Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On Global Warming ... Interview with a Meteorologist, Part 3

Continuing with my interview of myself ...

Sounds like you have an agenda to drive a stake in the hearts of climate activists.

Not at all, I'm just conveying the reality and what the data shows. I have no personal agenda or any skin in the game. Of course I also don't want to imply that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater either. The science of weather & climate modelling has advanced tremendously in the last 30 years since I was in school and we need to keep up the research effort. Moreover, just because there are obvious problems also doesn't mean that humans aren't causing any global warming. In all likelihood, we probably have at least to some extent.

However, the reality is the climate forecast models are just not that good yet, and we really don't know, or at least can't precisely specify, all the feedback mechanisms and interactions involved in the atmosphere/ocean system. There are literally dozens of different climate models in use today, each has their own set of physics, and they are all continually being modified and improved. If there was scientific consensus on the physics of the atmosphere and oceans then there would only be one climate model and it would be fixed forever.

Climate prediction is still very young and it's nowhere near an exact science. So all I'm trying to convey is that there is still significant uncertainty exactly how much humans have contributed toward global warming the past 100 years and how much they will contribute the next 100 years, regardless of what the news media and sketchy surveys suggest.

On top of that it has to be realized that our climate can change either advantageously or destructively all by itself even if humans cease burning fossil fuels tomorrow. There are so many things that can influence our climate that have nothing to do with CO2:  changes in solar activity, earth's tilt, earth's orbit, volcanoes, ocean currents, plate tectonics, albedo, land use, etc. Thus any effort of humans to temper our climate could ultimately be a waste of time and capital.

Lastly, has anyone even defined what is the optimal climate? Why should today's climate happen to be the best and any change from that is bad? I would think that any debate over climate change should begin with a healthy discussion on what our optimal climate should look like.

I don't know, it still sounds like you're a climate change denier in sheep's clothing who's in bed with all the big oil companies.

No I'm definitely not a denier and I'm not receiving any tithes from big oil, but perhaps I can make this all a bit more clear with what I call the "97% Challenge".

The 97% challenge? Are you making fun of the climate change surveys?

Not making fun of the surveys, but after I'm done with the challenge hopefully it'll be easier to see that the science is not settled with a 97% confidence level implied by those surveys.

OK, so what's the challenge?

Quite simple, if climate scientists and activists are so confident regarding global warming then they should have no problem making the following wager. Specifically the climate scientists and proponents would wager 97% of their total net worth (house, car, bank accounts, IRA, social security payments, furniture, everything) and if the earth is warmer in say 10-20 years compared to the last decade then they would win the wager and essentially double their net worth. BUT ... if the earth doesn't get appreciably warmer in that time period then they lose 97% of all their possessions!

Mathematically if the survey results are correct about the 97% confidence, then the bet should be a no-brainer because of the positive financial expectation to make money. Yet, I don't think any person in their right mind would take such a wager and risk their life's savings which is an implicit admission that deep down inside we know there is a significant amount of uncertainty in the field of climate science & prediction, regardless of what the surveys suggest.

To be continued ...

No comments:

Post a Comment