The AMS Bulletin of the American Meterological Society has published a summary of this meeting in its December 2008 issue;
Manvendra K. Dubey, Charlie S. Zender, Chris K. Folland, and Petr Chylek, 2008: Global Warming and the Next Ice Age. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, pp. 1905–1909. DOI: 10.1175/2008BAMS2359.1.
The goal of the meeting was that
“More than 120 scientists from 14 countries with expertise in the observation, theory, and
modeling of climate change met to discuss how Earth’s climate responds to non–greenhouse gas forcings, and how to improve predictions of these responses.”
The BAMS meeting summary starts with the text
“Earth’s climate is a complex dynamical system that is responding to an array of forcings, which include anthropogenic carbon dioxide and aerosols and solar variability. Aeorsol and solar forcings are imperfectly constrained and only monitored by observational systems with limited sensitivity and coverage.”
Among the conclusions of the meeting, as written at the end of the BAMS article is that
“It was determined during this conference that the optimal path to reduce uncertainties and increase precision of climate change forecasts is by bringing in observations to inform, test, and refine climate models. This is particularly important for aerosols and clouds, which are complex and influence the planetary albedo and radiation budget significantly. Progress is being made and the outlook it good since many aerosol-cloud perturbations and processes operate on shorter time scales rendering them measurable. However, this is a daunting task for other longer-term feedbacks such as ocean–ice–atmosphere changes where our community will have to use paleoclimate data or gather longer records to validate climate models, an interaction that our meeting also catalyzed. Observationalists and modelers (Xiao and Li 2007) must play a synergistic role in climate change research to increase the precision of climate forecasts for future energy options.”
A unique aspect of this meeting was that it was inclusive and permitted the spectrum of viewpoints on climate to be presented. This balance is often lacking in other meetings, as documented recently on Cliamte Science; e.g. see
We need more such balanced, inclusive conferences as summarized in the 2008 BAMS article.