Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Climate Science Fiction

I am not at all qualified to offer an opinion about the “science” of global warming. Much of it is based on computer models. Which may or may not be accurate. And much of it has been debunked by important scientists in the field, from emeritus MIT meteorology professor Richard Lindzen to Nobel prize winning physicist Iver Giaever. They are not alone, but they are among the few who have not been shut up and shut down.

Now, we add Princeton University physicist William Happer to the list of those who believe that computer modeling cannot predict the future. We are happy to recall, yet again, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s statement, to the effect that there is no such thing as a scientific fact about tomorrow. The assertion that the sun will rise tomorrow morning is a hypothesis, not a fact.

Anyway, The Daily Caller explains Happer’s views:

Princeton University physicist William Happer is not a fan of models used to predict future manmade global warming, and stars in a new educational video laying out the reasons he believes climate models are faulty.

“And I know they don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past. They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future,” Happer said in a video produced by PragerU.

In the video, Happer argues that even supercomputers used to predict the weather and forecast future global warming aren’t strong enough to capture the complexity of Earth’s atmosphere, including cloud cover and natural ocean cycles.

“That’s why, over the last 30 years, one climate prediction after another — based on computer models — has been wrong,” Happer said in the video. “They’re wrong because even the most powerful computers can’t solve all the equations needed to accurately describe climate.”

The point appears to be salient. Considering the multitude of factors that produce climate change, it seems absurd to believe that we can factor in all of them. How much do we know about what is happening on the sun? Surely the sun exerts an influence. Just as surely it is not influenced by carbon emissions.

Apparently, the global warming alarmists rejigger their equations in order to produce the results that they want to produce. No one should call it science:

Satellite temperature readings of the bulk atmosphere also show a mismatch between model predictions and observations. Climate scientist John Christy’s research has shown that models show 2.5 times more warming than has been observed.

“Instead of admitting this, some climate scientists replace the highly complex equations that describe the real-world climate with highly simplified ones—their computer models,” Happer said.

“Discarding the unmanageable details, modelers ‘tune’ their simplified equations with lots of adjustable inputs—numbers that can be changed to produce whatever result the modelers want,” Happer said. “So, if they want to show that the earth’s temperature at the end of the century will be two degrees centigrade higher than it is now, they put in the numbers that produce that result … That’s not science. That’s science fiction.”


Redacted said...

Although there are myriad technical problems with climate simulations, Happer notes a key problem: "tuning", or the adjustment of free parameters. As von Neumann, great mathematician and one of the "inventors" of simulation, noted, "With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk." Climate simulations have many more than five free parameters to "tune".

Jack Fisher said...

I'm waiting for the Comin' Ice Age, predicted by Science back in the '70s.

Sam L. said...

It's actually Climate Guessing, and a lot of that is Climate Lying. Incidentally, how are The Old Farmers' Almanac predictions holding up?

Anonymous said...

"Now, we add Princeton University physicist William Happer to the list of those who believe that computer modeling can predict the future."

Typo Stuart??: = "...cannot predict the future"?


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you.

Redacted said...

My favorite envirocatastrophe prediction...

"In 1894, the Times of London estimated that every street in the city [London] would be buried 9 feet deep in horse manure by 1950. A New York editorial estimated that horse manure would rival the height of Manhattan's 30-story buildings by 1930."

There's also the Peak Oil Catastrophe, which like the Rapture, pops up every few years since the 1880s.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The imagination of climate change is real. That’s about it...

Ares Olympus said...

William Clapper is certainly a real scientist, he's clearly not neutral here. As a retired physicist he is welcome challenge the models, but his challenges should be to the climate scientists who can improve them, not public messages intended to dismiss climate science as imperfect.

In contrast to neutrality, his position looks very unsound, on the lines of "CO2 is life" and encouraging another 100 million years of stored CO2 to be released into the atmosphere, just in case the models are overestimating the dangers. That's not science either. I'll call him a patriot for "Fossil fuel man", and infinite economic growth, because that's what we need to do to avoid economic collapse. If he admitted that, at least we'd know why he's so afraid of transitioning away from a one-time fuel to run our indefinite future success.

Professor Happer, who is a physicist rather than a climatologist, told Greenpeace reporters that he would be willing to produce research promoting the benefits of carbon dioxide for $250 per hour. He asked that the money be paid to climate sceptic campaign group, the CO2 Coalition, of which he is a board member.

Happer described his work on carbon dioxide as a “labor of love” and said that while other pollutants produced by burning fossil fuels are a problem, in his opinion “More CO2 will benefit the world”, adding “The only way to limit CO2 would be to stop using fossil fuels, which I think would be a profoundly immoral and irrational policy.”

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

My goodness, Ares, you are so persuasive.

Redacted said...

"[Happer's] challenges should be to the climate scientists who can improve them, not public messages intended to dismiss climate science as imperfect."

I suspect Happer cares not a fig (beyond obvious comedic value) for the opinions of any scientific gullitard claiming that investments should be made to develop long-distance superconducting electrical transmission facilities between AZ and ME.