7 - Climate Modelers Along with graduate students, those appointed due to their gender or their county, and activists, yet another group is prominent among IPCC authors - climate modelers. Although these people are often called scientists, their work has little in common with traditional science.
That claim is nothing less than ignorant. Don't take my word for it:
Models in Science
Models are of central importance in many scientific contexts. The centrality of models such as the billiard ball model of a gas, the Bohr model of the atom, the MIT bag model of the nucleon, the Gaussian-chain model of a polymer, the Lorenz model of the atmosphere, the Lotka-Volterra model of predator-prey interaction, the double helix model of DNA, agent-based and evolutionary models in the social sciences, and general equilibrium models of markets in their respective domains are cases in point.
Scientists spend a great deal of time building, testing, comparing and revising models, and much journal space is dedicated to introducing, applying and interpreting these valuable tools. In short, models are one of the principal instruments of modern science. . .
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Chapter 4. Models are the Building Blocks of Science
You know what a model airplane is. But models are ubiquitous. Advertisers manipulate you with models, and models determine your success in business or school. Because the scientific method is a way to think about models, if you are to understand the scientific method, you must be able to recognize models when you see them and appreciate their limitations.
Models as Building Blocks and Substitutes
The model is the most basic element of the scientific method. Everything done in science is done with models. A model is any simplification, substitute or stand-in for what you are actually studying or trying to predict. Models are used because they are convenient substitutes, the way that a recipe is a convenient aid in cooking. This section of the book is dedicated to explaining what models are and how they are used. . .
The scientific method involves forming an hypothesis, testing that hypothesis in the real world, and then confirming, adjusting, or abandoning the hypothesis according to what the real-world tests reveal. But there is no duplicate planet Earth on which experiments may be safely conducted. No one knows, therefore, what will happen if the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere increases from 390 to 600 parts per million.
American Chemical Society (ACS) Climate Science Toolkit | Greenhouse Gases What are the properties of a greenhouse gas?
Greenhouse Gases Absorb Infrared Radiation
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I:
The Physical Science Basis - TS.2.1 Greenhouse Gaseshttp://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/tssts-2-1.html
These really are the amounts under discussion. Scientists believe carbon dioxide used to comprise less than 0.03% of the atmosphere - 280 parts per million - prior to the industrial revolution. Currently, at 390 parts per million, it's approaching 0.04%. Barring emissions reductions, by the year 2100 that number could reach 0.06%. All this fuss is based on a hypothesis that says our planet is so unstable a slight increase in one particular trace gas will trigger disaster.
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Since there's no way to actually test this hypothesis, some people have adopted an alternative approach. They say that supercomputers programmed with complex mathematical formulas confirm that a bit more CO2 in the atmosphere will be really bad news. In the view of climate modelers, these computer simulations are as good as hard evidence.
In fact, it's the Air Force's intense study of atmospheric greenhouse gases (in connection with developing radar and heat seeking missiles) that first mapped these radiative properties. This stuff is firmly established!
Donna why do you hide those settled facts from your audience? That is not investigative journalism, that is propaganda fabrication.
NASA Climate change: How do we know? http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?
In must-see AGU video, Richard Alley explains
“The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History” http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/12/21/205242/agu-richard-alley-explains-biggest-control-knob-carbon-dioxide-in-earths-climate-history/
But this requires a rather large leap of faith. If math and computing power were the only things necessary to predict the future, investors would already know the price at which gold will be trading five, ten, and twenty years hence. But the world is chaotic and unpredictable. It rarely unfolds in the manner that even the smartest people, aided by graphs, charts, and computers, think it will.
Many of the same institutions now involved in long-term climate modeling got their start predicting short-term weather. We all know how unreliable that can be. Sometimes the weather behaves the way the experts think it will. Often it does not.
Freeman Dyson, one of the world's most eminent physicists, has studied climate models. He says that although they do some things well,
They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.
AREN’T THE COMPUTER MODELS USED TO PREDICT CLIMATE REALLY SIMPLISTIC? http://www2.ucar.edu/climate/faq/aren-t-computer-models-used-predict-climate-really-simplistic
Here take a look at what some of these dedicated individuals have to endure.
The Pine Island Glacier Research Expedition Part 1(4): "The Road Less Traveled"
Inspiring West Virginians - The Ice Hunters
In other words, climate modelers spend their professional lives in a virtual world rather than in the real one. If an engineer's bridge is faulty, it doesn't matter how highly his fellow engineers praise its design, harsh reality will make its shortcomings evident to everyone. Since climate modelers are insulated from real world checks-and-balances (there's no way to verify their long term predictions in the short term), the only thing that seems to matter are the opinions of other modelers. This is a recipe for tunnel-vision. It is groupthink waiting to happen.
Without presenting evidence she claims the leading modelers live in a "virtual world" - "insulated from real world check-and-balances"
But a closer look at the information available, once again shows that it is LaFramboise and her cartoon reasoning that's insulated from the real world of science:
The Physics of Climate Modeling http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_04/
NIWA - Global Climate Models
General Circulation Models
Is Climate Modelling Science?
How reliable are climate models?
The research bodies that fund climate modeling teams don't appear to have taken any precautions against groupthink. Nor has the IPCC subjected climate models to rigorous evaluation by neutral, disinterested parties. Instead, it recruits the same people who work with these models on a daily basis to write the section of the Climate happen. The research bodies that fund climate modeling teams don't appear to have taken any precautions against groupthink. Nor has the IPCC subjected climate models to rigorous evaluation by neutral, disinterested parties. Instead, it recruits the same people who work with these models on a daily basis to write the section of the Climate Bible(1) that passes judgment on them. This is like asking parents to rate their own children's attractiveness. Do we really expect them to tell us their kids are homely?
She charges specialists with "groupthink" but does nothing to examine the dialogue and history of publications actually going on between these specials. We are simple supposed to buy into Donna's paranoid storytelling and believe that specialists are in collusion to create fraudulent data.
It's like Donna is incapable of conceiving of these scientists being in it to GET THE SCIENCE RIGHT.
I myself can't conceive of LaFramboise's being realistic because the studies would be a complete chaotic jumble if researchers were deliberately altering data.
But, in actually there is a consistent body of evidence - there are mistakes found, but the reasons for those variances are investigated and then taken into account, that would be impossible if most the data were fabricated.
"Testing climate models against reality"
The relationship between one country's climate modelers and the IPCC illustrates this point. George Boer is considered the architect of Canada's climate modeling efforts. As an employee of Environment Canada (which also produces weather forecasts), he has spent much of his career attempting to convince the powers-that-be that climate models are a legitimate use of public money. There has been a direct relationship between how persuasive he has been and how many staff he's been permitted to hire, how much computing power he's been permitted to purchase, and the amount of professional prestige he has acquired.
Given that his own interests are closely linked to the effectiveness with which he promotes climate models, he is emphatically not the sort of person who's likely to conduct the cold, hard assessment the public is entitled to expect before the entire world begins taking climate model results seriously.
Nevertheless, when the IPCC chose 10 lead authors to write a chapter titled Climate Models - Evaluation for its 1995 edition, Boer was among them. So was Andrew Weaver, another Canadian whose entire career depends on climate modeling. (The term 'climate modeler' would seem to apply to a minimum of five of that chapter's other eight lead authors.)
When the same chapter of the 2001 edition of the Climate Bible(2) got written, the story was similar. Weaver and two other modelers repeated their lead author roles. Boer, along with four other Canadians who earn their living as climate modelers, all served as contributing authors.
By the time the IPCC published the 2007 Climate Bible(3), had it realized that asking climate modelers to evaluate their own handiwork was foolhardy? Nope. Climate modelers once again comprised the vast majority of lead authors for the Climate Models and Their Evaluation chapter.
I'm sure that all of those currently involved in writing the Evaluation of Climate Models chapter of the upcoming Climate Bible(4) are marvelous human beings. But if the world were to decide that climate models are a colossal waste of time and money, many of them would be out of a job. How likely is it, therefore, that this chapter will come to such a conclusion?
Can We Trust Climate Models? Increasingly, the Answer is ‘Yes’ http://e360.yale.edu/feature/can_we_trust_climate_models_increasingly_the_answer_is_yes/2360/
Global Warming: Man or Myth? Climate Models and Accuracy
In other words, nothing like an independent assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of these models is actually taking place.
#8 Climate Models and Their Evaluation
This chapter assesses the capacity of the global climate models used elsewhere in this report for projecting future climate change. Confidence in model estimates of future climate evolution has been enhanced via a range of advances since the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR).
Coordinating Lead Authors:
David A. Randall (USA), Richard A. Wood (UK)
Sandrine Bony (France), Robert Colman (Australia), Thierry Fichefet (Belgium), John Fyfe (Canada), Vladimir Kattsov (Russian Federation), Andrew Pitman (Australia), Jagadish Shukla (USA), Jayaraman Srinivasan (India), Ronald J. Stouffer (USA), Akimasa Sumi (Japan),
Karl E. Taylor (USA)
K. AchutaRao (USA), R. Allan (UK), A. Berger (Belgium), H. Blatter (Switzerland), C. Bonfils (USA, France), A. Boone (France, USA),
C. Bretherton (USA), A. Broccoli (USA), V. Brovkin (Germany, Russian Federation), W. Cai (Australia), M. Claussen (Germany),
P. Dirmeyer (USA), C. Doutriaux (USA, France), H. Drange (Norway), J.-L. Dufresne (France), S. Emori (Japan), P. Forster (UK),
A. Frei (USA), A. Ganopolski (Germany), P. Gent (USA), P. Gleckler (USA), H. Goosse (Belgium), R. Graham (UK), J.M. Gregory (UK),
R. Gudgel (USA), A. Hall (USA), S. Hallegatte (USA, France), H. Hasumi (Japan), A. Henderson-Sellers (Switzerland), H. Hendon (Australia), K. Hodges (UK), M. Holland (USA), A.A.M. Holtslag (Netherlands), E. Hunke (USA), P. Huybrechts (Belgium),
W. Ingram (UK), F. Joos (Switzerland), B. Kirtman (USA), S. Klein (USA), R. Koster (USA), P. Kushner (Canada), J. Lanzante (USA), M. Latif (Germany), N.-C. Lau (USA), M. Meinshausen (Germany), A. Monahan (Canada), J.M. Murphy (UK), T. Osborn (UK),
T. Pavlova (Russian Federationi), V. Petoukhov (Germany), T. Phillips (USA), S. Power (Australia), S. Rahmstorf (Germany),
S.C.B. Raper (UK), H. Renssen (Netherlands), D. Rind (USA), M. Roberts (UK), A. Rosati (USA), C. Schär (Switzerland),
A. Schmittner (USA, Germany), J. Scinocca (Canada), D. Seidov (USA), A.G. Slater (USA, Australia), J. Slingo (UK), D. Smith (UK), B. Soden (USA), W. Stern (USA), D.A. Stone (UK), K.Sudo (Japan), T. Takemura (Japan), G. Tselioudis (USA, Greece), M. Webb (UK), M. Wild (Switzerland)
Elisa Manzini (Italy), Taroh Matsuno (Japan), Bryant McAvaney (Australia)
Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=usdoepub
But the story gets worse. Climate modelers also write other sections of the Climate Bible(5) - including the crucial attribution chapter. This is where the most important question of all gets decided: Is the slight recent warming of the planet due to human activity or is it part of a perfectly natural, ongoing cycle of both warming and cooling?
For the IPCC's 2007 report, the two most senior authors of that chapter – Gabriele Hegerl and Francis Zwiers – were both climate modelers. They based their decision on what they believe their models reveal.
9 Understanding and Attributing Climate Change
T.L. Delworth (USA), C. Forest (USA), P. Forster (UK), H. Goosse (Belgium), J.M. Gregory (UK), D. Harvey (Canada), G.S. Jones (UK), F. Joos (Switzerland), J. Kenyon (USA), J. Kettleborough (UK), V. Kharin (Canada), R. Knutti (Switzerland), F.H. Lambert (UK),
M. Lavine (USA), T.C.K. Lee (Canada), D. Levinson (USA), V. Masson-Delmotte (France), T. Nozawa (Japan), B. Otto-Bliesner (USA), D. Pierce (USA), S. Power (Australia), D. Rind (USA), L. Rotstayn (Australia), B. D. Santer (USA), C. Senior (UK), D. Sexton (UK),
S. Stark (UK), D.A. Stone (UK), S. Tett (UK), P. Thorne (UK), R. van Dorland (The Netherlands), M. Wang (USA), B. Wielicki (USA),
T. Wong (USA), L. Xu (USA, China), X. Zhang (Canada), E. Zorita (Germany, Spain)
IPCC Expert Meeting on Assessing and Combining Multi Model Climate Projections
Benjamin Santer (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA)
Dáithí Stone (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Penny Whetton (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia)
Matthew Collins (Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, United Kingdom) Veronika Eyring (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Germany)
Peter Gleckler (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA)
Bruce Hewitson (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Reto Knutti (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Linda Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA)
Gian-Kasper Plattner (Coordinating Editor) Melinda Tignor (Technical Editor)
The IPCC may claim that the world's top scientific minds and climate modelers are one and the same. But I think that's a stretch. In July 2007, five IPCC authors wrote an article for Scientific American in which they equated climate models with a fortune-teller's crystal ball.
On the one hand, they declared it a certainty that people, plants, and animals would all be living with the consequences of human-induced climate change "for at least the next thousand years."
On the other, they said:
Unfortunately, the crystal ball provided by our climate models becomes cloudier for predictions out beyond a century or so. Each of us has to make up our own mind regarding whom to trust and what to believe. But when I became a grownup, I stopped believing in crystal balls.
Global Warming changes the Jet Stream, cause of more Extreme Weather