Climate Modeling, Redux

Gregory Young over at American Thinker wrote a great post about climate modeling. I can’t complain about most of it. It’s the same stuff I’ve screamed time and time again.

I do take offense at one issue. Here’s the quote that sums the issue:

Like all modeling, one attempts to study the past through scientific observation, accurately and unbiasedly collect the data, and then fit the data to a dynamic computer model that is meant to predict, to some degree of accuracy, some measure of tomorrow.  In this way scientists hope to discover trends that not only document the past, but could forecast the future. 

Computer modeling does not try to predict the future. Scientists and engineers are not fortune tellers predicting that someone tall dark and handsome will enter your life after a long trip.

Computer modeling is nothing more than an approximation of an output based on a series of inputs. And the inputs are nothing more than assumptions  based on biases, approximations, pseudo-science, bad science, junk science, science, guesses, inaccurate measurements, accurate measurements, estimates, statistics, plain thin air, and the color Al Gore’s underpants last Tuesday (orange and hot pink plaid, if you really must know – and don’t ask how I know… I am a woman of mystery).

Computer modeling output is a scenario dependant upon a very narrow and precise set of circumstances. It’s not predicting the future. We should stay away from that language. It makes the scientific and engineering community look like spoon benders at the circus.

To the average Joe, the climate change community already appears to be a cult with a doomsday Apocalyptic message. Scientists and engineers should take care that they are not tainted by the Church of Climate Change’s overly zealous claims and predictions.

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Here I Come to Save the Day!

Lots of people are trying to save the planet. I’m not entirely certain that the planet needs to be saved. At least, not in the way they mean. Oh sure, socialist and communist and downright stupid ideas seem to permeate most every corner of the globe. And we certainly need to save the planet from that. But that’s not what people mean when they say they want to save the planet.

No, they’re referring to some sort of catastrophic ecological disaster a high priestess or grand poobah of the environmental movement has predicted in their crystal ball. I can’t remember; is the current doom hypothesis the giant heat wave or the ice age? They keep changing their minds, so I can’t keep up.

Anyway. People are convinced that they can save the planet by doing small things. While it’s generally a good idea to not be terribly conspicuous in your consumption (for more reasons than just the environment), I’m not convinced that it will really matter one way or the other to the planet in the long run. I think that most things people do to save the planet won’t really matter in the long run. Cracked doesn’t think so either: 5 Ways People Are Trying to Save the World (That Don’t Work). My favorite part is about “organically grown” produce:

The funny thing about those chemical fertilizers and pesticides is that they were invented for a reason, and that’s to increase food production. Turns out organic farming is pretty damn inefficient. Holding hands and thinking peaceful thoughts does dick all against pests that want to eat your crops and weeds that want to choke them out. The current acre of farmland produces 200 percent more wheat than it did 70 years ago. The same goes for meat and poultry. The chemicals did that for us.

Take them away, and suddenly you’re getting less food per acre of land. According to some guy who won a Nobel Prize, we could feed 4 billion people if we went all organic. This sounds great except maybe to the 2.5 billion people who would be left without anything to eat.

Can I get an AMEN?

Crystal Ball

Come you! Yes, you! Come into Madame Prudence’s tent and I will tell you the future! I will tell you your past! I will lead your mind into the very depths of Gaea and reveal what only She and I know! Come! let me predict your future! Yes?

Yes! Welcome! I see… I see… mist. Yes, very definitely, it’s mist. Hot mist! And I see…

I see bullshit. Really, climate scientists are not fortune tellers. They can’t see into the future any more than you or I. It’s nonsense.

Oh sure, they can approximate some output they calculate based on assumptions. But those assumptions are based on biases, approximations, pseudo-science, bad science, junk science, science, guesses, inaccurate measurements, accurate measurements, estimates, statistics, plain thin air, and the color Al Gore’s underpants. To claim otherwise is criminal.

Start Your Engines…

The Northern Hemisphere is headed for an ice age!*

As we all know from Al Gore’s super-duper-scientific, completely true documentary/religious epic (Praise Gore!), emitting CO2 into the atmosphere will increase the planet’s temperature. And since we all know that Gore has never, ever been wrong about anything what-so-ever (Praise Gore!), we all know what we must do.

Clearly, we must all put as much CO2 into the atmosphere as possible.

Americans! Do your part to stop this disaster before it happens! Drive your cars as much as possible. Leave your lights on when you’re not in the room. Run your clothes washer half-full. Run your dishwasher empty. Breed cows and sheep. Only eat fruits and veggies imported from other countries, the further the better.  Buy big honkin’ SUVs and drive them alone.

I know we can do it. Yes we can!

(Praise Gore!)

* I don’t know if there’s any reasonable science to this claim or not. At this point, anyone claiming to predict what the climate will do in the future is instantly suspicious to me. Still, it’s good for a joke or two.

And hey! I’m in Georgia, fairly close to South America. And my uncle has a big honkin’ bass boat. So my family’s good for a trip or two to the southern hemisphere.