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« The 14 Republicans Who Voted for Amnesty | Main | Overnight Open Thread (6-24-2013) »
June 24, 2013

Climate Scientist: If Temperatures Continue to Remain Flat for Five More Years, Our Models Will Have Been Disproven

Interesting interview with a climate scientist digested at Breitbart, found in full at Der Spiegel.

He isn't calling quits on global change claims yet-- but, for once, he does offer a firm falsification scenario. He says that in 2% of all runs of all models, a 15 year pause in global warming was found. That is, the current span of a 15 year warming hiatus is not impossible in the models, it's just very rare.

But if it goes on five more years, the models will have been disproven, as a 20 year hiatus appears in none of them.

SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?

Storch: There are two conceivable explanations -- and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn't mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

SPIEGEL: That sounds quite embarrassing for your profession, if you have to go back and adjust your models to fit with reality…

Storch: Why? That's how the process of scientific discovery works. There is no last word in research, and that includes climate research. It's never the truth that we offer, but only our best possible approximation of reality. But that often gets forgotten in the way the public perceives and describes our work.

SPIEGEL: But it has been climate researchers themselves who have feigned a degree of certainty even though it doesn't actually exist. For example, the IPCC announced with 95 percent certainty that humans contribute to climate change.

Storch: And there are good reasons for that statement. We could no longer explain the considerable rise in global temperatures observed between the early 1970s and the late 1990s with natural causes.... Now that we have a new development, we may need to make adjustments.

SPIEGEL: In which areas do you need to improve the models?

Storch: Among other things, there is evidence that the oceans have absorbed more heat than we initially calculated. Temperatures at depths greater than 700 meters (2,300 feet) appear to have increased more than ever before. The only unfortunate thing is that our simulations failed to predict this effect.

SPIEGEL: That doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Storch: Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive truth. The end result is foolishness along the lines of the climate protection brochures recently published by Germany's Federal Environmental Agency under the title "Sie erwärmt sich doch" ("The Earth is getting warmer"). Pamphlets like that aren't going to convince any skeptics. It's not a bad thing to make mistakes and have to correct them. The only thing that was bad was acting beforehand as if we were infallible. By doing so, we have gambled away the most important asset we have as scientists: the public's trust.

Emphasis added.

He doesn't come across as a zealot-- far from it, compared to the rest of the Green Machine. In fact, he tosses criticisms at them left and right.

And yet...

The only unfortunate thing is that our simulations failed to predict this effect.

Well, as you can see, there is still so much ego in play one doubts one could get a truly objective assessment from these guys.


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posted by Ace at 07:57 PM

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