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Hoskins: climate models are lousy

The quote is at 4:30.

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Reader Comments (23)

"we'd be doing ourselves out of a business if we said we had solved the problem"

about 4 mins after "the climate models are lousy"

He really wasn't looking deeper into that teacup..

Jul 25, 2010 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndyScrase

Same old agenda, 3000 pages with minor errors, climate models are fantastic now but terrible in the past.
Hoskins comes across in the interview as an amicable type of person unfortunately an amicable sort of bloke will just sit back and go with the flow letting the more forthright characters dictate. Sometime in their lives these authority types instead of prioritising their own wellbeing and kowtowing to every overpowering Tom Dick and Harry have to stand up to the bulling characters. Although that said I maybe totally wrong about Hoskins character.

Jul 25, 2010 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

He starts by confessing that the issue is how much heating CO2 will cause. We all know that the main attack on that question has been by modelling. Then he admits that the models are lousy. There's no sign, however, that the penny has dropped for him.

Jul 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

A feature of models is that they are not reality and have to be tested to see whether they mimic reality. The testing always is done in the future. If you design a new model of an aircraft, it must be tested by seeing whether or not it flies; computers can give insights but are not a substitute for testing the model in the future. In the case of computer-derived climate models, it is all too easy to think and act as if the models are reality.
Any finding or prediction derived from computer modeling can be tested only by observing future behaviour of the system being modeled. Climate modeling suffers from these same contraints. Unfortunately theses points concerning models are completely absent from The Economist's interview with Professor Hoskins

Jul 25, 2010 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorley Sutter

The others have pretty much summarize my reaction. Time to move along.

Jul 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I expect the coming cooling will show him all sorts of new ways in which the climate models are wrong. Ah, life, it's a wonderful adventure, especially when those old economists don't tell us about all the uncertainties in their analyses.

Sorry, this guy is a crock. One with big smiles and veiled tears.

Jul 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Paraphrasing him -- Economists have large uncertainties, yet we rely on their work in making policy.

AND WE SHOULDN"T! What kind of stupid argument is he making?! Economists are wrong all the time and we use them, so let's add erroneous forecasts from science in making policy!

How 'bout we stop using crappy information from every discipline that doesn't know how to give us good information.

Jul 25, 2010 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

I think Dearieme says it all. The question is indeed how much? Bob Watson at the Guardian debate said the same thing but did not seem to understand that the question needs answering before the government puts their large hads into our small pockets and takes everything it can find to fund their stupid wind farms :(

Jul 25, 2010 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Dung: " ..the government .....takes everything it can find to fund their stupid wind farms :("

Seems to me the governments have been running wind farms for generations at our expense. The innovation is that the new ones will be outdoors.

Somehow the concept implies a sort of 'professional courtesy" (term of art in US) toward another form of wind power.

Jul 25, 2010 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

A blast from the past, Richard Black, BBC interacting with some commentors called 'Bishop Hill' and Stephen_mcintyre, At his Earthwatch blog..

Whatever happened next...

Jul 25, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

"Hoskins comes across in the interview as an amicable type of person"

Definitely an amicable person and also a top person in his field as he was one of the early pioneers of GCM's back in the seventies (see Hoskins and Simmons 1975 - I believe at ran on punch cards originally), hence maybe a slightly stubborn belief in what they can achieve. He gave up Head of Department in Reading to concentrate on pure research but now finds himself working for the Grantham institute which is clearly a political body set up by a known environmental advocate. It always seems a slightly tricky position to try and hold a research and an advocacy role at the same time.

Jul 25, 2010 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobB

I am pleased to have been a part of the effort to put the entire scientific effort of global change alarmism under question, just by examining some of its paragraphs. ;)

Given that the bulk of the iconic alarmist imagery and projections, consisted of these few passages in the first place

Jul 26, 2010 at 2:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

...and we wouldn't want to put ourselves out of business by cracking the science, now, would we?

Jul 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermike

A patently able man, who appears to me to be trying to sail a difficult course in this interview between telling the truth and keeping his job. By becoming the Director of the Grantham Institute he has effectively nailed his "dangerous-man-made-global-warming-is-a-fact-and-we-are-going-to-have-to-do-things-the-public-will-not-like-to-stop-it" colours to the mast.
I would love to have an expert in body language review this interview. As an amateur I see a man acutely uncomfortable being interviewed and intensely relieved when it is over.
As an intelligent man he is not really comfortable with putting forward the point of view that, yes , there are uncertainties but they are not really uncertainties and we are certain really.

Apologies to all you scientists out there, but I am fascinated by the (percieved by me!) differences in character as evinced in interview by some of the leading lights in the climate debate. Michael Mann is particularly scary, even when being interviewed by a completely partisan interviewer.

You will not be surprised to know that I am entirely unconvinced as of this moment that we are experiencing man made climate change, and I also wonder if that skews my thinking/perception when watching people being interviewed.
If anyone knows whether this has been explored elsewhere, I should be very glad of any info.

Jul 26, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

It is goingto be a long road, to even get certain people, to even to stop, think and EVEN to consider listening!!!!

someone TOLD me at DELTOID, that the science is sttled, and to *%&^ off.
Bishop Hill, Cliamte Audit, even Richard Blacke Earthwatch are much nicer places...

The alarmist blogs, are so insular, they only look to themselves and each other....
Mr. Wood,

Good riddance! You are the worst kind of denier: the infiltrator. It is a very common rhetorical and infiltrative device to enter an arena claiming to be the voice of sincere, sympathetic moderation and work to steer the debate toward inaction. This is exactly what the climate denialists planned. Now, we have the documents, we have the memos, we know where your stance came from. (Oreskes, NYT article.) We know the plan and approach.

By pursuing this tactic, you are the least honest of the denialist pack. The strident denialist is obvious, and easy to refute. They are probably ideologically married to their denial, and their ideology is what causes their denial.

But your type? Your type isn't caught up in ideology. You are making a direct attempt to stop the issue from moving forward for no better reason than you don't want the way things are to change. You're too comfortable, too satisfied, too well off. So, you lie and pretend you are not a denier so you can sway others who are honestly not sure of their stance.

And, yes, your posts prove this. Your "review" was pretty gentle on the denialists and pretty tough on the others. Now, how can this be when there is no scientific support for doubt? There's not a single peer-reviewed paper that comes anywhere near to disproving the Greenhouse Effect and its anthropogenic drivers that has stood up to peer review. Papers have been written, of course, but have yet to pass peer review.

So, I ask, if you have zero support for your position, how do you maintain it? And, yes, it is simple:

1.GHGs trap heat.

2.GHGs increase, thus trap more heat.

3.GHGs have chemical signatures.

4.GHGs can be attributed to natural and anthropogenic causes.

5.The increase in GHGs is chemically traced to anthropogenic causes and resultant feedbacks in natural systems.

Now, if you can show any of the above to be untrue, you have a stance with merit. If you cannot, you are an idiot because you cannot understand very simple facts and logic and are choosing to believe something there is no evidence for.

So, Mr. Woods, kindly shut the $%^& up so my young son and his progeny can have at least some tiny chance at living on a planet that is only 2 or 3 degrees warmer.

Posted by: Killian | July 21, 2010 10:35 AM


someone like that is not going to listen, yetthat response is commomn, if you dare to question CAGW.. they BELIEVE

Jul 26, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

If people COULD post on each others blogs, not each tribe tonly talking to it's own tribal members, this type of rant, above must surely change, currently the 'warmista' blogs are so insular, the rhetoric just feeds on itself.

My response: (at Deltoid)--------------------------

I am accused of not wanting my lifestyle changed.. Whatever happens, I will be able to adapt, so probably will you..

yet the CAGW alarmists, will effect hundreds of millions of the world's poor, by the focus on CO2 delusion, vs real environmental and political issues..

All the trillions to be wasted, could save every rainforest (ie logging), stop the loss of biodiversity, stop all 'real' pollution, protect endangered species, feed, clothe, provide clean water and educate the world's poorest...

Whatever my government does, and they BELIEVE in CAGW, it will not effect me that much, I am insulated, energy efficient (ie saves money) , etc allready. I can adapt, change and I will probably have to, given my governments delusion.

I haven't even been on an airplane for 9 years, nor has my family.... Have you - killian - been on an airplane...

Just one single return trip to Australia, is the equivalent of my cars total lifetime CO2 emmisions, (12 years old) Check out a carbon calculator for yourself....

oh look, JPMORGAN Chase BANK are goingto make a profit out of carbon offsets.........

SO MY carbon FOOTPRINT is tiny compared top those like you, and the politicians that private jet around, that would call me a 'deniar', so let anyone cast the first stone yourselfs, if you can stomach your own hypocrisy. Where your carbon footprint is higher than mine.


Jul 26, 2010 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Oh look another hall of shame, aimed at journalists!!!

They are quite scary these people, I serioulsy think some would have 'climate denial' LAWS, with harsh penalties if they could.

Jul 26, 2010 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

To quote myself "He starts by confessing that the issue is how much heating CO2 will cause. We all know that the main attack on that question has been by modelling. Then he admits that the models are lousy. There's no sign, however, that the penny has dropped for him."

You know, it's not the routine dishonesty from the Climate Scientists that is most salient in my mind - it's how common that stupidity is among them. By the standrads of science, these are really rather dim people.

Jul 26, 2010 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme


I don’t believe these people are dim dearime. It is obviously so much easier for them just to toe the line regardless of what their personal thoughts maybe on the subject. Debating the science alone will not bring this edifice down when it is supported by powerful and influential people who basically close their ears to the other side of the argument in an attempt to increase their individual empire while rewarding a few of the sheep with whatever titbits it takes to keep them taking the flak in the front line.

Jul 27, 2010 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

What I said was that they are dim by the standards of science - perhaps I should have said "physical science" but otherwise I stand by my assessment. So much of their work has been plain foolish. Cleverer people might have been just as dishonest, of course.

Jul 27, 2010 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme


Agreed. Sloppy, illlogical, dishonest, yet afflicted with the worst case of hubris imaginable. Essentially, the opposite of wise.

Jul 27, 2010 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

In relation to accuracy in science, can I recommend "Assessing Uncertainty in Physical Constants":

In relation to GCM, I heartily recommend Mayanna Lahsen's "Seductive Simulations"

Jul 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterLuke Warmer

I'm struck by the seeming conflation of humans adding of 5% of the CO2 overall contributing to warming of the earth with its being dangerous. People contribute to warming, okay. Ergo, that's dangerous. Sorry, the two don't mesh that well for me.

Aug 11, 2010 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTimberati

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