Garth Paltridge: Climate’s Uncertainty Principle

Posted: April 7, 2019 by oldbrew in alarmism, climate, Critique, Energy, predictions, Temperature, Uncertainty
Tags: , , ,

Fine summer weather [image credit: BBC]

Plenty of assertions, but we’re still no nearer to knowing ‘what fraction of the observed rise in global surface temperature over the last thirty or so years…is attributable to the human-induced increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide’. It could be anything, including nothing. We don’t even have a CO2 number to work with, as any natural increases are hard to quantify. But in many countries national energy policy ploughs on regardless of the huge uncertainties.

The bottom line of politically correct thought on climate alarm is so full of holes that it brings the overall sanity of mankind into question, argues Garth Paltridge.

That is, we need to put a dollar number to the cost of doing something now, a dollar number to the benefit thus obtained by the future generations, and a number to a thing called “discount for the future”—this last being the rate at which our concern for the welfare of future generations falls away as we look further and further ahead.

Only the first of these numbers can be estimated with any degree of reliability.

Suffice it to say, if the climate-change establishment were to have its way with its proposed conversion of the global usage of energy to a usage based solely on renewable energy, the costs of the conversion would be horrifically large. It is extraordinary that such costs can even be contemplated when the numbers for both the future benefit and the discount for the future are little more than abstract guesses.

Assessment of the future benefit is largely based on two types of numerical modelling. First, there are the vast computer models that attempt to forecast the future change in Earth’s climate when atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased as a consequence of the human activity of burning fossil fuel.

Second, there are the computer-based economic models which attempt to calculate the economic and social impact of the forecasted change of climate. Reduction of that impact (by reducing the human input of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere) is the “benefit” in the cost-benefit calculations.

Taking the climate change calculations first, it should be emphasised that in order to be really useful, the forecast must necessarily be of the future distribution of climate about the world—on the scale of areas as small as individual nations and regions. Calculating only the global average of such things as the future temperature and rainfall is not useful. The economic models need input data relevant to individual nations, not just the world as a whole.

Which is a bit of a problem. The uncertainty associated with climate prediction derives basically from the turbulent nature of the processes going on within the atmosphere and oceans. Such predictability as there is in turbulent fluids is governed by the size (the “scale”) of the boundaries that contain and limit the size to which random turbulent eddies can grow.

Thus reasonably correct forecasts of the average climate of the world might be possible in principle. On the scale of regions (anything much smaller than the scale of the major ocean basins for example) it has yet to be shown that useful long-term climate forecasting is possible even in principle.

Continued here.

Full essay here.

  1. Rick Bradford says:

    There is no uncertainty in climate prediction.

    In mainstream climate science, only the past is uncertain, while the future is precisely known.

  2. oldbrew says:

    Rick Bradford says: ‘the future is precisely known’
    – – –
    And then you woke up 😉

  3. oldbrew says:

    2020 Climate Madness Begins As Election Nears

    The year 2020 is shaping up to be one of madness when it comes to the climate change debate. Several huge milestones are in the cards and these cards are on the table.

  4. JB says:

    When were politicians and bureaucrats ever good at handling conditions in flux? I recently tried pointing out this error to the local city council and school district in their projections on a proposed bond election. They didn’t grasp that as the United States is in the midst of a hyperinflated bond market, even a phased provision in their proposed 20 year bond was not going to shield them from the impending massive implosion.

    All they could say was “We can’t predict the future….”

    Yeah, well, we can at least try not to repeat past mistakes, but that has never been a factor in Angl-Saxon politics, I surmise.

  5. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Whoa – what about starting with the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere that is man-made? I remember seeing an early IPCC scientific document that stated that 97% was natural, and only 3% man-made. Surely this fact on its own demolishes the whole CAGW fallacy? Or have all the sceptics bought the idea that the residency time is huuuge so the man-made CO2 displaces the natural CO2, hence the need to panic?
    PS Nice new Spurs stadium by the way! Maybe it will help them repeat their successes of 1961!

  6. ivan says:

    The big problem is that they still haven’t proved that man made CO2 has any thing to do with the way the climate is changing yet CO2 has been made the scape goat with the idea that doing so allows the easy destruction of the fossil fuel industry.

  7. Jurgen says:

    The satellite record is the only real observation of global temperature.
    It exhibits no systematic warming. In fact, Salby and Harde have shown
    that the warmer temperature which has now existed for nearly two decades
    was produced, not by systematic warming, but by random warming
    during only a couple of years. near time 16:00

    It is the same sporadic warming for which climate models are entirely uncorrelated.

    The complete disagreement on such time scales shows that for warming
    which actually produced today’s warmer temperature, the models have no predictive skill.
    It is this failure that the IPCC relies on to claim that reducing emissions
    would limit increased global temperature.

    One falsehood based upon another.

  8. ren says:

    The pressure over Iceland increases to almost 1040 hPa.

  9. tom0mason says:

    The climate is driven by many quasi cyclic period events, utterly random occurrences, and lots of loosely coupled and interacting chaotic feedback processes.
    There is little stability within the climate system except that within the (geologically) current situation, and through the marvels of myriad negative feedback processes, extremes are held within a relatively narrow ranges.
    The competing chaotic processes ensure that the climate system has never been and (as far as can be known) never will be at equilibrium. All these processes ensure that overall the climate continuously attempts to reach equilibrium, however this goal has never been achieved — climate stability has never occurred. It is a very dynamic system.
    So much for Trenberth et al, maybe they ‘know’ what the correct global temperature and climate should be for such stability, for their equilibrium.

  10. oldbrew says:

    The tropics get rid of their surplus heat and it moves towards the poles via winds and oceans. So the tendency is for the tropics to have the least climate variation, and the poles the most – in theory at least.
    [NB this link does have some ‘greenhouse gas’ waffle in it]

  11. hunterson7 says:

    oldbrew, you hit nail on head:
    Polar Amplification is an emergent natural process. It is as old as physics.
    It is not some kind of new scary human caused phenomenon.
    Nothing happening in Canada is unnatural or dangerous, despite the shrill consensus fear mongering.

  12. stpaulchuck says:

    this from the very Brahmans of world climate:
    “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” – IPCC TAR WG1, Working Group I: The Scientific Basis

  13. oldbrew says:

    New post…

    Climate Forecasting: The Big Gap – by The GWPF
    Posted: April 9, 2019

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