At the library

The DOI system is great and all, and I love being able to access nearly the entire scientific literature without having to leave my desk. But there’s something wonderful about looking up a textbook with no full-text access online, and instead walking down to the uni library with a Dewey decimal number scrawled on a sticky note. Pacing through the shelves of books, finding the one I want, taking it down, and smelling it.

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Apparently climate science can stop now

For many years politicians said, “We’re not even sure climate change is real, so why should we waste money studying it?” And seemingly overnight, the message has become, “Now that we know climate change is real, we can stop studying it.” Don’t believe me? This is what Larry Marshall, the chief executive of Australia’s federal science agency CSIRO, wrote in an email to staff earlier this month: Our climate models are among the best in…

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Cracking the mystery of the corrosive ocean

Around 55 million years ago, an abrupt global warming event triggered a highly corrosive deep-water current to flow through the North Atlantic Ocean. This process, suggested by new climate model simulations, resolves a long-standing mystery regarding ocean acidification in the deep past. The rise of CO2 that led to this dramatic acidification occurred during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a period when global temperatures rose by around 5°C over several thousand years and one of…

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The Best of Denial101x – Week 1

The latest brainchild of John Cook is the free online edX course Denial 101x. This course, tackling basic climate science as well as the science of climate change denial, had amassed 15,000 students as of May 12. You can access the video lectures and interviews on their YouTube channel without even signing up for the course. The best video content, in my opinion, is the full interviews with scientists. They are such interesting people with…

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We just published in Nature Geoscience

It turns out that when you submit a paper to a journal like Nature Geoscience “just in case, we have nothing to lose, they’ll probably reject it straight away”…sometimes you are unexpectedly successful. Read it here! Assorted media coverage: Commentary piece also published in Nature Geoscience, written by Morgan Schaller (who studies the PETM but was not involved in our study) Globe and Mail article by science journalist Ivan Semeniuk Press release by UNSW More…

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My Research with Steve

Almost four years ago I took a job as a summer student of Dr. Steve Easterbrook, in the software engineering lab of the University of Toronto. This was my first time taking part in research, but also my first time living away from home and my first time using a Unix terminal (both of which are challenging, but immensely rewarding, life skills). While working with Steve I discovered that climate model output is really pretty…

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The Most Terrifying Papers I Read Last Year

An ice sheet forms when snow falls on land, compacts into ice, and forms a system of interconnected glaciers which gradually flow downhill like play-dough. In Antarctica, it is so cold that the ice flows right into the ocean before it melts, sometimes hundreds of kilometres from the coast. These giant slabs of ice, floating on the ocean while still attached to the continent, are called ice shelves. For an ice sheet to have constant…

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With a Little Help from the Elephant Seals

A problem which has plagued oceanography since the very beginning is a lack of observations. We envy atmospheric scientists with their surface stations and satellite data that monitor virtually the entire atmosphere in real time. Until very recently, all that oceanographers had to work with were measurements taken by ships. This data was very sparse in space and time, and was biased towards certain ship tracks and seasons. A lack of observations makes life difficult…

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Rewinding the Clock

I don’t really care about the panda bears. But that’s not saying this problem isn’t serious. This is a people problem, this is a billion dead people problem. This is a national security problem. This is rewinding the clock 300 years to a time we don’t want to go back to. - Nick Wood (spoken at a presentation I attended, and possibly slightly paraphrased as I scrambled to write it down; his profile is here)Filed…

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