How you can help climate science: kickstarter funding for the “Dark Snow” project

Some of you may have already heard of the Dark Snow Project, the crowd funded expedition to look at what may be hastening the melting of Greenland’s ice. The Guardian explains:

There is already much excitement in the arts, media and beyond about the potential of crowdfunding – via sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo – to finance projects that might others have remained an unfulfilled dream. To date, though, few scientific expeditions have successfully utilised crowd-funding. 

The Dark Snow Project hopes to change this. Jason Box, a climatologist based at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, is hoping to raise $150,000 over the coming months to pay for an expedition this summer up onto the “ice dome” of Greenland to gather samples of snow. The project’s website explains: 

Dark Snow is a field and lab project to measure the impact of changing wildfire and industrial soot on snow and ice reflectivity. Soot darkens snow and ice, increasing solar energy absorption, hastening the melt of the “cryosphere”. 

The climatic impact of “black carbon” and wildfire smoke is much in the news and yet remains little understood. Last year, Box presented satellite observations (pdf) showing how soot particles drifting from tundra wildfires spread across Greenland. The big as-yet-unanswered question is whether this soot contributed towards the region’s record melt during the summer of 2012. And, if so, by how much.

They’ve already raised $72,000 of the necessary $150,000. It’s a wonderful way for members of the public to directly help scientists further our understanding of climate change.

 

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37 thoughts on “How you can help climate science: kickstarter funding for the “Dark Snow” project

  1. Eric Worrall says:

    My first inclination was to say something nice about this post, and contribute – more information about the effect of soot on arctic melting would be scientifically useful.

    Then I checked the identity of the expedition members.
    http://darksnowproject.org/dark-snow-expedition-team/

    Jason Box rang immediate alarm bells – he is connected with Al Gore’s efforts to “save the planet”, and according to a recent Guardian article, believes the Keystone Pipeline “would be the equivalent of lighting a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”, and that leaving his 8 month pregnant wife to risk arrest at a protest against Keystone was justified – he “couldn’t live with himself” if he didn’t.

    So sadly I can’t support an expedition which includes someone with such a track record of climate extremism.

    • zoot says:

      Poor Eric. You must be gutted.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Well at least you took the time to check out the link Eric😉

    • bratisla says:

      He has also since 1998 64 publications revolving around Arctic ice. Sounds competent enough for me – and the publication record goes waaaay back before his “alarmism”.
      If you have someone in mind to replace him, by all means, don’t hesitate to give names. We will be happy to try and fund/support them.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        As long as its not David Attenborough…🙂

        Seriously, I haven’t got anyone in mind as a replacement. But surely you can see that money spent on an expedition which includes such a hardcore climate partisan is money wasted, because nobody except people who hold similar beliefs will trust the results.

      • zoot says:

        … because nobody except people who hold similar beliefs will trust the results.

        This is why we have peer review. So that people with equivalent qualifications and differing “beliefs” can assess the validity of the research. And this is why the results get published in a credible journal only if the research passes peer review.

        You really don’t understand how science is practised, do you.

      • bratisla says:

        The last time I checked, a standard measurement of soot on ice does not hold political opinions, therefore you can then use it in your own studies without worrying about the possible heated debate you could have with the aforementioned measurement.
        In fact, when I’m in front of geophysical measurements, I sometimes would prefer that they talk me about keynesianism than being stubbornly silent. Maybe I don’t know how to talk with them

        Now, if you are sure the measurements will begin a protest to bolster the liberal bias, the best way for you to counter that is to go on the field to collect good ol’ conservative soot measurements dreaming about a new Reagan. Or plain silent soot measurements, if they happen not to speak.
        After all, if someone manages to fund a study with Kickstarter, why couldn’t you ? Mr Watts manages to run his site thanks to donors, you could begin to ask there.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          I think it is a great idea – kickstarter is about transparency in funding and letting “markets” help good ideas and products/services gain funding. Surely “conservatives” aren’t against such things?

  2. john byatt says:

    Done, pathetic that governments cannot see the value of this mission

  3. john byatt says:

    i can see the WUWT post already.

    DARK SNOW PROJECT INDICATES THAT GREENLAND SURFACE MELT DUE TO SOOT NOT GLOBAL WARMING

    thank you to all you sceptics who would have been the main contributors to this excellent research { Anthony

  4. john byatt says:

    This wonderful story from Bloomberg New Energy Finance today can be summed up in it final para: “New wind is cheaper than building new coal and gas, but cannot compete with old assets that have already been paid off… For that reason policy support is still needed to put megawatts in the ground today and build up the skills and experience to de-carbonise the energy system in the long-term.”
    As Giles Parkinson notes today in RenewEconomy: “The analysis by BNEF is significant. Australia relies more on coal than nearly any other industrialised country, but it also has some of the world’s best renewables resources, which it has been slow to exploit. But is this likely to prompt a review of the Coalition’s energy policies – which are based on the premise that renewable energy is expensive and unreliable? Don’t bet on it.”

    • Skeptikal says:

      Australia relies more on coal than nearly any other industrialised country, but it also has some of the world’s best renewables resources, which it has been slow to exploit.

      World’s best renewable resources? What makes our sunshine or wind any better than anywhere else in the world?

      Do you even look at the garbage you choose to quote?

      • Joel says:

        The fact that Australia’s sunshine is not behind a cloud (as much as it is say, in sunny England)? That there’s more sunlight per day than more polar countries? That there’s rather a lot of coastline, moreso than in the average landlocked country (useful for offshore wind, amongst others)? That there’s available geothermal, which is not always the case?

        Being a skeptic means being skeptical of your own beliefs as well – in fact, I’d even go so far as to say that that’s the most important part. Any bozo can be skeptical of bigfoot, but taking a long, hard critical look at the things you wish were true is hard.

      • john byatt says:

        Joel, where once creationists saw evolutionary science as the biggest threat to their ideology, they now see climate science as a bigger threat, to them it means that god would not be in control. In our regional newspapers, the most activist sceptics have previous form writing pro creation science letters.

      • Joel says:

        Indeed, I first really started following climate science after one intelligent design blog that I occasionally read and criticised hooked onto climategate and started claiming that that a similar conspiracy was keeping ID from gaining acceptance in biology departments.

        Crank magnetism indeed.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      I used to be a drinking buddy of a senior wind engineer, the sort of guy who project managed large new installations in the North Sea. He told me the achilles heel of wind, something they don’t talk about much – the bearings can’t take the stress.

      In his words, “we need a quantum leap in bearing material technology”. If they make the bearings larger, it increases friction, which hammers efficiency. But current generations wear out too fast, requiring continuous expensive maintenance.

      What they need is a new, ultra tough bearing material which can take the pounding, without increasing surface area or friction. They are already using the largest bearings commercially available, and they’re still not good enough. Last I heard they were looking at taking the hit, trading a little efficiency for a bit more durability.

  5. Eric Worrall says:

    Zootie piped:-

    This is why we have peer review. So that people with equivalent qualifications and differing “beliefs” can assess the validity of the research. And this is why the results get published in a credible journal only if the research passes peer review.

    You really don’t understand how science is practised, do you.

    I might, except in climate science the practice of peer review seems more than a little dysfunctional. Here is a funny interview with Phil Jones, in which he admits the scientists who peer reviewed his work never asked to see his data.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18599-climategate-scientist-questioned-in-parliament.html

    Shocking cases like this is why skeptics tend to refer to peer review of alarmist climate science papers as “pal review”.

    • And organisations with integrity publish their funding, Lord Lawson omitted to say about the GWPF.

      Utter tosh, Eric. Climategate – nine separate investigations. You lost them all. And the deniers still haven’t said who the thieves were, nor have they repaid the public expenses.

      Pal review is a made-up conspiracy theory. Have you ever read Stephan Lewandowsky’s work?

      • john byatt says:

        When they refer to pal review it is an acknowledgement that the science is not going their way. “it must be corrupt because it all comes to the same conclusions”

      • Eric Worrall says:

        FFS, Phil Jones himself admitted noone was properly checking his papers.

        If you don’t have the data, you can’t check that the stated methodology leads to the published conclusions.

        Since by Phil’s own words, none of the scientists who reviewed his papers asked for the data, and he didn’t include it voluntarily, noone checked his methodology or conclusions – the peer review of all his papers was a sham.

        Of course, Phil didn’t really let out much detail about methodology either. With software nasties like Harry Read Me festering in the attic, the reason to me at least is obvious.

      • LOST. Nine separate investigations. You just don’t like facts.

    • bratisla says:

      Well, Energy and Environment are indeed of questionable standard about the quality of their papers, I can concede that.

      (and when I try to replicate someone’s work, I don’t ask him for his datas unless I’m really desperate. The best test is to take another set of datas to see if the methodology holds – a methodology usable only on a peculiar dataset should raise alarms at once. Like UAH did before all the corrections)

    • zoot says:

      You’re right Eric. Now that Phil Jones has been dismissed from his position for manipulating the data that you rely on for your fatuous statement that global warming stopped 16 years ago; now that the nine separate investigations into “Climategate” have delivered their condemnation of the scientists involved … oh wait.

      • Yeah, and they’ve really blasted that b*st*rd, Mann, this year too. Fellow of the AGU. Fellow of Ametsoc, distinguished Professor at Penn, winner of the Oeschger medal. That’ll learn him to mock deniers like Eric.

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