AGU before and after
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) was always in the foreground for me, along with my fellow earth scientists, once every few years if not more. I am grateful to have attended a keynote talk one December by a rambling Carl Sagan. Much like an excellent BB King concert at Sandia Pueblo Casino, Dr. Sagan’s lecture was both genial and inspiring, and so I learned to seek inspiration there and to try to contribute as well.*
In that spirit I found the networking afforded by AGU to be very helpful. At their 2011 event I explored old and new contacts so that I could try to position myself logically into a Ph.D. program that explored alternatives to the irreproducible greenhouse gas models.
I reached out to friends and also anyone with an interesting poster, to share my growing concerns over the sudden reversal of uncertainty un-quantification to Uncertainty Quantification. It wasn’t adding up to me that hydrospheric models of global climate for any time scale were migrating to the greenhouse gas notion. I would have been concerned if even one such model made it through the typical Karl Popper and/or Richard Feynman tests.
In any case, I attended AGU 2011 and found that they were in the middle of a pivot. I chronicled this somewhat even as I committed to work my way through and out of the deep academic recesses of climate change Ph.D.-class science.
I finally emerged by 2019, through the fulcrum of the new AGU. In the interim I worked to contribute to the state of the art of climate change prognostication and enjoyed the stimulating crucible afforded by a graduate program at times.
December 2011 at the AGU conference will also be special for me because I was able to witness first-hand some of the climate change celebrities both skeptic and proponent. They all gave it their best shots, but no celebrity climate change scientist at AGU that year could begin to measure up to Carl Sagan in authenticity, passion or delivery.
To me there was an almost dreamlike if not slightly nightmarish element to my attendance. I was also inspired and privileged to begin to form a small climate science group (CSIM) one dinner at the nearby Pied Piper tavern. This is only a blog and so it only includes some unrelated kabuki theater pieces held earlier the same day or so, including Michael Mann, Judith Curry, and Naomi Oreskes, along with some other people and a lion.
In addition to the celebrities, a plurality of the AGU participants (and maybe some gate-crashers) also seemed energized, both in the halls of Moscone and in the surrounding streets, against any alternatives to climate change. No other earth science topic captured their passions. That year’s AGU program also promoted extensive courses in climate communication and training in how to lobby the Federal Government about .. climate change.. and about nothing else.
No doubt, as reproducible solar cycle based hydrologic sciences begin to dominate, the AGU will try to reinvent itself. Otherwise earth scientists will move on to alternative venues which focus on solving real, and not imaginary problems.
*at AGU and sometimes even at the casino.
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