Sunday, June 17, 2012


date: Mon Oct 11 13:49:12 1999
from: Keith Briffa <>
subject: Re: synthesis
to: "Raymond S. Bradley" <>

At 05:57 PM 10/9/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Frankly, I hate the idea of arriving in Appenberg to write, like showing
>up, music in hand, for some choral event. I'm afraid I just don't work
>like that.

me neither - I work in an erratic (no not errotic) way , with starts and stops and periods of explosive enery (perhaps I do mean errotic!) but sitting with a group of people all inventing their own wheel does not square with me (ha ha)

I would much rather prepare a draft in advance here in my
>office, then meet to discuss how it needs to be amended, supplemented etc.
>I can't see that taking a week either...

I am happy if you want to take the first shot . I can then club it into shape at the second stage - probably genuinely better than splitting up the tasks and trying to meld my earthy directness with your someone lyrically free verse at a later stage.

>I have not given this a lot of thought, but I feel that the effort should
>be initiated by us, [you & me] rather than attempt to get a "writing group"
>together....I'd welcome your views on this.

Again yes ... with feeling. We can just ask the apppropriate people for (very short ) descriptions of the latest position as regards our chosen content. If necessary , invite one or two to the 'week' . The important thing is to get good input as regards data and answers to specific questions. Between us , we know the necessary input and the people to supply it.

I see this as following the
>IPCC approach where a small set of leaders does the dirty deed and then
>sends it out for review. We could solicit input on certain topics, but I
>think we know the field well enough to make that an unnecessary burden on
>others...what do you think? Creating a synthesis requires that there be a
>synthesiser...not a bunch of specialists writing about their favorite proxy....

Who do you mean ?... but I agree without hestitation or reservation.. or irritation.

>Anyway, as a kick-off, I think that the following elements are needed:
>1. The last 1000 years in the context of the (late) Holocene....showing
>that the LIA was a further example of neoglacials in the last few thousand

O.K. but the question of GRIP/GISP and its relationship to sea core data will probably have to be a major starting point. This then begs the question of interpretation and wider relevance than the N.Atlantic. Then of course the question of spatial representation in general - if we want high resolution stuff it narrows the field but makes our job easier.THe question of resolution and timeline must be solved first. Do we stick rigorously to 1000 years - prbably we do need to include some backgound on the Holocene , for context, but then where do we stop and what will already be in the other chapters?

>2. Late Holocene forcing context--orbital/solar/volcanic....anthropogenic
>[ use, trace gases, particulates etc...]

Yes with big emphasis on the recent CO2 results from ice cores and stomatal density .We have several recent papers looking at long volcanic forcing. We need a good discussion on solar insolation over time (season ) and space in w per m squared , perhaps as a colour figure. What about modelling attempts to investigate the relative contributions of these?

>3. The climatic record....a) global/hemispheric -- a la Mann et al,
>Briffa/Jones, Pollack etc

but also including hydrologic large regional series ( like you did once)?

>b) regional --tropics, mid-lats, polar.....[temperature and
>hydrology]....terrestrial & marine records?

O.k you're ahead of me - but this aspect of the job is potentially a mud bath that we could enjoy wallowing in for a long time and come out with nothing more than a mess.

>4. ?An attempt at some sort of explanation in terms of circulation changes

Easier said than done. what regional changes do you envisage being feasibly explained in terms of circulation - the stuff in Pfisters latest (Climate Change) special issue for Europe? A little esoteric? Of course the history of ENSO; AO/NAO; instrumental and reconstructed might be expected.

>5. The last century in the context of the the last 1000 years --- a
>reprise of the above..?

I suppose so -and I imagine you mean in the context of the 'global warming ' debate? - if so , what is needed here is a 'what do we know'/'what do we need to know'/ 'where do we go from here' type discussion. Yes I know its not an original idea but it has not been done properly- with reference to the true uncertainties in our data.

>OK...I have started the process..over to you. Feel free to change it
> we need to meet before Jan 21-26?

I don't think so but we need a much more specific list of the content modules to be worked up and it really is best if you have first go. We need to get the data for plots and maps rolling in as soon as possible - so we need to identify the exact format and content of these almost immediately.

Should we drag others in on this?

I think not at this stage , also some general thoughts-

What about

sea level changes?

Trying to break the world into specified regions and doing individual sections with multiple Figures?

How do we incoporate land use changes?

Did you know that UEA are paying my salary at present and maybe indefinitely. I meant to thank you for the help you have given me ( and your patience listening to me moan about not having tenure over the years) regarding this. It was and is still genuinely appreciated.


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