SCIENCE: Earth climate is too complex to predict

SCIENCE magazine just published a critical review of climate models by Professors Gerald Roe and Marcia Baker of the University of Washington, Seattle. It is echoed in the New Scientist magazine (October 25). As New Scientist puts it, "Climate is too complex for accurate predictions."  

The Roe and Baker article is a statistical analysis to see if any model of the climate can make useful predictions. It is  called, "Why is Climate Sensitivity so Unpredictable?"   It begins:
"Uncertainties in projections of future climate change have not lessened substantially in past decades." (Italics added).

"... it is evident that the climate system is operating in a regime in which small uncertainties in feedbacks are highly amplified in the resulting climate sensitivity. We are constrained by the inevitable: the more likely a large warming is for a given forcing (i.e., the greater the positive feedbacks), the greater the uncertainty will be in the magnitude of that warming." (italics added)
Just think about that: After hundreds of millions of dollars spent on climate modeling,  and decades of screaming headlines, we have no more certainty today about Global Warming prediction than we did decades ago. What's more, that is a provable inherent limitation of the data and models.

That is a scientific scandal by any measure.

An accompanying commentary by Miles R. Allen and David J. Frame puts the conclusion bluntly enough:
"Atmosphere: Call Off the Quest."

"An upper bound on the climate sensitivity has become the holy grail of climate research. As Roe and Baker point out, it is inherently hard to find. It promises lasting fame and happiness to the finder, but it may not exist and turns out not to be very useful if you do find it. Time to call off the quest." (Italics added)
Meanwhile, an entire Global Warming fraud industry has grown up, based on years of pseudo-scientific false alarms, and feeding scare headlines without end around the world. But the science is finally clear: Any reasonable evidence is not only missing, but can in principle not be obtained in a system as complex as the earth climate.

End of story --- at least among scientists with a shred of integrity left. The science establishment will have a big black eye from this outrageous fraud for years to come. Global Warming will go down in history along with "cold fusion" and other science fables that fooled some of the people some of the time. Except that in this case, the scientific establishment allowed itself to be taken for a long and very expensive ride.

People like Al Gore and the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and all the political scoundrels who have exploited dubious science, will no doubt keep going, like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, scrambling in thin air over the deep abyss. Whole reams of Hollywood actors will have to learn new lines --- and maybe a little bit of humility. The Democrats will be in denial, but even among the demagogues, the fun will go out of the Global Warming racket soon: It was always garbage in, garbage out.

Now maybe we can pay attention to some real issues in the world?

James Lewis blogs at