Issues & Insights

Putting Climate Models On Trial

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It’s hot. A number of North American cities have set record-high temperatures. But this is summer and that’s not indisputable evidence that man’s use of fossil fuels is overheating the planet. No matter what the Democrats say, how much the media nag, and how loudly zealots screech, the issue is not settled. There’s still enough doubt about the entire enterprise to fill the yawning gap between Earth and some far-away galaxy.

If climate models were on trial – and they should be – that doubt would be magnified by a new post from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, which confirms “models may overestimate warming.”

“Today’s climate models are showing more warmth than their predecessors, forecasting an even hotter future for the same rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. But a paper published this week highlights how models may err on the side of too much warming: Earth’s warming clouds cool the surface more than anticipated, the German-led team reported in Nature Climate Change,” says CIRES.

Jennifer Kay, a CIRES fellow and an associate professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at Colorado University, says “the increase in climate sensitivity from the last generation of climate models should be taken with a huge grain of salt.”

The paper itself suggests that “reliable climate model projections” need improvement and ought to be “guided by process-oriented observations and observational constraints.”

Bad news for the New Green Dealers, good news for reason and science, which is obviously never settled. The findings should force researchers to reevaluate, because …

“Climate modeling has arguably been worse than nothing because false information has been presented as true and ‘consensus,’” says Robert Bradley Jr., author and American Institute for Economic Research fellow, who spotted the paper and wrote an interesting analysis of its overall point.

“Alarmism and disruptive policy activism (forced substitution of inferior energies; challenges to lifestyle norms) have taken on a life of their own. Fire, ready, aim has substituted for prudence, from science to public policy,” he continues.

“Data continue to confound naïve climate models. Very difficult theory is slowly but surely explaining why. The climate debate is back to the physical science, where it never should have left.”

The inadequacy of climate models is not a new discovery. Even though they’ve been the cornerstone for a host of public policy decisions, especially in California, it’s been known for decades that they are unreliable.

In the late 1990s, Gerald North, a Texas A&M University climate scientist, said “we do not know much about modeling climate,” that modeling’s results “could also be sociological: getting the socially acceptable answer,” and that “there is quite a bit of slack here (undetermined fudge factors).”

Since then, the models have not improved. The Economist, certainly not a conservative or right-wing publication trafficking in “misinformation” (as defined by left-wing social media hall monitors), said in 2019, in a story headlined “Predicting the climatic future is riddled with uncertainty,” that “models are crude,” and can miss “much detail.”

“Building models is also made hard by lack of knowledge about the ways that carbon – the central atom in molecules of carbon dioxide and methane, the main heat-capturing greenhouse gases other than water vapor – moves through the environment.”

In that same year, Japanese scientist Mototaka Nakamura wrote a book about “the sorry state of climate science.” Its title? “Confessions of a climate scientist: the global warming hypothesis is an unproven hypothesis.”

Uncertainty was fueled again last year, when a pair of “peer-reviewed papers from independent teams” argued “that climate models overstate atmospheric warming and the problem has gotten worse over time, not better.”

Somewhere we read a comment that said, and we liberally paraphrase, the alarmists are rushing policymakers into doing something, anything about warming before it becomes universally obvious that nothing needs to be done. That’s exactly why the models need to be put in the dock.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

17 comments

  • Global warming (climate change) has been elevated to the status of religion, and is now dogma set in stone. Attempts at discussion (scientific or otherwise) are labeled “climate denial” and shouted down, along with varying degrees of corporate and social media cancellation. No doubt the mainstream media will mostly ignore or downplay these latest findings, as they contradict plans (e.g. CNN, as exposed by Project Veritas) to market or propagandize climate change as the new “emergency” justifying drastic actions along the lines of COVID. The fact that the climate has been remarkably stable during the Industrial Age (1898-1998), rising from 288 degrees Kelvin to 288.8 K (0.8 degrees Kelvin or 0.3% percent) in a century filled with greenhouse gases should have put the “lie” to the global warming mythos a long time ago. But climate religion is now a useful political football driving many lucrative agendas (e.g. carbon taxes, cap-and-trade schemes, renewable energy subsidies, electric vehicle tax credits and mandates, corporate carbon footprint chest-beating, etc.). Too lucrative to abandon, or admit error and faulty climate models. Future historians will likely marvel at early 21st century stupidity and ignorance, and the insatiable power lust and greed of the political class.

  • The biggest problem with computer models is getting them to agree with reality.

  • They refer to the climate models. S as in plural, or many climate models. The simple fact remains….IF the climate was settled then only one climate model would be necessary.

  • IPCC Third Assessment Report
    Chapter 14
    Section 14.2.2.2
    Last paragraph:

    “In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    This information was not included in the Summary Report for Policymakers given to the press and public.

    If the climate is indeed a coupled non-linear chaotic system (who can doubt the IPCC) then there is no rational or scientific basis to make a definitive statement about a future state of the climate.

    At this point the coupled non-linear chaotic nature of the climate makes scientific observations academically interesting but individually they have no relevance in predicting the future state of the climate. The climate is a system which means the relationships among these observations are what is important not the observations themselves.

    All the public discourse regarding the future state of the climate has been based on the false premise that the current climate models are predicting the future state of the climate when in fact the models are merely projecting these states.

    Predictions are the purview of science. Model projections can only agree with predictions when the models duplicate the real world which the IPCC states is impossible to do.

    To base public policy on an unknowable future state of a system defies common sense. However, too much money and political power is at stake for the Central Planners to do otherwise.

  • We already know that the Leftist dogma on Global warming (especially the so-called climate “models”) are totally fake. But the scam won’t end. The models are proven to be fake over and over again and yet the Left just keep running with them and we just keep allowing them to foist imaginary “cures” on us. It doesn’t matter if the constant fraud is exposed if we still allow them to operate as if they’re telling the truth.

  • Scientists who come up with desired outcomes get more funding. The politicians who are using climate change, identity politics and class warfare to pump up their own power are typically the ones who can provide additional as well as continued funding.

    In short, “Who’s your Daddy?” seems to have replaced actual ethics and science.

  • Climate will do what climate will do as it has for hundreds of millions of years. Meanwhile, decisions and policy need to be based on hard fact.

    There are some crucial, verifiable facts, with authoritative citations, about human-generated carbon dioxide and its effect on global warming – and what those hundreds of millions of years have to tell us – people need to know and understand at

    hseneker.blogspot.com

    The discussions – there are two of them – are too long to post here but are a quick and easy read. I recommend following the links in the citations; some of them are very educational.

  • Climate models are WRITTEN with CO2 and methane as the driving factor. It is natural that they do not reflect reality,in the Models, the SUN, Water vapor, and Geologic activity, (all UN-controllable and UN-taxable) are ignored.

  • The earth is 70% water/30% land. -2.3333:1 ratio.
    Glaciers are varying density from snow to firm to glacial ice.
    Float ice melt will not raise sea level.
    So to accomplish a 12” sea level rise we would need the equal of 63” of glaciers to cover all of land on earth and all of it to melt.
    12×2.333×2.33=63
    We’re going to need more ice.

  • There are no statistically valid models with predictive validity in the real world that relate man-made greenhouse gasses to climate.

    Leif Ericson says man-made global warming is a myth. During the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), 950-1250 CE, fields in Greenland were cultivated. During the Little Ice Age (LIA), 1300-1850 CE, these fields became permafrost and still are. That says the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than it is right now. Fossil fuels weren’t a factor in MWP or LIA.

    Look up the Wikipedia entry for Paleoclimatology. The graphs shows the earth has had both no ice and been an ice ball. In neither case did man exist as a species yet.

    It is statistical folly to use about 100 years of data to extrapolate climate cycles that last hundreds or thousands of years. Only the gullible or math challenged believe in the statistical validity of models built on 100 years’ worth of data, that have failed to predict future temperature patterns.

  • The IPCC Report on Climate Change does not predict world calamity. In fact, it only truly purports one real scientific finding – a mostly linear relationship between total CO2 and global temperatures, all other things remaining equal (which they never have).

    If you accept this report as settled science, as I do, then you know there is no “climate crisis,” period. The determining factor does not exist within Climate Science, but in our technology trends – particularly in solar, wind, and batteries. Solar panels and battery storage prices have been declining exponentially for 70 years, and show no indications at all of stopping in the next 20 years. We only need 11. In about 5 years the first generation true grid storage will finally make economic sense, and most importantly will have accumulated enough performance data so that banks will lend. Banks rule innovation, don’t kid yourselves, and until the banks agree performance and reliability are there any new idea is DOA. There are several contenders for 1st Gen Grid Storage, I like Ambri but who knows?

    In about 5 years, we advance from the “Innovators” to the “Early Adopters” phase of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. At that point, solar plus batteries with no fossil backup will be “economically attractive” in most sunny places. 6 years later, they will be half that price – and will work in all but arctic places with no sunlight half the year.

    By 2050 only a few hobbyists will still use fossil fuels from petroleum for energy. Global temperatures will be about 1C cooler than today thanks to the grand solar minimum that began this year, and the only part of AGW for which Climate Models accurately predicted results – Global Greening – will be re-absorbing the extra CO2 for free.

    And, for those non-sunny no-wind places? In about 12 years, utility solar (no storage) will be so cheap in sunny places like Houston that we will be able to manufacture clean burning carbon neutral synthetics to act as drop in replacements for gasoline and diesel for less than the cost to pump and refine petroleum. They will slot right into our existing infrastructure, “greening” legacy equipment and arctic grid generators. https://phys.org/news/2020-07-low-cost-catalyst-seawater-fuel-scale.html

    • Farming at scale? Harvest and production? Transportation? Stores and distribution?
      Consider the torque required to pull a 18 bottom plow, a pea and Lima bean harvester which work in multiples with multiple trucks to get the product into the plant quickly to be processed and frozen to protect quality. The spike in start up of a 30 hp electric motor that the grid must handle. There are many energy conundrums beyond a Tesla that petrol products power and battery/fuel cells can’t. Watch a container ship leave the dock, the tugs that push. This isn’t just Tesla’s and light bulbs.

  • The failing models are the pretense for the carbon credit grift that the eco-elite are so eager to force upon anyone with a paycheck. I hope this information is allowed past the MSM censors.

  • Anyone who thinks the science (ANY science) is EVER settled is a moron that doesn’t understand what true science is all about..

    The Global Warming con is a political agenda poorly disguised as “science”…

  • As I have said for years, they cannot predict the weather 10 days in advance. Why should we believe them when they predict the climate 10, 20 or 50 years in advance?

  • It all has to do with Money and Poolitics if the Money and Politics was cut off we would,nt hear a thing about t his Global Warming/Climate Change Scam

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