Climate Change: Old Models Out, New Data in, but always the Same Prescription

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Climate Change: Old Models Out, New Data in, but always the Same Prescription

An addi­tional caveat to assess­ments of a 2030 ‘emis­sions gap’ is that most NDCs are for­mu­lated in terms of CO2-​equivalent (CO2e)emissions, a com­pos­ite met­ric of warm­ing impact of dif­fer­ent gases based on Global Warm­ing Poten­tials (GWPs) from var­i­ous IPCC reports. It is there­fore impos­si­ble to assess pre­cisely the 2030 emis­sions of CO2 itself that are com­pat­i­ble with these pledges with­out addi­tional assump­tions, because CO2e pledges could be attained through vary­ing com­bi­na­tions of long-​lived and short-​lived forcer mitigation.

Emis­sions bud­gets and path­ways con­sis­tent with lim­it­ing warm­ing to 1.5° C Sept 18 2017

Last month I did a post on how the vari­ance in com­puter model’s pre­dic­tions on Hur­ri­cane paths despite decades of data and the finest com­put­ers and train­ing avail­able was a sim­ple proof of the folly of rely­ing on com­puter cli­mate mod­els deal­ing with “com­plex nat­ural phe­nom­ena that involve mul­ti­ple inter­act­ing processes” try­ing to pre­dict events decades in the future.

You aren’t deal­ing with a sin­gle “com­plex nat­ural phe­nom­ena that involve mul­ti­ple inter­act­ing processes” you are deal­ing with EVERY com­plex nat­ural phe­nom­ena that involve mul­ti­ple inter­act­ing processes that exists on the earth. Every sin­gle addi­tional item you add increases the vari­a­tion of the data mod­els. Fur­ther­more you are also deal­ing with vari­a­tions in the sun, vari­a­tions in the orbits of the earth, its moon and more.

And that’s just the vari­a­tions in nat­ural phe­nom­ena, imag­ine the vari­a­tion in indus­trial out­put on the entire planet for a period of 50 or 100 years.

Think of the com­puter mod­el­ing and track­ing of that sin­gle hur­ri­cane and apply this think­ing to the cli­mate of the earth as a whole. How accu­rate that model is going to be over 100 years, 50 years, 25 years or even ten years?

Would you be will­ing to bet even your short term eco­nomic future on it, would any­one in their right mind do so?

That post got both a ton of atten­tion and a ton of push­back by those insist­ing that I was com­par­ing apples and oranges (hur­ri­canes vs the plan­e­tary sys­tem) not real­iz­ing that my point was pri­mar­ily about com­puter mod­el­ing and vari­a­tions of data over a long period of time.

Well one month later the Inde­pen­dent (via insty) acquaints us with a new study that sug­gests global warm­ing mod­els “on the hot side”

the find­ings indi­cate the dan­ger may not be as acute as was pre­vi­ously thought.

Myles Allen, pro­fes­sor of geosys­tem sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Oxford and one of the study’s authors told The Times: “We haven’t seen that rapid accel­er­a­tion in warm­ing after 2000 that we see in the mod­els. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

The orig­i­nal fore­casts were based on twelve sep­a­rate com­puter mod­els made by uni­ver­si­ties and gov­ern­ment insti­tutes around the world, and were put together ten years ago, “so it’s not that sur­pris­ing that it’s start­ing to divert a lit­tle bit from obser­va­tions”, Pro­fes­sor Allen added.

Or in other words when you have actual data that decreases the vari­able involved sud­denly the path to the goal of avoid­ing dis­as­ter seems easier.

Of course you won’t be sur­prised to hear that this change in data is being sold as a rea­son to move for­ward on dra­con­ian emis­sions con­trol because we now have a chance to achieve tem­per­a­ture goals with­out actions that are: “incom­pat­i­ble with democ­racy” but take a look at the quote not from the news arti­cle but from the actual study that I lead this post with in which I high­light sev­eral key words in BOLD:

An addi­tional caveat to assess­ments of a 2030 ‘emis­sions gap’ is that most NDCs are for­mu­lated in terms of CO2-​equivalent (CO2e)emissions, a com­pos­ite met­ric of warm­ing impact of dif­fer­ent gases based on Global Warm­ing Poten­tials (GWPs) from var­i­ous IPCC reports. It is there­fore impos­si­ble to assess pre­cisely the 2030 emis­sions of CO2 itself that are com­pat­i­ble with these pledges with­out addi­tional assump­tions, because CO2e pledges could be attained through vary­ing com­bi­na­tions of long-​lived and short-​lived forcer mitigation.

Or to put it in eng­lish: We have no idea if we’re actu­ally right because we are mak­ing assump­tions from a range of poten­tial fig­ures from mul­ti­ple reports (whose com­pos­ites, met­rics and assump­tions are not detailed here) so we can’t actu­ally say how much car­bon we have to restrict to keep the planet down to our tem­per­a­ture goal with­out mak­ing guesses.

But we con­clude you have to make giant adjust­ments to your econ­omy and tax code, that coin­ci­dently favor con­nected inter­ests that fund such studies

You’re going to base the econ­omy of your state, your coun­try your con­ti­nent on THAT?

Read through that entire report, it has more weasel words than an end user agree­ment writ and as you do pon­der this exchange from the clas­sic Doc­tor Who episode the Aztecs:

Tlo­toxl: A vision is with us, Aut­loc. When does it rain?
Aut­loc: This day. When the sun’s fire first touches the hori­zon to the west.
Tlo­toxl: At that moment shall I present her to the peo­ple. A vision is with us and shall stand before them. And I, in sup­pli­ca­tion to the Rain God, shall offer human blood. The rains will come. No more talk against us that the gods were against us and brought drought to the land. The rains will come and power shall again be ours.
Aut­loc: I tell you the rains will come with or with­out sac­ri­fice.
Tlo­toxl: Does the High Priest of Knowl­edge only wor­ship him who has fallen, and not him who has made us strong?
Aut­loc: I wor­ship the same god as you.
Tlo­toxl: Then above all, hon­our him. He has made us rulers of the land. For this he demands blood. And he shall have it.

and ask your­self if we are see­ing the same sce­nario from our elite classes demand­ing a sac­ri­fice to pre­vent a cri­sis that doesn’t exist in order to main­tain their posi­tions and wealth?


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An additional caveat to assessments of a 2030 ‘emissions gap’ is  that most NDCs are formulated in terms of CO2-equivalent (CO2e)emissions, a composite metric of warming impact of different gases based on Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) from various IPCC reports. It is therefore impossible to assess precisely the 2030 emissions of CO2 itself that are compatible with these pledges without additional assumptions, because CO2e pledges could be attained through varying combinations of long-lived and short-lived forcer mitigation.

Emissions budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5° C Sept 18 2017

Last month I did a post on how the variance in computer model’s predictions on Hurricane paths despite decades of data and the finest computers and training available was a simple proof of the folly of relying on computer climate models dealing with “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” trying to predict events decades in the future.

You aren’t dealing with a single “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” you are dealing with EVERY complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes that exists on the earth. Every single additional item you add increases the variation of the data models. Furthermore you are also dealing with variations in the sun, variations in the orbits of the earth, its moon and more.

And that’s just the variations in natural phenomena, imagine the variation in industrial output on the entire planet for a period of 50 or 100 years.

Think of the computer modeling and tracking of that single hurricane and apply this thinking to the climate of the earth as a whole. How accurate that model is going to be over 100 years, 50 years, 25 years or even ten years?

Would you be willing to bet even your short term economic future on it, would anyone in their right mind do so?

That post got both a ton of attention and a ton of pushback by those insisting that I was comparing apples and oranges (hurricanes vs the planetary system) not realizing that my point was primarily about computer modeling and variations of data over a long period of time.

Well one month later the Independent (via insty) acquaints us with a new study that suggests global warming models “on the hot side”

the findings indicate the danger may not be as acute as was previously thought.

Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford and one of the study’s authors told The Times: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

The original forecasts were based on twelve separate computer models made by universities and government institutes around the world, and were put together ten years ago, “so it’s not that surprising that it’s starting to divert a little bit from observations”, Professor Allen added.

Or in other words when you have actual data that decreases the variable involved suddenly the path to the goal of avoiding disaster seems easier.

Of course you won’t be surprised to hear that this change in data is being sold as a reason to move forward on draconian emissions control because we now have a chance to achieve temperature goals without actions that are: “incompatible with democracy” but take a look at the quote not from the news article but from the actual study that I lead this post with in which I highlight several key words in BOLD:

An additional caveat to assessments of a 2030 ‘emissions gap’ is  that most NDCs are formulated in terms of CO2-equivalent (CO2e)emissions, a composite metric of warming impact of different gases based on Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) from various IPCC reports. It is therefore impossible to assess precisely the 2030 emissions of CO2 itself that are compatible with these pledges without additional assumptions, because CO2e pledges could be attained through varying combinations of long-lived and short-lived forcer mitigation.

Or to put it in english:   We have no idea if we’re actually right because we are making assumptions from a range of potential figures from multiple reports (whose composites, metrics and assumptions are not detailed here) so we can’t actually say how much carbon we have to restrict to keep the planet down to our temperature goal without making guesses.

But we conclude you have to make giant adjustments to your economy and tax code, that coincidently favor connected interests that fund such studies

You’re going to base the economy of your state, your country your continent on THAT?

Read through that entire report, it has more weasel words than an end user agreement writ and as you do ponder this exchange from the classic Doctor Who episode the Aztecs:

Tlotoxl: A vision is with us, Autloc. When does it rain?
Autloc: This day. When the sun’s fire first touches the horizon to the west.
Tlotoxl: At that moment shall I present her to the people. A vision is with us and shall stand before them. And I, in supplication to the Rain God, shall offer human blood. The rains will come. No more talk against us that the gods were against us and brought drought to the land. The rains will come and power shall again be ours.
Autloc: I tell you the rains will come with or without sacrifice.
Tlotoxl: Does the High Priest of Knowledge only worship him who has fallen, and not him who has made us strong?
Autloc: I worship the same god as you.
Tlotoxl: Then above all, honour him. He has made us rulers of the land. For this he demands blood. And he shall have it.

and ask yourself if we are seeing the same scenario from our elite classes demanding a sacrifice to prevent a crisis that doesn’t exist in order to maintain their positions and wealth?


If you like what you’ve seen here and want to support independent journalism please hit DaTipJar below.




Please consider subscribing, Not only does that get you my weekly podcast emailed to you before it appears either on the site or at the 405media which graciously carries it on a weekly basis but if you subscribe at any level I will send you an autographed copy of my new book from Imholt Press: Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer


Choose a Subscription level