The calm before the storm

2008-10-22

in Science, The environment

Some research recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States examined the behaviour of the climate in the period immediately before eight abrupt shifts. In all cases, there was a reduction in the level of climatic fluctuation immediately before the tipping point was reached. The authors argue that “the mechanism causing slowing down is fundamentally inherent to tipping points” and could thus be used to predict when such a shift is imminent.

While interesting, this probably isn’t enormously useful. If we want to mitigate to avoid abrupt shifts, the emissions cuts will need to occur long before the point when a critical threshold is being approached. A warning might provide an opportunity for more targeted adaptation, however, which might in turn reduce the amount of suffering that occurs as a result of crossing any particular climatic threshold. Certainly, learning more about the causes and consequences of abrupt climatic shifts ought to be a priority for the world’s scientific community.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. October 23, 2008 at 12:05 am

What sort of slowing should be be afraid of? Reduced variability in temperature?

Emily October 23, 2008 at 1:10 am

Congrats on the new layout. :)

Milan October 23, 2008 at 11:24 am

Thanks.

Please feel free to make suggestions about further changes or improvements.

I am considering changing the left sidebar to show the last ten comments, rather than the last five. I am also thinking of ways to make the differences between the upper and lower search boxes clearer.

Any other ideas?

Milan October 23, 2008 at 11:25 am

R.K.,

Maybe someone with full text eJournal access could let us know…

How I miss my UBC and Oxford VPN accounts…

Hilary October 26, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I preferred having the links to the previous and next entry at the top of the page rather than at the bottom under all the comments. I usually read a whole bunch of posts in one go, or I’m trying to find a particular one, so it was nice to be able to remember “oh yeah, already read this one. Next!” Also sometimes I read the comments, but for certain posts there are a LOT of comments, or the post and comments are all too technical or otherwise uninteresting to me. Plus my mighty mouse won’t scroll down any more. ;)

Hilary October 26, 2008 at 9:21 pm

oh, also, my HTML is pretty weak, but shouldn’t (from just below the comment entry box) really be two separate tags?

Milan October 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm

oh, also, my HTML is pretty weak, but shouldn’t (from just below the comment entry box) really be two separate tags?

If you put actual HTML into the comment box, the blog will try to render it.

If you want to put code in a way that is readable, you need to use HTML entities.

Alternatively, replace < and > with [ and ]:

[a href=”http://www.somesite.com”]Link text[/a] and so forth.

Milan October 27, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I preferred having the links to the previous and next entry at the top of the page rather than at the bottom under all the comments.

I will think about moving these links elsewhere.

Another possibility would be adding a ‘recent posts’ section, similar to the ‘recent comments’ widget in the left sidebar.

Hilary November 3, 2008 at 3:41 am

what I had MEANT for that to say was that [a href=”” title=””] should really be [a href=””] [title=””]

Hilary November 3, 2008 at 3:53 am

Also, i think it makes sense to have the newer/older post links at the bottom, but it would be nice to have them at the top as well. However if this would detract esthetically and I’m the only person who’d use it, it’s probably not worth it.

Hilary November 3, 2008 at 3:56 am

oh! (I know, couldn’t I just have said this all at once? *sigh* unfortunately my thoughts are not that organized today…) I don’t think it would make sense to have a “recent posts” section, since the posts are already listed chronologically, and therefore the mst recent are at the top/front.

Milan November 3, 2008 at 9:49 am

<a href="" title=""</a> is the correct formatting.

The “title” section specifies what will appear if someone hovers over the link with their mouse.

Example:

<a href="http://www.sindark.com/2008/10/22/the-calm-before-the-storm/#comments&quot; title="The calm before the storm">The calm before the storm</a>

Milan November 3, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Also, i think it makes sense to have the newer/older post links at the bottom, but it would be nice to have them at the top as well.

Where in the page would you want them?

a) Directly below the text of the post

b) Directly below the Google AdSense advertising unit

c) Directly below { X comments… read them below or add one }

d) Between the banner and the post title, at the top of the page

e) Somewhere else

Hilary November 3, 2008 at 11:12 pm

d. discreetly, maybe even just little arrows…. i don’t know…. Oh, and thanks for clarifying the HTML thing. I told you my knowledge was rudimentary, but I know you like to be told if you have any little errors ( I thought it might just be a typo)

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