Rule Five Climate Model Friday

Another interesting piece from Issues & Insights, this one on ugly climate models.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

The narrative that man is cooking his planet like an overdone Thanksgiving turkey has survived only because the media have propped it up. But we’re confident that eventually the story will collapse. The evidence does not favor the climate alarmists.

A most-recent example that should help tilt the scales back toward sanity: Researchers have found that warming in the Arctic Ocean is not a recent event that coincides with post-war industrial acceleration and the growth of automobile ownership. It began at the outset of the previous century.

According to a University of Cambridge study, the warming arrived “decades earlier than records suggest,” and is “due to warmer water flowing into the delicate polar ecosystem from the Atlantic Ocean,” says Science Daily

“The results, reported in the journal Science Advances, provide the first historical perspective on Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean and reveal a connection with the North Atlantic that is much stronger than previously thought.”

In other words, there are climate and environmental influences that still aren’t fully understood.

Like, all of them, pretty much.  Oh, sure, we understand weather enough to look at patterns and predict the weather 7-10 days out.  But climate is a different story, being as that (as generally accepted) climate works on longer time scales, from tens to hundreds of thousands of years.

Climate is also a vast, utterly chaotic system.  Deriving computer models to predict long-term climate changes is much like deriving computer models to replace animal testing in pharmaceutical development; the best computer models humans can produce are laughably crude compared to the natural phenomena they attempt to model.

While tremendously consequential, the Arctic findings themselves are only part of the story. What they imply is important, too. Researchers concluded “that their results also expose a possible flaw in climate models, because they do not reproduce this early Atlantification at the beginning of the last century,” says Science Daily.

Possible? There’s much to suggest that the models the world is expected to bow to have missed the mark by a wide margin.

“When the history of climate modeling comes to be written in some distant future, the major story may well be how the easy, computable answer turned out to be the wrong one, resulting in overestimated warming and false scares from the enhanced (man-made) greenhouse effect,” Robert L. Bradley Jr. wrote a few months ago for the American Institute for Economic Research.

That future may not be all that distant.  Even the militant green movement is beginning to shed supporters, a trend that will hopefully continue;  see Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never for an example.

Economist David R. Henderson and visiting Hoover Institution fellow Charles L. Hooper say that because “we have virtually no ability to run controlled experiments, such as raising and lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere and measuring the resulting change in temperatures,” researchers “build elaborate computer models that use physics to calculate how energy flows into, through, and out of our planet’s land, water, and atmosphere.”

The models, therefore, “have serious limitations that drastically limit their value in making predictions and in guiding policy.” The data that are fed into them are so lacking in value that we should be skeptical of anything they spit out.

Reality will ultimately catch up to the climate hyperbole. And soon, we hope. The media and the politicians and activists whipping up and perpetuating fear are in line for a reckoning.

While the Appeal to Authority here is a bit weak – citing an economist on climate issues – the point is well taken.  Too many pols in Washington and activists all over the globe, like a certain Swedish teenager we could name, are screeching about the sky falling and wanting us to take action with devastating economic impact based on these flawed models.

But here’s the larger issue, and it’s one that I’ve brought up before on this topic:  Hubris.  Who the hell are we to determine what the Earth’s “correct” temperature range is?  This little blue-green sphere is a tad over four and a half billion years old.  Through most of that time it’s been a lot warmer than it is now.  As recently as the Eocene, maybe the Oligocene, there were no polar icecaps.  In the more recent interglacials, global temps were higher than now.  During the Roman occupation of Britain, there were vinyards that would not survive today’s British climate.  Here in the Great Land, at this time of year, a lot of us wouldn’t much mind a little bit of global warming.

Our oldest daughter has worked in emergency rooms for about fifteen years now.  One of her Laws of the ER is this:  “At a cardiac arrest, the first thing to do is to take your own pulse.”  In other words, stop, take a couple of deep breaths, and think for a moment.  The whole world could stand to follow this approach, not just on this issue but many others as well.