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Choosing a career is one of – perhaps the­ – most important decisions you will make. Some people are drawn to one pursuit or another, while others take the time to cycle through careers before they settle on the perfect fit. How do you know which path is right for you?

Here are ten signs you were born to be in digital marketing:

You Know Communication Skills Rule All

As a digital marketer, every second of your day will be occupied with creating, communicating, synthesizing, organizing, and digesting information. From phrasing a sensitive email tactfully to presenting a new campaign proposal to brainstorming copy to reading about updates in your field, every single day is a see-saw of content input and output. The average office worker receives

The average office worker receives 121 emails daily. The average active web user sees an average of 490,000 words per day, more words than The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The average person spends more than 50% of their time online looking at content, be it news sites, social media, or email. One would expect that these figures are even higher for digital marketers who conduct almost all of their business online.

The ability to communicate your message clearly, succinctly, and engagingly reigns above all else. On the flip side, your ability to draw out the main message from material that is imprecise, long-winded, and dull will serve you well. Communication skills operate in both respects.

You can take courses to improve both writing skills and reading comprehension, but it ultimately boils down to practice and influence. Write often, read always. Devour articles, books, and yes, even tweets, by writers who inspire you.

You Have a Creative Spark Waiting to Be Unleashed

Digital marketing is a creative field, and few things in life can compare with the feeling when you zero in on that perfect tagline after hours of tedious back-and-forth – or when you’re struck with an unprovoked lightning bolt of inspiration at 4 am. You know you were born to be in digital marketing if you have an unquenchable desire to share your creativity with the world and see your work bring recognition (and sales) to your clients.

Creativity is often inborn, but it can certainly be nurture. In a survey of CEOs, creativity was highlighted as the #1 most desired skill. It may not seem it, but think of creativity like a muscle that needs to be trained, and creativity in your free time can reap benefits in your professional life. Play an instrument, sketch artwork, attend plays, and listen to comedy routines. Surround yourself with creative expression and tend to your inner creativity.

You Can Change Your Voice

You can fake it ‘til you make it, or you can be proactive in embracing different voices and roles. Sign up for industry newsletters, read niche websites, and create Twitter lists with influential voices in each sector. You want to be on top of it when DropBox is hacked or a postal strike affects gift delivery, not find out weeks after the fact. Immerse yourself in each world and never assume you’ve learned enough.

You Have an Insatiable Hunger for Knowledge

You need to be constantly updating your knowledge about digital marketing, and about your clients and their industries. There’s always a new feature, algorithm update, or hack. You need to have a desire to seek out, read, and digest news, studies, year-end reports, and case studies about digital marketing.

Follow influencers and digital marketing experts and learn from their insights about developments, best practices, and digital marketing resources. At least 64% of marketers use social media for 6+ hours each week; 41% are active on social media for 11+ hours weekly. Supplement your communication skills and creativity with unending scholarship, learning about SEO, web design, graphic design, PR, sales, and the vast number of other fields related to digital marketing.

There is no end to the resources available to aspiring digital marketers, and most of them are free. Take Lynda courses. Get Google AdWords certified. Watch YouTube videos from the world’s leading digital marketers. Attend workshops and seminars in your city. The only limit is your willingness to invest in your future.

You Thrive in an Ever-Evolving Environment

Fingers crossed this never happens, but you might have to handle a PR crisis or chase down a client with an overdue account. You may be smooth sailing, and a new Google algorithm update throws everything into chaos. According to an Adobe survey, 76% of respondents believe marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the previous 50.

Even though you work in digital, you also need to integrate traditional marketing techniques. These ever-evolving environments don’t scare those who were born to be in digital marketing – these scenarios excite them. You get to wear many hats, and impress no matter your role.

You Can Hack It On Your Own…And Play Well With Others

You were born to be in digital marketing if you can work on your own, and succeed in doing so. You need to be extremely self-motivated, organized, and independent. You need to be productive even when no one is there to guide you, and troubleshoot your way out of every dead-end. This is especially true if you set out on your own as a digital marketing consultant.

There are a number of productivity and organization tools you can use to stay on the ball, whether you use Google Calendar, Evernote, Swipes, and more.

At the same time, you need to work well in a team environment. You need to be able to collaborate, delegate, take orders, give orders, and excel whether on your own or as a small cog in a big marketing machine. You need to form a productive and healthy partnership with every client as you work toward shared goals.

You Can Cede the Spotlight, or Step Into it With Poise

As a digital marketing manager, you do work on behalf of your clients. Your best work will often be published and promoted under the names of other people and entities. You were born to be in digital marketing if you are comfortable working in the background and can take pride in your hard work and accomplishments even if you don’t get public recognition. At the same time, you may be asked to take a public role at times, like presenting at a conference or leading a webinar. You are prepared for these instances and approach them with confidence and poise.

You can take courses on public speaking and watch tutorials on how to look more confident and prepared on camera. When you believe in what you’re saying and have a strong understanding of the subject material, it’s a lot easier to buy what you’re selling.

You Embrace Data

Digital marketing is a mix of art and science. You believe in measuring and analyzing the data and making tweaks to improve performance. You aren’t scared of what the numbers say; you welcome them with open arms because they draw a picture of where the results have been and where they need to go.

You learn the terminology and the meaning behind it. You were born to be in digital marketing if terms like CPC, CTR, and ROI feel like home. As much as 42% of B2B marketers point to a lack of quality data as an obstacle in lead generation; you’re eager to change that.

You Never Give Up in the Face of Adversity

You’re going to encounter obstacles in the course of your career as a digital marketer. You will have disappointing campaigns, obstinate clients, creativity slumps, and days/months/years where things don’t go your way. There will always be too little time, too much competition, too little budget, too little data.

You were born to be a digital marketer if you focus on solutions and learning from mistakes, not wallowing in self-pity and doubt. If you take a proactive approach to preventing miscommunications in the first place, even better.

Finally…You Love It

If you flat out love digital marketing, this is a surefire sign that you’ve chosen the right path. From that first meeting with a prospect through the discovery, creative, deployment, and review phases of a digital marketing campaign, you love what you do and can’t imagine enjoying or excelling at any other career path as much. Choosing a career is a difficult decision process, so don’t ignore or mistake the signs that you were born to be a digital marketer.

Even if you weren’t born with a soother in one hand and a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest marketing book in the other, you can still embrace and hone these qualities to become an exceptional digital marketing professional.

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These 7 Signs Show You Have Data Scientist Potential!

Overview

Let’s have a look at these 7 signs to know whether you are a potential data scientist or not

Introduction

Data Science has not just become the “Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” but one of the most exciting job roles. You get to make an impact at the company-wide level with the latest technology and algorithms.

How does a person know that he needs to pursue Data Science? What are the qualities of a Data Scientist that one must look for? He may be interested in coding, building new tech, is patient at debugging. For example, a mathematics aspirant knows he wants to become a mathematician due to his interest in mathematical concepts and a knack for solving problems. So what are the signs that define a data scientist and one must look within themselves to know if they are a potential data scientist or not?

The role of a data scientist is really crucial to the whole organization and the economy as a whole. But the problem is – there is a shortage of “Skilled” data scientists globally. The AI and ML Blackbelt+ program aims to make you an industry-ready certified data science professional with 14+ courses, 39+ real-life projects, and 1:1 mentorship sessions so that you are never off-track.

If you are new to the world of data science, I suggest you go through the data science roadmap –

Table of Contents

Love Number Crunching

You are always up for solving Puzzles

Enjoy solving unstructured problems

You are curious – always asking “Why?”

You have a knack for problem-solving

Enjoy deep research

Love telling Stories – Great at presenting

1. Love Number Crunching and Solving Puzzles

If you love crunching numbers and solving logical problems based on probability, statistics, puzzles then chances are that you have a natural tendency of becoming a data scientist or a business analyst. By “love”, I don’t mean calculating the bill split among your friends accurately, but a craze that reaches to next level.

For example, guessing the number of boys in India that are under 15 years. This is known as guess estimate and Data science interviewers love asking these questions. I have found the perfect article for you to understand problem-solving as data scientists –

2. Enjoy solving unstructured problems

Unstructured problems are everywhere around us. In an Edtech company, the management may be asking – how do we increase the revenue on our courses? Whereas in a social networking company, the question maybe – How do we increase the user retention on our app. Do you notice something wrong with these questions? Well, these are unstructured problems.

An important aspect of being a data scientist is the ability to form well-defined goals. A structured approach to the above question can be – To retain 20% more customers through the slide-down feature in the next 3 months. The goal should represent What? Why? How?

Next time, if you find yourself in the middle of a problem and you find yourself breaking down the problem into smaller goals, this might be a good starting sign of becoming a data scientist.

3. You are curious – always asking “Why?”

Do you find yourself questioning other people’s assumptions? Are you not able to end your day without asking “Why this? Why that? Why this over that?” You may be a natural fit to become a data scientist.

For example, in the above example, you may want to question the management and ask – Why do we want to retain customers? Can we retain only the paying customers? why focus on retention rather than user acquisition?

Some of the best data scientists would stop anyone and ask for a rationale if they are not clear – Why did you ask this question? What was your thought process? Why do you assume so? are just a few examples of these questions!

Do you find yourself in the middle of these signs? You love problem-solving but don’t love mathematics by heart? A lot of these qualities can be gained with practice. The AI and ML Blackbelt+ certified Data Science program aims to take you from zero-to-hero with its 14+ courses, 39+ real-life projects, and 1:1 mentorship sessions with experts!

4. You have a knack for problem-solving

The easiest sign that tells you are a potential data scientist is the addiction to solving problems. The fridge is not working? You try to identify the root cause of the problem. The sales of your company have decreased the quarter, you try to understand the root cause of the problem.

Data Scientist’s role is not just to apply machine learning algorithms to build an accurate model, it is to formulate a problem statement, form a hypothesis, data analysis, data model, and then finding the best results and communicating to the management. Each of these steps requires a knack for solving problems.

5. Enjoy Deep Research

A Data scientist needs to sit on a single problem statement for a long duration of time, going back and forth to the stakeholders to understand their requirements, trying out different hypotheses, mining data, different modeling techniques until the results have been achieved.

Are you someone who finds themselves not giving up until the problem has been solved? Studying and Googling and researching on a single problem. When was the last time you spent hours and hours immersed in solving a problem? Can you do that again and again?

6. Love telling Stories – Great at presenting

There is always a person in the room who tells amazing stories. No one can resist listening to him and he impresses everyone with his storytelling skills. Are you that person?

A Data scientist needs to be great at storytelling. What is the use of all the hard work, if he is not able to influence his stakeholders? Communicating with data and presenting stories backed by data is one of the most important elements in the life of a data scientist.

7. Love Experimentations

Do you find yourself experimenting at any time in the day? I don’t mean science experiments. A part of being a data scientist is to be curious.

What is the best mode of transportation to the office? If I find traffic at the X traffic signal, what is my estimated time of arrival? What if I travel halfway through the bus and then take the metro at the signal where I find traffic 90% of the time? These problems seem trivial but a large part of your life is going to be filled with experimentations.

If you love to experiment and play with curiosity in your daily life then being a data scientist is going to be a fun job for you!

End Notes

Being a data scientist is one of the most exciting roles and I love being part of this awesome community.

Were you able to relate to the points mentioned above? You are probably going to enjoy being a data scientist and do some amazing work in this field. The AI and ML Blackbelt+ program aims to nurture your talent as a data scientist and make you an industry-ready professional. You can check out the program here.

Which point were you able to relate to the most?

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10 Ways To Be A Great Social Media User

I read Matt Leonard’s post on 10 Ways to be a Great SEO a while back and thought it would be great to put a social spin on it (even if this IS 4 months late). Without further ado, here are 10 ways you can help build your social network/portfolio.

1. Socialize

2. Diversify

If your goal is better brand yourself or just simply to network, choose more than just one outlet to do that. Twitter is probably one of the best ways of interacting with your followers, but adding those same connections to Facebook or LinkedIn tends to take that relationship to a different level where you can share connections, photos and more. In my opinion it helps to solidify the friendship that you were building on the other portals.

3. Participate

It’s one thing to have a Twitter or Digg account, it’s another to use them. Twitter currently has over 70% of accounts that are considered “inactive”. I’ve had periods of time where Twitter was the last thing on my mind and with the myriad of ways I could update my status, I just didn’t want to. I feel like I’ve missed out on a bunch of things and have let some relationships stagnate because of those deserted periods.

One way to make your Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon account obsolete is to ignore it. I’ve unfortunately found that out the hard way, but I’ve also talked with many people who’ve had the same problem. Accounts just aren’t as strong and don’t garner the votes they used to when you socialized and participated in the past.

4. Contribute

Sites like Digg and other social news sites wouldn’t even be around with the submissions of its users. I’ll take this a step further and say you should really contribute quality articles (there’s enough spam as it is already). Along with supporting your friends’ accounts, build up your own by constantly looking and submitting good articles. Digg/Reddit/SU users notice someone who submits quality over quantity.

5. Be Real

Whether the account is your own personal one or business’s, don’t be fake…anyone can smell a fake from a mile away. A great example of this is the @10e20 account, there’s a great mixture of comedy, news-worthy links and communication amongst its followers. I gather the added snarkiness has come from bringing @rebeccakelley to the team 🙂 Be who you are and who you know how to be and you will get REAL followers that want to follow you because of what you say and what you share.

6. Consistency

As I stated above, I highly regret the depressions in usage on Twitter in the past. Hubspot did a pretty interesting article on the optimum number of tweets per day to gain the most followers. While those graphs are nifty, I think this goes back to my previous mention of being real. If you’re a talkative person, tweet to your hearts desire. Don’t feel obligated to tweet/digg/submit a certain amount of times per day because it’s “statistically better”, that’s when things can get sloppy. Find what works best for you and stick with it.

7. Be Meaningful

Above all, the thing that will make you shine the most is to show people that you actually give a crap! So many people out there are trying to reach that 10,000th follower or reach a certain number of front page stories they’ve submitted. My philosophy is, if you continue to do the simple things listed in this article, you’ll eventually get there. It may not be the path that gets you there the quickest, but it’ll be a path filled with meaningful relationships and friends that will gladly share your stories, upvote your submissions, have a conversation with you on Facebook chat or whatever. I love the piece Lisa Barone wrote on How to Be Remembered. It really struck a cord with me not in just networking, but it blogging and client work as well. Make it a priority to genuinely care about the people you’re interacting with and you’ll build more than just a number on a follower’s list.

8. Get Creative

Probably one of the best examples of creativity on Twitter is @darthvader’s account! I don’t think I’ve seen a funnier set of tweets for another account than his, taking somewhat of a Robot Chicken-ish approach to his tweets, like this:

9. Monitor

This may be more for a business than for a personal account and probably more so for Twitter than most places, but listen to those who talk to/about you. Comcast did an awesome job of this by creating their slew of Comcast employee accounts as well as the main @comcastcares account. They were able to turn the majority of bad tweets into solutions for those with the issues.

One company that I think has failed in this area is AT&T (of which I will thankfully no longer be a customer of in 3 hours). Toward the beginning of August, AT&T was a trending topic on Twitter for nearly 3 weeks straight (on and off). If the tweet wasn’t about the iphone, it was usually something about how AT&T screwed up their bill, being on the phone with tech support for over an hour or some other negative tweet. Unfortunately, for AT&T, they have done little, if nothing to quell the barrage of negativity online. And while it may not be a big deal now to a large corporation, I’m sure there will come a time where no company will be safe, large or small.

10. Relevance

Staying relevant can be a key factor in why someone does and does not follow you. It’s understandable to be random on your own personal account, but if you’re looking to brand yourself or your business account, it’s important to share and promote stories within your industry. This will lead to more followers that talk about what you talk about and can help in further promoting your stories and building beneficial relationships with those who you share common interests with.

So there it is…10 ways you can personally become better at social media. Not the standard, by any means, but one that has worked for myself and many others I’ve spoken with. I’d love to hear of any ideas and practices that you have used to better your social accounts. Note that each social portal is different and users on each will likely be so (like when I was on Plurk a long while back), so find what works best for you.

Vince Blackham is the owner of Primary Affect, an internet marketing business where he focuses on SEO, viral marketing and Reputation Management for his clientele.  He has been in the business for over 6 years and is very passionate about marketing.  Vince is also a huge Colts fan.

Top 10 Skills To Learn From A Digital Marketing Course Online

blog / Digital Marketing Top 10 Hireable Skills to Gain From a Digital Marketing Course Online

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This guide delves into the top ten essential and highly sought-after digital marketing skills that you can acquire through a digital marketing course online. Read along to unlock the secrets of success in digital marketing! 

10 Hireable Skills to Learn From Digital Marketing Courses Online

Here are the 10 most hireable digital marketing skills that recruiters and companies are looking for:

1. Digital Marketing

As the importance of digital marketing strategies continues to increase, so does the demand for skilled experts who can guide organizations in implementing effective marketing campaigns. Possessing digital marketing skills entails a solid understanding of fundamental principles and strategies in the field. These skills include proficiency in goal setting, identifying target audiences, and planning effective campaigns. Furthermore, professionals must be adept at promoting products, services, or brands through various digital channels.

2. Advertising  3. Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing involves creating content for social media to establish a brand identity, build a following, and generate traffic. Digital marketing professionals must comprehensively understand various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Additionally, professionals should also know how to effectively measure the performance of their social media campaigns using analytics tools. 

4. Data Science 

Professionals proficient in data science skills can collect, analyze, and interpret large data sets, and thus extract meaningful insights. Moreover, with the massive growth of digital data, businesses increasingly realize the importance of data-driven decision-making in their marketing strategies. Therefore, companies can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends by harnessing data. 

5. Graphic Design 6. Product Marketing 

Digital marketing professionals skilled in product marketing are crucial in effectively bridging the gap between product development and marketing. Product marketing skills ensure that the right message reaches the right audience. This, in turn, helps to contribute to the overall success of a business. In addition to this, these professionals should also have a profound understanding of their target audience, market trends, and competitive landscape.

7. Corporate Communications 

Professionals skilled in corporate communications create engaging content for diverse digital channels, including websites, blogs, social media platforms, and email newsletters. These skills acquired from a digital marketing course online can help professionals excel in crafting and delivering effective communication strategies. Furthermore, corporate communication skills help in managing internal communications within an organization.

8. Sales Operations 

Professionals with sales operations skills play a vital role in optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales process, aligning sales and marketing efforts, and driving revenue growth. They deeply understand sales methodologies, customer relationship management systems, and data analysis. Additionally, sales operation skills help professionals work closely with the sales and marketing teams to ensure seamless coordination and collaboration.

9. Web Development 

Web development skills are crucial in digital marketing, enabling professionals to create user-friendly websites and optimize a business’s online presence for maximum impact. These skills facilitate the seamless integration of digital marketing tools by leveraging analytics and social media integration. Furthermore, web development expertise ensures search engine optimization, increasing visibility to potential customers. 

10. Writing 

Content writing skills are crucial in creating diverse content across digital platforms. Professionals with writing skills can craft engaging and persuasive written content for websites, blogs, social media, and more. Furthermore, professionals skilled in writing can craft engaging headlines, compelling product descriptions, and search engine-optimized content that captivates readers, driving traffic and growth for a business. 

ALSO READ: DHow to Build a Successful Career in Digital Marketing

FAQs How Can a Digital Marketing Course Online Help You to Develop Hireable Skills in 2023?

A digital marketing course online can provide tremendous benefits when gaining hireable skills. It equips one with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to succeed in the digital marketing industry. Additionally, by enrolling in a digital marketing course, you can cultivate diverse hireable skills, gain hands-on experience, and establish yourself as a competitive candidate in the job market. 

What Kind of Job Opportunities Can You Get With the Hireable Skills Learned From a Digital Marketing Course Online?

Additionally, with the hireable skills gained from a digital marketing course online, you can pursue various job opportunities and specialize in different areas of digital marketing. Furthermore, some of the potential career paths to explore in the field include: 

Digital marketing specialist 

Social media manager  

Digital account executive

Copywriter

Email marketer

Graphic designer 

Digital strategist 

ALSO READ: Digital Marketing Jobs Demystified: Key Tips to Land Your Dream Job

What are the Best Paid Digital Marketing Skills?

Here are some of the skills that have the most impact on digital marketing salaries:

Brand marketing and strategy 

Audience analytics 

Email marketing

Affiliate marketing

Copywriting 

ALSO READ: What is the Best Salary Range That a Digital Marketer Can Expect?

Develop Hireable Digital Marketing Skills With Emeritus

In conclusion, actively upskilling through a digital marketing course online is a great way to stand apart from the competition and significantly improve one’s chances of getting hired. And the best way to upskill is by exploring these digital marketing courses from Emeritus. Get the tools and knowledge from the world’s best universities and thrive in this exciting field.

By Krati Joshi

Write to us at [email protected]

All The Questions You Had About Climate Models But Were Afraid To Ask

Climate scientists tell us it’s going to get hotter. How much it rains and where it rains is likely to shift. Sea-level rise is apt to accelerate. Oceans are on their way to becoming more acidic and less oxygenated. Floods, droughts, storms and other extreme weather events are projected to change in frequency or intensity.

But how do they know what they know?

For climate scientists, numerical models are the tools of the trade. But for the layperson — and even for scientists in other fields — climate models can seem mysterious. What does “numerical” even mean? Do climate models take other things besides the atmosphere into account? How do scientists know if a model is any good?

Two experts in climate modeling, Andrew Gettelman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Richard Rood of the University of Michigan, have your answers and more, free of charge. In a new open-access book, Demystifying Climate Models, the pair lay out the fundamentals. In 282 pages, the scientists explain the basics of climate science, how that science is translated into a climate model, and what those models can tell us (as well as what they can’t) — all without using a single equation.

AtmosNews sat down with Gettelman to learn more about the book, which anyone can download here.

Climate models divide the world into a 3D grid. Scientists evaluate the effect of solar radiation, water surface temperatures, carbon pollution and other variables in each cell. Wikipedia

What was the motivation to write this book?

There isn’t really another book that sets out the philosophy and structure of models. There are textbooks, but inside you’ll find a lot of physics and chemistry: information about momentum equations, turbulent fluxes — which is useful if you want to build your own model.

And then there are books on climate change for the layperson, and they devote maybe a paragraph to climate modeling. There’s not much in the middle.

This book provides an introduction for the beginning grad student, or someone in another field who is interested in using model output, or anyone who is just curious how climate works and how we simulate it.

What are some of the biggest misperceptions about climate models that you hear?

One is that people say climate models are based on uncertain science. But that’s not true at all. If we didn’t know the science, my cellphone wouldn’t work. Radios wouldn’t work. GPS wouldn’t work.

That’s because the energy that warms the Earth, which radiates from the Sun, and is absorbed and re-emitted by Earth’s surface — and also by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — is part of the same spectrum of radiation that makes up radio waves. If we didn’t understand electromagnetic waves, we couldn’t have created the technology we rely on today. The same is true for the science that underlies other aspects of climate models.

Greenhouse gasses reflect infrared radiation back to Earth. Environmental Protection Agency

But we don’t understand everything, right?

We have understood the basic physics for hundreds of years. The last piece of it, the discovery that carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere, was put in place in the late 19th, early 20th century. Everything else — the laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics — was all worked out between the 17th and 19th centuries.

We do still have uncertainty in our modeling systems. A big part of this book is about how scientists understand that uncertainty and actually embrace it as part of their work. If you know what you don’t know and why, you can use that to better understand the whole climate system.

Can we ever eliminate the uncertainty?

Not entirely. In our book, we break down uncertainty into three categories: model uncertainty (How good are the models at reflecting how the Earth really works?), initial condition uncertainty (How well do we understand what the Earth system looks like right now?), and scenario uncertainty (What will future emissions look like?)

To better understand, it might help to think about the uncertainty that would be involved if you had a computer model that could simulate making a pizza. Instead of trying to figure out what Earth’s climate would look like in 50 or 100 years, this model would predict what your pizza would look like when it was done.

The Earth’s climate is like a delicious pizza. Pixabay

The first thing you want to know is how well the model reflects the reality of how a pizza is made. For example, does the model take into account all the ingredients you need to make the pizza, and how they will each evolve? The cheese melts, the dough rises and the pepperoni shrinks. How well can the model approximate each of those processes? This is model uncertainty.

The second thing you’d want to know is if you can input all the pizza’s “initial conditions” into the model. Some initial conditions — like how many pepperoni slices are on the pizza and where — are easy to observe, but others are not.

For example, kneading the pizza dough creates small pockets of air, but you don’t know exactly where they are. When the dough is heated, the air expands and forms big bubbles in the crust. If you can’t tell the model where the air pockets are, it can’t accurately predict where the crust bubbles will form when the pizza is baked.

The same is true for a climate model. Some parts of the Earth, like the deep oceans and the polar regions, are not easy to observe with enough detail, leaving scientists to estimate what the conditions there are like and leading to the second type of uncertainty in the model results.

Finally, the pizza-baking model also has to deal with “scenario uncertainty,” because it doesn’t know how long the person baking the pizza will keep it in the oven, or at what temperature. Without understanding the choices the human will make, the model can’t say for sure if the dough will be soft, crispy or burnt.

With climate models, over long periods of time, like a century, we’ve found that this scenario uncertainty is actually the dominant one. In other words, we don’t know how much carbon dioxide humans around the world going to emit in the years and decades to come, and it turns out that that’s what matters most.

Climate change is making tropical cyclones more powerful. Pixabay

Any other misperceptions you frequently hear?

People always say, “If we can’t predict the weather next week, how can we know what the climate will be like in 50 years?”

Generally speaking, we can’t perfectly predict the weather because we don’t have a full understanding of all the current conditions. We don’t have observations for every grid point on a weather model or for large parts of the ocean, for example.

But climate is not concerned about the exact weather on a particular day 50 or 100 years from now. Climate is the statistical distribution of weather, not a particular point on that distribution. Climate prediction is focused on the statistics of this distribution, and that is governed by conservation of energy and mass on long time scales, something we do understand.

Did you learn anything about climate modeling while working on the book?

My background is the atmosphere. I sat down and wrote the whole section on the atmosphere in practically one sitting. But I had to learn about the other aspects of models, the ocean and the land, which work really differently. The atmosphere has only one boundary, a bottom boundary. We just have to worry about how it interacts with mountains and other bumps on the surface.

But the ocean has three hard boundaries: the bottom and the sides, like a giant rough bathtub. It also has a boundary with the atmosphere on the top. Those boundaries really change how the ocean moves. And the land is completely different because it doesn’t move at all. Writing this book really gave me a new appreciation for some of the subtleties of other parts of the Earth System and the ways my colleagues model them.

What was the most fun part of writing the book for you?

I think having to force myself to think in terms of analogies that are understandable to a variety of people. I can describe a model using a whole bunch of words most people don’t use every day, like “flux.” It was a fun challenge to come up with words that would accurately describe the models and the science but that were accessible to everyone.

AtmosNews reports on the work of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

These Prehistoric Rodents Were Social Butterflies

Gatherings have been upended this year, as many of us meet over Zoom or in distanced and masked settings outdoors to avoid the risk of contributing to the spread of COVID-19. But one thing hasn’t changed: Humans are social animals, and we need each other. New research that analyzed the fossil record of Egg Mountain, a paleontology site in Montana, suggests that this gregarious trait may go farther back than scientists previously thought.

Published in Nature Ecology & Evolution this week, the work investigates a newly identified small mammal from the Late Cretaceous epoch (about 75.5 million years ago) that resembles today’s rodent. The researchers named the animal Filikomys primaevus (“youthful, friendly mouse”) because they believe the palm-sized creature lived in groups. The fossilized remains have been found in a number of sites on the mountain, and all of them were found in close proximity to others of the same species.

“They occur in these clusters of either two to five individuals with near-complete skeletons and skulls,” says study author Lucas N. Weaver, a Ph.D candidate in the University of Washington’s department of biology. This placement, along with the fact that multiple individuals of different ages and genders make up these clusters, suggests to Weaver and his colleagues that the animals likely lived together.

They also believe that the animals lived in burrows, much as modern chipmunks do, based on the fact that the skeletons, which were well-preserved, appear to have a strong front end—a feature known to be good for digging.

If true, this would be the earliest example of mammals exhibiting social behavior beyond coming together to mate or raise young. The majority of modern mammals—about 70 percent—aren’t social creatures, Weaver says, and the trait was previously believed to have evolved at the same time as the placental group of mammals, which includes humans and other apes.

Scientists used to believe that the mammals that lived prior to the KT extinction event, which wiped out the dinosaurs, were relatively unsophisticated creatures. In this framing, it took the dinos’ extinction to open up new spaces for mammals to evolve into. But studies in recent years have shown that might not be the case, Weaver says, and this paper is a contribution to that idea. “It’s adding to this growing narrative that Mesozoic mammals were actually very diverse,” he says.

Given the evidence, “The logical inference is that there is some overlapping intergenerational gathering of these animals,” says Jennifer E. Smith, a Mills College professor of biology who studies sociality in mammals. However, she cautions, without a time machine it’s impossible to know for sure what the social lives of the friendly mice of Egg Mountain actually looked like. The fossil record can only say so much about how animals behaved when they were alive.

Still, “I think it’s a great building block for future studies to learn more broadly about mammalian social evolution,” she says.

Smith is particularly intrigued by the fact that these animals all seem to have died together or been placed together in the burrows after death. We know that mammals like humans, elephants, and even honeybees have ritualized ways of disposing of their dead, and that might be what’s happening with these fossils, she says.

This research is the newest finding out of the Egg Mountain site, which contains a wealth of information about the animals of the Cretaceous. But Weaver says more papers are on the way. Personally, he’s working on research to better understand the physiology of the multituberculates, the large and diverse group of mammals to which the friendly mice belong. He also anticipates more work on the evolution of the multituberculates. “Now that we have these skulls and complete dentition and skeletons, we can ask much more detailed questions about their evolutionary relationships.”

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