There's no god in the climate change machine

Some say "God" might reside in a computer...the Deus ex Machina.  Among those individuals are those divining climate with computer-based general circulation models.  This has generated a belief system to the effect that all variables that drive global climate at all time scales have been identified, that they have been quantified as to individual contribution and interactions, and that chaotic variability is foreseeable.  At the current state of scientific knowledge, such belief is intellectual hubris masquerading as achieved scientific endeavor.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology pioneering meteorologist and mathematician Professor Edward Lorenz doubted this ability in the 1960s.  The serendipitous discoverer of chaos theory postulated, "Is there such a thing as a climate?"  Is there a definable "normal global climate" from which deviations might be termed abnormal?  Lorenz's 1965 paper includes the following: "if in addition the present state or the present and past states are not known with complete accuracy, any forecasting procedure will lead to poorer and poorer forecasts as the range of prediction increases, until ultimately only the periodic component can be predicted in the far distant future."  His statement is a description of what has become known as chaotic behavior.  Such systems are characterized by the fact that tiny changes in initial conditions may result in wildly different final outcomes over a period of time.  Climate behavior aptly fits the definition.  Short-term changes are known as weather, and weather prediction accuracy has improved out to a week or so over the decades.

Now Judith Curry has had the courage to note the absence of clothes on the climate-computer emperor.  Professor Curry, the author of over 180 scientific papers on weather and climate, recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she held the position of professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  She authored "Climate Models for the Layman," in which the fundamental problems inherent in computer modeling are laid bare.  These problems are serious enough to cast doubt on the ability to construct such a climate forecasting system.  Current climate model predictions diverge from historic reality when viewed over decadal time scales.  Yet these fallible predictions, otherwise known as scenarios, are used by politicians, environmental advocacy groups, and energy firms to set public policy and future energy plans.

Professor Curry: "It's not just the fact that climate simulations are tuned that is problematic.  It may well be that it is impossible to make long-term predictions about the climate – it's a chaotic system after all.  If that's the case, then we are probably trying to redesign the global economy for nothing."

However, there have been those among the "we" who have learned to profit mightily from trying to "redesign the global economy."  Billions of dollars have been spent by governments to control energy production and use in their attempt to control the climate.  Billions of taxpayer dollars have been directed to the promoters of numerous such schemes.

Controlling energy means controlling all aspects of modern life, including personal freedom.  Man-made dangerous climate change is a prime example of "false bad news," a term coined by economist Julian Simon to define the use of false news scare tactics in the media in his treatise "Hoodwinking the Nation."

Kudos to Professor Curry for exposing this false god.

Charles G. Battig, M.S., M.D., Heartland Institute policy expert on environment; VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is www.climateis.com.

Some say "God" might reside in a computer...the Deus ex Machina.  Among those individuals are those divining climate with computer-based general circulation models.  This has generated a belief system to the effect that all variables that drive global climate at all time scales have been identified, that they have been quantified as to individual contribution and interactions, and that chaotic variability is foreseeable.  At the current state of scientific knowledge, such belief is intellectual hubris masquerading as achieved scientific endeavor.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology pioneering meteorologist and mathematician Professor Edward Lorenz doubted this ability in the 1960s.  The serendipitous discoverer of chaos theory postulated, "Is there such a thing as a climate?"  Is there a definable "normal global climate" from which deviations might be termed abnormal?  Lorenz's 1965 paper includes the following: "if in addition the present state or the present and past states are not known with complete accuracy, any forecasting procedure will lead to poorer and poorer forecasts as the range of prediction increases, until ultimately only the periodic component can be predicted in the far distant future."  His statement is a description of what has become known as chaotic behavior.  Such systems are characterized by the fact that tiny changes in initial conditions may result in wildly different final outcomes over a period of time.  Climate behavior aptly fits the definition.  Short-term changes are known as weather, and weather prediction accuracy has improved out to a week or so over the decades.

Now Judith Curry has had the courage to note the absence of clothes on the climate-computer emperor.  Professor Curry, the author of over 180 scientific papers on weather and climate, recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she held the position of professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  She authored "Climate Models for the Layman," in which the fundamental problems inherent in computer modeling are laid bare.  These problems are serious enough to cast doubt on the ability to construct such a climate forecasting system.  Current climate model predictions diverge from historic reality when viewed over decadal time scales.  Yet these fallible predictions, otherwise known as scenarios, are used by politicians, environmental advocacy groups, and energy firms to set public policy and future energy plans.

Professor Curry: "It's not just the fact that climate simulations are tuned that is problematic.  It may well be that it is impossible to make long-term predictions about the climate – it's a chaotic system after all.  If that's the case, then we are probably trying to redesign the global economy for nothing."

However, there have been those among the "we" who have learned to profit mightily from trying to "redesign the global economy."  Billions of dollars have been spent by governments to control energy production and use in their attempt to control the climate.  Billions of taxpayer dollars have been directed to the promoters of numerous such schemes.

Controlling energy means controlling all aspects of modern life, including personal freedom.  Man-made dangerous climate change is a prime example of "false bad news," a term coined by economist Julian Simon to define the use of false news scare tactics in the media in his treatise "Hoodwinking the Nation."

Kudos to Professor Curry for exposing this false god.

Charles G. Battig, M.S., M.D., Heartland Institute policy expert on environment; VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is www.climateis.com.