Friday, May 13, 2005

That 'F' in climate change science

How are all these climate change models calculated? Exactly how important is 'consensus'to the science and how exactly does this consensus relate to the calculation of the figures? And what's feedback got to do with it all?

All these questions answered and a discussion about what has happened to the scientific method here , at Tech Central Station, from the retired Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies University of Tasmania, and former Chief Research Scientist of the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge.

1 Comments:

Blogger Icehawk said...

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Bollocks.

It's a summary of a larger article here:
http://www.climatechangeissues.com/files/PDF/conf05paltridge.pdf
Which is even more bollocks.

His key claim is this: Because you have to be a true expert in the field to understand modern climate models "The normal and necessary process of scientific criticism cannot take place. All that can happen is for sceptics to take pot-shots at the modellers purely on the basis of intuition"

In other words, non-experts can't play the game, they have to take the expert's word for it.

Uh, yes. But that's true in all highly complex scientific fields!

You could say the same about quantum electrodynamics - it's results damn well offend my intuitions and yet the 'closed shop' of physicists studying quantum electrodynamics will say "Well, either you should learn the maths involved and then criticize us, or shut up because all of us who understand it think it's right".

But his true colours appear when he claims that climate modelling using numeric methods is a 'closed shop'. It's not a closed shop. If he has the ability he could learn the models, set up computers, test it, and publish all the details he want to about them.

His claim (in more detail) is that modellers don't publish the 'F' values for their models, which is what prevents less-mathematically-able climatologists criticising these climate models.

So why doesn't he do this himself - or get a research grant to get some postdoc to do it for him?

He can't. He can't because these F values don't exist.

To understand that, let's start poking holes in his maths.

His claim is that to assess these models the 'F' factors are physical factors which are (a) completely first-order effects and (b) completely independent of each other (look again at his equation). Yes, if it was that simple, then it'd be a surprising omission that F factors weren't given for all climate models. But who the hell really thinks it's that simple? And while's complaining that this thing (which can only be done for models that are obviously over-simplistic) isn't done, at the same time he's bemoaning the complexity of these models!

Bah! Humbug!

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5/13/2005 04:09:00 pm  

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