The Men of Real Climate


For anyone who’s interested in learning about “climate science from climate scientists,” Real Climate is a good resource. Contributors are all experts in their fields–ranging from geochemistry to oceanography–and include lead authors on chapters of the IPCC TAR (Third Assessment Report, 2001).

I like Real Climate for a lot of reasons. Most importantly, every time I read a post, I imagine the writer throwing off the shackles of academic jargon, bellowing and yawping, “Annals of Paleoclimatology, ye shall bind me no more!” and then sitting down with a smile on his face to write something comprehensible and lucid. And these guys are actually pretty of funny in a nerdy science kind of way. The April Fool’s post, “The Sheep Albedo Feedback,” made me laugh.

On a serious note, I think that Real Climate is doing something important. Recognizing the communication breakdown between the scientific community and the public/media, the contributors are walking down the steps of the ivory tower and out the front door in order to talk to the rest of us. Their response to media coverage—such as NASA scientist Gavin Schmit’s post today—is particularly interesting since we typically only get the colorful quotes or sound bites.

Although I think that there are limitations to science, I also think that we owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have devoted their careers to understanding the complexities of the world around us. I’m not talking so much about the scientists who go to bed with Big Business (pharmaceuticals, military, etc.); I mean the more independent scientists who risk their funding and their careers in order to bring us the truth.