Has climate science advanced as far as it can go?

Today, I was listening to the tail-end of an online discussion with Ken Caldeira, moderated by Jeff Terry.

During the Q&A, Caldeira indicated that he has switched over from climate science research to energy research. The rationale he gave for this was that there was (paraphrasing) “not much left to do in climate change science”. And added that what was remaining was mostly detail work.

from NY Times Magazine, Aug 2018

Prior to that, in the chat box I asked the question “When was the next breakthrough in climate science going to occur?”, figuring it was a softball question considering what he has said in the past — in particular, see the inset to the right where Caldeira admits no research breakthroughs have been made in climate science for decades.

However, the moderator Jeff Terry chose not to relay this question, leaving open the issue of whether there actually is any intellectual curiosity left in climate science.

What is the deal with intellectual curiosity?

I took a look at Jeff Terry’s research CV via Google Scholar and noted that he worked on a semiconductor experiment close to what I did years ago. This was looking at the impact of dopants on the silicon and germanium surfaces.

Jeff Terry has 43 citations

Contrast this to what I did a few years earlier on silicon and another paper for germanium.

Mine has 103 citations

So mine was essentially the seminal work, yet his Stanford group did not cite it, preferring instead to cite a scientist named Matt Copel who I worked with at IBM in the 1988-1989 time frame and co-authored papers with. Copel did not appear to cite me either — apparently, since our paper didn’t use the magic work surfactant that he smartly chose.

That’s the way that breakthroughs work — the original research either gets cited or it gets lost in the shuffle. So as far as breakthroughs in climate science are concerned, unless you actually do the literature search and seek out the breakthroughs, you might think they didn’t occur.

Aha! So there’s this : https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016AGUFMOS11B..04P/abstract

Decades of no breakthroughs is no longer operative. I just need to coin a jazzy term.