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Tamsin Edwards moved into climate science in 2006. Her research interests are in quantifying uncertainty in predictions from earth system models. When modelling climate, or the behaviour of ice sheets and glaciers, Tamsin says “we cannot test our predictions by performing repeated experiments on the earth system. I am particularly interested in Bayesian approaches to this problem – in which probability is a degree of ‘belief’ based on current information, rather than an observed frequency – and collaborate whenever possible with Jonty Rougier.”

Tamsin is working on the EU Framework-7 programme ice2sea, which aims to improve projections of the contribution of ice to future sea level. This is a comprehensive collaborative effort to improve understanding of this research area. Tamsin’s work has included statistical analysis of climate and ice sheet model simulations, and experimental design, for several topics: a probabilistic prediction of the Antarctic contribution to future sea level, a new assessment of the feedback between surface mass balance and ice sheet surface height in Greenland, a new assessment of the effect of meltwater on glacier sliding (basal lubrication) in Greenland, and comparisons between multiple ice sheet models.

Archives from the All Models Are Wrong blog can be found here.

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2 Responses to About

  1. John says:

    Dr. Edwards, I think you are right that climate scientists are often perceived as not particularly objective, because they essentially become politicians (or are seen that way, in any case).

    May I suggest that part of the issue could also be the preferences of funding institutions? Meaning: now matter what the findings, good or bad, the press releases and articles always points out bad news, even if the science of the article only carries good news. I imagine that this is done to indicate that the researchers are still “on the team.” They need to keep getting their funding, don’t they? I’m guessing they wouldn’t behave this way unless they felt they needed to, in most cases.

    I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read — the article and the press release — where the results are actually good news, but somewhere there is a section that explains why it ISN”T good news, even though it seems like it.

    Back in the Eemian, we now find that Greenland was about 6 to 8 degrees hotter than it is today, for about 7,000 years, and had lesser elevated temps for almost 15,000 years. Yet according to this research, Greenland contributed about half the sea level rise of the time, e.g. contributed 2 to 4 meters. Call it three meters.

    Here’s the link, with further links to full study:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/eyes-turn-to-antarctica-as-study-shows-greenlands-ice-has-endured-warmer-climates/

    Assume that none of Greenland’s melting occurred in the other 8,000 years of elevated temps which weren’t 6 to 8 degrees higher Three meters in 7,000 years comes out to a couple of inches per century. You can play with the numbers, but what ever you do, it is a few inches per century, AND it takes 7,000 years to do it. Compared with so many headlines over the years about “unprecedented Greenland melt,” this is tremendously good news. And it appears to be the best science yet on the subject.

    Yet, at the link, you will find that climate scientists like Jason Box and Richard Alley try to explain why it isn’t the good news it seems.

    If you assume, as I do, that when solar energy is finally equal in cost to alternatives, starting about twenty years from now, solar will be the main source of new electricity in most of the world — including in most deserts, on building roofs, and with time, windows of commercial buildings — then we aren’t going to have 7,000 years of increasing warming, we will have perhaps 2 more centuries of it. So to find out that Greenland’s contribution is so small — and is likely to be back loaded, so we might get only an inch or two per C in the next two centuries — makes me want to dance with joy that we aren’t going to be swamped.

    Same thing with the recent article which showed results of a 20 years experiment in the Arctic, where researchers artificially warmed a large plot for those 20 years. No big net releases of CO2 — no, the releases from soil were balanced completely by increase storage in new roots and growth in and above the soil. Great news, again. But it was spun as having unexpected negative side effects. Please.

    Won’t the public trust scientists and funding institutions more if they see such institutions not try to put a sad face on good news all the time (in my view)?

  2. Pingback: Tamsin on scientists and policy advocacy | Climate Etc.

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