Climate Change - Highlights of National Academies Reports - 2008
PDF file, 28 pages
A comprehensive and easy-to-read analysis of findings and recommendations from National Academies reports on climate change. 

Warming World: Impacts by Degree
National Academy of Sciences, 2011, PDF, 40 pages
Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch during which human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate. This booklet, based on the National Research Council report "Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia" (2011), outlines the scientific information that makes it clear that emission reductions today matter in determining impacts that will be experienced over the next few decades and into the coming centuries and millennia. The booklet explains how policy choices can be informed by recent advances in climate science that show the relationships among increasing carbon dioxide, global warming, related physical changes, and resulting impacts. Expected impacts are identified and quantified when possible, including impacts on stream flow, wildfires, crop productivity, the frequency of very hot summers, and sea-level rise and its associated risks and vulnerabilities.

What We Know  Posted 3/22/14
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2014, PDF, 28 pages
The AAAS is the largest scientific organization in the world. In 2014 the AAAS Climate Science Panel issued a booklet What We Know (PDF).  In addition to reading the report, it is highly recommended that you examine the What We Know website devoted to this report and watch some of the interviews with the climate scientists involved.  As an aside, here is an excellent What We Know video of an interview with University of Georgia's Director of Atmospheric Sciences Marshall Shepherd.

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Books

Arranged Alphabetically

Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming
Michael E. Mann
and Lee R. Kump
DK Publishing Inc., July 2008
ISBN 978-0-7566-3995-2
This book is an "illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC" and is written by two climate scientists carrying out forefront research. It is designed for readers with no formal background in science and explains in clear language not only the basic science of climate change but the projected impacts of climate change and steps that can be taken to deal with them.  Highly recommended.
Review by Penn State  /  Amazon

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke
to Global Warming
Erik M. Conway
and Naomi Oreskes
Bloomsbury Press, June 2010
ISBN-13: 9781596916104
ISBN-10: 1596916109
The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.
Bloomsbury Press  /  Amazon

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines
Michael E. Mann

Columbia University Press, March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-231-15254-9
In its 2001 report on global climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations prominently featured the “Hockey Stick,” a chart showing global temperature data over the past one thousand years. The Hockey Stick demonstrated that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The inescapable conclusion was that worldwide human activity since the industrial age had raised CO2 levels, trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming the planet.
Columbia University Press  /  Amazon
Review and Commentary by Dr. Ray Weymann

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Videos

If readers know of short videos illustrating important climate science concepts, please send them to me.

Arranged Alphabetically

Dr. John Abraham Response to a speech by Lord Christopher Monckton
Christopher Monckton is one of the more prominent 'climate skeptics', though he has no scientific training. In June 2010, numerous assertions in a speech he gave at Bethel College, Minnesota, in October 2009, were dissected in detail in a convincing and entertaining way by Dr. John Abraham, an expert in heat transfer and fluid mechanics and a member of the faculty at St. Thomas University, also in Minnesota. Abraham's response to Monckton has attracted a great deal of attention. The link above consists of a series of short video clips. The entire series runs quite long, but you can step through the slides at your leisure. I highly recommend it. I suggest clicking on the little video camera icon so you can easily scroll down the list of slides.  Have your computer's volume turned up to hear the presentation.

Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets
February 2013, National Science Foundation, 2.5 minutes
The Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) is a Science and Technology Center established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2005 with the mission of developing new technologies and computer models to measure and predict the response of sea level change to the mass balance of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. The NSF's Science and Technology Center (STC) program combines the efforts of scientists and engineers to respond to problems of global significance, supporting the intense, sustained, collaborative work required to achieve progress in these areas. CReSIS provides students and faculty with opportunities to pursue exciting research in a variety of disciplines; to collaborate with world-class scientists and engineers in the US and abroad; and to make meaningful contributions to the ongoing, urgent work of addressing the impact of climate change.

Climate Change Basics by Dr. Ray Weymann  50 minutes
In March 2011 I gave a talk on Climate Change at the Atascadero Association of Retired People's building.  It was one in a series of forums on issues of general public interest sponsored by the Atascadero Democratic Club.  Mr. Walt Reil recorded the talk on video and I have done some editing by inserting the actual PowerPoint slides where appropriate.  While some further editing still needs doing, several people have asked me about this video so I am making it available now rather than wait for further editing.  Although nearly one year has elapsed since I gave the talk, the basic science is essentially unchanged.  I hope viewers will find it useful and I will be happy to respond to comments sent to ray.climate (@ sign) charter.net .

Climate Change: Lines of Evidence  National Academy of Sciences
National Research Council presents a series of videos explaining how scientists have arrived at the state of knowledge about current climate change and its causes.
  Related article from Skeptical Science
  Related NAS materials:
    Booklet (2012)  Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts and Choices and Figure Gallery
    Booklet (2010)  Advancing the Science of Climate Change

EARTH: The Operators' Manual
04.18.11  National Science Foundation, On-line, 54 minutes
Host 
Richard Alley – a geologist, contributor to the United Nations panel on climate change and former oil company employee whom Andy Revkin of the New York Times once called "a cross between Woody Allen and Carl Sagan" – leads the audience on this engaging one-hour special about climate change and sustainable energy, premiering during Earth Month 2011. "EARTH: The Operators’ Manual" ("ETOM" for short) is a rigorously researched, beautifully filmed and ultimately uplifting antidote to the widespread "doom and gloom" approach to climate change. The program opens with a thorough grounding in Earth’s climate history and an overview of the current dilemmas, but its main thrust is an upbeat assessment of our many viable sustainable energy options.

Oceans of Climate Change 
04.21.09  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, On-line, 3.9 minutes
This short video, referred to in Lesson 5, and featuring JPL Oceanographer Dr. Joshua Willis, is a wonderful demonstration of the difference between the ability of the ocean and the atmosphere to store heat.

PETM - Unearthing Ancient Climate Change
February 2013, American Museum of Natural History, 8 minutes
Fifty-five million years ago, a sudden, enormous influx of carbon flooded the ocean and atmosphere for reasons that are still unclear to scientists. What is clear is that as atmospheric CO2 content increased, the average global surface temperature rose 5°C to 9°C (9°F to 16°F).  The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), as this global warming event is known, lasted upwards of 170,000 years and had dramatic impacts on living things both on land and in oceans. In this feature, a team of paleontologists, paleobotanists, soil scientists, and other researchers take to the field in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin to document how the climate, plants, and animals there changed during the PETM. Their work will help predict how our current global warming event could affect life on Earth.

Secrets Beneath the Ice
12.28.10  PBS NOVA, On-line, 53 minutes
Almost three miles of ice buries most of Antarctica, cloaking a continent half again as large as the United States. But when an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Manhattan collapsed in less than a month in 2002, it shocked scientists and raised the alarming possibility that Antarctica may be headed for a meltdown. Even a 10 percent loss of Antarctica's ice would cause catastrophic flooding of coastal cities unlike any seen before in human history. What are the chances of a widespread melt? "Secrets Beneath the Ice" explores whether Antarctica's climate past can offer clues to what may happen.

Ray Weymann's Comments:
This is a wonderful program about the history and possible future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. It runs a bit less than one hour. The Antarctic Ice sheet holds by far the largest amount of fresh water on the Earth. It has been existence for tens of millions of years. If it were all converted to water, the sea level would rise by several hundred feet. The research described in this fascinating video is beginning to reveal that the history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been subject to more significant and rapid changes than was believed to be the case until very recently. But the video also shows something else: the enormous dedication of the men and women who are carrying out this research in spite of very primitive and potentially very dangerous conditions.  HIGHLY recommended.

Taking Earth's Temperature
2009, NASA, 4 minutes
Earth's climate is changing at an unprecedented rate. This video explores climate modeling and other tools that NASA scientists use to take the Earth's temperature.

What We Know:  Interview with University of Georgia's Director of Atmospheric Sciences Marshall Shepherd.

Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media
An initiative of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication to “Improve public understanding of climate change.”  One of their projects has been to produce a series of videos. Some of these videos feature interviews with climate scientists describing current research.  Others deal with aspects of communicating climate science to journalists, TV weather forecasters and the general public.  There are (as of December 29, 2012) 20 videos in the series, which can be downloaded from YouTube's Yale Climate Forum Channel.  There are many important and interesting articles besides the videos to be found on the Yale Forum site and I strongly recommend it.

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Resources for Teachers and Students

Virginia 3rd grade teacher Alberta Ferris kindly called my attention to a wonderful resource for teachers who are doing a unit on weather, Air & Water: Weather Forecasting for Kids (link below), on which you will find 15 links to further teaching resources about the weather. I think they are suitable for both elementary and middle school classes.  Since the primary focus of my website is climate science education I immediately checked out A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change (link below), which has further links to explore various topics in more depth, including an excellent short video.  My only mild criticism would be that I wish there were a segment explaining a little more explicitly the difference between "weather" and "climate" since these concepts are often confused in the minds of adults as well as children. All in all, however, these are great resources and thanks to Alberta Ferris for bringing these sites to my attention.

A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change

Air & Water: Weather Forecasting for Kids 
Teacher Patty Nevlin and her students suggest the following article having excellent links to climate change, energy and waste reduction and recycling information designed for use by children.

Climate Change Task Force:
- Climate Resources for Teachers
- Kids' Climate Corner

- Education, IPCC, Videos: Science, Impacts, Mitigation, Models, Data

Heating Up the Earth - Global Warming for Kids!   Hawthorn Heating & Air Conditioning

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Expert Summaries

I haven’t tried to count the times I’ve heard the phrase “so-called experts”.  But it’s a lot and never complimentary. Who are these so-called experts?  Here’s a working definition: “A so-called expert is someone who claims to know more than I do, and whose opinion I strongly disagree with.” 

But, seriously folks … Who should we trust for reliable information?  Where do we find it?

This is extremely important when it comes to complex technical subjects involving many years of data collection, analysis and peer review by many experts on the subject.  A vitally important challenge is how to present such information that the general public can read and understand, as well as utilize it in our nation's public educational processes.

In the case of climate science, professional groups, such as the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, or the National Academy of Sciences publish non-technical summaries.  These summaries provide an excellent overview of exhaustive research and collective analysis of many highly trained and experienced "experts" in their fields. 

For a very informative listing of a number of expert findings on climate science and associated links to additional information, please see Expert Summaries.

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Favorite Sites

Arranged Alphabetically

Climate Science Rapid Response Team
The Climate Science Rapid Response Team is a match-making service to connect climate scientists with lawmakers and the media. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials.  Climate Science Rapid Response team member scientists are chosen to cover a wide array of topics related to Climate Science. They have been selected based upon their publications in professional peer-reviewed scientific journals.

NASA Climate Kids  NASA's Eyes on the Earth
A great NASA website for children.

NASA Global Climate Change  NASA's "EYES ON THE EARTH"
Revised 12/8/12 to provide updated location of EYES ON THE EARTH application
Major research efforts in climate science are conducted at many of the laboratories of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This website is especially valuable for information on climate research currently being carried out by satellites launched by NASA.  Check out
EYES ON THE EARTH. One of the offerings in this application is NASA Satellites, which presents current orbits of Earth-observing climate science satellites. Click START button to access the Eyes on the Earth application, which requires JAVA on your computer.  If the application does not load, you will be provided a pop-up window of guidance information.  If you are using a Mac, you may need to download the application to your computer.  The application may take about a minute to fully load.  Once fully open, you can click on any individual satellite to learn in more detail what aspect of the climate that satellite is studying. Readers should be aware that while NASA has responsibility for launching these satellites, there are thousands of scientists participating in the resulting science from many universities in the U.S. and in foreign countries as well.

National Center for Atmospheric Research  NCAR
A broad range of climate science research is conducted here including powerful computer simulations of the climate to enhance understanding of the earth's complex climate system.

NOAA Climate Services 
A "one stop shop" for scientists, researchers, teachers, students and the public of data, information and predictions of Earth's climate.  This wonderful website is a plethora of informative and fascinating information.

NOAA Climate Program Office - Education  
This National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration website is highly recommended, especially for science teachers.

RealClimate 
If you want to read commentary about climate science from the professionals who really know what they are talking about, you can do no better than go to RealClimate.  However,  some of the discussion may be somewhat technical for readers.  My advice is to stop at the posts themselves rather than read through all the comments, since it is sometimes difficult to separate the 'wheat' from the 'chaff'. However, the posts themselves are written by real experts."

Skeptical Science
Anyone who is involved in communicating with the general public about climate science will quickly run into the same 'myths' over and over again.  On the Misperceptions page I am writing about a few of the ones I have encountered here on the California Central Coast.  But, there are many, many more, and it takes a great deal of effort to research the peer-reviewed literature and respond to these myths.  Fortunately, this "Skeptical Science" website does an admirable job of doing exactly that and is an invaluable resource. I highly recommend it.

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Dr. Ray Weymann ray.climate (@ sign) charter.net     Webmaster Walter Reil walter.climate (@ sign) gmail.com

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