Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Climate Models Got it Right

Image result for climate modelsEnvironmental & Science Education
Climate Change
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

Among the favorite arguments of climate change skeptics/deniers is that the models are problematic when it comes to understanding future changes in the Earth's climate. The skeptics, at least as far as I know, have never tested the models, choosing instead to "cherry-pick" data.

Finally, a group of climate scientists have tested the models. Zeke Hausfather, Henri F. Drake, Tristan Abbott and Gavin A. Schmidt undertook "a thorough evaluation of the performance of various climate models published between the early 1970s and the late 2000s.

In plain English, this is what they found. "We find that (physics-based) climate models published over the past five decades were generally quite accurate in predicting global warming in the years after publication, particularly when accounting for differences between modeled and actual changes in atmospheric CO2 and other climate drivers." (my addition)

Writing for Scientific American, Earth and Environment News, Chelsea Harvey draws attention "to a critically important, but sometimes overlooked point about the way climate models work. The amount of warming they predict is a direct consequence of the greenhouse gas emissions they assume for the future. And accurately predicting carbon emissions is notoriously difficult—it depends on many human factors, including population growth, economic shifts and changes in the energy landscape. (My emphasis)

"The study suggests that many of the models criticized in the past were accurately simulating the relationship between temperatures and greenhouse gases after all—it’s just that their assumptions about future carbon emissions didn’t match up with the emissions that were actually produced in the following years."

As Gavin Schmidt, one of the co-authors of the paper, said, "Gosh, maybe we know something about climate after all!"

Yep, they do. 

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