Saturday, 30 March 2013

Not Quite "Spot On" Flora

"A recent report in the world’s premier science journal Nature showed that climate models have been spot-on for the past 15 years."
Says Flora Faun in a letter to the Taipei Times today, after she had alerted me to this article in the Guardian a few days ago which shows that Myles Allen's more cautious predictions based on his climate model (published in 1999) had tracked the actual temperature reasonably well. What Flora neglects to say however is that such models and their predictions were the exceptions.

By saying that "climate models have been spot on", she elides the pertinent fact that only 2 out of 38 of the IPCC's models were, if not quite "spot on", nonetheless a reasonably accurate prediction of the actual recorded temperatures...

But just to put that into context, the chart below shows the IPCC's estimates - stated with alarming levels of statistical confidence - were on average far higher than the actual recorded temperatures...

Of course none of this stuff - these inconvenient facts - will make the slightest difference to Flora Faun or the people who run the Taipei Times because, as she tells us...
"... there is little doubt that forecasts of dangerous temperature increases of two or more degrees Celsius by the middle of the century will come true if nothing changes in our energy production, agricultural practices and biodiversity protection."
Yes dear. Just as there was also "little doubt" ten years ago that average global surface temperatures would have shown a much larger increase by now according to most of the IPCC's models.
"'Global warming' is actually a misnomer... it should really be called 'global weirding'... Therefore, weird weather events like cold spells in March do not contradict, but support climate-change modeling."
Only if these events, e.g. the current 15 year temperature standstill, are accurately predicted by such models Flora (and with one or two exceptions, the current temperature standstill was not predicted - contrary to your claim). The problem for you is not so much modelling as the underlying hypothesis; that all climatic events whatever can be blamed on increasing greenhouse gas emissions. That is because an hypothesis which can predict anything and everything is not falsifiable - the belief that it is true therefore takes on a religious rather than a scientific character. And that religious character of belief is evident in Flora's apparent inability to admit even a smidgeon of doubt, despite the failure of 36 of 38 climate models to predict the current temperature standstill.

I suppose I could write to the Taipei Times to argue, but I'd be wasting my time because they have not tolerated dissent since I wrote to them about the DEHP scare two years ago. Something happened.

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