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Folks ... being a human ecologist but not a climate change expert I have to rely on the "argument from authority" in determining what I think I know about climate change. As such, I take the IPCC as my baseline, backed up by other prestigious institutes who do peer-reviewed science. My problem, when I give public talks, is what to recommend to non-scientists who are confused by climate change denial arguments in the media. I'm just currently doing the prep for a couple of talks, thus why I've been digging in to what follows, and I thought it might be useful for some of you.
 
Until recently I pointed most questioners towards the IPCC FAR summary at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf and the Royal Society's guide to "facts and fictions" at http://royalsociety.org/downloaddoc.asp?id=1630 . However, the IPCC report is dated to 2007, and the Royal Society piece could really do with updating, having been published in March 2005. I've been finding the sceptics saying, "Oh yes, but look at such and such a report in the Daily Sport which has come out since then" ... and the trouble with such sceptics is that they, too, are voters in the body politic!
 
So, in terms of up-to-date reports, there's the July 2009 (revised) Synthesis Report of the International Alliance of Research Universities at http://www.anu.edu.au/climatechange/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/synthesis_report_-_01072009.pdf . This has been previously flagged up on these email lists when it came out. It's the one that says many of the current measurements are
hitting the upper levels of the IPCC's 2007 forecasts. What this report says about its own peer-reviewing on p.5 is the sort of point worth raising to the attention of critics, and asking if the denialist papers are similarly appraised. (I say this feeling somewhat irked whenever I get sent something that's outwith my capacity to judge in scientific terms, but is clearly not from a soundly peer-reviewed source!).
 
What I'd really like to draw people's attention to is the latest stuff on a subsection of the UK Meteorological Office website at
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/guide/bigpicture/ . The PDF linked there is 2009 and gives a very clear basic summary of the issues, including viewing El Nino/El Nina and solar activity as denialist red herrings.
 
Also at the foot of that link they've  started a climate change myths section. "Myth 1" being on cosmic rays, and  "Myth 2", which literally appeared on their website as I was typing this email, addresses the Jan 2008 fall in global temperatures.

Alastair.
 
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