Skip to content

Reality-Based Climate Forecasting — Guest Post by Paul Driessen

The fate of Nuestra Senora de Atocha and of the modern science of climatology are not dissimilar.

Editor’s note: since I am sick unto death of the weak anemic emaciated runtish political science of climatology, I refuse to write about it. I can point you to shenanigans like adjusting the record (always and everywhere such that increasing trends are better “seen”), or to nitwits like this, and to articles like Driessen’s.

These days, even shipwreck museums showcase evidence of climate change.

After diving recently among Key West’s fabled ship-destroying barrier reefs, I immersed myself in exhibits from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the fabled Spanish galleon that foundered during a ferocious hurricane in 1622. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum now houses many of the gold, silver, emeralds and artifacts that Mel and Deo Fisher’s archeological team recovered after finding the wreck in 1985.

Also featured prominently in the museum is the wreck of a British slave ship, the Henrietta Marie. It sank in a hurricane off Key West in 1700, after leaving 190 Africans in Jamaica, to be sold as slaves.

As Fisher divers excavated the Henrietta wreck, at 40 feet below the sea surface they found — not just leg shackles and other grim artifacts from that horrific era — but charred tree branches, pine cones and other remnants from a forest fire 8,400 years ago! The still resinous smelling fragments demonstrate that this area (like all other coastal regions worldwide) was well above sea level, before the last ice age ended and melting glaciers slowly raised oceans to their current level: 400 feet higher than during the frigid Pleistocene, when an enormous portion of Earth’s seawater was locked up in glaciers.

Climate change has clearly been “real” throughout earth and human history. The question is, exactly how and how much do today’s human activities affect local, regional or global climate and weather?

Unfortunately, politicized climate change researchers continue to advance claims that complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces have been replaced by manmade fossil fuel emissions, especially carbon dioxide; that any future changes will be catastrophic; and that humanity can control climate and weather by controlling its appetite for oil, gas, coal and modern living standards.

If you like your climate, you can keep it, they suggest. If you don’t, we can make you a better one.

Not surprisingly, climate chaos scientists who’ve relied on the multi-billion-dollar government gravy train are distraught over the prospect that President Donald Trump will slash their budgets or terminate their CO2-centric research. Desperate to survive, they are replacing the term “climate change” with “global change” or “weather” in grant proposals, and going on offense with op-ed articles and media interviews.

“This is what the coming attack on science could look like,” Penn State modeler and hockey stick creator Michael Mann lamented in a Washington Post column. “I fear what may happen under Trump. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance.” (Actually, it’s his million-dollar grants that hang in the balance.)

A “skeptic” scientist has warmed to the idea that a major Greenland ice shelf may be shrinking because of climate change, a front-page piece in the Post claimed. Perhaps so. But is it man-made warming? Does it portend planetary cataclysm, even as Greenland’s interior and Antarctica show record ice growth? Or are warm ocean currents weakening an ice shelf that is fragile because it rests on ocean water, not land?

The fundamental problem remains. If it was substandard science and modeling under Obama era terminology, it will be substandard under survivalist jargon. The notion that manmade carbon dioxide now drives climate and weather — and we can predict climate and weather by looking only at plant-fertilizing CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” — is just as absurd now as before.

Their predictions will be as invalid and unscientific as divining future Super Bowl winners by modeling who plays left guard for each team — or World Cup victors by looking at center backs.

As climate realists take the reins at EPA and other federal and state agencies, the Trump Administration should ensure that tax dollars are not squandered on more alarmist science that is employed to justify locking up more fossil fuels, expanding renewable energy and “carbon capture” schemes, reducing US living standards, and telling poor countries what living standards they will be “permitted” to have.

Reliable forecasts, as far in advance as possible, would clearly benefit humanity. For that to happen, however, research must examine all natural and manmade factors, and not merely toe the pretend-consensus line that carbon dioxide now governs climate change.

That means government grants must not go preferentially to researchers who seek to further CO2-centrism, but rather to those who are committed to a broader scope of solid, dispassionate research that examines both natural and manmade factors. Grant recipients must also agree to engage in robust discussion and debate, to post, explain and defend their data, methodologies, analyses and conclusions.

They must devote far more attention to improving our understanding of all the forces that drive climate fluctuations, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them. Important factors include cyclical variations in the sun’s energy and cosmic ray output, winds high in Earth’s atmosphere, and decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans, which are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to predict or be realistically included in climate models.

Another is the anomalous warm water areas that develop from time to time in the Pacific Ocean and then are driven by winds and currents northward into the Arctic, affecting US, Canadian, European and Asian temperatures and precipitation. The process of cloud formation is also important, because clouds help retain planetary warmth, reflect the sun’s heat, and provide cooling precipitation.

Many scientists have tried to inject these factors into climate discussions. However, the highly politicized nature of US, IPCC and global climate change funding, research, regulatory and treaty-making activities has caused CO2-focused factions to discount, dismiss or ignore the roles these natural forces play.

The political situation has also meant that most research and models have focused on carbon dioxide and other assumed human contributions to climate change. Politics, insufficient data and inadequate knowledge also cause models to reflect unrealistic physics theories, use overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques, and fail to account adequately for deep-ocean circulation cycles and the enormity and complexity of natural forces and their constant, intricate interplay in driving climate fluctuations.

Speedier, more powerful computers simply make any “garbage in-garbage out” calculations, analyses and predictions occur much more quickly — facilitating faster faulty forecasts … and policy recommendations.

The desire to secure research funding from Obama grantor agencies also perpetuated a tendency to use El Niño warming spikes, and cherry-pick the end of cooling cycles as the starting point for trend lines that allegedly “prove” fossil fuels are causing “unprecedented” temperature spikes and planetary calamity.

Finally, the tens of billions of dollars given annually in recent years to “keep it in the ground” anti-fossil fuel campaigners, national and international regulators, and renewable energy companies have given these vested interests enormous incentives to support IPCC/EPA pseudo-science — and vilify and silence climate realists who do not accept “catastrophic manmade climate change” precepts.

The Trump Administration and 115th Congress have a unique opportunity to change these dynamics, and ensure that future research generates useful information, improved understanding of Earth’s complex climate system, and forecasts that are increasingly accurate. In addition to the above, they should:

* Reexamine and reduce (or even eliminate) the role that climate model “projections” (predictions) play in influencing federal policies, laws and regulations — until modeling capabilities are vastly and demonstrably improved, in line with the preceding observations.

* Revise the Clean Air Act to remove EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide — or compel EPA to reexamine its “endangerment” finding, to reflect the previous bullet, information and commentary.

* Significantly reduce funding for climate research, the IPCC and EPA, and science in general. Funding should be more broadly based, not monopolistic, especially when the monopoly is inevitably politicized.

This is not an “attack on science.” It is a reaffirmation of what real science is supposed to be and do.

Find out more about Driessen here.

16 thoughts on “Reality-Based Climate Forecasting — Guest Post by Paul Driessen Leave a comment

  1. Good article!

    But you are – I think – still unrealistically optimistic about even the possibility of predictively-valid climate science.

    Aside from people wanting/ hoping to be able to predict climate, I don’t think it at all likely that we could do so – the problem is *vastly* more complex and difficult than any other that has been solved, so far – and (as evidence) there has been *zero* substantive progress thus far in that there have been no genuinely successful predictions of global climate (I mean, predictions of the future! – not statistically ‘modelling’ the past.) – indeed, has there even been a stable and agreed definition of global climate that could, in principle, be predicted?

    And as for the project of controlling future climate… well to believe that is possible, given the mega-complexity of the problem and zero evidence of substantive progress towards even prediction, is so absurd as to be evidence of clinical insanity… if the belief wasn’t already explained by the gross dishonesty and incompetence of those who claim to be able to do this (control down to a fraction of a degree celcius, indeed!).

    I believe that essentially all of professional science is by now corrupted so deeply as to require being abandoned (see my book Not Even Trying) – but this applies more than most to climatology; I would shut it down its funding altogether – zero funding.

    In practice, this would mean the field would be left to amateurs who did it for love and to discover truth – like James Lovelock, who launched the whole idea of greenhouse gases (back then it was methane, mainly) and seems to have done all the conceptual heavy lifting which everybody afterwards has lived-off. If progress is possible in the field, then it would be much, Much more likely to be made by half a dozen self-funded people like Lovelock than many thousands of career climate researchers/ propagandists paid billions of dollars.

  2. Burt Rutan notes that current levels of CO2 have pretty much saturated the atmosphere, more CO2 will have negligible or no effect. In his words: “The CO2 already in the atmosphere absorbs most of the light it can. The CO2 only “soaks up” its favorite wavelengths of light and it’s close to its saturation point. It can’t do much more, because there are not many left-over photons at the right wavelengths. The natural greenhouse effect is real, and it helps keep us warm, but it’s already nearly reached its peak performance. Add more CO2 and most of the extra gas is just “unemployed” molecules.” (see Rutan’s summary briefing, chart 30, at: http://burtrutan.com/downloads/EngrCritiqueCAGW-v4o3.pdf).

    Dr. Christy has long noted that models are not science; if the models don’t predict that failure indicates something is wrong with the models—meaning the modeler’s fail to understand and account for relevant factors. Compounding that is the fact that our ability to measure climate and relevant factors is inherently limited. Here’s the link to his recent (early 2016) Congressional testimony (with charts): http://docs.house.gov/meetings/SY/SY00/20160202/104399/HHRG-114-SY00-Wstate-ChristyJ-20160202.pdf. There, Christy notes that even if all the contemplated regulatory controls were implemented the aggregate effects would be nearly undetectable – he made the same point, years/decades ago in testimony with Hansen, who then also agreed on that fundamental fact…that’s accessible on-line, but not easy to find.

    Christy’s testimony has a number of gems, including remarks in the appendix, including:

    “…“experts” become the authors and evaluators of their own research relative to research which challenges their work. This becomes an obvious conflict of interest. But with the luxury of having the “last word” as “expert” authors of the reports, alternative views vanish.”

    “…climate science is a “murky” science. We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do. As a result what passes for science includes, opinion, arguments-from-authority, dramatic press releases, and fuzzy notions of consensus generated by preselected groups. This is not science.”

    Richard Feynman’s lectures about science, models & prediction merit refresher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY (short version), or the longer version that notes that a theory might not be proven wrong, or flawed, for 100s of years — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw.

    Feynman’s observations re Mathematicians vs Physicists is enlightening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw (his description of mathematics/mathematicians fits Briggs’ outlook almost perfectly).

  3. “Burt Rutan notes that current levels of CO2 have pretty much saturated the atmosphere, more CO2 will have negligible or no effect.”

    If he were anywhere close to being correct in this, it would be a stunning contribution to climate science. But he’s not, which is why he has zero publications about climate in science journals.

    Hint: the planet Venus. Look up why its surface temperature is about 900° F.

  4. What a weak article! Poor Paul, still stuck in a bad movie, still whining about trivialities.

    Warmer is better, people. Good ol’ Mother Earth is too cold. For 99% of the last 240,000,000 years, our planet has been warmer than today. That’s nearly a quarter of a billion years of warmer than now, and guess what? — the oceans did not boil away into outer space!! Whoda thunkit!!! Hint hint huffers.

    Check the facts. Warmer means more rain, longer growing seasons, more biological productivity, more bio-diversity, more LIFE in general.

    Life is a good thing. Those who disagree are welcome to huddle in the cold and dark and stick needles in their necks, but please DO NOT inflict your anti-life insanity on the rest of us.

    Warmer is better. Only a fool plays it cool by making his world a little colder.

  5. Hint: the planet Venus. Look up why its surface temperature is about 900° F.

    That would be the massive weight of the atmosphere creating enormous pressure at ground level. At altitudes where the pressure is similar to Earth, the temperatures are similar to Earth’s, after adjusting for the closer proximity to the Sun. Mars, which is farther from the Sun and possesses a thinner atmosphere is also around 96% CO2, but is not well known as a hothouse.

  6. “That would be the massive weight of the atmosphere creating enormous pressure at ground level.”

    No, it wouldn’t. This shows an ignorance of basic thermodynamics. Here’s a hint that might lead to enlightenment: suppose you have a bicycle in your garage, with its tires inflated to a high pressure. It’s been in there for weeks. Do you think that the temperature of the air inside the tires is higher than the surrounding air?

    “At altitudes where the pressure is similar to Earth, the temperatures are similar to Earth’s, after adjusting for the closer proximity to the Sun.”

    No, they aren’t. Look at the graphs at http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm. And you don’t adjust “for the closer proximity to the Sun”.
    You adjust for the amount of solar radiation transmitted into the atmosphere. Venus is highly reflective, and, despite being closer to the Sun than Earth, absorbs far less radiation. Despite that, its surface temperature is much higher, because of the greenhouse effect of its high concentration of CO2.

  7. Lee, the pressure itself does not raise temperature. The effect is due to the rotation of the planet and inertia or friction of the atmosphere above it. At 100 times the pressure and density of Earth’s atmosphere, the heat transfer is far greater than it is on Earth even considering Venus’ slower rotation. It is the mechanical equivalent of heat on a planetary scale.

  8. Mr Phillips, you too should do something.
    E.g. start with the ideal gas laws. pV=NkT is too simple, but clear.
    Especially for the venerable planet conditions, of which we do not have truly independent (direct) observations apart from deducing about a 2 o. of m. higher pressure and T about 2-3 as high as on Earth. Instructive to see numbers indicating over 30 times as dense atmosphere there.
    Aye, there is a lot CO2, too, all of which may not be gaseous (alas, do not have the diagrams of state of CO2 at hand).

  9. http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/GWvenus.htm – that’s a site that presents some basic calculations, in more detail than other’s noted here, comparing CO2 in radically different planetary scenarios.

    Here on Earth, increasing CO2 does contribute to the retention of certain energy…but only up to a point. Once saturated, a perpetual equilibrium of a sort results. Analogous to painting over a window, the first coats block much sunlight, but after a while light transmittance is blocked entirely and additional coats have no added effect. Or, like layering blankets will keep one warmer…but there’s never a point such that if a person is encased in enough blankets/insulation they burst into flame — but that’s the mindset (wrong) that many in the alarmist community choose-to-believe [choice — as evidenced by an uncanny & consistent refusal to entertain relevant facts].

    Which, for some reason or other, reminds of this old saying:

    “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing;
    it wastes your time
    and annoys the pig.”

  10. If we were serious about global warming (and that’s what I mean), it strikes me that one of the best and simplest solutions (technically complicated, but well within the reach of current engineering) would be to have a laser array powered by heat pumps that we fire into space.

    For those with strict minds: I’m not suggesting thermally pumping the laser, but rather using the heat pumps to power the laser pump. Also, for the record, heat pumps (like the condenser on your refrigerator) have efficiencies well above 100%

    But in any case, that presupposes that global warming has been accurately identified as the problem, something which no-one argues today. (Many argue that the problem is that there WILL be global warming on an appreciable scale, and that there HAS been localized warming on an appreciable scale.)

    It also presupposes that what we want is a workable solution to the problem, rather than the excuse to make policy to harm one’s enemies and help one’s friends. Which is silly, because it shall ever be thus.

  11. Lee Phillips Look to me another useful idiot. What happen on Venus cannot happen here period. Only someone that basically and idiot would use such Venus as and example. How much greenhouse gas was there in the earth ancient atmosphere? Well here is an example from:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030918092804.htm

    “A 1993 model by Jim Kasting of Pennsylvania State University estimates that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the Earth’s early atmosphere must have been 10 times to as much as 10,000 times today’s level, in order to compensate for the young (and fainter) sun. Now, a measurement of the fossil record using a new instrument has confirmed a portion of the model. Atmospheric CO2 level 1.4 billion years ago was at least ten to 200 times greater than today, according to the new research.”

    Yes, we did have a fainter sun but yet any moron should know life removed most of the CO2 a long time ago. Earth did not end up as Venus. Oh by the way, Venus produces more outgoing radiation than it receives. Explain to me how that greenhouse effect occurs on Venus without some other form of energy input. Oh I forgot the left always believes in in puerperal motion machines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *