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Bits of Science / Roundup #1

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Aurorae on Ganymede
Since I look for interesting science bits (mostly astro bits) for the Monday coffee of our astrophysics group, I realized that I could share it with the readers including some interpretation (and hopefully some added value) by your humble servant. So, here’s my try. If it works (and won’t be too much time) I’ll continue! Although for the coffee I bring mostly astrophysics and some planetary science, here I’ll also try to bring interesting results in climate (those that aren't lame...).

Sights from a Field Trip in the Milky Way: From Paleoclimatology to Dark Matter

32 million year oscillation in the paleoclimate data
I was recently asked to write an article to “The Institute Letter” of Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where I am spending a wonderful sabbatical year. It briefly describes a very interesting discovery that my colleagues and I made, which is that the 32 million year oscillation of the solar system perpendicular to the galactic plane can clearly be seen in the paleoclimate data. In the article, I also discuss how the discovery came and some of its implications. I am bringing a slightly expanded version here (with more figures and elaborated caption), and references of course. Enjoy.

Gravity waves in rain clouds over the Arava valley

Lee Waves in Rain Clouds over the Arava Valley

Spring weather here in Israel was rather strange. Although winter with most of its precipitation should have been over, we had a few very rainy days. We're now in the midst of a heat wave with temperatures as much as 20°C higher than just a week before. In between there was a nice gravity wave appear over the Arava Valley, the first one I have ever seen in a rain radar!

Dust Dendrites

Dust dendrites on nylon sheath

My wife and I had our kitchen renovated aaa. Since this involved breaking a few walls (and cutting out a new window), we knew it would raise a lot of dust. Mind you, here in the middle east houses are built from concrete and concrete blocks, not wood. To minimize the dust annoyance (and damage), we decided to quarter off the living room from the kitchen by using large nylon sheets hung from the ceiling to the floor.

The worst of the BEST

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I was asked by quite a few people about my opinion on the BEST analysis of Richard Muller and his group in Berkeley. Since I didn’t want to keep my friends without an answer, I took a more careful look into the analysis. Here is what I think of it.

There are two parts to the analysis. The first part is a reconstruction of the temperature over the 20th century. The second part includes analyzing this reconstruction and drawing various conclusions out of it.

Does the global temperature lag CO2? More flaws in the Shakun et al. paper in Nature.

Over the past two weeks, perhaps a dozen people asked me about the recently published paper of Shakun et al. in Nature. It allegedly demonstrates that the global temperature followed CO2 around the warming associated with the last interglacial warming, between 20 to 10 thousand years ago. One even sent the story as a news item on NPR. So, having no other choice, I decided to actually read the paper and find what is it all about. Should I abandon all that I advocated over the past decade?

Causes of Climate Change - Poll Results

Out of curiosity, I opened a few weeks ago a poll asking the visitors of this site, what do they think is the primary cause of global warming. 429 people answered the poll (thanks to all of you!).

The results can be summarized as follows.

First, the visitors of this site have the following background:
Background Fraction (Votes)
Layman 54.9% (232)
General Scientist 41.1% (174)
Climate Scientist 4.0% (17)

On IPCCs exaggerated climate sensitivity and the emperor’s new clothes

A few days ago I had a very pleasant meeting with Andrew Bolt. He was visiting Israel and we met for an hour in my office. During the discussion, I mentioned that the writers of the recent IPCC reports are not very scientific in their conduct and realized that I should write about it here.

Why don't I believe the that neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light?

Three weeks ago I visited the underground laboratory of Gran Sasso near l'Aquila. Little did I know that it would make headline news so soon, for "discovering" particles moving faster than the speed of light. Since a few people asked me what did I think of it, I decided to write something about it here.

Expert credibility in climate change?

I recently stumbled upon one of the most meaningless papers I have ever seen. The paper "proves" that the scientists advocating an anthropogenic greenhouse warming (AGW) are statistically more credible than the "unconvinced". Their main goal is to convince people that they should join the AGW bandwagon simply because it is allegedly more credible.

The oceans as a calorimeter


I few months ago, I had a paper accepted in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Since its repercussions are particularly interesting for the general public, I decided to write about it. It's called, using the "Oceans as a Calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing".

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