Thanks, Dr. Pielke!

This week Roger Pielke Sr. retired his weblog. I just wanted to thank him for the effort he had put into it. I suspect he informed and influenced far more people than he knows.

I’ve done professional work in both sustainability and energy, and have been personally compelled to stay on top of climate science. Having a career of experience with data, complex systems and computer models, it’s been obvious to me for awhile that a) the climate is a very complex system, and we don’t fully understand it, b) the data we have about our climate covers a very small window of time, and while the quality of our data continues to improve, simple questions like “what’s the average temperature” are non-trivial and prone to unexpectedly high error bars, and c) predicting the climate future relies on very complex computer models, that have not yet shown that we should trust all of their output.

With this personal perspective and a polarized environment where both sides routinely make absolute claims about non-absolute results, Dr. Pielke was a source of perspective and a guide through important, recent papers and results. I valued his open-mindedness and intellectual honesty; he was never afraid to hear opposing views or give them visibility.

Dr. Pielke recorded his core beliefs here – they’re worth a read. One thing of note is his opinion that our strong focus on GHG emissions is keeping us from giving other human impacts on the environment their due – something which deserves attention.

Thanks again, Dr. Pielke, for the past work on your blog!

Finally, we are fortunate to still have Roger’s son, Roger Jr. blogging regularly. I am a Breakthrough Fellow with Roger Jr. and alway learn from him whenever I get to read him on the web or interact with him in person.