Climate Policy Lecture 4

This week’s lecture was delivered by an atmospheric scientist who specialized in the study of convective vortices (hurricanes, tornadoes, supercell thunderstorms, etc). He was obviously an expert in this field, but unfortunately, he seemed not to have thought very deeply about broader issues of climate science, and particularly climate policy. He breezed (ha) quickly through the idea that global warming causes more hurricanes and makes them more intense, an idea that makes theoretical sense but I thought still lacked solid observational support because El Nino has suppressed Atlantic hurricane formation or something. I would have liked to hear more on this.


He also presented a plot similar to the one above, showing global mean temperature over geologic time (the time axis is logarithmic) that highlights all the variability over different timescales. It’s a really fascinating record, and I would also have liked to know more about this, but then he admitted he hadn’t thought much about this plot, and then demonstrated that by offering essentially no interpretation of it.

Finally, he gave the first simple explanation I’ve ever heard for why there are multiple equilibria in the climate, but it’s not really interesting enough to share here. The next two weeks there aren’t any lectures, so I’ll have to find something else to write about. (revised on Oct. 12 to make it nicer)


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