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« Academic science: not fit for purpose | Main | Overpeck notes the problems with attribution statements »

Unprecedented boing - Josh 305


Talking of Climate Models, there is another great Climate Audit post titled "Unprecedented" Model Discrepancy where Richard Betts, once again, provides cartoon inspiration in the comments.

It’s a bit like watching a ball bouncing down a rocky hillside. You can predict some aspects of it behaviour but not others. You can predict it will generally go downhill, and if you see a big rock in it’s path you can be reasonably confident that it will hit it and bounce off, but you can’t predict the size and direction of all the little bounces in between.

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (60)

ATheoK: I think you'll find Josh is referring to Guy Callender a "steam engineer" (whatever that is) who postulated that CO2 would cause atmospheric temperatures to rise and provided a graph of the rise in temperature with rise in CO2 which I believe follows closely what's been happening. Of course none of that matters, because as rhoda says if our climate moved to that of Bordeaux, or Portugal we wouldn't mind too much.

In order to overcome this problem for alarmists the goal posts have been moved (many times) to make the scenarios scarier and scarier. Imagine 5000 scientists studying a change in climate and not one of them writing a paper with an upside to warming and you've caught the problem. What we are expected to believe is that a temperature increase of 2.1C in the global average will cause more droughts where there are droughts already, more extreme weather where there is extreme weather already, and more disease, famine, pestilence, wars and deaths resulting in our grandchildren living in the kind of world I lived in as a child. To avoid this we must embrace environmentalism, give up consumerism and democracy and return to the kind of world I lived in as a child.

Dec 17, 2014 at 6:21 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Richard Betts
Let's use your bouncing ball analogy and consider the trajectory of such a ball falling from a table onto the floor. Whilst on the table it has a store of potential energy higher than it has when at rest on the ground.

As it falls the PE. is converted into KE.

When it hits the floor, its kinetic energy is converted into elastic energy causing it to rebound, but to a lower height than the table due to frictional etc. losses. This will continue for a series of rebounds, each to a lower height until all its initial kinetic energy has been dissipated.

Now consider Greenland ice temperatures as a measure of the energy of the ball and watch the trajectory of these temperatures over time from the Minoan Warm Period. These (from GISP2) are conveniently plotted as fig.3 in "The Big Picture" on the home page This fig. also shows the CO2 levels from the Epica Dome ice core.

Each rebound in temperature is to a lower temperature than before. Can you explain why the cause of the final rebound from the Little Ice Age should differ from the previous rebounds? I propose (as have many others) that the observed performance is entirely due to natural causes within the accuracy of the measurements. I also propose, in view of the Epica data, that CO2 has nothing to do with any of the rebounds.

Dec 17, 2014 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterronaldo

Well I still predict cooling. I'll see that ball run uphill like it did in the 70's just after the same collection of charlatans predicted a new ice age - also due to fossil fuels.

It's very easy to look at a rising curve and predict it will keep rising because of the first idea you pulled out of your arse. Alas it's a lot more difficult to explain why the rise stopped or reversed. At first they say it hasn't stopped, then they it's just a ripple in the upward trend and then they admit its due to forces they had previously dismissed as impossible. But hey you can trust them because they're experts.......all their friends told them they must be, otherwise they wouldn't still be employed with such a record of abject failure.

Dec 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

"Geronimo" - Callendar

Thank you Geronimo! A temporarily vacant part of my history memory obviously; I knew it had to be someone or something significant. That explains the beached balloon as a great twist of humor.

A truly excellent satire by Josh!

Dec 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

There's a book called Engaging with Climate Change Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives published last year by Routledge where one of the authors uses a bouncing ball down a hillside as an analogy for climate model uncertainty.

Dec 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSally14

Sally - interesting that a similar anaology was made in that book, which got a mention in this thread from a while back:

If the book follows the form displayed by the transcript of the show, I think it will be a very poor investment, even at the kindle price:

Do you have a page reference?

Dec 17, 2014 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

The science of bouncy balls is not settled
but the science of the climate IS settled

I am sure RB does not believe that the science is settled, but I cant help tweaking his nose

Dec 17, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

"not banned yet" - I don't have a copy but looking at Amazon I think it's in the last chapter (page 240 or 241 perhaps?).

Pretty iffy reviews of it!!

Dec 18, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterSally14

Thanks Sally - that last chapter is my guess too. I noted its author is an Exeter chap involved in various climate related bodies, so I wonder if he and RB cross pollinated or if it is just a random coincidence? How did you know the anaolgy is used in the book?

Dec 18, 2014 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"not banned yet"- I saw the book in our library and also noticed a piece in it by Rapley.

Dec 18, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSally14

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