Nurture offers us …how far our understanding of climate change has come in the past twelve months. But its a bit thin, especially for just a pick of the top five; there are of course others we could have mentioned.
5. is “skeptics are still out there” – which has nothing to do with the science. 4 is “The hockey stick holds up” – true, but hardly a major advance in understanding. 2 (I’ll get back to 3) is “Arctic summer sea ice is in rapid decline” which I consider dubious (and I’ve offered to put money on, if anyone thinks rapid decline in 2009 is a sure thing, come on if you think you’re hard enough). Either way, I don’t think the observations of the past 2 years represent a highlight of our *understanding* of the climate system. 1 is “Other greenhouse gases are also worrying” which is not very interesting, especially as it leads with NF3.
Which brings me back to #3: “Warming is already having an impact”: this is an area in which I have precious little experience; potentially it is a matter of major importance. Perhaps its significant that the only one of Natures 5 that I don’t dismiss as twaddle is not-physical-climatology at all.
Did you hear that Pope on the radio this morning? No, neither did I, since he talked in either latin or italian and I speak neither, but from the talking heads I gather he was winding people up on the traditional catholic obsession with naughty bits, again.
Update: being constructive, it would be better to think what the Stoat Top Five should be. Over christmas I shall make some attempt to review 2008; in the meantime, feel free to send in your nominations for up to five climate-science advances of 2008, with the emphasis on WGI type stuff.