Future Global Warming Likely Lower: Second Chance for Humanity?

globalwarmingquestionCredit: Image191: DreamstimeA major new study published in Nature Geoscience reports that future global warming is likely to be significantly less than many climate model projections have suggested. The authors cannot be characterized by opponents as climate change "deniers." Using recent data from the continued slowdown in global temperature increases, the researchers estimated new equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate response numbers.

As Phys.org explains:

The sensitivity of our planet to a doubling of the concentration can be expressed using two different measures. One measure, the transient climate response, describes the immediate, short-term warming. This figure is the one that really matters to policy makers. The other measure, the equilibrium climate sensitivity, describes the long-term commitment once the climate system has come into balance with the enhanced level of greenhouse gases.

The new Nature Geoscience study found:

The most likely value of equilibrium climate sensitivity based on the energy budget of the most recent decade is 2.0 °C, with a 5–95% confidence interval of 1.2–3.9 °C. ...

The best estimate of TCR based on observations of the most recent decade is 1.3 °C (0.9–2.0 °C).

The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has consistently held to a higher estimate of climate sensitivity of between 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius with a best estimate of 3 degrees. In other words, the new best estimate  reported in Nature Geoscience is a full degree lower than the IPCC's.

The new study is something of a triumph for statistician Nic Lewis (who is a co-author) whose methods to estimate climate sensitivity were used in this new study. In a Journal of Climate study earlier this year Lewis calculated climate sensitivity at between 1 and 3 degrees Celsius. For those interested in delving deeper into the numbers, see Lewis' post at Watts Up With That.

Given this lower estimate, the popular science magazine New Scientist characterizes the new findings as "a second chance to save the climate" by which it means that the most draconian efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels will likely not be necessary to keep the eventual average in increase in global temperature under the 2 degrees Celsius threshold. 

With regard to the transient temperature increase, Rational Optimist (and Reason contributor) Matt Ridley, is, well, somewhat more optimistic. He observes:

The most likely estimate is 1.3C. Even if we reach doubled carbon dioxide in just 50 years, we can expect the world to be about two-thirds of a degree warmer than it is now, maybe a bit more if other greenhouse gases increase too. That is to say, up until my teenage children reach retirement age, they will have experienced further warming at about the same rate as I have experienced since I was at school.

At this rate, it will be the last decades of this century before global warming does net harm. As the economist Bjørn Lomborg recently summarised the economic consensus: “Economic models show that the overall impact of a moderate warming (1-2C) will be beneficial [so] global warming is a net benefit now and will likely stay so till about 2070.”

The new calculations are signficantly below earlier figures reported by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As Climatologist James Annan from the JAMSTEC Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences in Yokohama, Japan notes:

The results are described in rather strange terms, considering what they have actually presented. They argue that the new result for sensitivity "is in agreement with earlier estimates, within the limits of uncertainty". But of course none of the published estimates are inconsistent with each other in the sense of having non-overlapping uncertainty ranges - no-one credible has excluded a value of about 2.5C, that I am aware of. The contrasting claim that the analysis of transient response gives a qualitatively different outcome (being somewhat lower than both the previous IPCC assessment, and the range obtained from GCMs) is just weird, since both their ECS and TCR results are markedly lower than the IPCC and GCM ranges.

This looks like a pretty unreasonable attempt to spin the result as nothing new for sensitivity, when it is clearly something very new indeed from these authors, and implies a marked lowering of the IPCC "likely" range. Although the paper does not explicitly mention it, the "likely" range for equilibrium climate sensitivity using the full 40y of data seems to be about 1.3-3C (reading off the graph by eye, the lower end may be off a bit due to the nonlinear scale). So although the analysis does depend on a few approximations and simplifications, it's hard to see how they could continue to defend the 2-4.5C range.

It will indeed be interesting to see if the IPCC continues "to defend the 2-4.5C range."

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    It has been cold and rainy here for days. Plainly, this is confirmation of our impending incineration.

  • Almanian!||

    "BUT WEATHER IS NOT CLIMATE!!!!" in 3....2....1.....

  • Brian D||

    Unless it's an especially strong tornado or hurricane happening in a place where those things are common. Then it's climate again.

  • Brett L||

    Its like every time there's a relatively strong temperature differential driven by the heating of the northern hemisphere by more direct sunlight, a cetain region of the US experiences strong tornadoes.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The authors cannot be characterized by opponents as climate change "deniers."

    I have every confidence they'll be able to develop new, scaled set of terms for the various levels of deniers. In this case, Nature Geoscience has been paid off by Medium Oil.

  • Bill||

    These guys are just climate change changers, not deniers.

  • Dweebston||

    +1/2

  • Bill||

    They had to say it was not really that new and different and that the earlier estimates were in the same ball park in order to get it through review more easily. It's the politics of doing science, especially in this field the last 20 years.

  • Ron Bailey||

    B: Alas, you are likely right about their reluctance to be more forthright about their results. Imagine how differently they would have sounded had they found a higher climate sensitivity number.

  • Jayburd||

    HIDE THE DECLINE!

  • some guy||

    Future Global Warming Likely Lower: Second Chance for Humanity?

    I have to take issue with this title. The Earth is doing what the Earth does. If our original predictions of danger were incorrect then realizing our error does not constitute a "second chance". A "second chance" would be if catastrophic CO2-driven AGW were real, but then a massive volcano erupted (or medium-sized meteor struck), cooled the globe and gave us extra time to address the threat.

    I find this is a common theme in science reporting. A change in our understanding of reality is often reported as a change in reality.

  • some guy||

    I should also say that I'm not really attacking you, Ron. There's no obfuscation in the article, it's the just the title hit one of my pet peeves. I think you are one of the better reporters out there on this issue.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yeah, I see that all the time. Very annoying.

  • Canman||

    CO2 only absorbs and emits infrared radiation at certain wavelengths. The CO2 that is in the air has already got most of this IR, so additional CO2 has a diminishing effect, hence the flattening logarithmic curve. Other chemicals, such as those released in the manufacture of solar cells are just starting their IR effect.

  • some guy||

    Did you see that the US and allies are complaining that China is subsidizing its solar industry and flooding the global market with cheap solar tech? You'd think this would be seen as a "good" thing by first-world governments... but no. Our government thinks that we should be the ones wasting money on expensive energy!

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    This is the progressives thought process. They think that if we increase efficiency and decrease the labour requirements/cost of an item that that is bad because LESS JOBZZZZ. They don't even consider the fact that now consumer capital is open to spend on other things that they have saved from spending on the now cheaper original item. They do not see past the first effect of something and assume everything is isolated.

    It is the same idea with this China subsidizing bs. That just means the US gets cheaper panel and overall makes the US economy more efficient. Why should we pay more for these things when the Chinese are willing to subsidize their panels? Why should we waste capital just to "buy domestic"?

  • sarcasmic||

    Progressives believe in wealth through scarcity.

    You see, the more scarce something is, the more you can charge for it. The more you charge, the wealthier you become.

    See?

  • Lord Humungus||

    phew! I was really, really worried there. or not.

  • tarran||

    In the meantime, the pile on the former cartoonist turned superstition peddler John Cook continues.

    Remember the 97% of papers support CAGW article?

    It turns out several scientists whose papers supposedly were part of that 97% are denying that their papers support CAGW.

    So, to sum up the past weeks analysis of his paper, John Cook's independent reviewers colluded with each other to form conclusions as to what percentage of papers supported CAGW (a meaningless exercise, but they need the propaganda boost), the reviewers miscategorized papers as supporting CAGW that didn't, and even the ones that didn't argue that CAGW was occurring but analyzed global warming without concern for the cause were categorized as promoting CAGW.

    And Barack Obama's administration promoted it!

    The CAGW cult has done as much damage as those millennial cults in the early middle ages that claimed people should burn their stuff since Christ would return at 1000AD. But, I just can't fear them when they are at Scientologist levels of shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Almanian!||

    It turns out several scientists whose papers supposedly were part of that 97% are denying that their papers support CAGW.

    Denying denial deniers denied!

    I think....

  • Drave Robber||

    ...ergo you do sums.

  • Whahappan?||

    Unfortunately, this will be go down the memory hole, but the 97% will be endlessly cited. And many of those citing it will know it's a lie.

  • Raston Bot||

    Whenever someone mentions the IPCC, I'm reminded of that SNL skit where Harry Caray interviews Jeff Goldblum.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    It's a simple question Doctor: would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs?

  • Mike M.||

    Translation: the jig is up, the scam is finished, and we all know it.

  • Almanian!||

    ERMAHGERD, CLERMERT CHERNGE!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The authors cannot be characterized by opponents as climate change "deniers."

    Deniers! Heretics! BURRNNNNN THEEEMMMMMMM!!!!!!

    Somebody in the comments a while back predicted that climate scientists would begin to slowly walk back most of the earlier extraordinary claims that are not holding up to reality, one cautious small step at a time. Don't buck the consensus! Don't get labeled a denier! (Don't jeopardize the funding.) But sloooowwwwlyyyy bending the consensus in the right direction, that's acceptable.

  • ||

    I'd pay cash money to see temps start to decrease. The satisfying salty ham tears would be exquisite.

    My opinion (for what that's worth):

    1. Temps were rising without explanation.
    2. CO2 hypothesis brought forward.
    3. Models developed to match recent temp increase. But twice nothing is still nothing, so feedback loops were concocted to make nothing something.
    4. Since we don't live in an unstable system, these feedback loops didn't materialize and thus the models didn't match observations.
    5. Hypothesis failed. Something other than increased CO2 caused the warming.

    If nothing else, this entire fiasco has been a great experiment in group think. Oh, and throw in hubris.

  • JW||

    You forgot the most important one of all:

    6. Claim success at fighting AGW and take the credit.

  • Rasilio||

    Net result, AGW is real, it is happening, and it is absolutely not a problem we need to worry about.

    Put a little effort into mitigation in low lying areas like Bangladesh and some of the lower pacific isles, take the regulatory reins off of nuke power research, and let the commercialization of space travel run it's course any by the 2070's we'll have pretty much eliminated most sources of pollution and be well on our way to moving most of the really dirty industrial manufacturing off planet.

  • Sevo||

    "Put a little effort into mitigation in low lying areas like Bangladesh and some of the lower pacific isles,"

    Some of the 'mitigation' may well be moving people out.
    Regardless of how much CO^2 has to do with the change, change is constant and living on what amounts to a global flood plain is not a good idea.
    As regards Bangladesh, they need a government transplant. Their situation is exactly like Holland's, except Holland learned that trade makes people wealthy enough to put up dikes.

  • Dweebston||

    You mean we can decouple the problems engendered by AGW from the solution of retrograde productivity offered by liberals?

  • robc||

    We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of
    the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the
    charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and
    got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It's a
    little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the
    viscosity of air. It's interesting to look at the history of
    measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan. If you
    plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little
    bigger than Millikan's, and the next one's a little bit bigger than
    that, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that, until
    finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

    Why didn't they discover that the new number was higher right away?
    It's a thing that scientists are ashamed of--this history--because
    it's apparent that people did things like this: When they got a
    number that was too high above Millikan's, they thought something
    must be wrong--and they would look for and find a reason why
    something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to
    Millikan's value they didn't look so hard. And so they eliminated
    the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.
    We've learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don't have that
    kind of a disease.

    Sometimes Feynman could be wrong.

  • tarran||

    Feynman was being sarcastic in the bolded bit.

  • robc||

    Was he?

    I should probably read the whole address. Ive read bits and pieces of it.

    Any idea of their is footage of it? It would be cool to watch.

    1974ish commencement address from Cal, I think.

  • robc||

    1974 was correct.

    Cal Tech, not Cal.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think I have seen that particular address, but I remember watching something where he told that story. There is a lot of good stuff form Feynman on Youtube. I have found a bunch of really great lectures for the layperson with decent science and math background.

  • Dweebston||

    In other words, scientists knew enough humility to doubt their own results if they deviated too far from expected norms, but now we'll publish anything without question so long as they conform to expected norms.

  • robc||

    No, in other words, they are still doing the same thing, the numbers for future global warming keep coming down, but they dont stray to far from the "consensus" so as to not be treated as kooks.

  • Dweebston||

    The effect seems similar, but the Millikan experiments tended to the right answer, eventually, while the AGW crowd seems clustered around the same range of values. Millikan seems to represent a conservative push to an eventually correct value, while the consensus-driven model of climate change is being dragged there kicking and screaming by its own data.

    Or maybe I'm just splitting hairs.

  • robc||

    I think its the same thing, as the answer is trending downwards towards what is probably the "truth".

    I think you might be right about the behind the scenes reasoning for the gradual change instead of just jumping to the right answer, but the process is still the same.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Confirmation bias. Among the more insidious plagues that infect science.

    It is exactly because of this why the charge of "DENIERS!" is so offensive. There are no more important people in the scientific community than those who challenge the status quo. Whether they are right or wrong, they are the only real defense against confirmation bias.

  • Brett L||

    What Feynman was trying to say was that while you must not fool yourself about being correct when you are not (the first place to start), you must not fool yourself about being "incorrect" when your data deviate from the readings of authority. If you have examined your data for systemic bias and eliminated all the sources you can think of, you should publish the data you have without resorting to statistical manipulation to make it "feel" better.

  • Brett L||

    What Feynman was trying to say What Feynman elegantly said if you read the whole address

  • Juice||

    The best thing you could do, though, is to examine all the data and variables so thoroughly that you can show why the "authority" was wrong (or a bit off).

  • Sevo||

    Guy carrying sign:
    WORLD will not END TOMORROW~!

  • Dweebston||

    Does 2 degrees' higher temperature necessitate stalling all economic development until suitable carbon-neutral sources of energy have been deployed? Even if economic stagnation delays or eliminates perfecting those technologies?

    I ask because I'm holding onto an oil refinery... for a friend.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    We have a suitable carbon neutral alternative: nuclear power. It has just been stalled by excessive regulation so it ain't shining like it should.

  • Dweebston||

    Look, man, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and Fukushima. I mean, I don't get what you don't get about this. Man.

  • Zeb||

    That nuclear power accidents have killed at most a few hundred people ever?

  • Almanian!||

    If we can save even ONE life, Zeb....

    Why do you hate life?

  • Drake||

    Outside of the former Soviet Union, that number is close to zero - and none from radiation.

    I worked for a power company where the unfortunate reality was that a worker would die every few years from electrocution or a fall. Electricity is dangerous stuff.

  • robc||

    Most of the deaths in the Nuke industry are in Uranium mining.

    And that is relatively safe compared to coal mining.

  • Rrabbit||

    and none from radiation

    Do you think that the two deaths from the 1999 Tokaimura nuclear accident are not from radiation?

    But I agree that these numbers are low. The problems are elsewhere:
    1.) Increased rates, miscarriages, and birth defects after nuclear accidents, respectively after eating contaminated food. Different studies show very different numbers there, perhaps depending on who funded the study.
    2.) Use of the nuclear materials in bombs.
    3.) The nuclear waste.

  • Mercutio||

    2.) Use of the nuclear materials in bombs.
    This. The fact that the first use of nuclear power was as a weapon of war has tainted it for all time, in the view of many people.

  • ||

    You're working for car, man. SIMPLIFY!!?!111

  • entropy||

    They were all vastly overhyped compared to their actual damage and death tolls.

    Chernobyl is controversial, since there were claims floating around that it would kill millions... I think the total is like 1000.

    As for Three Mile and Fukushima, you might have a dozen casualties among plant workers... I am not sure. Did anyone even die?

  • Drake||

    No deaths at Three Mile Island. Nobody died at Fukushima from radiation. (Some drowned or were crushed by the earthquake and tsunami.)

  • robc||

    IIRC, the "statistical" expected increase in cancer deaths from TMI was approximately 0.5

    So maybe there was a death, maybe not.

  • robc||

    From the radiation release from TMI, that should say.

  • JW||

    From the radiation release from TMI, that should say.

    Growing up near TMI, as a kid, I can recall news blurbs about "xx thousands gallons of radioactive water was released by TMI into the Susquhana River yesterday."

    I don't recall anyone freaking out.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Using linear no-threshold hypothesis you can arrive at an increase like that. Using hormesis theory or even just the idea that you can't draw a straight line from high one time accute dose cancer rates to low chronic dose cancer rates it is far lower and further into the range of statistical insignificance.

  • robc||

    True.

    I remember my health physics textbook having both graphs.

    "Here is what the evidence shows" and "here is what we actually use" because a result showing small amounts of radiation decreasing deaths wasnt something they wanted to deal with.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    The industry needs to move away from ALORA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) and towards AHARS (As High As Reasonably Safe).

    And throw out the idea of LNT below 1 Sv/y doses.

  • entropy||

    Schrodinger is pissed off. He loved that cat.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Nobody died from the Fukushima meltdown, and future deaths from exposure in the local population are expected to be minimal to none.

    To compare, about 25,000 people died from the earthquake and tsunami.

  • ||

    Anyone remember the blogosphere right after Fukushima? Death tolls in the millions was CERTAIN.

    BTW, where is all the oil from the BP "disaster?"

  • Juice||

    The BP disaster was a fucking disaster not a "disaster."

    And the oil is still there. Tar balls are still washing up. There are also huge "tar mats" just hanging around on the bottom of the gulf.

    http://www.nature.com/news/dir.....il-1.12304

  • ||

    Did you even read that article?

    Might
    May
    Could...

    Either way, it was not a disaster, by ANY stretch of the definition.

  • Brett L||

    More people died at Chappaquidick than Three Mile Island

    --actual bumpersticker belonging to a reactionary libertarian of my acquaintance

  • Dweebston||

    I wasn't familiar with the incident. Now I am. Eugh.

  • Rrabbit||

    When using the relatively low official radiation emission figures from TMI, you'll arrive at a low single digit increase in deaths. Various studies found slightly increased cancer death rates and infant mortality in the affected region, but no conclusive evidence that the increase was caused by TMI.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I wish more industrial accidents were as much a non-issue (safety wise) as Three Mile Island was.

    Nuclear power needs less regulation and no subsidization. Let the free market come up with a solution to compete with cheap natural gas and coal. I guarantee something better than the already ultra-safe plants we have now would be built and running.

    There is so much innovation left in nuclear power it is incredible. Right now we utilize around 1% of the energy in the fuel that's put through the reactor. There's a bit of room for improvement there.

  • robc||

    Carter shutting down reprocessing didnt help any either.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Banning any private industry from developing the technology was the worst part. The US thinks that nobody else can do this stuff and that if its banned here nobody will ever do it. Well, the world is catching up and no longer is relying on the US for nuclear tech.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Why does reason not card about the childrenz?

  • entropy||

    I don't have to be an atmospheric physicist. Because atmospheric physicists and meteorologists do not understand computer science. The dude who invented chaos theory actually was a meteorologist (probably the only one who could understand math) and his crowning contribution to modern science is his theory why predicting the weather with modern digital computers is literally fucking impossible.

    To believe that any of these models are worth anything, you have to actually honestly believe that predicting the weather 50 years in advance is easier than 5 days. Chaos theory disproves that notion. The models are crap. Climatologists do not understand GIGO.

  • Almanian!||

    Denier

    *points and stares at entropy*

  • Agammamon||

    You forgot to make that weird noise with your mouth.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well yes, entropy can be used to predict longterm effects, but that's more like billions of years.

  • BuSab Agent||

    ^THIS^. Models are not data. Models are not science. The very best a model can be is a hypothesis.

  • DJK||

    Eh. Modeling is useful in its own right, as long as we understand the physics well enough. For instance, molecular modeling has gotten extremely good.

  • Juice||

    Models are not science.

    Sorry this is just wrong. Science is all about models. That's what science is. Science is models (theories).

  • DJK||

    Can you explain to me how chaos theory predicts this? I'm honestly curious, as I've never read anything about the application of chaos to weather. I think that people generally have a misunderstanding of chaos theory. All chaos theory says is that small differences in initial conditions CAN lead to large differences in final conditions, even for processes that are entirely deterministic. It doesn't say that this happens for ALL processes.

    Indeed, there are processes for which we never get chaotic behavior - the motion of celestial bodies, for instance, can be calculated with absurd precision. There are processes for which we always get chaotic behavior - the logistic map being the most famous. Then there are some that are chaotic in narrow regions of phase space, but not all.

    Sorry if that discussion was unneeded. It just seems that people generally have a fundamental misunderstanding of what chaos actually says. If you don't, I apologize.

    That said, which class does weather (basically solutions to compressible Navier-Stokes) fall into? Sometimes chaotic or always?

  • entropy||

    Yes, the weather/climate system is a complex dynamic system with a sensitivity to preconditions (in other words, yes the weather is always chaotic).

    As I've said, Edward Lorenz was a meteorologist. He discovered Chaos Theory trying to use computers to predict weather patterns.

    What he found was that the computer would predict realistic weather patterns that MIGHT happen, but not what actually did happen. The longer the models ran the further away the results got.

    Chaos Theory is very well applied to the weather where it was actually discovered. If minute differences in starting values causes the weather to spiral off in unforeseen ways, such that we cannot really predict what it will be doing 5 days in advance (and we can't), there's no way in hell we can predict 50. As the time gets longer the deviation will only get larger. Remember the tag line on chaos theory? If a butterfly flaps it's wings it rains in Hong Kong. The weather is a textbook example of chaotic systems.

    If a lousy little butterfly can screw up our 5 day forecast, what hope for 20 years?

    If, like Auric kind of suggests, you're trying to discount 'weather' and study some sort of longer range underlying base-line climate cycle, you'd have to be studying a window in the millions or billions of years, maybe thousands, definitely not 50 or a hundred. That's weather, and it's inherently unpredictable.

  • Rrabbit||

    Weather forecast is essentially chaotic.

    However, there is another problem affecting whether forecast: the sheer size of the systems required to merely do some basic weather computations.

    Lets say you want to map the atmosphere of the lower 48 in a grid of 10 miles by 10 miles by half a mile. That would require approximately one billion elements (and thus perhaps one Terabyte of memory), and it would still be quite insufficient to take into account the significant effects of hills, lakes, forests and so on.

  • DJK||

    A couple of thoughts here. First, regarding weather versus climate. It may be that weather is entirely chaotic while climate is not. Here I'm talking about climate as being long-term weather patterns. Remember that most processes are only chaotic is some regions of phase space. This implies that, if a process is periodic, it will only be chaotic at those points in its phase space. That is, certain portions of the process may be unpredictable while the entire process itself is not. I'm not sure if this is true of weather/climate, but I'd be hesitant to claim the 5 day/50 year thing.

  • DJK||

    Second, regarding the size of the problem. I don't see that this is a major objection. I had friends at Berkeley who studied protein dynamics using very simple statistical mechanical models representing alpha helices as cylinder, beta sheets as rectangular prisms, etc. They were able to predict many of the essential characteristics of protein folding using these methods.

    The basic point here is that it is not necessary to carry out an atomic-level simulation to figure out the main thrusts of protein folding. In the same manner, it may not be necessary to use extremely finely resolved finite element methods to simulate climate.

  • DJK||

    Not that I'm not defending the climate models at all. I think they're a load of shit because they clearly don't square with the ultimate arbiter, experience.

  • DJK||

    I'm just thinking of reasons why your objections to climate modeling might not work because these are deep philosophy of science questions that interest me.

  • entropy||

    That's the defense these climate guys push, that the weather may be chaotic but the underlying climate is stable. But they're pushing it based on assumptions to suit their narrative.

    In reality it might indeed be so, but their scope has to be all wrong. It would take thousands of years worth of modeling and data to separate the random weather from the underlying climate and determinate what that underlying climate was. All we have to compare these models to is weather. Then when the model's 20 year forecast proves wrong, they blame it on the weather and insist the underlying dynamics of climate are still correct, but there's no real way to falsify or prove this.

    So these caveats are true, things might be so, but I don't see how they're actually relevant to the modern models because the scale is way to small to determine these types of things. It might be that ice ages are not chaotic but quite predictable. But until we've had a model that's lasted 80,000 years and correctly predicted 3 of them, it's impossible to say, they might not be as surely as they might be. There's no sound basis for assuming the climate must be predictable and not chaotic. It's possible that if a butterfly can start a Cat 5 hurricane, it's perhaps possible a hurricane could trigger an ice age.

  • entropy||

    These climatologists are taking these things that might be true and assuming they must be true just to excuse the models for being inaccurate, and that's totally bogus. They claim to be pedaling climate models but what they really have are weather models, shitty ones, because the weather they're modeling at that scale is totally chaotic.

    Such a climate model wouldn't make 50 year predictions it would make 50,000 year predictions plus or minus 5000 years. It's the same scale problem Rrabbit brings up in a way. It's true we might not need to model every molecule of the atmosphere to ballpark the weather, but we're not even close. Probably not even .1%.

  • DJK||

    Agreed. The climate change people don't have nearly the statistical certain to make the claim that weather is chaotic, but climate isn't. I'm being a bit pedantic, but it seems necessary since we really are talking about foundations of the scientific method itself here. And few people bother to think of these things.

    Of course, your Tonys would admit that we haven't come close to proving that climate isn't chaotic, but that since our models say it may be so, we should adopt the so-called "precautionary principle". It's constant goalpost moving.

  • Contrarian P||

    I notice Tony hasn't showed his face on this thread. Guess that consensus he's so proud of has a few glitches.

  • Rrabbit||

    In the same manner, it may not be necessary to use extremely finely resolved finite element methods to simulate climate.

    Correct.

    However, we are lacking a suitable lab environment to test climate simulation models. A model makes some predictions on climate, and then you get to wait years if not decades do see whether the model was good.

    That leads to science which is based on assumptions rather than on verification of testable predictions.

  • DJK||

    Agreed. I guess that's the major difference between the stat mech protein applications I mentioned and the climate change stuff. You can actually test that the reality conforms to the model. Or maybe it's vice versa. :-)

  • Rrabbit||

    Climate also has large scale feedback cycles. Some intensify warming events, some feedback cycles have the opposite effect.

    Say, Europe might easily get colder with global warming because of a weakened gulf stream.

  • Hyperion||

    Has anyone stopped to ponder that variations in the suns natural cycles may just override whatever cooling/warming the activities of man has on the climate? Just sayin.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Can we use that information to install a global carbon tax? No? Well I think you have your answer.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm way past sick of these scammers and their useful idiot whiners.

    If they want to go live in a cave with no electricity (and no campfire either!), then let them. I'm not joining them.

    Until fusion is ready to go, long ways off, we have to keep burning fossil fuels, there is no other sensible solution. And the we're going to run out anytime now line of bs has been fully debunked. If wind/solar are ever ready to take over a portion of the energy needs, at the same costs, the markets will decide that.

    We need to concentrate our efforts on adaptability/survival. There are some things we can't control. I don't think that in a few billion years when the sun starts running out of fuel, that a new tax is going to save us.

  • ||

    What is the real likelihood civilization survives, even a couple hundred thousand years? Asteroids, super eruptions, ice ages...

    NYC will not survive the next ice age. What are they, every 40k years or so?

    We worry about a lot of superfluous bullsht.

    What difference, at this point, does it make?

  • Rasilio||

    Well if SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Virgin Galactic, and XCore get their way in 500 years our descendants will look back on earth the way that we look back on Europe, as a decadent dying culture living off of past glories as they bounce between colonies on Mars, Venus, the Asteroid Belt, and the Jovian Moons.
    At that point Ice ages won't be so much of a problem any more.

  • entropy||

    http://www.farmersalmanac.com/.....-sunspots/

    Note that unlike climatologists, the livelihood of the people who use that model actually depends on it's accuracy.

  • Juice||

    Have you ever looked into the "methods" of the Farmer's Almanac?

  • Dweebston||

    Global warming CAUSES solar cycles. Also, I singed my breakfast whilst following this thread—another victim of global warming.

  • PapayaSF||

    About 15 years ago I knew an astronomer whose area of expertise was zodiacal dust. Knowing about the energy output of the sun and its variability, she literally laughed at the CO2 explanation of global warming.

  • Anthony Ricigliano||

    Interesting article.

  • Brandybuck||

    This is not following the party line! Expect these researchers to be expelled from polite society.

  • prolefeed||

    How the hell do you calculate "net harm" from warming? Look at North America, with huge swaths of uninhabitable land up north. It would take a hell of a lot of warming before the increase in more habitable land up north would be less at the margin than the less habitable land down south. Basically, until cities start popping up in far northern Canada, warmer would likely be better.

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