Planet Gore

Global-Warming Computer Models: ‘Garbage In, Gospel Out.’

Willie Soon, astrophysicist and geoscientist at the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on the problems of using computer modeling to make climate policy:

The annual climate summit opened in Cancun, Mexico this week. A few days earlier, while releasing a new report, Indian Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh emphasized: “It is imperative” that India has “sound, evidence-based assessments on the impacts of climate change.”

Not surprisingly, the report, “Climate Change and India: A sectoral and regional analysis for the 2030s,” claims India will soon be able to forecast the timing and intensity of future monsoons that are so critical to its agricultural base.

Could 250 of India’s top scientists be wrong when they say their computers will soon be able to predict summer monsoon rainfall during the 2030s, based on projected carbon dioxide trends? Do “scenarios” generated by climate models really constitute “sound, evidence-based assessments”? Are attempts to predict monsoons and other climate events any more valid for ten or twenty years in the future, than for a century away?

We do not believe it is yet possible to forecast future monsoons, despite more than two centuries of scientific research, or the claims and efforts of these excellent scientists. The Indian summer monsoonal rainfall remains notoriously unpredictable, because it is determined by the interaction of numerous changing and competing factors, including: ocean currents and temperatures, sea surface temperature and wind conditions in the vast Indian and Western Pacific Ocean, phases of the El Nino Southern Oscillation in the equatorial Pacific, the Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow covers, solar energy output, and even wind direction and speed in the equatorial stratosphere some 30-50 kilometers (19-31 miles) aloft.

The rest here.

Most Popular

Film & TV

In Unsane, Aetna Meets Kafka

Unsane doesn’t take the form of a horror film; at first, it appears to be a Hitchcockian thriller about mistaken identity or perhaps getting ensnared in a web of bureaucracy. Yet with clinical detachment it develops into a nerve-flaying story almost too agonizing to endure. Unlike most horror movies, it isn’t ... Read More

Viva l’Italia?

Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More

Putin and the Cult of Leadership

On Sunday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin won an unsurprising reelection-campaign victory against Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, by a margin of 76.7 percent to 11.8 percent. The results were unsurprising because Putin is a tyrant who murders or imprisons political rivals, and who isn’t afraid to use ... Read More

Trump and Brexit Derangement Syndrome

I am not one of those Brexiteers who believe that Brexit and Trumpism are essentially the same phenomenon in two different countries. To be sure, they both draw on some of the same political trends, notably a distrust of elites and an upsurge of popular anger over evident failures of public policy such as illegal ... Read More

Stand Up to Putin

President Putin’s landslide victory in Russia’s presidential election was achieved against the lackluster competition of a group of mediocre candidates from which the sole serious opponent had been excluded; amid plausible allegations that his security services had tried to poison two Russians in England by ... Read More