Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
April 30, 2008 – Center for Science and Technology Policy Research
This article by Roger Pielke Jr. is an interesting discussion on climate models. He sings their praises as a study tool but appears to feel that they have limited value as a prediction tool. This is interesting when considering all of the fuss that has been occurring lately on different boundary conditions that can be applied to climate models and are being discussed with so much emotion on web (see here, here, and here for different viewpoints).
I do believe that some day we can have a greater confidence in climate models. I think it is going to be possible to have enough of an understanding on the influences of climate that we will get a pretty good model of them. I also think that eventually politicians will appropriate enough funding to put the appropriate computing technology in place that a truly comprehensive model could be run. I just don’t think that we are there today.
A few points that Dr. Pielke makes (but you really should click through and read the entire article):
…But when I look at the broader significance of the paper what I see is that there is in fact nothing that can be observed in the climate system that would be inconsistent with climate model predictions. If global cooling over the next few decades is consistent with model predictions, then so too is pretty much anything and everything under the sun.
This means that from a practical standpoint climate models are of no practical use beyond providing some intellectual authority in the promotional battle over global climate policy.
Don’t get me wrong, models are great tools for probing our understanding and exploring various assumptions about how nature works. But scientists think they know with certainty that carbon dioxide leads to bad outcomes for the planet, so future modeling will only refine that fact.
I am focused on the predictive value of the models, which appears to be nil.
Read the entire article and the many comments here.
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