For people who love good children’s science books

I’ve bitten the bullet and created a Facebook page for myself as an author of children’s science books. If you know teachers or librarians who care about good science books for children, or middle graders and teens who might enjoy interacting with an author on Facebook, please send them my way! Scientifically yours, “Dr. Fred” … Read more

Warning for Geo-engineers: SO2 may surprise you

I’ve blogged before about trying to avoid geo-engineering as a solution to climate change. We just don’t know enough about the complexities of climate to try relatively simple fixes, like adding sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere. The following news release from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express program ought to give us pause.

Fred Bortz

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High Seas Ahead?

Probably the greatest missing element in the public discourse about climate change (to characterize the current rancorous political debate with a more benign phrase) is error bars. Too much of the public expects scientific projections of sea level to be well-defined, but climate scientists know that best estimates reported in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are likely to be much too low because they neglect “dynamic melting” of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

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Climate Change Science for Educated Laypersons

In a recent blog entry, I discussed why professional societies should issue position papers on issues of public importance. That was the topic of an exchange of letters to Physics Today, including mine. Now, as if to emphasize my reasoning, the UK Royal Society has published an excellent and informative 16-page summary of the scientific issues surrounding climate change for general readers.

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Will the Sun give us a reprieve from global warming?

Something unusual has been going on in the Sun’s magnetic activity. For the last three centuries or so that we have been observing sunspots, we have seen a regular eleven-year cycle in their behavior. At solar minimum, sunspots are few and far between (sometimes totally absent). This has usually been followed by a sharp upsurge after about 16 months, but the last two cycles have been different.

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