A perfect storm of fire and ice may have led to snowball Earth

Watts Up With That?

Explaining a ‘once-in-a-billion-year event’

About 700 million years ago, runaway glaciers covered the entire planet in ice. Harvard researchers modeled the conditions that may have led to this so-called ‘snowball Earth’.
CREDIT (Image courtesy of NASA)

What caused the largest glaciation event in Earth’s history, known as ‘snowball Earth’? Geologists and climate scientists have been searching for the answer for years but the root cause of the phenomenon remains elusive.

Now, Harvard University researchers have a new hypothesis about what caused the runaway glaciation that covered the Earth pole-to-pole in ice.

The research is published in Geophysical Research Letters. (paywalled)

Researchers have pinpointed the start of what’s known as the Sturtian snowball Earth event to about 717 million years ago — give or take a few 100,000 years. At around that time, a huge volcanic event devastated…

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Science Funding Misinformation

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

A headline on a news story falsely claims that ‘9 countries outspend the US on science.’ In fact, America spends more than all nine combined.


Seeking firm numbers regarding the amount of money the United States spends on scientific research, I recently typed the following phrase into Google:

US R&D spending versus other countries nations

A list of results appeared, the first of which was a link to Wikipedia, not always the most reliable source. The second was an outrageously inaccurate headline from Business Insider. It declared that “9 countries outspend the US on science”:


This is a shameful example of fake news. Of distorting reality. Of telling people the opposite of the truth.

Clicking the link took me to a page with a slightly different headline: “These 9 countries spend a greater share of money on science than the United States.” The news story, published a year ago, is about an OECD…

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Uh-oh, G-20 Poised To Signal Retreat From Paris Climate Deal Pledge

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From Bloomberg, 11 March 2017 (h/t to GWPF) by Joe Ryan
Finance ministers for the U.S., China, Germany and other members of the Group of 20 economies may scale back a robust pledge for their governments to combat climate change, ceding efforts to the private sector.

Citing “scarce public resources,” the ministers said they would encourage multilateral development banks to raise private funds to accomplish goals set under the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to a preliminary statement drafted for a meeting that will be held in Germany next week.

The statement, obtained by Bloomberg News, is a significant departure from a communique issued in July, when finance ministers urged governments to quickly implement the Paris Agreement, including a call for wealthy nations to make good on commitments to mobilize $100 billion annually to cut greenhouse gases around the globe.
“It basically says governments are irrelevant. It’s complete faith in…

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About those ‘devastating’ EPA budget reductions

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Budget and personnel cuts reflect environmental progress and essential regulatory reforms

Guest opinion by Paul Driessen

The Trump White House wants significant reductions at the Environmental Protection Agency: two dozen or more programs, including a dozen dealing with President Obama’s climate initiatives; a 20% downsizing in EPA’s 15,000-person workforce; and a one-fourth reduction in its $8.1 billion budget.

The plan requires congressional approval, and thus is hardly a “done deal.” Not surprisingly, it is generating howls of outrage. Former U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the proposal would be “crippling,” and “devastating for the agency’s ability to protect public health.”

One employee resigned because the cuts would prevent him from serving “environmental justice” and “vulnerable communities.” A congressman claimed EPA is “already operating at 1989 staffing levels,” and the reductions could mean “cutting the meat and muscle with the fat.”

A deep breath and objective assessment are in order.


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Science Has a Reproducibility Crisis

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Edward Ferrara writes:

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you may have recently heard about how Bill Nye–the Science Guy himself–“slammed” Tucker Carlson on the latter’s evening show on Fox. THIS. (If you live somewhere else you may have been treated to an equally smug reaction from people claiming that Carlson “won.”)

However you feel about it, the timing, coupled with Nye’s reliance on scientific consensus as a proxy for objective correctness, is somewhat serendipitous. Mounting evidence that the results of scientific studies are often not replicable has caused Nature, one of the most prolific scientific journals, to very publicly tighten its standards for submissions as of its latest issue.

In May of 2016, a survey by Nature revealed that over two thirds of researchers surveyed had tried and failed to reproduce the results of another scientist’s study. Over half of them had been unable to reproduce their…

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