Monday, July 18, 2011

Climate change science

One of my biggest concerns is the way in which people are obtaining their information about human-induced climate change. Presently my understanding is that most Australians are generating their opinions on this matter entirely from information available from mainstream media outlets. Currently these sources are generally not providing enough factual and scientific information for people to truly understand what is happening to our planet and its climate as a result of human activities.

I personally have read more broadly on human-induced climate change than just the mainstream media. However, I am still guilty of not sourcing the original science or reports that rely heavily on the scientific material available (in a form that I could easily refer back to the original science). As such I have decided to start my personal journey to obtain some more of the facts and research by reviewing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment. The most recent reports are the 2007 reports, with a newer report with updated information and conclusions due in the not too distant future. The 2007 reports, including a summary report, are available on the IPCC's publication page of their website.

Why review these reports? Basically, the IPCC's reports are the best summary of climate change science available to me without reading every scientific paper published on the issue. Someone else (a group of well-trained, conservative scientists) has reviewed the scientific literature and has then written a fully referenced report explaining in plain English what is happening to the planet's climate and specifically how it is changing.

I also consider these reports to be the easiest way to access the peer-reviewed scientific information on this issue. Much of the scientific literature, unless your part of a tertiary institution or a relevant government or research body, is hard to obtain, with most journals requiring subscriptions. These subscriptions can be significantly costly for a member of the general public, a Council library or an individual. An alternate model to obtain the science would be for me to take the time finding all of the relevant research on the internet and then contact each of the authors directly to obtain a copy of their papers. This would be an extremely timely, cumbersome and inaccurate process. So off I go to wade through the IPCC reports.  

I will post relevant and useful information as I plough through them. I would love to hear anyone else's experience of these reports. Pin It

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