The RAMA Questionnaire, Part 1

I need your help. I am going to ask a bunch of questions of scientists and the general public for my RAMA Initiative. Below are the questions I have come up with so far regarding Recognition as regards to climate change.

I would like your input (not your answers–yet–I will input it into a survey program) on whether the questionnaire is clear and complete. Are there questions where your preferred answer is not possible to state? Are some of the questions ambiguous? Are there enough options for an answer?

Let me know.

Recognition

As with all RAMA questionnaires, the format here is to provide questions and potential answers with a box below for you to add comments.
It is a commonplace that climate is always changing—otherwise we probably wouldn’t study it. However, human causes seem to be providing new drivers of climate change.
1. For whatever reason, do you believe the climate has been changing more since 1950 than has been the case in most prior periods for which we have adequate records? (We ask more quantitative questions on this subject below.)
a. Yes
b. No
c. I don’t know / I am not sure
d. I don’t think this is the right question to ask
i. Comments:

2. (If responded ‘a’ to Q1) If the climate has been changing more since 1950 than has been the case in most prior periods, do you think the climate….
a. Is getting warmer
b. Is getting cooler
c. I don’t think temperature is the right metric to use in answering this question.
d. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments:

3. Many scientists who work with data from temperature observations agree that global average temperatures now are about 1C higher than in the period between 1850 and 1880. Do you broadly agree?
a. Yes
b. No, I think it has warmed but by less than 1C since the latter part of the 19th Century
c. No, I think it has warmed by more than 1C since the latter part of the 19th Century
d. I don’t think temperature observations are accurate enough to quantify recent warming.
e. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

4. Many scientists working in atmospheric sciences agree that the concentrations of CO2 are rising by about 2 to 2.5 ppm(vol) per year. Do you broadly agree?
a. Yes
b. No, I think CO2 concentrations are rising more than 2-2.5 ppm(vol) per year
c. No, I think CO2 concentrations are rising, but by less than 2-2.5(vol) per year
d. No, I don’t think CO2 concentrations are rising.
e. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

5. Many scientists working with data from sea level observations agree that sea levels are currently rising by about 3.2 mm per year +/- 0.4 mm. Do you broadly agree?
a. Yes
b. No, I think sea level rise is greater than 3.2 mm / year
c. No, I think sea level rise is lower than 3.2 mm / year
d. No, I think sea levels are not rising
e. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments:

6. Do you think the incidence of drought as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit
b. Increasing a little
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little
e. Decreasing quite a lot
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

7. Do you think the intensity of drought as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit
b. Increasing a little
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little
e. Decreasing quite a lot
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

8. Do you think the incidence of floods as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit
b. Increasing a little
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little
e. Decreasing quite a lot
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

9. Do you think the intensity of floods as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit
b. Increasing a little
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little
e. Decreasing quite a lot
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

10. Do you think the incidence of storms as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit
b. Increasing a little
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little
e. Decreasing quite a lot
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

11. Do you think the intensity of storms as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit
b. Increasing a little
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little
e. Decreasing quite a lot
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

12. Do you think precipitation as measured globally is…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 10% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 10% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 10% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing quite a bit (more than 10% over the past four decades)
f. I don’t know / I am not sure
i. Comments

13. Do you think the mass of the majority of glaciers worldwide is…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

14. Do you think the mass of the Greenland Ice Cap is…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

15. Do you think the mass of Arctic sea ice is…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

16. Do you think the mass of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

17. Do you think the mass of the other ice sheets in Antarctica are..
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

18. Do you think the geographic spread of infectious and vector borne diseases is…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

19. Do you think the land area of small islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean are overall, mostly…
a. Increasing quite a bit (more than 5% over the past four decades)
b. Increasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
c. Neither increasing nor decreasing
d. Decreasing a little (less than 5% over the past four decades)
e. Decreasing a lot (more than 10% over the past four decades)
i. Comments

Advertisements

11 responses to “The RAMA Questionnaire, Part 1

  1. A very telling question would be: Over your lifetime, has the climate changed where you live?

    a. Dramatic change.
    b. Noticeable change
    c. There has been change but nothing I have noticed.
    d. No change.

  2. Q3, ‘Small increase’ and ‘insufficient accuracy’ are not really the right answers for me. I would prefer:
    Small increase
    Can’t tell if there is an increase (due to accuracy)
    Can’t tell size of increase (due to accuracy)
    (Or some other similar disambiguation of these options to avoid adding an answer)

  3. The reference period for some questions ought to be longer than a lifetime, or since 1950, or since 1880. For example, most Lower 48 glaciers didn’t exist for thousands of years prior to about 1500-2000 BC .

    The late H H Lamb:
    “It was after 2000-1500 BC that most of the present glaciers in the Rocky Mountains south of 57 o N were formed and that major re-advance of those in the Alaskan Rockies first took place.

    “And at their subsequent advanced positions – probably around 500 BC as well as between 1650 and 1850 AD – the glaciers in the Alps regained an extent, estimated in the Glockner region, at about 5 times their Bronze Age Minimum, when all the smaller ones had disappeared.”

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/hh-lambs-climate-history-the-modern-world-in-review-pert/

    If we do not understand the causes and extent of natural climate change in this inter-glacial, how can we know what portion of the current climate change is anthropogenic?

  4. Probably a little on the nit-picky side, but…

    To start, you need to give a clear definition of “climate”. Are we talking a 30-year baseline? More? Less? Simple temperatures (which are, after all, the proposed drivers for all anthropogenic climate change) or something more complex?

    As an example, in your first question you use the period 1950-present. A 65-year period in which global temperatures woould seem to have fallen, then risen, then more or less leveled off. Comparing this pattern to paleo reconstructions (iffy as they might be) would indicate that while the peak might be high, the magnitude and pattern of change is not out of line with the past.

    The result is that I would be forced to answer “no” to this question. However, were you to use a 30-year period (as in Q3) or a 40 year period (as in Q12 to Q19) you would probably elicit a different answer from me.

    Specific nits:

    Q2 – Shouldn’t “…do you think the climate…” be “…do you think the temperature…”? Also, how can temperature not be the right metric given that the paradigm is that increased GHG drives higher temperatures and all other effects are derived from that?

    Q4 – I think you should add “currently” to this question (as in Q5)

    Q6 to Q11 – these need a time frame as in Q12 to Q19. (Preferably one that fits in your “climate” definition.)

    Q18 – Needs another option: “f. regardless of increase, decrease or neither, overwhelmingly a result of factors other than climate”

    Also, I like Almost Iowa’s question, but think it would not necessarily be meaningful with out additional questions regarding age and length of residence.

  5. Thanks, all–keep the improvements coming.

  6. Good questionnaire.

  7. If we correct for El Niño, or use décadal average is the temperature really 1 degree above 1850-1880?

  8. Q1: “periods for which we have adequate records?” I’m sure adequate will mean different things to different people.

    Q15: “mass of Arctic sea ice is” I don’t usually see the term mass being used but rather volume and extent. Maybe break into two questions?

    As a general comment, I’d like to see questions related to “why” for answers which claim an increase or decrease of something.

    I would also like to see more questions on sea level rise (e.g. breakdown of thermal expansion, land ice melt and groundwater runoff). And perhaps at least one about ocean heat content which is perhaps a better metric for global heat than surface temperature.

  9. 1. There is at most one prior period with adequate records.

    2. Why “If responded ‘a’ to Q1”? The answer to this question does not in any way depend on the answer to Q1.

    3. The IPCC number is 0.85 K. If you re-ran the analysis with up to date data, you might get 0.9 K. But the 1.0 K number includes fluctuations.

    4. OK

    5. There are multiple ways of interpreting what is being asked here, which makes the answers rather useless. What does “currently” mean? What if someone agrees with the 3.2 mm, but thinks the 0.4 mm is overly narrow? This is very different from Q4 which is citing a well determined number. And what the heck does “broadly” mean? (a) and (b) are compatible answers, as are (a) and (c). Confusing question = meaningless answers.

    6. Given the uncertainty in the data, the only responsible answer is (f). So what is the purpose of this question?

    7. You repeated question 6. Oh, wait, you changed a word, creating a distinction without a real difference.

    8., 9., 10., 11.: See 6. & 7.

    12 on. So are these questions meant as a sort of Rorschach test? Especially since you omit the only reasonable answer to be given by non-specialists: Don’t know.

  10. To me, things like more droughts and worse storms just mean marginal increases in things that happen anyway and they’re just hyped up for political purposes. When I think of climate change, I think of gradual change over very long periods. I think some important long term questions are: Is melting ice and permafrost going to release enough methane to create another PETM or even turn us into Venus as Hansen has suggested in his book, Storms of My Grandchildren?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s