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Science as a whole certainly cannot allow its judgment about facts to be distorted by ideas of what ought to be true, or what one may hope to be true.

C.H. Waddington

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Climate Models Reviewed

The use of climate models is difficult for many people to understand, yet the results are important to the economy. Using these models, politicians make demands on energy restrictions and cost. In Connecticut, we pay a premium on electricity to install “clean” energy. Recently, Professor Judith Curry released a paper at the Global Warming Policy Foundation discussing the formation and use of climate models. Professor Curry is the author of over 180 scientific papers on weather and climate who recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology after numerous attacks on her scientific work as she has discussed here.

In the paper, she discusses the formation of the complex climate models, the reliability of such models including their use for prediction, and summarizes her view. The important points she makes are:

  • Global Climate Models have not been subject to the rigorous verification and validation that is the norm for engineering and regulatory science.
  • There are valid concerns about a fundamental lack of predictability in the complex nonlinear climate system.
  • There are numerous arguments supporting the conclusion that climate models are not fit for the purpose of identifying with high confidence the proportion of the 20th century warming that was human-caused as opposed to natural.
  • There is growing evidence that climate models predict too much warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • The climate model simulation results for the 21st century reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) do not include key elements of climate variability, and hence are not useful as projections for how the 21st century climate will actually evolve.

Professor Curry said: “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”.

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