September 30, 2022

Stupor Models

Scott Snell

The Climate Change intervention movement, thirty years old and counting, has been based less on actual events than on future projections generated by mathematical models. There are numerous such models, and their projections range from "meh" to "be afraid." Climate activists have enthusiastically seized on the more alarming predictions as a done deal.

Climate modeling is frequently criticized for failing to adequately account for key variables such as cloud cover or solar variance, and for being too coarse-resolution to produce usable results. It's worth noting that of dozens of models in use, the vast majority significantly overestimate the amount of overall warming. Skeptics (of which I am one) have enthusiastically seized on these weaknesses as evidence of their overall unreliability.

As if to underscore this point, recently, a group of climate modeling experts carried out a study in which 37 different climate models were run for a range of possible future temperatures for three different metrics in four different major cities. The cities were Beijing, New York, London, and Mumbai. The metrics were wettest day, hottest day, and windiest day. The range of future temperatures was from +.05C to +4C. The results were so scattered as to be nearly useless, with no identifiable trends. As Jo Nova put it, the results "look like a painting done by a jet engine."

The authors of this study explicitly used these non-results as a cautionary statement to economic planners and investors. In other words, "Don't bet the farm" on these models.

Jo Nova's summary is here

And the original article is here:

It should surprise no one that all climate models have major weaknesses. This thing we call "climate" is a fantastically complicated entity involving hundreds of dynamic variables interacting over large swaths of time and distance through enormous volumes of ocean and atmosphere and over millions of square miles of highly variable terrain. It is literally the most complicated problem humans currently contemplate. Even the best models operate at very coarse resolution, take major shortcuts, and rely on highly simplified representations of physical phenomena. It's just too big a problem for our current technology.

So follow their creators' advice. Take these models' predictions with a large allowance. And whatever you do, don't use them to make major economic, technological, or social decisions.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:47 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 386 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I worked in the computer industry for over 30 years. I wasn't involved with "modeling," although my experience leads me to discredit such things. I know how programs are written and tested, and you have to test a new program against established data sets. And you have to be able to evaluate your results against those data sets. In a sense, you are already prejudiced in terms of what you want to see come out. 

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 30, 2022 10:58 PM (OEO4Q)

2 Excellent point Dana. My only real computer experience was a class in computer graphics I took back in the mid eighties using Basic, so my knowledge is limited, but I believe you from the little I know. It seems to me these models must be based on the biases programmed into them.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at October 01, 2022 08:19 AM (EXelx)

3 I'm pretty sure our old friend Jack Kemp (not the politician) would agree with us. I met him in a really lousy computer programming situation, and he broke an unwritten rule to give me some information I wouldn't otherwise have had. We've been friends since then!

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at October 02, 2022 10:31 PM (OEO4Q)

4 Jack's a good guy; I'm not surprised he did that Dana!  If he likes you he'd give you the shirt off his back.

Heard from him lately?

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at October 03, 2022 08:25 AM (/yIvy)

5 Yes, I get quite a few e-mails on various subjects from Jack. I think he's in good shape.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at October 03, 2022 09:23 PM (G90di)

6 Glad to hear it. I worry about him all alone in New York these days.

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9  and their projections range from "meh" to "be afraid." Climate activists have enthusiastically seized on the more alarming predictions as a done deal.

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