2010 in review

2 01 2011

Happy 2011 ! Today I got an informative email from our gracious WordPress host, which, albeit needlessly flattering, had some interesting bits I’d like to share with you. Here goes (my comments in italics):

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

This “Wow” was pretty surprising, and must reflect the poor health of a lot of WordPress blogs, rather than this one’s vibrancy: 4 posts in a year isn’t exactly what I would call impressive.  On to some details:

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 4 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 29 posts.

The busiest day of the year was November 15th with 386 views. The most popular post that day was McShane and Wyner.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were college.usc.edu, bishophill.squarespace.com, cscs.umich.edu, climateandcapitalism.com, and Google Reader. It isn’t entirely surprising that my top referrer is my professional webpage. More surprising was to learn that the grouchy Bishop is on my track, but I suppose hostility is more flattering than indifference. Climate and Capitalism is an online journal whose openly Ecosocialist views are stated here, and I’m sure the fact that they (partially) endorse this blog as an authority on climate science means that I must be a commie maggot. Hurray. I might as well be referred to by the center for Communist World Domination. The venerable and politically-neutral Center for the Study of Complex Systems was unbeknownst to us, but looks mighty interesting. There it seems that our blog got attention because of this reposting of the abstract of a recent talk I gave at Carnegie Mellon University, which the author apparently did not approve of. Funny how they work, them Innernets.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for strange weather, craig loehle, el nino essay, el nino paper, and tom waits.

I giggle wholeheartedly at the thought that some uninspired undergrad, googling “el nino essay” to find material on his/her term paper, found Jeremy’s priceless opus of climate catastrophism (reproduced above), and wonder if they dared plagiarize it. Craig Loehle had a particularly comical episode of self-vindication last september, which must have sparked some of the searches that led wonderers through these pages.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


McShane and Wyner November 2010


An open letter to Craig Loehle November 2007


About this blog February 2008


El Niño and the end of the world May 2008


The Loehle Reconstruction November 2007

Overall, these statistics suggest that I should  work on more science-heavy blogs in 2011, since, reassuringly, they seem to be what people read most. There is little doubt that the ruthless communication wars over climate science will give us no shortage of occasions to comment. There is a little more doubt that I’ll have the time for many other such posts in 2011, with many papers in revision or about to be submitted, the usual teaching and research load, and a lab to manage. But I’ll do my best to intervene as seems relevant. Thanks for reading this blog, and thanks for commenting constructively, if you ever do. Here’s to a beautifully strange 2011!

PS: For a much more entertaining review of the state of climate science in 2010, see this amazing cartoon. Incredibly accurate and much more graphic than any explanation I could ever give on this blog.


In the Land of the Dry

1 05 2009

It’s time for an update long overdue : I have moved to Los Angeles to take a position at the University of Southern California. After a few months of getting odds and ends worked out, writing grants, papers, ordering furniture and other highly intellectual tasks, I am finally writing from a beautiful, ergonomic office where I could see myself spending way too much time.

Here is my new webpage. Please have a look, your feedback would be much appreciated.

As an Earth Scientist, it’s interesting to live in a place like this : between seismic activity, air pollution and very dry conditions (projected to worsen), LA combines some of the worst environmental risks you can imagine. But hey, isn’t sunlight worth a few sacrifices ?

I don’t know if that’s an “entropic principle” of sorts, but the pollution in my life has kept increasing since I left my quiet and wooded hometown of Le Vésinet (France), first for Paris, then New York, Atlanta, and now Los Angeles. As my environmental awareness grew, so have my environmental problems. Perhaps it would be all too easy to give lessons about a sustainable lifestyle if I did not have to fight very hard to design and improve mine. Which is far from perfect, but it is essential that I experience the problems I aim to solve.

Since I am often asked about droughts in Southern California, here is a recent explanation of both medieval and (projected) XXIst century droughts by none other than my former advisor Richard Seager. Those suffering from  information-thirst may quench it here.