Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Would you make decisions on the basis of these models?

We have been told for years now that Climate Change models predict the future of our climate and that we must act in order to prevent the calamity that is coming.  Eeerily accurate, in a way that weather predictions are not, these climate predictions say that the global average temperature rise will be this much, and the increase in rainfall will be that much, and that these will cause various human disasters.

Of course, you can hide a lot in an average.  So it is interesting to see what exactly these figures are an average of.  As reported (or should I say "admitted") by the BBC, the Met Office has published a study plotting the likely climate impacts on 24 countries around the world.  They're not exactly convincing.

It seems that 21 different computer models of climate were used to assess various locations as to their vulnerability to floods, rainfall changes and suitability for growing crops.  You would think that, if the "science is settled", then the answers would be fairly consistent.  However, the proportion of UK farmland likely to become more fertile, is apparently somewhere between 60% and 99%.  Aside from being good news rather than bad, that is quite a wide range indicating that the models underlying this prediction are exercises in guesswork at best.  Worse still is the prediction of flooding risk, with estimates ranging from a 180% increase in flood risk to a 56% reduction.

Looking into other countries, where they do not have our history of meticulously recording the weather, it is even worse.  Bangladesh's change in flood risk is somewhere between -59% (that's minus 59%to +557%.  Egypt could be anywhere between 100% better off, or 206% worse off.

When 21 "state-of-the-art" models reach such divergent conclusions, only one conclusion can be reached.  They're all rubbish.

I'll leave the last word to the BBC:
As a policymaker, as a business leader, as a citizen, would you make decisions on the basis of these models?
No. I wouldn't.

(Hat Tip to the Filthy Engineer, again...)


  1. Why the Met Office is wasting our money on trying to establish models for other countries when they can't make any sound long term predictions for the UK only infuriates me.
    I recommend you skim through some of the e-mails that recently escaped from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It's clear from those that they were producing models which could "predict" anything, or even that which the scientists had pre-determined they would predict. There's a great deal of "fun" in those - look at Wattsupwiththat (USA) or Bishop Hill (UK)

  2. Not on these models, but there is other physical evidence of a warming world and other people working on it. Sadly East Anglia shot our reputation in the field to bits. Pow!!

    What more are we doing than finding alternative energy sources and we all know that reserves of fossil fuels are finite? It is better than funding a futile war.

  3. When 21 "state-of-the-art" models reach such divergent conclusions, only one conclusion can be reached. They're all rubbish.

    Sorry, the proper conclusion is no more than that they can't all be true.

  4. We must have enough data by now. real data. historical data. I remember being told that we were all going to be burnt to a crisp because the ozone layer had vanished.
    Well, they must have been collecting very accurate temperature data since at least then.

    So,lets keep it simple. In the last 30 years has the UK suffered more or less flooding than the in the previous 30 years? or colder winters, or warmer summers? Have we had less or more snow, or about the same?

    That must be measurable. And as a nation have we increased our carbon/ pollution? We have unleaded fuel now. And no CFCs at all. We have windmills and solar panels taking up 4% of the slack. We have closed power plants without opening new ones. Same with car factories, locomotive plants and shipyards. Our steel plants have been closed for at least a year.
    so our emissions should be less?

    Have they been?
    And did it make any difference?

  5. So here is my story.

    Last year I met a lady who was/is head of Shell's climate response department in London. I asked her if the world is warming up.

    She said quite fairly that the jury is still out but the odds were stacked in favour of it being true. So I asked why and this was her reason.

    They have been able to measure the localised effect of Chinese coal fired power stations. They measure its first effect on the atmosphere which is cooling which they subscribe to particulates blocking out the sun. This provided reassurance that the measurements were accurate. The scientists then measure a sustained rise in that environment's temperature.

    So put aside the eschewed results from East Anglia. There is other evidence out there, p.

    Btw, she was expecting a baby. I hope it all went well.