Cli­mate scare based on mod­els that do not work

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - OPINION - Tom Har­ris

The hu­man- caused cli­mate change scare may well be the best hob­gob­lin ever con­ceived. It has half the world clam­or­ing to be led to safety from a threat for which there is not a shred of mean­ing­ful phys­i­cal ev­i­dence.

Many of the state­ments is­sued to sup­port these fear- mon­ger­ing claims are pre­sented in the U. S. Fourth Na­tional Cli­mate As­sess­ment, a 1,656- page re­port re­leased in late Novem­ber. But none of their claims have any ba­sis in real world ob­ser­va­tions.

What they do have are math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tions con­sid­ered to be mod­els of the Earth’s cli­mate. It is im­por­tant to prop­erly un­der­stand these mod­els since they are the only ba­sis for the cli­mate scare.

Be­fore we con­struct build­ings or air­planes, we make phys­i­cal, small- scale mod­els and test them against the stress and per­for­mances that will be re­quired of them when they are ac­tu­ally built. When deal­ing with sys­tems that are largely, or en­tirely, be­yond our con­trol, such as cli­mate, we try to de­scribe them with math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tions. By al­ter­ing the val­ues of the vari­ables in these equa­tions, we then see how the out­comes are af­fected. This is called sen­si­tiv­ity test­ing, the very best use of math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els.

To­day’s cli­mate mod­els ac­count for only a hand­ful of the hun­dreds of vari­ables that are known to im­pact cli­mate, and the val­ues in­serted for the vari­ables they do use are lit­tle more than guesses.

Dr. Wil­lie Soon of the Har­vardSmith­so­nian as­tro­physics lab­o­ra­tory lists the five most im­por­tant vari­ables in any cli­mate model as fol­lows:

• Sun- Earth or­bital dy­nam­ics and rel­a­tive po­si­tions and mo­tions with re­spect to other plan­ets in the so­lar sys­tem;

• Distri­bu­tion of sun­light in­ter­cepted in the at­mos­phere and near- sur­face;

• The way in which the oceans and land store and dis­trib­ute in­com­ing so­lar en­ergy;

• How clouds in­flu­ence cli­mate; and

• How the bio­sphere re­acts to the var­i­ous cli­mate driv­ers.

Soon con­cludes even if the equa­tions to de­scribe these in­ter­ac­tive sys­tems were known ( they are not) and prop­erly in­cluded in com­puter mod­els, it would still not be pos­si­ble to mean­ing­fully com­pute fu­ture cli­mate states. This is be­cause it would take longer for even the world’s most ad­vanced su­per- com­put­ers to cal­cu­late fu­ture cli­mate than it would take for the cli­mate to un­fold in real time.

Although gov­ern­ments have funded more than one hun­dred ef­forts to model the cli­mate for the bet­ter part of three decades, with the ex­cep­tion of one Rus­sian model which was fully tuned and ac­ci­den­tally matched ob­ser­va­tional data, none have ac­cu­rately pre­dicted the known past.

In his Feb. 2, 2016 tes­ti­mony be­fore the U. S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Com­mit­tee on Sci­ence, Space & Tech­nol­ogy, Dr. John Christy of the Uni­ver­sity of Alabama in Huntsville com­pared the re­sults of at­mo­spheric tem­per­a­tures as de­picted by the av­er­age of 102 cli­mate mod­els with ob­ser­va­tions from satel­lites and bal­loon mea­sure­ments.

He con­cluded, “These mod­els failed at the sim­ple test of telling us what has al­ready hap­pened, and thus would not be in a po­si­tion to give us a con­fi­dent an­swer to what may hap­pen in the fu­ture and why. As such, they would be of highly ques­tion­able value in de­ter­min­ing pol­icy that should de­pend on a very con­fi­dent un­der­stand­ing of how the cli­mate sys­tem works.”

Although one of the most ac­tive ar­eas for math­e­mat­i­cal mod­el­ing is the econ­omy and the stock mar­ket, no one has ever suc­ceeded in get­ting it right. Con­se­quently, un­til re­cently, we were never fool­ish enough to make eco­nomic de­ci­sions based on pre­dic­tions de­rived from equa­tions that we think de­scribe how na­ture works.

Yet to­day’s mod­el­ers tell us they can model the cli­mate, which in­volves far more vari­ables than the econ­omy and stock mar­ket, decades or even a cen­tury into the fu­ture. They then ex­pect gov­ern­ments to make multi- bil­lion- dol­lar pol­icy de­ci­sions based on the out­puts of their mod­els. In­cred­i­bly, the United Na­tions and gov­ern­ments around the world are com­ply­ing. We are crazy to let them get away with it.

Dr. Jay Lehr is the sci­ence di­rec­tor of the Heart­land In­sti­tute in Ar­ling­ton Heights, Illi­nois. Tom Har­ris is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ot­tawa- based In­ter­na­tional Cli­mate Sci­ence Coali­tion.

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