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Paleoclimate, the movie

America's PBS has commissioned a documentary about paleoclimate science which will air at various times over the next few months depending on where you live. Entitled Taking Earth's Temperature, it features lots of familiar names, including Jonathan Overpeck (will he discuss getting rid of the medieval warm period?), Caspar Ammann (will he talk about Monte Carlo analysis?), Darrell Kaufman (will he be the right way up?), Bette Otto-Bleisner and Thomas Stocker.

Coming at a time when the topics of climate change and energy policy are seldom far from the headlines, Taking Earth's Temperature: Delving into Climate's Past shows the value and relevance of research into past climates. Researchers use their increasingly precise understanding of the past as a test for computer models aimed at explaining how the Earth's climate system and its energy balance work. If those models can accurately explain past changes, then they may also provide today's best possible look at what will happen in the future.

Taking Earth's Temperature: Delving Into Climate's Past - TRAILER from IDEA Lab Productions on Vimeo.



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Reader Comments (17)

I thought that documentaries were supposed to be a work of non fiction.

Aug 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterColin Porter

So its a comedy show then , after all what else can it be with that list of 'experts'
But will they explain how the 'magic trees' worked in the program to . For I have yet to hear how they excluded all other factors that affect tree growth, but temperature, when they no idea what those other factors where like at the time.

Aug 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Very sad. PBS do some great documentaries, but reading that paragraph of complete drivel above makes me wonder if everything else they do is so completely misinformed.

The Gell-man effect in action.

Aug 19, 2014 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

This documentary is shot with an objective lens.

Idealab's "...long relationships with researchers featured in the documentaries means that they have the depth of understanding needed to tell nuanced and insightful some cases becoming part of the research team itself."

Thomas Stocker explains why the earth is just like your child:

Aug 19, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

Needs a guest appearance from Steve McIntyre.

Aug 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

"If those models can accurately explain past changes"

Alas they can't!

Aug 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Have they dumped on Michael Mann. Don't see his name there.

Aug 19, 2014 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Claiming that these models can explain previous climate shifts, then predict the likely future doesn't wash. My old maths teacher told me I could interpolate at will, but extrapolate at my peril!!!

Aug 19, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

The broadcast of this sort of propaganda is exactly why I don't contribute to PBS.

Aug 19, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenes

Climate Circus, the movie - more like!

This may well entertain, but it is unlikely to edify.

I expect the performers to degrade themselves, tarnish their subjects, and diminish all who watch the spectacle.

Aug 19, 2014 at 6:17 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Diogenes, PBS has lots of good programming despite the fashionable leftish tilt.

I was delighted to see that the Evil Koch Brothers fund Nova, (their flagship SCIENCE program yet!) with episodes like:

Fascinated to discover the Germans had to do without sausage for 2 years as bovine intestinal membranes were the only barrier capable of containing hydrogen atoms in the zeppelin gas bags.

Aug 19, 2014 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

I suppose the good news about PBS is a lot of interesting individuals have left it. On the back of the thundering success of plunging viewer numbers over the pond, they've all moved and now run the London Daily Telegraph.

Bet you never thought you'd miss good old Damien ...


Aug 19, 2014 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

"increasingly precise understanding of the past...", It would take a lot for them to convince me they had a clue. It sounds as though they are convincing themselves though.

"If those models can accurately explain past changes..." That's a big"IF". It seems that correlation is now 'explanation'.

Aug 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Roughly 70% of the earth's surface is sea. How do you calculate the temperature above the oceans before modern technology ?

Aug 19, 2014 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

As Darrell Kaufman issued a correction, he probably deserves a pass here.

This might however be the opportunity for Thomas Stocker to explain the Stocker temperature scale (with a discontinuity between 2 and 4 degrees on the outmoded Celsius scale):

"we have a choice to live in a world in which climate change is limited to less than two degrees Celsius, or, in a world that is warmer than four degrees Celsius"

introduced at 6:44 minutes in this IPCC video (although through some inexplicable error the background against which he speaks still uses that old Celsius scale, without this discontinuity, and Stocker himself, obviously through lapsus linguae, refers to his temperature scale as Celsius).

Aug 19, 2014 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter O'Neill

One minute pre-debunking:

(A) Greenland ice core paleoclimate record:

(B) Pure fraud paleoclimate record of 2013 promoted by the reigning king of paleoclimatology:

Aug 20, 2014 at 4:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

I can't wait to miss this important documentary! I may even record it - just for the pleasure of hitting "delete" later.

Aug 20, 2014 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteamboat McGoo

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