Will the IPCC report help?

WtD is celebrating the release of the 5th IPCC report saying maybe this will wake people up. Honestly, it seems unlikely. Heading to the actual science section, I find:

“The models used to calculate the IPCC’s temperature projections agree on the direction of future global change, but the projected size of those changes cannot be precisely predicted. Future greenhouse gas (GHG) emission rates could take any one of many possible trajectories, and some underlying physical processes are not yet completely understood, making them difficult to model. Those uncertainties, combined with natural year-to-year climate variability, produce an ‘uncertainty range’ in temperature projections.”

“The final contribution to the uncertainty range comes from our imperfect knowledge of how the climate will respond to future anthropogenic emissions and land use change. Scientists principally use computer-based global climate models to estimate this response. A few dozen global climate models have been developed by different groups of scientists around the world. All models are built on the same physical principles, but some approximations are needed because the climate system is so complex. Different groups choose slightly different approximations to represent specific processes in the atmosphere, such as clouds. These choices produce differences in climate projections from different models. This contribution to the uncertainty range is described as ‘response uncertainty’ or ‘model uncertainty’.”

Now, it could just be me (actually, I did get a second opinion and said opinion was in agreement with mine) but what this seems to be saying is the IPCC models don’t take into account the many factors affecting climate accurately, natural factors are far more important than the last four reports stated but the IPCC is still 95% certain humans are driving climate. The CO2 will cause a .5 to 4.5 degree increase in the anomaly from the global mean temperature, of that they are certain (depending on which model one uses to get the prediction, of course). The only thing they seem certain of is the temperature will eventually start rising again, sometime. In a field that reports anomalies to a hundredth of a degree, the 4 degree uncertainty seems to be a case of “Ray’s rules of Precision”:
“Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe.”

A four degree range? Missing many of the factors in their models? Seems likely. 95% certainty? Of what? I suspect a good psychic could make predictions with such a broad range. (If the psychic understood the importance of climate change science, they would, of course, indicate warming.)

All of this is based on CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Yes, it is. One of many involved in climate change. The importance thereof is now called into question due to natural factors, inability to accurately model, etc. For all anyone knows, at some point a natural factor overcomes the CO2 and the temperature goes down again, remains stable or does actually increase. As for “climate change”, the climate is as it has been for years. Check the numbers yourself for floods, hurricanes, heat waves, etc. Or dig out that photo album if you’re old enough and see that today’s weather looks like what you saw in the past. Forget the models—look at the real world.

Going back to the oft presented “these are authorities” and would you treat you doctor with the same skepticism as those in climate science, I give you:
Mrs. Doe consults a physician about her symptoms—vague pain in her abdomen, lethargy, lack of appetite, occasional headaches.
Her doctor feeds the symptoms into his computer model and the computer reports Mrs. Doe has a 95% probability of a tiny cancer in her abdomen that can only be found with exploratory surgery. The one symptom missing is an elevated temperature of 102 or above. If her temperature reaches 102, surgery is imperative. If Mrs. Doe skips surgery and hits the 95% group, she will have 5 years to live, plus or minus 4 years. For the rest of her life, any fever over 102 requires surgery to search for the tiny cancer, until it is found or until she dies. Slight changes in symptoms are to be ignored. The risk is real, according to her physician.
Mrs. Doe’s son asks mom how the doctor got his model. How many people actually had the cancer, how many skipped the surgery and died? How many had surgery and something was found? How many surgeries before something was found? How many studies went into the model?
Mrs. Doe tells her son he is wrong to question the doctor and she will have surgery as many times as necessary. Doctors are experts, all doctors reportedly agree with her doctor (oncologists only, of course) and we must listen to the experts.

Anyone out there want to volunteer for a possible lifetime of exploratory surgery based on a model? Anyone willing to trust a doctor who tells you the only answer is repeated surgeries based on vague symptoms? How far can a doctor go before anyone questions? Climate scientists would tell you to follow the advise and get the surgery. Authorities know.

Youkipper (commenter here) suggested I take a course on climate change. I checked out his suggested class but it did not really meet my requirements. I did find a course that starts Feb. 19 from MIT (https://www.edx.org/course/mitx/mitx-12-340x-global-warming-science-1244) and signed up. I will write on what I learn from the course.

Scientific badger

Scientific badger


2 comments on “Will the IPCC report help?

  1. Great! I will update weekly.

  2. youkipper says:

    ” I will write on what I learn from the course.”

    Looking forward to weekly updates your learning experience.

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