Got back from the annual WFS conference at Erice, Sicily a couple of days ago. It is an interdisciplinary conference on world issues, in which climate is only a part, but an important part. As in previous visits, it was a very enjoyable visit – the conference attracts a lot of spouses, resulting in more mixing between disciplines than would occur otherwise as the spouses create their own mixing.
Antonino Zichichi, who organizes the conference, is not convinced that climate sensitivity is very great and the climate invitees had a much stronger “skeptical” bent than previous years. I ended up as a panelist in a discussion on climate with Richard Lindzen, Will Happer and Richard Wilson (of Harvard, another prominent nuclear physicist who’s taken an interest in climate.) I spent quite a bit of time with all three.
The conference had interesting presentations on science issues related to the BP oil spill – a discharge estimate of about 70,000 bbl/day seems to be the final number.
The conference always has interesting presentations from nuclear scientists and engineers and this year was no exception. I find the discussions of designs and design improvements fascinating and reassuring.
While climate sensitivity was the large scientific issue, Climategate was on a lot of people’s minds – both for its fallout on climate science and science more generally. I ended up focusing my presentation on Climategate and the inquiries, neither of which made people very comfortable.
Obviously, the tide of climate news continues. I haven’t parsed McShane and Wyner yet and need to do so. As a relaxation when I got home a couple of days ago, I spent some time looking at Steve Mosher’s recent blog – Steve has done some slick applications of R packages raster and zoo (which I haven’t explored) to the analysis of data sets. I see that the IAC report is out today and is one more thing to read – I hope that it’s less bad than the others.