Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A Must-Read Essay on Climate Modelling

Recently we chewed the fat over econometrics and the dumb modelling that goes with it, eliciting one of my all-time favourite comments from long-time C@W reader Sebastian Weetabix:
There is nothing like a collision with reality to destroy a lovely theory.  There is something beautiful about a gang of facts murdering a thesis in a dark alley.
"Globull warming comes to mind", he went on. "Peak oil and the rent seeking green c***s are all of a piece."

It's mainly crass economic models I suffer from in my line of work, but there is indeed another rich seam of stupidity to be found in climate modelling.  And here, courtesy of the frequently excellent Watts Up, is a superb essay on the flaws inherent in much of what we are assailed with on the weather front.  An extract to encourage you to read further: 
... a direct piece of engineering wisdom: If a system is not dominated by a few major feedback factors, it ain’t stable. And if it has a regions of stability [sic] then perturbing it outside those regions will result in gross instability, and the system will be short lived. Climate has been in real terms amazingly stable. For millions of years. It has maintained an average of about 282 degrees absolute +- about 5 degrees since forever. 
So called ‘Climate science’ relies on net positive feedback to create alarmist views – and that positive feedback is nothing to do with CO2 allegedly: on the contrary it is a temperature change amplifier pure and simple. If such a feedback existed, any driver of temperature, from a minor change in the suns output, to a volcanic eruption must inevitably trigger massive temperature changes. But it simply never has. Or we wouldn’t be here to spout such nonsense.
What excellent stuff!

ND

10 comments:

Kilgore Trout said...

"There is nothing like a collision with reality to destroy a lovely theory. There is something beautiful about a gang of facts murdering a thesis in a dark alley."

That is indeed very well put by Mr Weetabix... basically, I just wanted to write it again...

Timbo614 said...

Nick, sorry but that post isn't really about climate change is it?

I (nerdy I know) had a good long look at the program code from the hacked UEA servers and the observations by "Harry" and their work was based on interpreting the observed temperature records going back to whenever they were available. There didn't seem to be any exponential functions.

However it was a long time ago now and I believe that "Harry" was doing the best he could without making assumptions. Incidentally the code was a bit of a mess but so is so much academic computer code.

Reading his (Leo Smith's) second (third?) amendment that post is about where we stand as a species, where we are politically and geo-politcally... There I can agree with him. We stand near a cliff edge of stupidity.

The political climate change "consensus" is there and being supported because we are, and the politicos have become concious of the fact, trashing the entire planet. It's not just oil/coal/gas = Co2 or energy in general it is the precarious state of our rapidly diminishing general environment. Whether co2 is to blame or not is irrelevant and probably a ruse, but, we have to clean up our act as a species or we will be trashed in turn. He is again correct that people have been dumbed down to not noticing what is happening around them and have also been dumbed down into not being able to, or at least feeling that, they are unable to do anything about it.

Climate change/ global warning is a lever to encourage re-cycling, buying LED bulbs, getting the most efficient heating, installing insulation etc. This will not of course on its own save the planet but it will save resources which with 7 Billion of us here and now are becoming increasingly in short supply.

There is a method in the madness(es) that few people can spot.

Sorry, but the rest is clap trap to bolster the anti-climate change brigade. But in those old words: Forgive them, they know not what they do.


Mark Wadsworth said...

On the topic of the weather, agreed yes, but I am surprised at SW's quote:

"There is nothing like a collision with reality to destroy a lovely theory. There is something beautiful about a gang of facts murdering a thesis in a dark alley."

Like many on this blog, he is perfectly capable of making up his own facts when it comes to shifting taxes from earnings, output and profits to land values.

No amount of actual real life facts and evidence makes the slightest difference to his or your opinions on that front, does it?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

You don't present facts, Wadsworth, you have opinions. Nevertheless it is amusing how you can turn every single discussion into a thread on LVT. You are in the grip of monomania, I fear. My objection to your mad impractical tax is very simple, it turns us all into serfs at the whim of the state. And to quote Mark Twain, the more you explain it, the less I understand you.

@ND - thanks!

Apropos climate modelling (or any computer modelling) it was my experience running FMEA simulations on quite simple designs with known constraints, and then comparing the model results to real life performance (which on occasion could differ most alarmingly) that made me sceptical of the claims of the CAGW catastrophists. If they had any modesty/intellectual honesty at all they would admit that no matter how much money you spend, irrespective of your computing capacity, it is not possible to accurately model a complex, coupled non-linear system. To them make claims of accuracy to +/-0.1C over decades on a global scale compounds the whiff of bull. The fact that ALL their climate models have been falsified should at least give pause for thought, yet the bandwagon rumbles along.

Budgie said...

"Nevertheless it is amusing how you can turn every single discussion into a thread on LVT. You are in the grip of monomania, I fear. My objection to your mad impractical tax is very simple, it turns us all into serfs at the whim of the state."

Completely right, SW.

Budgie said...

Timbo, Leo Smith's original comment was about climate change. He did then segue into a general whinge about the state of society but only after his original comment was elevated to a post.

Unfortunately the politicians are spending £trillions on "climate change" due to the "Catastrophe" in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CAGW), based on man-made CO2 (so they state). That fixation (whether it's right or wrong) has resulted in less notice being taken of (other) man-made pollution, which is a pity.

However, like Smith, I do not believe CAGW exists at all, and I am sceptical of even a bit of AGW. Certainly CO2 in the concentration that exists now, or even if doubled, is not a pollutant. Without CO2 we would be dead. And nowhere is it written that the current global climate is the only "correct", balanced version. As Smith says not a single model (GCM) has forecast the global climate successfully, ever.

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