Latest Publications

Climate Science and the Media – Ed becomes a Daily Mail star

Some of you may have been aware of some interesting goings on amongst some of those in the Department and the Daily Mail over the last week all started by this article by David Rose, which used (without attribution until he made a complaint) a figure from Ed Hawkins’ blog.

Since there has been lots of really interesting commentary on this by other people, I thought for the blog this week it would be nice to collect some of the commentary into a single place. The main source for this is a really nice rebuttal that Rich Allan wrote on his blog.

There has also been quite a bit of back and forth (and some other detailed comments via links) on twitter and I’ve collected some of that together.

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background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #fff 0%, #ddd 100%);
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, #fff 0%, #ddd 100%);
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #fff 0%, #ddd 100%);
background: linear-gradient(top, #fff 0%, #ddd 100%);
padding: 0 10px;
line-height: 20px;
color: #666;
font-size: 10px;
text-transform: uppercase;
text-shadow: 0 1px 0 #fff;
}
.filter .inner .tabs a:hover span {
background: #eee;
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #ddd), color-stop(1, #fff));
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #ddd 0%, #fff 100%);
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #ddd 0%, #fff 100%);
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, #ddd 0%, #fff 100%);
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #ddd 0%, #fff 100%);
background: linear-gradient(top, #ddd 0%, #fff 100%);
}
.filter .inner .tabs a.active span {
color: #333;
background: #fff;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 0 5px #ddd;
box-shadow: inset 0 0 5px #ddd;
}
.filter .inner .tabs a.stories {
-webkit-border-radius: 3px 0 0 3px;
border-radius: 3px 0 0 3px;
}
.filter .inner .tabs a.stories span {
-webkit-border-radius: 3px 0 0 3px;
border-radius: 3px 0 0 3px;
}
.filter .inner .tabs a.elements {
padding-left: 0;
-webkit-border-radius: 0 3px 3px 0;
border-radius: 0 3px 3px 0;
}
.filter .inner .tabs a.elements span {
-webkit-border-radius: 0 3px 3px 0;
border-radius: 0 3px 3px 0;
}
.filter .inner .types {
display: none;
opacity: 0;
-ms-filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=0);
filter: alpha(opacity=0);
float: left;
height: 28px;
-webkit-transition: 0.2s opacity ease-out;
-moz-transition: 0.2s opacity ease-out;
-o-transition: 0.2s opacity ease-out;
-ms-transition: 0.2s opacity ease-out;
transition: 0.2s opacity ease-out;
}
.filter .inner .types.visible {
display: block;
opacity: 1;
-ms-filter: none;
filter: none;
}
.filter .inner .types label {
display: block;
float: left;
padding-right: 10px;
}
.filter .inner .types label input {
display: inline-block;
vertical-align: middle;
width: 12px;
height: 12px;
}
.filter .inner .types label span {
display: inline-block;
padding-left: 5px;
line-height: 28px;
font-size: 11px;
color: #666;
text-shadow: 0 1px 0 #fff;
}
.filter .inner .types label:first-child {
padding-left: 7px;
}
.story-image {
position: relative;
overflow: hidden;
height: 100%;
}
.story-image .story-image-bg {
height: 100%;
-webkit-background-size: cover;
-moz-background-size: cover;
background-size: cover;
}
.story-image img {
display: block;
width: 100%;
}
.story-image .pattern {
position: absolute;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
top: 0;
left: 0;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/pattern.png’);
}
.list-empty {
display: none;
padding: 100px 15px;
text-align: center;
}
.list-empty.element-list-empty {
padding-top: 90px;
}
#user .filter .back {
display: none;
}
.story-toolbar {
display: none;
padding: 8px 10px;
background: #f7f7f7;
-webkit-border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
border: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
border-bottom: 0;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 -6px 11px -6px rgba(0,0,0,0.1);
box-shadow: inset 0 -6px 11px -6px rgba(0,0,0,0.1);
}
.story-toolbar .icon {
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
float: left;
margin-right: 3px;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/web.png’) no-repeat;
}
.story-toolbar-status {
font-size: 0px;
}
.story-toolbar-status.published {
color: #87a147;
}
.story-toolbar-status.published .icon {
background-position: 0px -16px;
}
.story-toolbar-status.draft {
color: #be5932;
}
.story-toolbar-status.draft .icon {
background-position: -32px -16px;
}
.story-toolbar-modified {
color: #888;
}
.story-toolbar-actions {
list-style: none;
padding: 0px;
margin: 0px;
}
.story-toolbar-actions a {
color: #979797;
line-height: 16px;
}
.story-toolbar-actions a:hover {
color: #888;
}
.story-toolbar-actions li {
display: inline-block;
margin-left: 10px;
}
.story-toolbar-actions .important {
color: #df502f;
}
.story-toolbar-actions .important.green {
color: #008000;
}
.story-toolbar-flag .icon {
background-position: -208px 0px;
}
.story-toolbar-delete .icon {
background-position: -144px 0px;
}
.story-toolbar-edit .icon {
background-position: -128px 0px;
}
.story-toolbar-post .icon {
background-position: -48px -16px;
}
.story-toolbar-feature .icon {
background-position: -64px -16px;
}
.story-toolbar-unfeature {
color: #be5932 !important;
}
.story-toolbar-unfeature .icon {
background-position: -80px -16px;
}
.story-toolbar-notify {
font-weight: bold;
}
.story-toolbar-notify .icon {
background-position: -160px 0px;
}
.s-attribution {
clear: both;
padding: 0;
font-size: 10px;
font-family: ‘Museo Sans’, ‘Lucida Grande’, sans-serif;
color: #999;
text-transform: uppercase;
}
.s-attribution .s-posted,
.s-attribution .dot,
.s-attribution .permalink {
float: left;
line-height: 16px;
margin-right: 3px;
}
.s-attribution .s-posted,
.s-attribution .permalink {
color: #999;
}
.s-attribution .s-element-attr-title {
color: #333;
}
.s-attribution .s-author {
float: left;
margin-right: 3px;
font-weight: normal;
line-height: 16px;
}
.s-attribution .s-author .s-author-name {
color: #256bbe;
}
.s-attribution .s-author .s-author-twitter-handle {
color: #999;
margin-left: 5px;
}
.s-attribution .s-via {
float: left;
margin-right: 8px;
line-height: 16px;
}
.s-attribution .s-source {
margin-right: 5px;
}
.s-element:hover .s-source {
opacity: 1;
-ms-filter: none;
filter: none;
}
.s-source {
float: left;
}
.s-source img {
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
display: block;
}
.s-source a {
display: block;
}
.s-source .s-source-name {
display: none;
}
.s-source .s-source-icon,
.s-source .s-author-avatar {
margin: 0;
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
vertical-align: middle;
background-repeat: no-repeat;
-webkit-filter: grayscale(1);
opacity: 0.5;
-ms-filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=50);
filter: alpha(opacity=50);
}
.s-element[data-source=’twitter’] .s-attribution {
padding-top: 10px;
margin-right: 50px;
}
.s-appdotnet .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/appdotnet-16px.png’);
}
.s-facebook .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/facebook-16px.png’);
}
.s-getglue .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/getglue-16px.png’);
}
.s-chute .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/chute-16px.png’);
}
.s-stocktwits .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/stocktwits-16px.png’);
}
.s-flickr .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/flickr-16px.png’);
}
.s-google .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/google-16px.png’);
}
.s-gplus .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/gplus-16px.png’);
}
.s-rss .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/rss-16px.png’);
}
.s-twitter .s-source-icon,
.s-twitpic .s-source-icon,
.s-yfrog .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/twitter-16px.png’);
}
.s-wikipedia .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/wikipedia-16px.png’);
}
.s-youtube .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/youtube-16px.png’);
}
.s-storify .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/storify-16px.png’);
}
.s-foursquare .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/foursquare-16px.png’);
}
.s-reddit .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/reddit-16px.png’);
}
.s-tumblr .s-source-icon {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/tumblr-16px.png’);
}
.s-share-dropdown {
display: none;
position: absolute;
top: 5px;
left: 5px;
background: #fff;
padding: 10px;
z-index: 99;
}
.sb-share-dropdown {
display: none;
position: absolute;
top: 26px;
left: 0px;
background: #fff;
padding: 8px 10px;
z-index: 99;
border: 1px solid #ccc;
}
.story-tile.share .sb-share-dropdown {
display: block;
}
.comment {
overflow: hidden;
}
.s-elements .comments,
.shared-element-comments .comments,
#import .comments,
#comments,
.engage {
word-wrap: break-word;
background: #f7f7f7;
padding: 0 10px;
-webkit-border-radius: 0 0 5px 5px;
border-radius: 0 0 5px 5px;
-webkit-transition: 0.1s border-color;
-moz-transition: 0.1s border-color;
-o-transition: 0.1s border-color;
-ms-transition: 0.1s border-color;
transition: 0.1s border-color;
text-align: left;
}
.s-elements .comments .action-container,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action-container,
#import .comments .action-container,
#comments .action-container,
.engage .action-container {
padding: 10px 0;
}
.s-elements .comments .action,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action,
#import .comments .action,
#comments .action,
.engage .action {
position: relative;
padding: 0 46px 0 0;
margin: 0;
display: block;
width: 100%;
-webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
-moz-box-sizing: border-box;
box-sizing: border-box;
background: #fff;
border: 1px solid #ddd;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd;
box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd;
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
}
.s-elements .comments .action.focus,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action.focus,
#import .comments .action.focus,
#comments .action.focus,
.engage .action.focus {
border-color: #bbb;
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-input,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-input,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-input,
#comments .action .story-comment-input,
.engage .action .story-comment-input,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-input,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-input,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-input,
#comments .action .element-comment-input,
.engage .action .element-comment-input {
display: block;
width: 100%;
height: 26px;
-webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
-moz-box-sizing: border-box;
box-sizing: border-box;
color: #333;
border: 0;
background: none;
-webkit-box-shadow: none;
box-shadow: none;
padding: 0 0 0 6px;
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post,
#comments .action .story-comment-post,
.engage .action .story-comment-post,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post,
#comments .action .element-comment-post,
.engage .action .element-comment-post {
position: absolute;
right: 5px;
top: 5px;
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i {
float: left;
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
opacity: 0.2;
-ms-filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=20);
filter: alpha(opacity=20);
-webkit-transition: opacity 0.4s;
-moz-transition: opacity 0.4s;
-o-transition: opacity 0.4s;
-ms-transition: opacity 0.4s;
transition: opacity 0.4s;
cursor: pointer;
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-twitter,
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-twitter {
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/twitter-16px.png’) no-repeat;
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i.story-comment-facebook,
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i.element-comment-facebook {
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/sources/facebook-16px.png’) no-repeat;
margin-left: 4px;
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i:hover,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i:hover,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i:hover,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i:hover,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i:hover,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i:hover,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i:hover,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i:hover,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i:hover,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i:hover {
opacity: 0.5;
-ms-filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=50);
filter: alpha(opacity=50);
}
.s-elements .comments .action .story-comment-post i.active,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .story-comment-post i.active,
#import .comments .action .story-comment-post i.active,
#comments .action .story-comment-post i.active,
.engage .action .story-comment-post i.active,
.s-elements .comments .action .element-comment-post i.active,
.shared-element-comments .comments .action .element-comment-post i.active,
#import .comments .action .element-comment-post i.active,
#comments .action .element-comment-post i.active,
.engage .action .element-comment-post i.active {
opacity: 1;
-ms-filter: none;
filter: none;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul,
#import .comments .previous ul,
#comments .previous ul,
.engage .previous ul {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
list-style: none;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li,
#import .comments .previous ul li,
#comments .previous ul li,
.engage .previous ul li {
zoom: 1;
padding: 5px 0;
border-top: 1px dotted #ddd;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li:before,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li:before,
#import .comments .previous ul li:before,
#comments .previous ul li:before,
.engage .previous ul li:before,
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li:after,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li:after,
#import .comments .previous ul li:after,
#comments .previous ul li:after,
.engage .previous ul li:after {
content: ”;
display: table;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li:after,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li:after,
#import .comments .previous ul li:after,
#comments .previous ul li:after,
.engage .previous ul li:after {
clear: both;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .avatar,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .avatar,
#import .comments .previous ul li .avatar,
#comments .previous ul li .avatar,
.engage .previous ul li .avatar {
display: block;
float: left;
margin-right: 5px;
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container,
#comments .previous ul li .container,
.engage .previous ul li .container {
position: relative;
font-size: 11px;
line-height: 16px;
padding-left: 21px;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .author,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .author,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .author,
#comments .previous ul li .container .author,
.engage .previous ul li .container .author {
font-weight: bold;
padding-right: 5px;
color: #333;
text-decoration: none;
white-space: nowrap;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .content,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .content,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .content,
#comments .previous ul li .container .content,
.engage .previous ul li .container .content,
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .fullContent,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .fullContent,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .fullContent,
#comments .previous ul li .container .fullContent,
.engage .previous ul li .container .fullContent,
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
#comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
.engage .previous ul li .container .moreComment {
padding-right: 5px;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
#comments .previous ul li .container .moreComment,
.engage .previous ul li .container .moreComment {
color: #256bbe;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .hide,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .hide,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .hide,
#comments .previous ul li .container .hide,
.engage .previous ul li .container .hide {
display: none;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .date,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .date,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .date,
#comments .previous ul li .container .date,
.engage .previous ul li .container .date {
color: #999;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .remove,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .remove,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .remove,
#comments .previous ul li .container .remove,
.engage .previous ul li .container .remove {
display: none;
position: absolute;
top: 0;
right: 0;
font-size: 10px;
padding: 0 3px;
background: #eee;
border: 1px solid #ddd;
-webkit-border-radius: 2px;
border-radius: 2px;
text-decoration: none;
color: #333;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container .remove:hover,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container .remove:hover,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container .remove:hover,
#comments .previous ul li .container .remove:hover,
.engage .previous ul li .container .remove:hover {
color: #ca352c;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous ul li .container:hover .remove,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous ul li .container:hover .remove,
#import .comments .previous ul li .container:hover .remove,
#comments .previous ul li .container:hover .remove,
.engage .previous ul li .container:hover .remove {
display: block;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous .more,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous .more,
#import .comments .previous .more,
#comments .previous .more,
.engage .previous .more {
border-top: 1px dotted #ddd;
font-size: 11px;
line-height: 16px;
display: block;
font-weight: bold;
padding: 5px 0;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous .more a,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous .more a,
#import .comments .previous .more a,
#comments .previous .more a,
.engage .previous .more a {
color: #333;
text-decoration: none;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous .more a:hover,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous .more a:hover,
#import .comments .previous .more a:hover,
#comments .previous .more a:hover,
.engage .previous .more a:hover {
text-decoration: underline;
}
.s-elements .comments .previous .more span,
.shared-element-comments .comments .previous .more span,
#import .comments .previous .more span,
#comments .previous .more span,
.engage .previous .more span {
font-weight: normal;
color: #999;
}
.s-elements .comments {
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 10px 20px -10px rgba(0,0,0,0.15);
box-shadow: inset 0px 10px 20px -10px rgba(0,0,0,0.15);
}
.s-elements .no-comment {
display: none;
}
.s-elements .has-comments {
display: block;
}
#comments {
-webkit-border-radius: 0;
border-radius: 0;
background: transparent none;
}
#comments .previous {
max-height: 300px;
overflow: auto;
}
.s-element-stats {
zoom: 1;
border-top: 1px dotted #ddd;
text-align: center;
font-size: 10px;
line-height: 1em;
padding: 6px;
color: #999;
cursor: pointer;
-webkit-user-select: none;
-moz-user-select: none;
-ms-user-select: none;
user-select: none;
text-transform: uppercase;
}
.s-element-stats:before,
.s-element-stats:after {
content: ”;
display: table;
}
.s-element-stats:after {
clear: both;
}
.s-element-stats:hover {
color: #666;
}
.s-element-stats div {
display: inline;
}
.s-element-stats.hide,
.s-element-stats .hide {
display: none;
}
#big-like {
position: fixed;
top: 50%;
left: 50%;
width: 230px;
height: 206px;
margin-left: -115px;
margin-top: -103px;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/heart2.png’);
-webkit-background-size: cover;
-moz-background-size: cover;
background-size: cover;
opacity: 0;
-ms-filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=0);
filter: alpha(opacity=0);
display: none;
z-index: 100003;
}
input,
textarea {
color: #333;
font-size: 11px;
font-family: ‘Lucida Grande’, sans-serif;
}
.gc-bubbleDefault {
display: none !important;
}
.s-info {
margin-left: -3px;
}
.s-info .s-author {
font-size: 12px;
line-height: 30px;
float: left;
margin: 0 10px 20px 0;
color: #888;
background: #f7f7f7;
padding: 0 10px 0 20px;
height: 30px;
display: inline-block;
-webkit-border-radius: 0 5px 5px 0;
border-radius: 0 5px 5px 0;
border: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 0 #fff;
box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 0 #fff;
}
.s-info .s-author a.logo {
display: block;
float: left;
width: 57px;
height: 14px;
overflow: hidden;
margin: 8px 3px 0 0;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/logo.blue.small.png’);
}
.s-info .s-author a.logo span {
visibility: hidden;
}
.s-info .s-author-follow {
font-size: 11px;
font-weight: bold;
vertical-align: top;
margin-left: 4px;
color: #8da452;
}
.s-info .s-author-avatar {
float: left;
max-width: 32px;
max-height: 32px;
margin: 2px 10px 0px 0px;
}
.s-info .s-published {
display: inline-block;
font-size: 11px;
line-height: 30px;
}
.s-info .s-published a {
color: #666;
}
.s-published-date {
color: #555;
}
#story {
position: relative;
}
.s-story {
margin: 0px auto;
padding: 0px;
background: #fff;
color: #333;
font-size: 15px;
line-height: 18px;
border: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c1c2;
-webkit-border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 0 #e7e7e7;
box-shadow: 0 1px 0 #e7e7e7;
}
.s-story.noborder {
border: none;
-webkit-border-radius: 0;
border-radius: 0;
}
.s-story.noborder .s-element-text,
.s-story.noborder .s-text,
.s-story.noborder .s-info,
.s-story.noborder .s-actions,
.s-story.noborder .s-title,
.s-story.noborder .more-on-storify {
padding-left: 0;
padding-right: 0;
margin-left: 0;
margin-right: 0;
}
.s-story a {
text-decoration: none;
color: #333;
}
.s-story a:hover {
text-decoration: underline;
}
.s-story .icon {
float: left;
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
margin-right: 3px;
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/web.png’);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
}
.s-thumbnail {
max-width: 64px;
max-height: 64px;
float: right;
margin: 0px 20px;
}
.s-clear {
display: block;
height: 0px;
clear: both;
}
.s-header {
padding: 16px 0 0;
border-bottom: 1px dotted #ddd;
}
.s-actions {
height: 30px;
position: absolute;
top: 20px;
right: 20px;
z-index: 101;
}
.s-actions a,
.shared-element-actions a {
zoom: 1;
display: block;
float: left;
border-left: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
border-bottom: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
}
.s-actions a:before,
.shared-element-actions a:before,
.s-actions a:after,
.shared-element-actions a:after {
content: ”;
display: table;
}
.s-actions a:after,
.shared-element-actions a:after {
clear: both;
}
.s-actions a span,
.shared-element-actions a span {
float: left;
display: block;
min-width: 30px;
height: 28px;
border-top: 2px solid #e7e7e7;
}
.s-actions a span i,
.shared-element-actions a span i {
display: block;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/icons.png’);
-webkit-background-size: 80px 64px;
-moz-background-size: 80px 64px;
background-size: 80px 64px;
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
margin: 6px 7px;
}
.s-actions a:last-child,
.shared-element-actions a:last-child {
border-right: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
}
.s-actions a.embed span,
.shared-element-actions a.embed span {
border-top-color: #85a8d2;
}
.s-actions a.embed span i,
.shared-element-actions a.embed span i {
background-position: -64px 0;
}
.s-actions a.embed:hover span,
.shared-element-actions a.embed:hover span {
background: #85a8d2;
}
.s-actions a.embed:hover span i,
.shared-element-actions a.embed:hover span i {
background-position: -64px -16px;
}
.s-actions a.repost span,
.shared-element-actions a.repost span {
border-top-color: #85a8d2;
}
.s-actions a.repost span i,
.shared-element-actions a.repost span i {
background-position: 0 0;
}
.s-actions a.repost:hover span,
.shared-element-actions a.repost:hover span {
background: #85a8d2;
}
.s-actions a.repost:hover span i,
.shared-element-actions a.repost:hover span i {
background-position: 0 -16px;
}
.s-actions a.like span,
.shared-element-actions a.like span {
border-top-color: #c5889c;
}
.s-actions a.like span i,
.shared-element-actions a.like span i {
background-position: -16px 0;
}
.s-actions a.like .count,
.shared-element-actions a.like .count {
border-top-color: #c5889c;
}
.s-actions a.like:hover span,
.shared-element-actions a.like:hover span {
background: #c5889c;
}
.s-actions a.like:hover span i,
.shared-element-actions a.like:hover span i {
background-position: -16px -16px;
}
.s-actions a.like:hover .count,
.shared-element-actions a.like:hover .count {
background: #c5889c;
color: #fff;
}
.s-actions a.like.active i,
.shared-element-actions a.like.active i {
background-position: -16px -32px;
}
.s-actions a.comment span,
.shared-element-actions a.comment span {
border-top-color: #efbd81;
}
.s-actions a.comment span i,
.shared-element-actions a.comment span i {
background-position: -32px 0;
}
.s-actions a.comment .count,
.shared-element-actions a.comment .count {
border-top-color: #efbd81;
}
.s-actions a.comment:hover span,
.shared-element-actions a.comment:hover span {
background: #efbd81;
}
.s-actions a.comment:hover span i,
.shared-element-actions a.comment:hover span i {
background-position: -32px -16px;
}
.s-actions a.comment:hover .count,
.shared-element-actions a.comment:hover .count {
background: #efbd81;
color: #fff;
}
.s-actions a.share span,
.shared-element-actions a.share span {
border-top-color: #9fc582;
}
.s-actions a.share span i,
.shared-element-actions a.share span i {
background-position: -48px 0;
}
.s-actions a.share:hover span,
.shared-element-actions a.share:hover span {
background: #9fc582;
}
.s-actions a.share:hover span i,
.shared-element-actions a.share:hover span i {
background-position: -48px -16px;
}
.s-element .buttons {
zoom: 1;
margin-left: -7px;
padding: 3px 0;
}
.s-element .buttons:before,
.s-element .buttons:after {
content: ”;
display: table;
}
.s-element .buttons:after {
clear: both;
}
.s-element .buttons a {
display: block;
float: left;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
}
.s-element .buttons a span {
float: left;
}
.s-element .buttons a i {
display: block;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/icons-story.png’);
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
margin: 6px 7px;
float: left;
}
.s-element .buttons a.like i {
background-position: -16px 0;
}
.s-element .buttons a.like:hover i {
background-position: -16px -16px;
}
.s-element .buttons a.like.active i {
background-position: -16px -32px;
}
.s-element .buttons a.comment i {
background-position: -32px 0;
}
.s-element .buttons a.comment:hover i {
background-position: -32px -16px;
}
.s-element .buttons a.share {
width: auto;
line-height: 30px;
}
.s-element .buttons a.share i {
background-position: -48px 0;
margin-right: 3px;
}
.s-element .buttons a.share span {
font-weight: bold;
color: #52748f;
}
.s-element .buttons a.share:hover i {
background-position: -48px -16px;
}
.s-element .buttons a.share:hover span {
color: #ababab;
}
.s-element .buttons em {
float: left;
height: 30px;
line-height: 30px;
font-style: normal;
color: #b4c4d1;
font-size: 12px;
margin-right: 5px;
}
.s-element .buttons em.zero {
color: #dde4ea;
display: none;
}
.count {
float: left;
color: #999;
line-height: 28px;
font-size: 12px;
border-top: 2px solid #e7e7e7;
padding-right: 5px;
}
.s-actions-share {
list-style: none;
margin: 0px;
padding: 0px;
}
.s-actions-share li {
display: inline-block;
}
.s-actions-share {
float: left;
}
.s-actions-share li {
float: left;
padding-right: 10px;
}
.s-actions-share li a {
display: block;
width: 32px;
height: 32px;
text-indent: -9999px;
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/share-icons.png’);
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-facebook a {
background-position: 0 0;
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-facebook-loading a {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/facebook-loading.gif’);
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-facebook-done a {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/facebook-done.png’);
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-twitter a {
background-position: -32px 0;
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-pinterest a {
background-position: -160px 0;
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-googleplus a {
background-position: -64px 0;
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-linkedin a {
background-position: -96px 0;
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-email {
padding-right: 0;
}
.s-actions-share li.s-share-email a {
background-position: -128px 0;
}
#s-share-dropdown,
#s-embed-dropdown,
#s-comment-dropdown {
z-index: 102;
display: none;
position: absolute;
top: 50px;
right: 20px;
background: #fff;
border: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c1c2;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #e7e7e7;
box-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #e7e7e7;
}
#share-footer-dropdown {
display: none;
z-index: 102;
position: absolute;
top: 36px;
left: 95px;
background: #fff;
padding: 6px 10px;
border: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c1c2;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #e7e7e7;
box-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #e7e7e7;
}
#comments-footer {
display: none;
z-index: 102;
position: absolute;
top: 36px;
left: 95px;
background: #fff;
padding: 6px 10px;
border: 1px solid #e7e7e7;
border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c1c2;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #e7e7e7;
box-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #e7e7e7;
}
#s-share-dropdown {
width: 200px;
padding: 10px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown {
width: 278px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown label {
font-size: 11px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-code {
padding: 15px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-code label {
margin-bottom: 5px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-code input[type=’text’] {
width: 100%;
-webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
-moz-box-sizing: border-box;
box-sizing: border-box;
font-family: ‘Monaco’, ‘Courier’, monospace;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options {
padding: 17px 15px 5px;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/border2px.gif’) top repeat-x;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-template {
margin-bottom: 10px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-template label {
float: left;
line-height: 18px;
padding-right: 5px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-template select {
height: 18px;
margin: 0;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-show,
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-seo {
margin-bottom: 10px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-show label,
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-seo label,
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-show input,
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-seo input {
display: inline;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-show input,
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-seo input {
vertical-align: baseline;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-show label,
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-seo label {
padding: 0 5px;
}
#s-embed-dropdown .s-embed-options .s-embed-show label:first-child {
padding-left: 0;
}
#s-comment-dropdown {
width: 350px;
}
#s-copy-code {
color: #333;
font-size: 11px;
text-decoration: none;
}
.s-email-send {
padding-top: 18px;
}
.s-email-send button {
margin-left: 0px;
}
.s-elements {
position: relative;
min-height: 200px;
font-size: 12px;
line-height: 18px;
color: #333;
list-style: none;
padding: 0px;
margin: 10px 0;
}
.s-elements a {
text-decoration: none;
color: #333;
}
.s-elements a:hover {
text-decoration: underline;
}
.s-title,
#s-title {
display: block;
font-family: ‘Georgia’, serif;
font-size: 32px;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: normal;
line-height: 1.1em;
color: #000;
padding: 0px 20px;
margin: 0px;
}
.s-section {
zoom: 1;
margin: 0;
}
.s-section:before,
.s-section:after {
content: ”;
display: table;
}
.s-section:after {
clear: both;
}
.s-section a.name,
.s-section a.edit {
float: left;
display: inline-block;
}
.s-section a.name {
font-family: ‘Helvetica’, sans-serif;
color: #b30c00;
font-style: normal;
padding-left: 20px;
font-size: 12px;
line-height: 18px;
text-transform: uppercase;
}
.s-section a.name:hover {
text-decoration: none;
color: #000;
}
.s-section a.edit {
margin-left: 5px;
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
background: #000;
text-indent: -9999px;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/web.png’) -128px 0px;
}
.s-description,
#s-description {
display: block;
margin: 0px;
padding: 10px 20px 20px;
font-size: 15px;
line-height: 1.6em;
color: #666;
}
#s-title,
#s-description {
width: 100%;
padding: 7px;
margin: 0px -7px 10px;
border: 1px solid #eee;
resize: none;
-webkit-box-shadow: none;
box-shadow: none;
}
#s-title:hover:not(:focus),
#s-description:hover:not(:focus) {
background: #fffbe3;
border-color: #ccc;
}
#s-title:focus,
#s-description:focus {
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 2px 1px rgba(0,0,0,0.07);
box-shadow: inset 0 2px 1px rgba(0,0,0,0.07);
border-color: #aaa;
}
#s-title::-webkit-input-placeholder,
#s-description::-webkit-input-placeholder,
#s-title::-moz-placeholder,
#s-description::-moz-placeholder {
color: #ddd;
}
.s-load-more {
display: block;
height: 50px;
font-size: 18px;
margin: 0px;
padding: 10px 0px;
color: #eee;
background-color: #0083cb;
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #1e8ac7), color-stop(1, #0083cb));
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #1e8ac7 0%, #0083cb 100%);
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #1e8ac7 0%, #0083cb 100%);
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, #1e8ac7 0%, #0083cb 100%);
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #1e8ac7 0%, #0083cb 100%);
background: linear-gradient(top, #1e8ac7 0%, #0083cb 100%);
-webkit-box-shadow: 0px 0px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);
box-shadow: 0px 0px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
width: 628px;
-webkit-border-radius: 0px;
border-radius: 0px;
cursor: pointer;
text-align: center;
text-shadow: 0px -1px 0px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
}
.s-load-more:disabled {
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/load.gif’) no-repeat center;
font-size: 0px;
}
.s-load-more#embed-footer {
display: block;
width: auto;
text-align: center;
background-color: #0083cb;
border: 1px solid #0083cb;
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
font-family: ‘Museo Sans’, sans-serif;
color: #fff;
text-align: center;
height: 40px;
line-height: 40px;
font-size: 1.4em;
padding: 3px 0;
margin: 0px 10px;
}
.s-load-more#embed-footer:hover {
color: #fff;
text-decoration: none;
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #017cc0), color-stop(1, #0068ac));
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #017cc0 0%, #0068ac 100%);
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #017cc0 0%, #0068ac 100%);
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, #017cc0 0%, #0068ac 100%);
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #017cc0 0%, #0068ac 100%);
background: linear-gradient(top, #017cc0 0%, #0068ac 100%);
}
.s-load-more#embed-footer:disabled {
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/load.gif’) no-repeat center;
font-size: 0px;
}
.s-story .s-created-with {
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/created.with.png’) right no-repeat;
display: block;
height: 16px;
margin: 3px;
}
.s-story .footer {
color: #666;
display: block;
padding: 15px 15px;
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #f9f9f9), color-stop(1, rgba(255,255,255,0)));
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #f9f9f9 0%, rgba(255,255,255,0) 100%);
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #f9f9f9 0%, rgba(255,255,255,0) 100%);
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, #f9f9f9 0%, rgba(255,255,255,0) 100%);
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #f9f9f9 0%, rgba(255,255,255,0) 100%);
background: linear-gradient(top, #f9f9f9 0%, rgba(255,255,255,0) 100%);
border-top: 1px solid #f7f7f7;
font-size: 12px;
line-height: 14px;
overflow: hidden;
}
.s-story .footer .subscribe {
display: inline-block;
padding-top: 2px;
}
.s-story .footer span,
.s-story .footer a,
.s-story .footer .subscribe-button {
display: block;
float: left;
}
.s-story .footer a.logo {
display: block;
float: left;
width: 79px;
height: 20px;
overflow: hidden;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/embed-header-logo.png’) 0px -20px no-repeat;
margin: 0px 12px 0px 0px;
}
.s-story .footer a.logo:hover {
background-position: 0px -20px;
}
.s-story .footer a.logo em {
visibility: hidden;
}
.s-story .footer .subscribe-label,
.s-story .footer .subscribed-label,
.s-story .footer .subscribe-user {
height: 20px;
line-height: 20px;
}
.s-story .footer .subscribe-button {
height: auto;
margin: -2px 0 0 10px;
}
.s-story .footer .subscribe-button span {
font-size: 11px;
height: 20px;
line-height: 20px;
padding: 0 7px;
}
.s-story .footer .subscribe-button:hover {
text-decoration: none;
}
.s-story .engage {
position: relative;
padding: 10px 20px;
font-size: 12px;
border-top: 1px dotted #ddd;
background: #f7f7f7;
-webkit-border-radius: 0;
border-radius: 0;
}
.s-story .engage a {
font-weight: bold;
}
.s-story .engage .intro {
color: #666;
margin: 0 0 10px;
}
.s-story .engage .liked {
display: none;
position: absolute;
top: 10px;
right: 20px;
color: #008000;
font-weight: bold;
}
.s-story .engage .action-container {
padding-top: 0;
}
.s-story .engage .recent {
padding: 0;
margin: 10px 0 0;
list-style: none;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li {
zoom: 1;
font-size: 11px;
line-height: 16px;
padding: 5px 0;
border-top: 1px dotted #ddd;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li:before,
.s-story .engage .recent li:after {
content: ”;
display: table;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li:after {
clear: both;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li:last-child {
padding-bottom: 0;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li img {
width: 16px;
height: 16px;
float: left;
display: block;
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li .container {
padding-left: 21px;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li .container a {
text-decoration: none;
}
.s-story .engage .recent li .container .date {
color: #999;
}
.s-story .engage.embed {
background: transparent;
border: none;
padding: 0px;
}
body#embed .s-story {
-webkit-border-radius: 0;
border-radius: 0;
}
body#embed .s-story .s-info {
margin-left: 0;
}
body#embed .s-story .s-info .s-author {
border-left: 0;
}
.left-content {
position: relative;
float: left;
max-width: 630px;
width: 100%;
}
.right-sidebar {
float: right;
width: 300px;
}
.fluid {
width: 100%;
}
.fixed {
position: relative;
max-width: 960px;
margin: 0px auto;
padding: 0px 15px;
}
.left {
float: left;
}
.right {
float: right;
}
.inline {
float: left;
margin: 0px 3px 0px 0px;
}
.clear {
float: none !important;
clear: both;
}
input {
vertical-align: top;
margin: 0;
}
input[type=’text’],
input[type=’password’],
textarea,
.input-text {
background: #fff;
font-size: 12px;
padding: 6px;
border: 1px solid #ddd;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd;
box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd;
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
font-size: 11px;
}
input[type=’text’]:hover,
input[type=’password’]:hover,
textarea:hover,
.input-text:hover {
border-color: #ccc;
}
input[type=’text’]:focus,
input[type=’password’]:focus,
textarea:focus,
.input-text:focus,
input[type=’text’].focus,
input[type=’password’].focus,
textarea.focus,
.input-text.focus {
border-color: #5695db;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd, 0 0 5px #5695db;
box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd, 0 0 5px #5695db;
}
input[type=’text’].search,
input[type=’password’].search,
textarea.search,
.input-text.search {
padding: 8px 6px 8px 0px;
background: transparent;
border: 0;
-webkit-box-shadow: none;
box-shadow: none;
}
input[type=’text’].error,
input[type=’password’].error,
textarea.error,
.input-text.error {
border-color: #f07070;
-webkit-box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd, 0 0 5px #f07070;
box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 5px #ddd, 0 0 5px #f07070;
color: #9d3434;
}
body#editor .input-text {
-webkit-border-radius: 0;
border-radius: 0;
}
.input-text {
padding: 0;
}
.input-prepend {
display: inline-block;
margin: 11px 0 0 5px;
font-weight: bold;
font-size: 11px;
color: #ccc;
}
.form input[type=’text’],
.form input[type=’password’],
.form .input-text {
display: block;
padding: 10px;
margin: 3px 0px 10px;
width: 300px;
}
.form button {
float: right;
margin-right: 0px;
}
.form input[type=checkbox] {
display: block;
margin: 10px 6px 0 0;
}
.field {
clear: both;
}
label {
display: block;
font-size: 10px;
color: #888;
}
::-webkit-input-placeholder {
color: #ddd;
}
:-moz-placeholder {
color: #ddd;
}
button::-moz-focus-inner {
padding: 0;
border: 0;
}
.button-group {
list-style: none;
}
button,
a.button {
display: inline-block;
-webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
-moz-box-sizing: border-box;
box-sizing: border-box;
-webkit-border-radius: 3px;
border-radius: 3px;
background-color: #cacaca;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #dedede), color-stop(1, #b7b7b7));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #dedede 0%, #b7b7b7 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #dedede 0%, #b7b7b7 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #dedede 0%, #b7b7b7 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #dedede 0%, #b7b7b7 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #dedede 0%, #b7b7b7 100%);
padding: 1px;
border: 0;
}
button span,
a.button span {
-webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
-moz-box-sizing: border-box;
box-sizing: border-box;
font-family: ‘Museo Sans’, sans-serif;
border: 0;
-webkit-border-radius: 2px;
border-radius: 2px;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 12px;
font-weight: 700;
line-height: 1em;
padding: 6px 8px;
position: relative;
text-decoration: none;
background-color: #ececec;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #fbfbfb), color-stop(1, #dedede));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #fbfbfb 0%, #dedede 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #fbfbfb 0%, #dedede 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #fbfbfb 0%, #dedede 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #fbfbfb 0%, #dedede 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #fbfbfb 0%, #dedede 100%);
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.5) inset, 0 1px 0 #fff inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.5) inset, 0 1px 0 #fff inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
color: #6e7780;
text-shadow: 0 1px 0 #fff;
text-align: center;
cursor: pointer;
height: 24px;
-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;
}
button:hover span,
a.button:hover span {
background: #ececec;
text-decoration: none;
}
button:active,
a.button:active {
background: none;
}
button:active span,
a.button:active span {
background: #ececec;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
}
button.submit,
a.button.submit {
background-color: #1d6dac;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #2a8dc5), color-stop(1, #104e94));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #2a8dc5 0%, #104e94 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #2a8dc5 0%, #104e94 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #2a8dc5 0%, #104e94 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #2a8dc5 0%, #104e94 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #2a8dc5 0%, #104e94 100%);
}
button.submit span,
a.button.submit span {
background-color: #2f87cf;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #39a4e1), color-stop(1, #256bbe));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #39a4e1 0%, #256bbe 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #39a4e1 0%, #256bbe 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #39a4e1 0%, #256bbe 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #39a4e1 0%, #256bbe 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #39a4e1 0%, #256bbe 100%);
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.15) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.15) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
color: #fff;
text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
}
button.submit:hover span,
a.button.submit:hover span {
background: #2f87cf;
}
button.submit:active,
a.button.submit:active {
background: none;
}
button.submit:active span,
a.button.submit:active span {
background: #2f87cf;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
}
button.accept,
a.button.accept {
background-color: #59a61d;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #68c520), color-stop(1, #4a881a));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #68c520 0%, #4a881a 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #68c520 0%, #4a881a 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #68c520 0%, #4a881a 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #68c520 0%, #4a881a 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #68c520 0%, #4a881a 100%);
}
button.accept span,
a.button.accept span {
background-color: #5ea724;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #6ebd2f), color-stop(1, #4e911a));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #6ebd2f 0%, #4e911a 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #6ebd2f 0%, #4e911a 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #6ebd2f 0%, #4e911a 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #6ebd2f 0%, #4e911a 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #6ebd2f 0%, #4e911a 100%);
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.15) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.15) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
color: #fff;
text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.6);
}
button.accept:hover span,
a.button.accept:hover span {
background: #5ea724;
}
button.accept:active,
a.button.accept:active {
background: none;
}
button.accept:active span,
a.button.accept:active span {
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
background: #5ea724;
}
button.decline,
a.button.decline {
background-color: #830a12;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #9b0c16), color-stop(1, #6c080f));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #9b0c16 0%, #6c080f 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #9b0c16 0%, #6c080f 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #9b0c16 0%, #6c080f 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #9b0c16 0%, #6c080f 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #9b0c16 0%, #6c080f 100%);
}
button.decline span,
a.button.decline span {
background-color: #b71e29;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #d33540), color-stop(1, #9c0813));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #d33540 0%, #9c0813 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #d33540 0%, #9c0813 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #d33540 0%, #9c0813 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #d33540 0%, #9c0813 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #d33540 0%, #9c0813 100%);
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.1) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.1) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
color: #fff;
text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.6);
}
button.decline:hover span,
a.button.decline:hover span {
background: #b71e29;
}
button.decline:active,
a.button.decline:active {
background: none;
}
button.decline:active span,
a.button.decline:active span {
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
background: #b71e29;
}
button.load-more span {
padding: 0 !important;
height: 37px;
line-height: 37px;
width: 100%;
margin: 0;
font-size: 14px;
}
button.load-more.loading {
background-image: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/load.gif’);
background-position: center;
background-repeat: no-repeat;
text-indent: -9999px;
background-color: transparent;
-webkit-box-shadow: none;
box-shadow: none;
}
button.load-more.loading span {
background: transparent none;
}
button.twitter span,
button.facebook span,
a.button.twitter span,
a.button.facebook span {
width: 220px;
height: 38px;
line-height: 38px;
font-size: 14px;
padding: 0;
color: #fff;
text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.1) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgba(255,255,255,0.2) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.1) inset, 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);
}
button.facebook,
a.button.facebook {
background-color: #55719d;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #5e7caa), color-stop(1, #4b668f));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #5e7caa 0%, #4b668f 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #5e7caa 0%, #4b668f 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #5e7caa 0%, #4b668f 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #5e7caa 0%, #4b668f 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #5e7caa 0%, #4b668f 100%);
}
button.facebook span,
a.button.facebook span {
background-color: #6c8ab9;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #819bc3), color-stop(1, #5679ae));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #819bc3 0%, #5679ae 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #819bc3 0%, #5679ae 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #819bc3 0%, #5679ae 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #819bc3 0%, #5679ae 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #819bc3 0%, #5679ae 100%);
}
button.facebook:hover span,
a.button.facebook:hover span {
background: #5679ae;
}
button.facebook:active,
a.button.facebook:active {
background: none;
}
button.facebook:active span,
a.button.facebook:active span {
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
background: #5679ae;
}
button.twitter,
a.button.twitter {
background-color: #1291c1;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #109dd3), color-stop(1, #1484ae));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #109dd3 0%, #1484ae 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #109dd3 0%, #1484ae 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #109dd3 0%, #1484ae 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #109dd3 0%, #1484ae 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #109dd3 0%, #1484ae 100%);
}
button.twitter span,
a.button.twitter span {
background-color: #06a1db;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, #00aced), color-stop(1, #0b95c9));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #00aced 0%, #0b95c9 100%);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #00aced 0%, #0b95c9 100%);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #00aced 0%, #0b95c9 100%);
background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #00aced 0%, #0b95c9 100%);
background-image: linear-gradient(top, #00aced 0%, #0b95c9 100%);
}
button.twitter:hover span,
a.button.twitter:hover span {
background: #0b95c9;
}
button.twitter:active,
a.button.twitter:active {
background: none;
}
button.twitter:active span,
a.button.twitter:active span {
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5) inset;
background: #0b95c9;
}
*:focus {
outline: 0;
}
.close-x {
position: absolute;
padding: 0px 2px;
color: #aaa;
text-shadow: 0px 1px 0px #fff;
}
.close-x:before {
content: ‘✖’;
}
.close-x:hover {
cursor: pointer;
color: #555;
}
.close-x:active {
color: #333;
}
.error-messages {
margin: 0px;
padding: 5px 0px;
list-style-type: none;
color: #9d3434;
}
.tipsy {
font-size: 12px;
position: absolute;
padding: 5px;
z-index: 100005;
}
.tipsy-inner {
background-color: #333;
color: #fff;
max-width: 400px;
padding: 6px 8px;
}
.tipsy-inner h1 {
font-size: 20px;
margin: 3px 0px 10px;
}
.tipsy-inner small {
color: #aaa;
}
.tooltip-actions {
font-size: 10px;
text-align: right;
color: #ddd;
}
.tooltip-actions a {
margin-left: 10px;
color: #eee;
}
.tooltip-next {
font-weight: bold;
}
.tooltip-next:after {
content: ‘ ▸’;
}
.tipsy-arrow {
position: absolute;
width: 0;
height: 0;
line-height: 0;
border: 5px dashed #333;
}
.tipsy-n .tipsy-arrow {
top: 0px;
left: 50%;
margin-left: -5px;
border-bottom-style: solid;
border-top: none;
border-left-color: transparent;
border-right-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-nw .tipsy-arrow {
top: 0;
left: 10px;
border-bottom-style: solid;
border-top: none;
border-left-color: transparent;
border-right-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-ne .tipsy-arrow {
top: 0;
right: 10px;
border-bottom-style: solid;
border-top: none;
border-left-color: transparent;
border-right-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-s .tipsy-arrow {
bottom: 0;
left: 50%;
margin-left: -5px;
border-top-style: solid;
border-bottom: none;
border-left-color: transparent;
border-right-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-sw .tipsy-arrow {
bottom: 0;
left: 10px;
border-top-style: solid;
border-bottom: none;
border-left-color: transparent;
border-right-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-se .tipsy-arrow {
bottom: 0;
right: 10px;
border-top-style: solid;
border-bottom: none;
border-left-color: transparent;
border-right-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-e .tipsy-arrow {
right: 0;
top: 50%;
margin-top: -5px;
border-left-style: solid;
border-right: none;
border-top-color: transparent;
border-bottom-color: transparent;
}
.tipsy-w .tipsy-arrow {
left: 0;
top: 50%;
margin-top: -5px;
border-right-style: solid;
border-left: none;
border-top-color: transparent;
border-bottom-color: transparent;
}
html,
body {
background: transparent;
font-family: ‘Museo Sans’, ‘Lucida Grande’, sans-serif;
margin: 0px;
padding: 0px;
}
a img {
border: 0px;
}
.s-story {
min-width: 260px;
}
.s-share {
float: left;
}
#email {
padding: 10px;
background: #f9f9f9;
}
#email .s-story {
max-width: 700px;
margin: 0px auto;
}
.s-embed-seo {
display: none;
}
.hidden {
display: none !important;
}
.capitalize {
text-transform: capitalize;
}
.s-minimal {
display: block;
position: relative;
height: 2.5em;
width: 100%;
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0, rgba(255,255,255,0)), color-stop(1, #f9f9f9));
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255,255,255,0) 0%, #f9f9f9 100%);
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255,255,255,0) 0%, #f9f9f9 100%);
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255,255,255,0) 0%, #f9f9f9 100%);
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255,255,255,0) 0%, #f9f9f9 100%);
background: linear-gradient(top, rgba(255,255,255,0) 0%, #f9f9f9 100%);
border-bottom: 1px solid #f7f7f7;
}
.s-minimal .embed-header-date {
display: inline-block;
width: 170px;
padding: 10px 12px;
color: #c6c6c6;
font-family: ‘Museo Sans’, sans-serif;
font-size: 0.88em;
}
.s-minimal .embed-header-logo {
display: inline-block;
position: absolute;
right: 12px;
top: 10px;
width: 79px;
height: 20px;
background: url(‘//storify.com/public/img/embed-header-logo.png’) 0px 0px no-repeat;
}
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  1. Oh dear. Mail on Sunday angry. Wonder if the chat David Rose asked me for would have made a difference? pic.twitter.com/KJSBOFqpfn HT @mjrobbins
  2. Terrible article by #DavidRose @MailOnline However, I stand by my quote that flat temperatures help rule out high climate sensitivity
  3. . @jamesannan says #climate comment attributed to him by David Rose in the Daily Mail is “a complete fabrication” julesandjames.blogspot.jp/2013/03/anothe…
  4. Also, I see @ed_hawkins says David Rose’s Daily Mail article was incorrect (& used his graph without giving source) climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2013/updated-c…
  5. Carbon Brief has detailed discussion of David Rose’s Mail on Sunday article | carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/03/s…
  6. Mail on Sunday acknowledge @ClimateLabBook was source for article image, but refuse to link or apologise as requested dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2…
  7. #Climate scientist Myles Allen on misrepresentation and denial of science in ongoing Daily Mail/David Rose articles guardian.co.uk/environment/20…

Recovering space weather events from historical data

The Sun observed from space


The impact of the Sun and solar wind on Earth’s technological systems has become known as Space Weather. In order to understand the impact of space weather and better forecast its occurrence it is important to gather as much information as possible. Historical data sets could help us understand space weather conditions from a time long before direct measurements of the solar wind could be made in space. The Sun has an eleven year activity cycle throughout which enormous eruptions known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) occur. While there are generally more CMEs during active periods, they can occur at any time and with a range of scales. A typical CME consists of around a billion tonnes of material erupting into space from the solar atmosphere at a million miles an hour. If such a ‘solar storm’ arrives at Earth, the hot plasma (an electrified gas) is guided towards the north and south poles by the Earth’s magnetic field where it interacts with the upper atmosphere, generating spectacular auroral displays. In addition to the hazard this represents to spacecraft electronics, the resulting atmospheric heating causes the atmosphere to expand, increasing the drag on satellites and weakening the ionosphere (an electrified region of the Earth’s upper atmosphere). As this heated air circulates around the world, the ionosphere is temporarily weakened in what is known as an ionospheric storm. Unexpected changes to the ionosphere affect the efficiency of long-distance radio communication and influence the accuracy of GPS navigational systems. The most extreme space weather events occur around once per century. In order to improve our statistical understanding of space weather we must therefore look to historical datasets to augment direct observations of solar activity obtained since the beginning of the space age.

The ionospheric monitoring station at Slough circa 1920-1940

One such data set contains observations of the Earth’s ionosphere that have been carried out since the early 1930s in Slough, UK. The Earth’s ionosphere is very sensitive to changes in solar activity both through changes in solar irradiance and through the arrival of solar coronal mass ejections at Earth. This long-term dataset therefore contains the signatures of space weather events over many solar cycles. Detailed analysis of these data is time consuming as the information is contained within photographic prints and log-books containing hand-written notes that are not easily read by computerised systems.

An example of the engineers' ionospheric logbook

This type of analysis is ideal for a ‘citizen science’ project in which members of the public are each encouraged to scrutinize a small section of the data. With enough effort, the sum of many small contributions (and a few large ones!) can lead to a comprehensive analysis of the entire archive. Current projects such as www.solar stormwatch.com (in which users track the trajectory of CMEs observed by the NASA STEREO spacecraft) and www.oldweather.org (which invites users to digitise meteorological information from ships’ logs) have led the way in demonstrating the enthusiasm for space weather amongst citizen scientists and in showing the power of such projects in recovering historical environmental data sets. If we can do the same for these unique ionospheric records, we will increase our understanding of the impact of space weather events and other long-term changes in the Earth’s ionosphere.

Future sea-ice conditions and shipping routes in the Arctic

by Steffen Tietsche

Sea ice in the Arctic has declined dramatically in recent decades, and we will most likely see summers with an ice-free Arctic ocean before the century is over. This has far-reaching consequences for the Arctic environment, for global climate, and for the way humans interact with the Arctic.

One of these consequences is the opening of new sea routes through the Arctic Ocean, which can shorten the travel time between Europe and China by as much as 40%. At present, it is impossible for non-ice-breaking ships to cross the Arctic Ocean even at the annual sea-ice minimum in September. However, with the continuing decline of sea ice, three passage ways will open. First, the North East Passage along the Siberian Coast, then the North West Passage through the Canadian Archipelago, and eventually it will be even possible to send ships via the shortest route crossing the North Pole (see Fig. 1). According to the most recent climate projections (CMIP5), by midcentury all these routes will be shippable, either by open-water ships or by moderately ice-strengthened vessels (Smith & Stephenson, 2013).

Figure 1. Simplified map of Arctic shipping routes projected to become viable in September by 2050. Source: Guardian article

Matters are complicated for economic planners because the Arctic sea-ice cover exhibits large interannual variations, which can outweigh the overall declining trend for decades. As an example, consider two different but equivalent realisations of climate projections with the same climate model. Fig. 2 shows the simulated sea-ice concentrations in September for the same year during the 2010 decade. Remember that both of these realisations are equally likely and derived from the same model! In the first realisation, the North East and probably the North West Passage would be shippable, in the second neither would be. Hence, it would be of great economical value to be able to predict these large sea-ice anomalies.

Figure 2: September sea-ice concentration for two realisations of an RCP4.5 climate projection for the same year and the same model.

How far in advance can we ever hope to predict such large variations? This question can be addresses by so-called perfect-model studies, where the predictability of a simulated anomaly like in Fig. 2 is assessed by running a so-called ensemble prediction with perturbed initial conditions. Recent scientific results suggest that there is the potential to predict such strong sea-ice anomalies a couple of months ahead. That means it is potentially possible to predict whether either the low or the high sea-ice September conditions shown in Fig. 2 will occur when issuing a forecast, say, in spring of the same year. But the potential for such useful predictions rapidly declines as the lead time increases, i.e the earlier the forecast is issued (Fig. 3). When the lead time reaches two years, ensemble predictions made with the climate model are as bad as a simple climatological forecast, and are therefore not useful. Hence, although predicting the trend of sea-ice decline in the Arctic might become feasible with improved climate models, predicting its natural variations remains a tough challenge for science.

Figure 3. Skill score for predictions of two strong anomalies of September sea-ice extent (1=perfect skill, 0=no skill).

To find out more:
  • L. C. Smith and S. R. Stephenson (2013), New Trans-Arctic shipping routes navigable by midcentury, PNAS, published online, doi:10.1073/pnas.1214212110
  • S. Tietsche, D. Notz, J. H. Jungclaus, and J. Marotzke (2013), Predictability of large interannual Arctic sea-ice anomalies, Clim. Dyn., published online, doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1698-8
  • APPOSITE research project at NCAS-Climate/Department of Meteorology

Have aerosols caused the observed North Atlantic multidecadal variability?

By Jon Robson

Multidecadal changes in the North Atlantic sea surface temperature (NASST) have been linked to a range of important climate impacts in Europe, Africa (most notably Sahel rainfall) and North and South America. Indeed, in the mid 1990s an increase in hurricane numbers, and a shift in European climate (notably to wet and dull summers in the UK)  coincided with a shift back to anomalously warm temperatures last seen in the 1930s-1950s. In fact, the observed NASST has generally evolved somewhat differently to the global-mean  sea surface temperature for the past 150 years (which has become known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or the AMO, see figure 1).

Figure 1. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The red line shows the low-pass filtered area-averaged North Atlantic sea surface temperature (NASST). Blue shows the low-pass filtered sea surface temperature outside the North Atlantic. Taken from Sutton and Dong, 2012.

In general, the majority of research has attributed the multidecadal variability in NASST to natural variability. Such an attribution arises because climate models could not recreate the observed changes in NASST when simulating the response to changes in historical radiative forcing (e.g. greenhouse gases, or aerosols). However,  the same models generally simulate AMO like variations in NASST spontaneously in their control integrations (i.e. when there are no forcings). The details of exactly how NASST varies usually differs between models. However, generally, the model’s NASST variability is  associated with coherent multidecadal fluctuations of  ocean circulation and its associated heat transports.

In contrast to natural variability, it has also been suggested that radiative forcing, particularly from aerosols, could still have played a role in the evolution of NASST. Aerosols can adjust the radiation budget by interacting with the incoming solar shortwave radiation directly, by absorbing or scattering the photons, or indirectly, by modifying cloud properties. Interestingly, emissions of sulfur dioxide (an important anthropogenic aerosol that acts to cool the climate) increased substantially from the U.S.A. and Europe  in the 1950s-1980s, and then reduced following clean-air legislation. As aerosols are only resident in the troposphere for a short period (days-weeks), aerosol emissions from a particular source, (e.g. the U.S.A or Europe), could have large regional effects (e.g. on the Atlantic, over which much of the aerosol is transported).

Although previous climate models have been hindered in their simulation of aerosol effects due to a lack of fidelity, current state-of-the-art models are increasing the range of complex aerosol processes they simulate (especially the indirect aerosol effects). Interestingly, the latest Met Office Hadley Centre model, HadGEM2-ES,  captures the magnitude and the phase of the observed area-average NASST (see figure 2).  The authors argue that this particular model is able to capture the evolution due to the improved representation of the aerosol modulation of the cloud albedo, which in turn modulates the SST, corroborating the view that aerosols emission have impacted on multidecadal NASST.  On the basis of these results the authors concluded that aerosols were “the prime driver of 20th Century North Atlantic climate variability”.

Figure 2. Area-average North Atlantic SST (NASST) anomaly (75-7.5W, 0-60N). Black line: Observed (HadISST), Red Line: Ensemble mean of HadGEM2-ES historical simulations with all external forcing. Orange shading: 1 standard deviation of ensemble spread of HadGEM2-ES All forcings. All anomalies are relative to 1871-2000 mean.

Although aerosol forcing appears to control the mulitdecadal NASST variability in HadGEM2-ES, it isn’t so clear cut for the real world. In HadGEM2-ES multidecadal changes in NASST are apparently not linked to changes in the ocean circulation. However,  in the real world the 1990s shift to anomalously warm NASST was associated with substantial changes Atlantic circulation. In particular, a large weakening and shifting of the circulation in the subpolar north Atlantic (between 50N-65N), which has been linked to changes in the wider Atlantic circulation and heat transports. The HadGEM2-ES simulations also differ with observations in many other respects. In particular, HadGEM2-ES simulates zero net warming of the upper 700m of the Atlantic ocean since 1950, in contrast to the observed warming, and HadGEM2-ES also simulates the spatial pattern of NASST variability poorly. The latter point is especially clear for the 1960s (see figure 3), where the observed cooling is centred in the subpolar North Atlantic indicative of ocean heat transport changes, but the simulated cooling is almost global.  As these variables are influenced by the aerosol forcing in the model, such disagreement with observations casts some doubt on whether the aerosol forcing in HadGEM2-ES is realistic.

Figure 3. SST differences between the North Atlantic cold period (1961-1980) and the North Atlantic warm period (1941-1960). a) shows the observed difference and b) shows the difference simulated by HadGEM2-ES

So where are we? Because of the important impacts of  NASST on regional climates, especially regions sensitive rainfall (e.g. the Sahel), understanding and predicting the multidecadal changes in NASST remains a key challenge. Given the evidence it seems likely that anthropogenic aerosol have had an impact on past NASST variability, especially in the Tropics. However, given the disagreement of the simulated changes in HadGEM2-ES with those observed it is clear that further understanding is needed. For instance, what was the magnitude of the aerosol affects, and did the anthropogenic aerosol influence the phasing of the natural variability by forcing dynamical feedbacks, as has been suggested recently for Volcanic forcing.

Future model testing and improvement may shed light on what’s controlling  multidecadal NASST, but ultimately, we may have to wait for more, and improved, observations of future changes. Either way, it’s an interesting time to be thinking about Atlantic Multidecadal variability and its consequences.

Find out more

Booth, et al., 2012, Aerosols implicated as the prime driver of twentieth-century North Atlantic climate variability, Nature
Zhang, et al., 2013, Have aerosols caused the observed North Atlantic multidecadal variability? JAS, In Press

8-9 February 2013 Winter Storm in the US Northeast

It was only about six months ago when the US Northeast was the focus of our attention in Weather and Climate Discussion. Hurricane Sandy, also known as the “Frankenstorm”, brought a massive storm surge and devastating coastal flooding to the states of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Two weeks ago, the US Northeast was in the world weather headlines again. This time the story was snow. Lots of snow.

The map below shows snowfall totals (from the National Weather Service in Brookhaven, NY). Note that these totals are reported in inches not centimeters. More than 2 feet of snow fell across central Connecticut and Long Island, with a few places reporting in excess of 3 feet. You would need more than a garden trowel to remove this snow from your driveway.

The storm that dumped such an extraordinary quantity of snow was a Nor’easter (which, phonetically, is how a New Englander would say “northeaster”). Nor’easters are named as such because if you were standing on a beach anywhere in New England, you would experience a northeast wind as the storm approached from the south (i.e., you would be located in the storm’s northwest quadrant).

An animation of the satellite imagery  over a three-day period is available here:  GOES Satellite Loop 8-10 February . A broad region of cloud enters the image from the south on 8 February and tracks northeastwards along the coast. When this disturbance reaches the coastal waters off New England (about halfway through the animation) the storm intensifies and a distinct circulation develops. This is the time when the heaviest snow fell.

Why did the storm intensify? The mechanism of intensification was the same as that for any Nor’easter. Two essential ingredients are required: 1) an incipient low at the surface somewhere along the coast or in the southeastern US; and 2) a cyclonic disturbance in the upper-troposphere located to the west of the surface low. If the surface and upper-level features are configured just right, then the mutual interaction between them will cause both features to amplify via baroclinic instability. Despite what many broadcast meteorologists claim on air, it is not a “collision” between two weather systems that leads to this kind storm. Rather, it is harmonisation.

The image below demonstrates how this process unfolded on 8-9 February.  On the morning of the 8th (left column) a surface low was located along the coast on North Carolina (top panel)  and a 500 hPa trough was located over Michigan (bottom panel). The surface low was tracking to the northeast, while the upper-level trough was moving eastward. By the evening on the 8th, the two systems were optimally configured for rapid growth — the surface low was positioned just to the east of the upper-level trough. By the morning of the 9th (right column) the surface low had a central pressure of 970 hPa. That’s a deepening of more than 24 hPa in 24 hours. This storm was a “bomb” in the technical sense.

The heaviest snow fell in the northwest quadrant of the storm. A loop of radar imagery over the duration of the event is available here from the National Weather Service. Notice the band of high radar returns over central Connecticut and Long Island, where the highest snowfall totals were recorded. The band remained almost stationary over this region for approximately 12 hours. Within this band, snowfall rates of 1-5 inches per hour were observed, and there were many reports of thundersnow. This type of mesoscale banding is common in northeast snowstorms and may be associated with conditional symmetric instability (or CSI) — a topic for another blog on another day.

So how did New Yorkers cope with the snow? The heaviest snow began at rush hour on a Friday. While many people had the foresight and opportunity to leave work early, many others either could or would not leave early and were caught on the roads. The rate of accumulation was too fast in some places for snow plows to keep roads clear. The coincidence of the rush hour and the snowfall resulted in disastrous consequences on the roads. The photograph below shows an eerie scene on a  Long Island highway on the morning after the blizzard. These cars were stuck in the middle of their commute. Some slept in their cars, others were rescued by snowmobile, and apparently the 24-hour Walmart on this highway offered shelter (and low prices) to the stranded.

As eerily peaceful as this scene may look, it is most likely that at least one car horn was still being beeped intermittently when this photo was taken. Hey, this is New York. Whaddaya expect?   (photo from TriHamlet News)

Stakeholder event on floods and droughts

I recently organised a stakeholder engagement event on “floods and droughts – what can the latest science tell us?” which involved over 20 researchers from across the Met Department (see list here). By stakeholders – I mean people outside academia, for example from Government Departments,business, charities.  The event gave stakeholder s an opportunity to engage one to one with researchers, to get a unique view of the latest results and to discuss their needs and interests with us.

(The event was part funded through collaboration with Richard Allan on the impact plan of his NERC funded PREPARE project.)

You can see more about the event here.

Why is this kind of event important?

These days there is more and more emphasis being placed on the “impact” of scientific research. All proposals for research funding from the research councils now have to have to consider research impact: who benefits from your research, how do they benefit and what will you do within the project to realise these benefits?

For the first time, research impact will also play a significant part in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014. Within the REF, “research impact” contributes 20% to the final assessment and is defined as: “any effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia”.

Why am I involved?!!

What has all this got to do with me and what I do?!! I’m a member of the Walker Institute core team and part of our remit is to work with our associates (researchers from across the University) to help them engage with “users” of research outside of academia. Ultimately the aim of this is to enhance research impact and diversify funding sources for University of Reading research

Who were the stakeholders?

I sent invitations to around 300 people in government departments, businesses, government agencies and consultancies. We had a great response with 43 registrations from a really diverse range of stakeholders e.g., lots of Government Departments (DECC, Defra, DFID, GOS, Sainsburys, Anglian Water, Zurich Insurance. see the full list here).

What was the format of the event?

Talks followed by one to one networking with researchers, with posters as background and to highlight work to begin a conversation. You can see all the talks and posters here.

What were the key issues raised by the stakeholders:

  • hard to find information/place where latest research is pulled together (need for some kind of UK forum to do this)
  • return period type metrics (e.g., of extreme rainfall, or hot days, dry seasons…) are useful but aren’t necessarily available from research papers
  • the need for dialogue between researchers and stakeholders to define what the right questions are
  • need for bridge or intermediaries between academic research and “users”
  • particular interest in health impacts – need for an event that looks at implications/impact of floods/drought on health
  • stakeholders not necessarily aware of the mechanisms through which they can interact with Universities (e.g., through MSc projects, industry funded PhDs, contract research etc..)

How can I measure the impact of the event?

I started with research impact, so I obviously need to try and measure the impact of this event. How do I do that? (I don’t think there is any easy or defined way to do this).

Some things that I’ve done:

  • Firstly, lots of stakeholders registered for the event and most attended – that in itself is an impact
  • I’ve monitored who looked at the talks and posters on the Walker Institute website using Google analytics (e.g., Met Office, Deloitte, Environment Agency, Oxford University, Aberdeenshire Council, Christian Aid, Cheshire County Council, I also got views from China and the US)
  • There are some specific outcomes:
    • Visit to the University from Catlin Insurance
    • 2 possible MSc projects (with ForestRe and Health Protection Agency)
    • Various people who want to be kept informed of research results
    • New links with Acclimatise consultancy re Africa research

Things to think about/discuss:

  • How do you measure the benefits and impacts of such an event? (Ideas welcome)
  • Do you think this kind of activity should be an integral part of a career in scientific research?
  • Do we need some kind of intermediary between researchers and “users/stakeholders” – if so, who should these intermediaries be: the media, consultancies, science communicators?

Deep and crisp and even

Given the fact we had about a week of lying snow last month, and that I’ve already been asked ‘is that it for this winter?’, I thought some statistics on lying snow here in Reading might not go amiss.

We have complete day-to-day records of the dates with lying snow (defined as a coverage of at least 50 per cent over the ground at 0900 GMT) at the University going back to 1948 with the actual measured snow depth on all but 38 days back to 1951. Note that the observing site moved to the Whiteknights campus from the London Road area in 1968.

So how often does snow lie in Reading at 9 a.m.? Over the period 1981-2010 (our most recent 30-year climatological period) the figures (shown in blue) are as follows:

The climatology of lying snow days in Reading.

This recent period shows a decline in lying snow with respect to 1951-80 (red), while anyone who has only been in Reading for a few years will only be familiar with the green plotted bars – and may not realise how fortunate they are (assuming they are snow lovers!). My own daughters – now both at university – had many a winter in which their sledges remained in the garage. Unfortunately, across southern England this is about as good as it gets, unless you venture into the hills – see this chart from the Met Office’s current 1981-2010 averages webpages (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/averages/maps/uk/8110_1km/SnowLying_Average_1981-2010_17.gif):

Met Office: UK-wide snow lying days each year.

So how much variation is there in the annual incidence of lying snow? The next figure gives the answer:

The variation of lying snow days in Reading, 1948-9 onwards.

Winters without lying snow occur roughly every nine years. Winters with ten days of lying snow occur quite frequently – once every 3.8 years on average although only twice from 1986 to 2008. Winters with 20 days of lying snow are rare (5 years in 64) while the winter of 1962-63 stands in a class of its own – having 54 mornings with 50% snow cover (with most of those on consecutive mornings in January and February). Recent winters do seem to indicate that lying snow has become more prevalent.

Of course ‘days with lying snow’ gives no indication of the snow depth and its persistence. One way to judge that is to follow the suggestion of Philip Eden and to note the cumulative snow depth during the season (the cumulative snowfall is very difficult to measure in the UK as often rain and snow fall within a short space of time and separating the one from the other requires keen and frequent observations).  The cumulative snow depth is simply the sum of all the 0900 GMT snow depths added together during the (autumn-) winter (-spring).

Cumulative winter snow depths in Reading, 1951-52.

Again, 1962-63 stands out – but 2009-10 also makes an appearance. This is due to the great depths of snow recorded that winter, for example

  • 11 cm on 22 December 2009 and 10 cm on 23 December 2009;
  • 27 cm on 6 January 2010, 26 cm on 7 January 2010 – decreasing slowly to 9 cm on 15 January before clearing the next day.

This 27 cm was the greatest snow depth at 9 a.m. in Reading since 31 cm on 3 January 1963 (this latter depth following depths of 28 cm and 27 cm on the previous two days) – and this depth in 1963 was the greatest any University of Reading observer had ever measured.

The other winter that stands out in this image is that of 1981-82 – that winter lying snow occurred from 8 December, on and off, to 17 January. (Even more memorable that winter was the cold – minimum temperatures of -14.5 °C on 14 January following on from -13.4 °C on 13 December, temperatures which helped the snow cover to persist.) The former temperature was the lowest air temperature ever recorded at the university’s climatological station.

So what about the remainder of the winter? – forecasts currently suggest a ‘slight’ cooling in the air temperature over the next couple of weeks and statistically February (March) sees lying snow in about one year in two (three). In February 1986 snow lay for 15 days in Reading having been virtually absent up that point. Thus we may yet see some more of the white stuff lying – in 2008 snow lay 6 cm deep as late as 6 April (the deepest April depth in Reading since before 1951)…

Snow cover of 6 April 2008.

…and some were not amused!

Written 6 February 2013.

Mountain Pine Beetles, Climate and the Carbon Cycle

Mountain Pine Beetle infested tree at Niwot Ridge, Colorado.

From the early 1990s, high levels of tree mortality have been observed across large areas of forest in North America infested by species of bark beetles. The majority of the damage originates from the native Mountain Pine Beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae. The beetles burrow underneath the bark of the trees to lay their eggs, disrupting water and nutrient flows within the sapwood during the processes. In addition they often carry blue stain fungus which further infects the phloem and sapwood. These effects lead to a slow death for the tree and infected areas are easily identified by the symptomatic red colouration in the forest canopy. Although the exact cause of the outbreak is unknown it appears to be in response to changing climatic conditions with warmer temperatures acting to increase the beetle’s natural range and to reduce levels of winter mortality which normally helps keep the population in check.

Impacts of the beetle infestation on human activity are numerous. A chief concern is damage to timber based economies, such as in British Columbia where forest product exports totalled $9.95 billion Canadian Dollars. There is also strong evidence relating beetle induced mortality to increased likelihood of wild fires: the dead trees remain standing for several years and dry out during the summer months leading to increased risk of combustion. In addition it has been hypothesised that the infestation could lead to a large source of carbon to the atmosphere, potentially acting a positive feedback to climate change. A paper published in Nature by Kurz et al. (2008) projected that between 2000–2020 there will be 270 megatonnes (Mt) carbon released to the atmosphere from infected forests in British Columbia alone. Whilst this is relatively small compared to annual emissions of carbon from global fossil fuel combustion this figure becomes more daunting when scaled up over the whole of North America. The Kurz et al. paper was sufficiently high profile to be reported in the New York Times.

But are these claims concerning large releases of carbon to the atmosphere really correct? A group of scientists, including myself, have been working to address this question for several years now. A key assumption in the calculations of post infestation carbon release is that respiration from soil micro-organisms (known as heterotrophic respiration) will continue unabated once the forest dies. This is the main route by which dead organic matter is returned to the atmosphere in a normal, undisturbed ecosystem. In other words heterotrophic respiration is a major term in the carbon balance of a mature forest. However, careful experiments carried out by Nicole Trahan as part of her PhD at the University of Colorado suggested that this may not be true for forests that have been attacked by the mountain pine beetle. By simulating beetle attacks on a small patch of healthy forest at Niwot Ridge, Colorado, and measuring the corresponding heterotrophic CO2 flux over a number of years, Nicole observed that respiration from soil microbes slowed down as the trees died. She then went on to show the same things happening in a nearby beetle infested forest in Fraser Valley. The explanation for this appears to be that as photosynthesis in a tree decreases, the amount of carbohydrates (such as glucose and sucrose) that are made available to the fungal mycorrhiza surrounding its root system also decreases. Without these priming agents the activity of the microbial community slows down.

More information on this component of the research can be seen in The Pine Beetle Project video on YouTube.

Will these field scale observations hold out over wider areas? This is an important question if we are to understand the impact of the beetle infestation on the carbon balance of North America and its potential to act as a positive feedback to climate change. Unfortunately both photosynthesis and heterotrophic respiration are notoriously difficult to measure on large scales. To address this we used two approaches: 1) satellite derived estimates of photosynthesis and 2) measurements of the night-time accumulation of CO2 at the bottom of Fraser valley as a proxy for heterotrophic respiration.

Satellite estimates of photosynthesis (or more specifically, Gross Primary Productivity, GPP) are now derived operationally for the whole global roughly every two weeks using sensors such as NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). However preliminary analysis of this data suggested that, for a number of reasons, it was not capturing the pattern of disturbance that we were observing on the ground. Instead we opted to calibrate a recently published model of satellite derived GPP against estimates of photosynthesis derived using eddy covariance trace gas flux measurement techniques at the Niwot Ridge site (which is a relatively healthy forest). This model was then applied over the infested Fraser Valley forest. The resulting estimates of annual GPP are shown in the figure below. The forest at Niwot Ridge shows no decline in photosynthesis for the period 2002-2011 whereas Fraser Valley exhibits the same temporal pattern as the Niwot Ridge forest from 2002 to 2006, but rapidly declines after 2006 (the year in which the beetle infestation started).

Starting in 2006 CO2 concentrations have been measured on the valley floor in Fraser. We used the averaged night-time accumulation as a proxy for heterotrophic respiration. During the night autotrophs (i.e. vegetation) stop respiring CO2 and hence the night-time accumulation is only produced by heterotrophs (primarily soil microbes). This assumes that the boundary layer is relatively stable so that CO2 is not being lost from the valley, and also that the valley is flushed out during the day. Meteorological observations were used to filter the data for nights where this was potentially a problem.

Estimated photosynthesis from satellite data at Niwot Ridge (blue line) and Fraser Valley (green line). Night time accumulation of CO2 in Fraser Valley is used as a proxy for heterotrophic respiration and assumes a relatively stable atmosphere. The absolute magnitudes of each of these data series are different and so values relative to 2006 (the first year of major beetle infestation in Fraser Valley) are shown to facilitate comparison.

The plot above shows our results from the scaling up exercise and corroborates the field studies: as photosynthesis declines so does heterotrophic respiration. Consequently we can be more confident in our assertion that the Kurz et al. result is overstating the impact of the D. ponderosae in terms of the potential release of carbon to the atmosphere. Longer term the carbon in the dead wood will be released to the atmosphere, but the regrowth of new trees, which is a strong sink of carbon, is likely to offset much of this on similar time scales. This isn’t to say the beetles are not a problem, they most certainly are, but that the ecological puzzle is inevitably more complex than it first appears.

A manuscript is currently under consideration for Ecology Letters (Moore et al., submitted) that describes all of this in much more detail. I will update this post when that paper is accepted. Our next steps are two-fold: first, to try and scale our estimates up over even larger areas and second to incorporate our new knowledge into a prognostic model so that we can make better constrained projections of the interaction with climate.

To find out more:

Kurz W.A., Dymond C.C., Stinson G., Rampley G.J., Neilson E.T., Carroll A.L., Ebata T. and Safranyik L. (2008) Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change. Nature 452, 987-990, doi:10.1038/nature06777

Moore D.J.P., Trahan N.A., Wilkes P., Quaife T., Desai A.R., Negron J.F., Stephens B.B., Elder K. and Monson R.K. (2013, submitted) Changes in carbon balance after insect disturbance in Western U.S. forests. Submitted to Ecology Letters.

Growing bio-fuels in Africa: Sugarcane in Ghana

Figure 1: Location of the proposed sugarcane cultivation in Ghana

The cultivation of bio-energy crops, such as sugarcane is a potentially lucrative activity.  But sugarcane is a thirsty crop, and the infrastructure required to refine it is expensive.  These issues raise serious questions about sustainability and profitability.  Nowhere is this more true than in Africa.

Assessing the environmental and economic feasibility of sugarcane cultivation is especially urgent in Ghana.  In 2008 Brazil’s agriculture research agency, EMBRAPA, opened an office in Accra with the intention of helping Ghana to build up its nascent ethanol industry. In 2010 Brazil made a $300m investment in exporting Brazilian sugar-cane cultivation and refinement technology to Ghana.

There is no doubt that growing sugarcane in Ghana will require irrigation – and a dam has been proposed to provide this (see Figure 1 for the location of the River Daka cultivation – the subject of our case study).  But how much irrigation is required?  Will these requirements increase, in the future, as the climate changes?

We used a new computer model to investigate sugarcane cultivation both now, and for a simplified future scenario, in which temperature and CO2 increase, but rainfall and other climate variables are held constant.  Importantly, our model is based on the land-surface component of the Met Office climate model.  This means that it is capable of representing both the growth of plants in the present day, and their response to climate change.

The results were surprising (Figure 2).   We found that in the present day, sugarcane can be grown in Ghana – with an irrigation requirement of 3-4mm/day (in agreement with pilot field studies, carried out by our Ghanaian collaborators).   When temperatures were warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, as expected, the higher evaporative demand increased irrigation requirements.   However, when CO2 concentration was doubled, the irrigation requirements returned to present day levels.

Figure 2: Irrigation versus mean yield for current climate, 40 warming with present day CO2 and 40 warming with doubled CO2. The error bars represent the interannual standard deviation in yield.

To understand why this is, we need to think about the way that plants respond to climate change.  Plants’ response to elevated CO2 largely depends on their mechanism of photosynthesis.  Most plants fall into one of two categories:  those that follow the C3 photosynthetic pathway and those (such as sugarcane) that follow the C4 pathway.  In C3 plants, carbon is fixed by the action of the enzyme Rubisco. The rate at which this reaction happens is enhanced by higher ambient CO2/O2 ratios. There is therefore a theoretical mechanism for greater biomass production under scenarios of higher atmospheric concentration of CO2.

Sugarcane assimilates carbon through the C4 photosynthetic pathway. Unlike C3 plants, C4 plants concentrate CO2 from the atmosphere in sheath (outer) cells via a biochemical pathway that does not have a strong dependence on atmospheric CO2 levels.  There is therefore no obvious mechanism for a direct link between elevated CO2 and enhanced photosynthesis. Despite this, there is abundant observational evidence that production of biomass by C4 plants is increased by rising concentrations of CO2 – especially under water-stressed conditions. This is likely to be primarily because of the impact of CO2 concentrations on transpiration and hence on water use efficiency (WUE).

Specifically, plants take in CO2 through microscopic openings on their leaves called stomata, but whenever stomata are open, plants lose water. However, when CO2 concentrations are raised, fewer stomata need to be open in order to maintain optimal CO2 levels within the plant, which leads to a reduction in the rate of transpiration (see Figure 3).  For given meteorological conditions, the plant will therefore lose less water to the atmosphere – and hence have greater WUE.  Hence, over the course of a growing season, the plant will be less stressed and accumulate more biomass.

Figure 3 (Left): A photograph of a stomata; (right) a schematic illustrating that stomata take in CO2 and release water and oxygen

It follows from the previous discussion, that under scenarios of climate change, in which both temperature and CO2 are higher than the present day, there are competing effects on C4 plants.  Specifically, higher temperatures increase soil and canopy evaporation, potentially reducing the soil moisture available to plants, while higher CO2 levels reduce transpiration rates.

There remain uncertainties about how these competing factors interact to determine the response of C4 vegetation to climate change. Our results tell us about the specific case of sugarcane cultivation in Ghana, and raise interesting questions about the more general interplay between CO2, temperature and water stress.

Returning to our Ghana case study… Of course looking at irrigation requirements cannot, in itself, tell us whether or not growing sugarcane is sustainable.  Ongoing work within our project is looking at the wider economic context and the hydrological impacts of the damming and irrigation.  Preliminary results suggest that, properly managed, the dam could provide sufficient irrigation water for sugarcane.  Furthermore, the dam would reduce the risk of flash floods, and provide a more perennial water supply to the local population.

Bio-energy crop cultivation is a controversial issue – especially in Africa.  However, in this case, our modeling results, coupled with local field studies, suggest that sugarcane cultivation is environmentally feasible, and could bring much needed investment into this desperately poor region.

To find out more:

Paper on this topic:  Emily Black, Pier Luigi Vidale, Anne Verhoef, Santiago Vianna Cuadra, Tom Osborne and Catherine Van den Hoof (2012) Cultivating C4 crops in a changing climate: sugarcane in Ghana Environ. Res. Lett. 7 044027

News article on Environmental Research Web: Can Ghana match Brazilian sugarcane yields?

Sudden Stratospheric Stirrings

For a stratospheric scientist, winter is a worrying time.  For most of the year we can enjoy whatever weather the atmosphere decides to throw at us, secure in the knowledge that none of it is our fault.  But occasionally winter throws in a surprise, and one glance at last weekend’s weather forecast tells you that this is one of those years:  Squeezed between the icy graphics and blue-tone temperatures was an unequivocal message:  this time a Stratospheric Sudden Warming is to blame.

Sudden Stratospheric Warmings (SSWs) are conjured from the darkness of the winter polar stratosphere.  Without the Sun’s energy, the ozone-rich air can’t maintain its characteristically high temperatures, and a cold pool develops over the pole, contained by strong cyclonic winds from the temperature gradient.  But the vortex isn’t left to its own devices.  Planetary waves can propagate from the troposphere, and slow the vortex as they break.  As with the winds of a surface cyclone, this creates convergence; in the stratosphere air is forced to descend, and adiabatically warm.

The majority of SSWs are minor, but occasionally the westerly winds can be slowed so much that they reverse – the definition of a major warming.  Major warmings are a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon; on average there are 6 a decade, but only one has ever been recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.  With very little land mass to the Antarctic stratosphere is starved of that key ingredient for SSWs – planetary waves.  (This too is why the Antarctic ozone hole is so much larger than its Arctic neighbour; with such a strong vortex there is little dilution of cold-pool air, so destroyed ozone can’t be replaced.)

It’s important to remember that the pace of the stratosphere is slower than the transient weather systems below.  Though SSWs only hit the headlines in the past few days, they’ve been above our heads for several weeks.  Turn back the calendar to 2012, and the first was in full swing just as we were throwing the turkey in the oven on Christmas day.  This was a vortex displacement, where the whole vortex moves equator-ward, taking on a distinctive comma shape (Figure 1.a), and it persisted for over a week, before the vortex started to recover.  The second type of warming, a vortex split (e.g. Figure 1.b), was just around the corner, with an onset date somewhere around 6th January.  In fact, this wasn’t so much a split as a complete disintegration.  Either way, the result was the same; significant down-welling of air, and a warming of the upper and middle stratosphere.

FIGURE_1 - The typical evolution of a vortex displacement (top), and a vortex split (bottom), shown as stereographic plots of geopotential height (contours) on the 10-hPa pressure surface.

With those sorts of time scales, it’s clear that the effects at the surface aren’t instantaneous.  It takes about 15 to 20 days for an SSW to express itself in our terrestrial weather, but when it does, the changes can be dramatic. Weaker polar vortices can generate surface anomalies very similar to those of the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (a cooling at most mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, with a warming in Eastern Canada) (Figure 2.b). Atlantic and Pacific storm tracks also tend to move equator-ward.  A weaker polar vortex/SSW won’t always generate such changes, but this time it has, and they show all the signs of lasting:  Figure 2.a shows predicted Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies for February, from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model.

FIGURE 2 - (a) Surface temperature anomalies for February 2013, from the Environment Canada on Dec. 31, 2012. (b) Mean surface temperature anomalies 16-60 days after SSWs, from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (Fig. 1a of Sigmond et al.; 2013). The boxes indicate the regions of maximum surface temperature response.)

But how confident can we be in such long-term predictions, when most of us will have noticed the forecasts for the next couple of days fluctuating wildly?  Though we may have lost the short-term detail, medium-range forecast can actually improve if you pick the right day to start your model!  10 to 60 day forecast skill improves significantly if you initialise a forecast during an SSW.  There are implications for the type of model you choose too.  Those with poorly resolved stratospheres struggle to replicate SSWs (Figure 3); better then to opt for a ‘high-top’ version, if you want to capture the intricacies of the stratosphere.

FIGURE 3 - Climatological mean decadal frequency of Stratospheric Sudden Warming events, 1960-2000 in 19 historical simulations of CMIP5 models. Coloured bars show the number of SSW events per month calculated by the Charlton and Polvani algorithm, along with 95 % confidence intervals for each estimate. Models shown in red are classified as high-top models, those shown in blue as low-top models. The climatological mean decadal frequency in the ERA-40 re-analysis dataset is shown in the horizontal dashed black line and the 95 % confidence interval for this estimate in grey. On the right of the plot, median estimates for the low-top and high-top ensembles are shown

But what of the current sudden stratospheric warming?  Whilst we can forecast the onset of SSWs with reasonable accuracy, the recovery is something of a dark art.  This time last week, I wrote a summary of the ECMWF forecast for colleagues who are making stratospheric measurements in Southern France.  It concluded that a vortex recovery seemed to be well underway; the next day’s forecast showed the vortex disintegrating again, and there’s been little improvement since.  Either way, this bout of stratospheric weather is likely to continue for a couple of weeks at least, as it continues to work its way to the surface.  Until then, you’ll find stratospheric scientists locked in their offices, nervously waiting for spring.