Reflections on Week Four of Climate Change Course

This week was entitled future projections. It began by looking at climate modelling (see previous post), moved onto the 5th IPCC  report with the unequivocal warming of the climate system S P E L L E D O U T, and finished with a little introduction to geoengineering.


  1. What are the most important themes you have learned this week? That there is a huge amount of science involved in climate projection attempting to account for many complex variables and feedback loops. Geoengineering is not a silver bullet, as it can create as many problems as it solves. We need to curb our emissions, now.
  2. What aspect of this week did you find difficult? Accessing the climate models and understanding what was going on. Terms such as ‘vegetation soil’ and ‘sequestration’ required further reading, also the chemistry of carbon capture.
  3. What did you find most interesting? And why? Clouds! Their brightness, absorbing and re-emitting infra red energy, and differences between high and low cloud emitting energy. Just for better understanding of the roles clouds can play in climate systems.
  4. Was there something that you learned this week that prompted you to do your own research? A comment and link (Skeptical Science)about the jet stream in one of the discussion threads particularly caught my interest. With the line up of storms currently battering UK, it seems very relevant.
  5. Are there any web sites or other online resource that you found particularly useful in furthering your knowledge and understanding? Skeptical Science, getting sceptical about global warming sceptics – brilliant! The discussion threads on future learn are fascinating. I wish I could make time to read all of them properly.

Finally as a little aside. One picture of Canada’s Althbasca glacier, on the NASA site seemed particularly profound. A stone in the foreground reads 1992, as a trail of stones winds out behind it, across the ground to the glacier in retreat. I don’t know why but the story about shrinking glaciers (Alps) in The Age of Stupid film moved me as well. A sense of loss over a big pile of frozen water? I don’t get why but it makes me sad.


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